Goldsmiths to transform St James Hatcham church as next wave of New Cross redevelopment begins

For a while, we've been alluding to the fact that Goldsmiths would be stepping up its plans to invest in its campus, which occupies much of central New Cross.

The redevelopment programme is not only a priority for Goldsmiths, but for local residents, who want the empty high street properties brought back into use. BC is on the Council of Goldsmiths and we're really excited by what's coming, which will add a lot more to the area than just new retail units.

Following the recent opening of a new music studio on New Cross Road, Goldsmiths says:

Goldsmiths, University of London has unveiled a number of building projects which will transform their single-campus site in the heart of New Cross.

The announcement comes as contractors begin work on the first of these developments – interior re-design of St James Hatcham, a 19th century church building bought by the College in 2011.

An impression of the new interior of St James Hatcham church
The development will see the building transform into a space that can be used flexibly for teaching, exhibitions, performances and studios.

The Hatcham project forms just one part of a wider vision set out in the College’s updated Masterplan – of a flexible, sustainable campus with visibility of key activities and function set within an identifiable and coherent public realm. The plan has been drawn up by architects McAslan and the Estates team in consultation with staff, students and the wider College community. It is in the final stages of development as the College continues conversations with Lewisham Council on the overall scheme.

A number of key projects have already begun, including:

o   Renewal of the flagship Richard Hoggart Building on Lewisham Way, including a new bright and welcoming entrance and the opening up and landscaping of the forecourt to provide social seating and performance space

o   New Music studios at 286 New Cross Road which provide a creative space for research, performance and recording where musicians, both Goldsmiths students and members of the public, can make professional-level recordings using state-of-the-art equipment.‌

o   The installation of a new cafĂ© in the Rutherford Building which houses the library and computer laboratories.

The College has significantly increased its investment in the estate in recent years – spending £5m last year, almost four times more than previous years. This investment is set to continue with the following plans in the pipeline:

o   The creation of a new art gallery on campus, using the water tanks in the former Laurie Grove baths. The College will be launching a design competition next week.

o   Continuing our strategy of disposing of outlying properties to enable us to concentrate on our on-campus developments and to review our accommodation strategy with a view to accommodating more on campus in the longer term.

o   Repairs to the front elevation of the Deptford Town Hall Building, following recent repair works to the rear of the building, and continuation of the works to the nearby shops to make them safe

o   Facilitating a variety of ‘pop-up’ projects in the shops on New Cross Roads, following the success of the recent New Cross Records pop-up shop.

34 comments:

Teresa said...

Does Goldsmiths still own the large crumbling building Cafe Creme and Pranksta is in?

freethinker85 said...

Yes, they do. They say it is costing them lots of money just to make sure they don't fall down. They are considering leasing them out for 15 years or so if they can find someone to fund their refurbishment who can then use them for 15 years or so in exchange. If that doesn't happen, they should sell them because it's detrimental to the local economy and to the local community to have them out of use for long periods of time.

freethinker85 said...

I am glad they are disposing of some of their off-campus residences and buildings. Freeing them up should bring more people into area and help increase vibrancy and local economy.

freethinker85 said...

It's a shame their new gallery isn't on main high street. That would give huge boost to area! Hopefully though, they''ll sign post it well and encourage people from high street in because it will be just off the main drag.

Ben said...

Surely the land on that plot is quite valuable if the building is falling down.....

Gill said...

We can all see the Masterplan here https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4675356/Planning/GoldsmithsMasterplan.pdf
but sadly Goldsmiths' priorities are the parts that benefit themselves, not the local community, and this "transformation" of St James will have nil impact on the area.
The New Cross blog has drawn attention to their approach to Karrada, the developers responsible for the old Walpole site, with an offer to turn it into student accommodation. Mary McGeown couldn't have put it better - it's a Goldopoly.

Gill said...

If they sorted out the heap on New Cross Road they could have a gallery there.

Brockley Nick said...

I suppose it will only have nil impact if you don't opt to go to any of the events there.

freethinker85 said...

That is an outdated masterplan. Apparently an amended one will be ready in the next few months and made public. I think Goldsmiths contribute a great deal to the area, in terms of the art culture graduates help develop nearby and the people it attracts to the area. However, I do think they could do more to make the campus more inviting, so it becomes an area local residents feel comfortable walking through. But the masterplan should help with that. It is however vital that they make decisions on the shop units in the near future, so they don't suck energy from the community, as they currently do, along with the Venue and the bank it owns next door. Some simple changes to the landscaping outside the library could also help. I also think it's a positive thing they are selling some of their off-campus properties.

NAT said...

You would think it would be a no brainer wouldn't you? Groundbreaking Art Dept. Deprived, though artistically vibrant, surroundings but with busy thoroughfare on the road to, among other things, France. All the ingredients for a destination venue but a tragic lack of vision. I'd be amused, but unsurprised if there were some well paid 'officer' position the brief of whose holder was to look into this sort of thing.

Transpontine said...

The St James Building used to be where the Laban was before it moved to Deptford, spent many happy Saturday mornings there. Not sure what people are saying about the 'derelict shops' - true they are not all in use but there is as mentioned earlieractually a thriving cafe there (Cafe Crema) and the idiosyncractic very-New Cross Prangsta costumers. Some might criticise Goldsmiths for holding on to them, on the other hand there was an outcry a few years ago when they considered emptying them to refurbish them. As for knocking the Venue, in what way is it 'sucking energy' out of the community? It has been a thriving nightclub for 30 years, just because it may not be your cup of tea doesn't mean it's not valid.

Gill said...

I've lived in New Cross for 18 years, and I'm commenting from that point of view. In my opinion the 3 empty shops have a bigger negative impact on the community, and it seems to me Goldsmiths are prioritising works that benefit themselves over any of the other projects in the plan.

Monkeyboy said...

There was a documentry about London's gap with the rest of the country in bbc2. The Kings cross area revamp was cited as an example of unexpected synergy. The man from google specifically stated that having a new funky art college next door (st martins) was one of the reasons why they chose the area for there headquarters. People like being around that vibe, proximity to other unrelated enthusiasm matters.

Bet we get the new Amstrad HQ.

terrencetrentderby said...

The positive knock on effect Goldmsiths has had on New Cross, Brockley and Lewisham as a whole has been immeasurable, which some seem to take for granted, but… they suck at property management.

They treat their high street fronted buildings as vacant lots awaiting eventual
university use which means New Cross looks like more of a squat than it should.

Scott said...

The best thing Goldsmiths can do to make an immediate impact to the New Cross neighbourhood is sell their vacant properties on the New Cross Road. It seems there are plenty of interested parties who would like to set up a business in the area.

Tim said...

I'm not an expert, but reading the above it seems that Goldsmith's has been less than perfect over the years as a property owner and developer.

That said, it's not really their job, is it? Engaging with the community is kind of secondary and while it's nice to have, surely it's local and national government that should be legislating, regulating and managing to ensure communities are developed intelligently.

Which brings me to Lewisham Council. As far as i can see, they've done very little to encourage the development of Brockley High Street, and New Cross appears also to be below its full potential. Is there a way of measuring the effectiveness of councils? Where would Lewisham be on the list? What does our elected mayor do?

anonymous said...

I enquired about one of the empty shops next to cafe crema about 2 months ago for a potential business idea. This is the response I got from the facilities people:

"At this time there have been extensive works taking place at the back of the buildings to make them safe, and at this time, we are in the process of finding funds to refurbish all the buildings to a high standard. Unfortunately, all the spaces have been earmarked for College use"

The Thinker said...

@ Scott That's the worse thing they could do. Sell prime real estate like that, would be like pawning the family silver for a pinch of baccy. It would ruin any future community integration and cohesion that could happen between goldsmiths start ups, private and public, future initiatives etc. It's better they stay tide to the college in some way or form at the very least. But I hope they could get some funding under regeneration and community engagement, which is long over due, but always the first to go in prudent times.

Scott said...

@The Thinker. I don't quite see your point. There are entrepreneurs who are clamouring to set up businesses in New Cross and over the last couple of years, these new businesses (LP, Chinwag, Allotment, Birdies, No 178 et al.) have increased employment and some have arguably improved community cohesion within the area.


Take No 178 as the best example. A social enterprise that has improved community cohesion and integration by providing jobs and training to people with learning difficulties and allowing people to use the space for community events and exhibitions etc How long did it take them to set up shop - 6-8 months or so? If Goldsmiths wanted to improve community integration and improve community cohesion, they could have done it by now or at least lease the space to someone who could do something similar.








What's stopping all of this developing further is Goldsmiths' inactivity.


I've lived in New Cross for nearly six years and their have been very little signs of life within them, save for Cafe Crema and Prangsta and from what I hear, this has



Maybe the best thing they can do is take stock of what the guys at No 178 are doing and look at creating a social enterprise which can create jobs

Scott said...

Ignore the last two rambling. paragraphs - forgot to delete them before I posted. Ta.

The Thinker said...

I thought my point was fairly clear. It's prime and could be used for the benefit of the college and community not private enterprise.

What's slowing down development is cash, priorities and structural issues, from what I gather.
These things do take time and money.

No 178 sounds great and well done to them, but we don't need more of what we've already got in regards to the other businesses already in the neighborhood.

A more dynamic and flexible set up, for graduates, students and the community, could be really great, when the building is fit for purpose.

It's a prime spot, a stage or a window display for goldsmiths. It would be like Liberty's or Harvey Nichols, selling there window space for a small sum then having to sell there goods from a suitcase. Pointless.

I've lived around here for nearly 16 years and all though some things are still the same, the place has changed a great deal in that time and for the better.

test said...

I don't really get your point, shops and businesses can exist there, they will excel there if that is what the community wants, the community benefits.


Now is it a good business idea for goldsmiths to sell the property now, no probably not but that has nothing to do with the community. It's not a good idea in a business sense for Tesco/Sainsbury's etc to sell their land grabs but it would sure help the communities that are affected by them

Martin said...

As if private enterprise was something really bad and incompatible with the community. The truth is that New Cross is one of the dodgiest places in zone 2, even though there's an abundance of 'artsy' stuff there that doesn't improve the overall atmosphere of the area.

What New Cross needs is a quality high street, that will have an actual impact on the area (that is: attract people who can spend money in New Cross and in this way improve the area by providing jobs and decreasing crime)

terrencetrentderby said...

Lewisham has some of the crappiest high streets in inner London. They should merge their planning department/sack them all with Southwark who seem to know what they are doing.
Lewisham is crippled by an inept planning department combined with well meaning but clueless local NIMBY groups.

Tim said...

If I had time, I would probably work out who our local council representatives are for Brockley High Street and that bit of New Cross, ask them to take a look at this thread, and comment.

The Thinker said...

@vacant lot $$ & Build it and they will come mindset...
& Money = Jobs = Less crime brigade

There are far too many assumptions and little facts.

I'm not anti regeneration or anti private enterprise, if appropriate positioned and supported.

My overriding point is, I believe the current shops in question would better serve the college and community as a college led springboard and engagement hub.

To benefit those people who wish to make a go of things in parallel or partnership with the college and the college ethos.

The short term gain for those units to be sold to private enterprise, would in my mind be far too small in the comparison to the potential for the college and community supported start-ups which could potentially flourish, given the opportunity.

I see the shops as a stage set for engagement and events with a much wider audience than just the good folk of New Cross and Goldsmiths. I would normally site various proactive analogies, but feel they would be totally wasted here, along with the other ideas.

I'm trying to see beyond the short term and the normal or average high street... New cross is special and I believe we all deserve more... than fried chicken, artisan bread or hipster cafes.

Maybe Goldsmiths alumni Mary Quant might have some ideas. I'm also sure the staff, students, alumni and the architects currently engaged in the redevelopment of Goldsmiths, as well as the rest of the NX community must have some great ideas to seed.

I would be very interested to know which business currently and in the past, have approached Goldsmiths.

terrencetrentderby said...

I would line them up and....

freethinker85 said...

That is not what I meant. I don't want the Venue to be knocked down. It is thriving but only open a couple of nights a week. They also own the beautiful old bank building next door that they do nothing week. A lack of active street frontages does suck vibrancy from the high street, which has an impact on the local economy. I'm not saying the club shouldn't continue, just that they use their space better, both to make more profit for them and to benefit the community. As for the Goldsmiths shops, I spoke to the Head of Estates and Facilities at Goldsmiths recently. Some of them are close to falling down and needs lots of money spent on them. Two of the units are barely used at all and this is detrimental to high street and other businesses in the area. Active street frontages always help areas. All I'm saying is that if Goldsmiths can't afford to renovate them, so they can be in full use, then they should lease or sell them to someone who can.

freethinker85 said...

Yes but Goldsmiths have had the time to prioritise that and they haven't. Goldsmiths has benefited the local area a great deal but their property management of these buildings in the community has been extremely detrimental and they need to take responsibility for that.

freethinker85 said...

I agree with all your points but it's theoretical. Goldsmiths have had the opportunity for years to do this and they haven't. It is a matter of priorities and it is not a priority for them. They've had their chance and I think they should lease or sell those two units to someone who can afford to maintain them. Vacant units are detrimental to local economy and the community as a whole.

Brockley Nick said...

Different leadership, different priorities, different property market, different education market. They've said they intend to bring these units back in to use as a priority and I've seen the means by which they intend to do so.

The Thinker said...

"theoretical"... really...OMD, "had the opportunity for years", "not a priority". Big assumptions for a freethinker... followed by your overriding Judgement and Jury "They've had their chance"... "they should lease or sell those two units"

I thought this thread had closed and moved on... common sense and progress... prevailing... optimism.

@freethinker85 it would seem you have a vested interest... due you wish to declare it now?

freethinker85 said...

No vested interest. I'm a member of the community since 1985 (though with 9 years away in Brighton until Feb last year) and am instigating a neighbourhood plan for the area, together with my neighbour, to help steer future development for the collective benefit. Nothing wrong about that. Our plan will be informed by evidence of needs in the community and decisions voted on democratically at meetins. I have met with Estates and Facilities and their plans seem sound in that they want to lease the units for 15 years or so to someone who can afford to reburbish them to make them safe and then use them for 15 years or so, before returning them to Goldsmiths. This seems like a good plan and I hope to see it happen soon.

pdhan said...

"I've seen the means by which they intend to do so"


So what are they?

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