Factory-built home plan for Ladywell baths [UPDATED]

Another bit of residential experimentation in Ladywell. The News Shopper reports that Lewisham Council is considering installing factory-built temporary housing on the site of the former Ladywell baths, while they draw up long-term plans for the site. The units would be semi-portable and low-cost.

The Council promises they won't look anything like the units in this photo from the Shopper
The Shopper says:

Lewisham Council is considering the move - thought to be the first of its kind - at a meeting next week.

The innovative pilot scheme would see 24 housing units blocked together, with four retail, commercial or civic spaces beneath, on the old Ladywell Leisure Centre site.

Ideas for the units below the housing include a meeting space, an "enterprise hub" or a "21st century library" with a 3D printer.

Once the units have been used in Ladywell, they could then be re-deployed elsewhere in the borough, across a number of different sites if necessary, or even given a different use.

Details here.

UPDATE: The Council adds:

If the idea is approved on 22 October then the Council would move forward with a formal tendering process with the aim of awarding a contract early in 2015. New homes could then be ready for occupation in autumn 2015.

38 comments:

Anon said...

In other words a prefab sprouts in Ladywell?

Meanwhile in other news King Arthur's ancient seat becomes a museum.
http://londonist.com/2014/02/prefab-museum-coming-to-catford.php
An elected Mayor is supposed be able to make decisions quickly, the decision to get rid of Ladywell baths was made about 10 years ago, it was known it was due to close in 2013/14 and a long term plan for the site has not been drawn up for the site?

Is there a parcel of land the council are waiting to become available before revealing a long term plan for the site?

Anon said...

"Ideas for the units below the housing include a meeting space, an "enterprise hub" or a "21st century library" with a 3D printer."

Is this some kind of joke from a council that can't afford its current libraries and is asking the public to help save them £85m.

Here's picture of the site June 1953, note the buildings left of screen, nothings new.

Martin said...

I hope they don't do it. Temporary things can be surprisingly permanent and I get the feeling they would end up being very poor social housing. London does have a problem with expensive housing, but Lewisham itself will not solve that issue and by attracting the most unprivileged people in London it will create loads of other issues.

NAT said...

I've a feeling the 'unprivileged' may be here already. They may have taken the ELL from Dalston, or they might be patiently waiting on the housing list. Whatever anyone's views of the long term planning involved, and it seems a bit ad hoc, there are a lot of local people who might welcome the roof over their heads, even temporarily.

Martin said...

Lewisham will not solve London's problems. And I don't want it to be the only borough trying to solve it. There are some very, very poor neighbourhoods here, and very little local jobs. It's a perfect combination to have social issues.



If Lewisham wants to have social housing they should do mixed developments.

NAT said...

Lewisham does have social housing' so do all other London boroughs, the 'affordable' part of many new developement, seems quickly to reduce or evaporate as soon as planning is granted.

Ladywell dweller said...

What happened to the cinema idea for the site? Some housing could be inacorporated as part of that, but this housing looks terrible. And no doubt it will become permanent a permanent fixture over time rather than allowing something more interesting for the area. Or allowing some decent housing for our residents. Lewisham council don't seem to be keen on doing much to help boost the area! Such a shame. I also don't see how a 21st century library with a 3d printer would be helpful. There already is a fairly decent library just metres away. why not just refurbish that one?

AliAfro said...

it certainly looks like an interesting idea for making use of vacant spaces but the only reason this space is vacant appears to be due to the the delay in making a decision...
I hope the decision on what to do with the vacant space wasn't delayed due to all the time spent investigating what could be done with the vacant space until a decision is made as to what to do with the vacant space...

bradycath said...

So after they've 'drawn up their long term plans ' what are they going to do with all the people living in their temporary housing?? Rehouse them? Probably not. It'll never happen.

Anon said...

Call me dumb...the council has known for 7 years Ladywell Leisure Centre was to close but 1 or 2 years ago they didn't think to draw up a proposal for the site, where's the forward planning?

So it closes and almost immediately it's demolished at public expense with no proposals for the site....then after leaving it a few months up pops this scheme.

According to the report this scheme will only be for four years, "flexible" which has replaced "choice" which replaced "sustainable" as the latest buzz word to promote an iffy idea.....from the report....

"....for the past year officers have been exploring innovative ways in which the Council might be able to make short term use of the land. Principally these have focussed on exploring the benefits which might obtained by piloting a new approach to construction, utilising innovative methods of construction and taking a flexible and pragmatic approach to both planning and to risk management..."
Should people be worried about the words 'flexible', pragmatic approach' when used in connection with planning and risk?

Anon said...

More from the officers report to the Mayor....

"Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) mean that homes can be built off site using modern construction technologies."

So these are not prefabs they are re-deployable housing.

"MMC can be used to meet short term housing need by utilising vacant land thereby increasing footfall in development areas and signalling the Authorities intent to regenerate key sites boldly and now (sic?) allowing land to lie vacant when sites could be used more constructively."

Of course it would not be because the council forgot the leisure centre was to close.

"In keeping with the contemporary feel of the building and overall project, Officers have been looking into innovative uses for the ground floor retail spaces. These could potentially include an enterprise hub and business incubator, a 21st century library which may not include any books but offer uses of new technologies such as 3D printing; an civic space for the re-design of Council services or meeting space for community groups.

Officers would also explore a food and or leisure offer for example through use by a local or community café to help build local use and engagement. It may be possible to explore external funding or sponsorship to support these spaces.

For the avoidance of doubt however, as yet no decisions have been made about the ground floor use of the building, and the above are merely options at this stage."

I'm surprised not to the library as 'state of the art' oh but hang on the council does not have the money to fund these extras so will seek external funding which could delay the scheme 1 - 2 years? Thus pushing even further back a master plan for the site?

Anyone who's been to public meetings in the area would know a significant concern is the number of hostels and temporary accommodation already in the area...now their elected representatives want to pour more shite on the area.

Woman of Brockley said...

Why do the people of Lewisham keep re-electing these clowns?

Dirk Monkey said...

Yeah what the hell happened to the cinema idea? the Mayor was in talks with curzon in May 2013 about having a cinema on that site but yet again nothing happens and we end up with this hideousness to add to the grimness of that stretch of road. A 3d printer is that supposed to make the Council look super high tech and groovy? You'll only get schoolkids using it to create giant phallus's. Lewisham is the only borough in london with no cinema why dont the Council get on with solving this issue as well as addressing the housing crisis.

Ladywell champion said...

Is this the way Lewisham is planning to regenerate its town centre? The borough is only now starting to get rid of its bad image and building cheap housing for homeless people is definitely a step back. Where are these homeless going to end up in the day? In all the nice parks nearby drinking and being a nuisance. This site has the potential with something that will lift the area up. The whole idea is disgusting and I hope the people of lewisham will protest against it until it's withdrawn

Brockley Nick said...

I don't think it sounds like a particularly good idea - I think they should just crack on with deciding what to do with the site in the long term - but it's important to recognise that they propose this as a temporary solution.

Mark said...

I blame the idiots which are the electorate of Lewisham; year in year out you vote for them. And this is what you get.

NAT said...

When I see the drinkers in our local parks, I couldn't really guess at which of them are homeless. If they were homeless and then housed, who knows, housing sometimes has a salutary effect on people, however I think that this scheme may be intended more as a stopgap for local people in immediate need than a magnet for Greater London street drinkers.

Martin said...

Right, so instead of making sure that we hold the authorities accountable for their promises ('mixed housing') we let them build yet another poor ghetto in one of the poorest boroughs.



It has been done many times in the past in cities around the world - if you put many poor people in one place which is already run down you will create a bigger problem in the long term.

Anon said...

Maybe if temporary planning permission is granted a condition is that it cannot be extended?

The scheme may be flexible but it means all the ground floor community elements are temporary. Now could it be like many schemes in Lewisham (Street Wardens) there is government funding for such community schemes for 2-3 years?

Ladywell Leisure Centre at the front already had a host of meeting rooms that could easily have been converted into whatever and this housing at the back or be put on top.

Have the council forgotten the Playtower across the way?

Here's a link to the officers report, it's item 11 Redeployable housing...I note the public who's money they are spending are yet again banned from that part of the meeting.

http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=139&MId=3425

Anon said...

Because it's a council that brought them the awesome Milford Towers ?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NSuihxi7TQ

"This housing estate is awesome. It is very grotty. It was built in 1978. The buildings are late 70s architecture, but the "Streets in the Sky" walkways are very much a 60s style. In a few scenes of this video it looks like I am in a street with a few low rise buildings, I'M NOT! These streets are actually high up on top of buildings and are made to look like just a normal street, but with loads of epic bridges going every where. Why can't places be built like this nowadays?"

DM_brockley said...

Terrible idea; these will sit and rot like the residents inside them

Ladywell champion said...

I think Lewisham already has its fair share of outcast. We don't need anymore. You only need to walk around the high street on a Saturday morning to realise how many deprived people live in the borough. A once in a lifetime opportunity for lewisham is being wasted. Greenwich gets a Royal borough status and we get a bridge with neon lights that say Mushiwell and some prefabs for homeless. Again the laughing stock of Greater London.

pudding said...

"You only need to walk around the high street on a Saturday morning to realise how many deprived people live in the borough"


How do you identify them? Perhaps by using a Daily Mail supplement or something equally as authoritative.

Anon said...

2006/2007 Mayor reprieves Ladywell Leisure Centre but is due to close 2013.
http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/1018464.0/?cid=9705


June 2013 Seven years later Ladywell Leisure Centre closes and it's alleged, "Detailed plans for the site will be brought before the Mayor of Lewisham in the summer."
http://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2013/05/ladywell-leisure-centre-may-become-a-cinema-after-closure/


June 2013 Before the Leisure Centre closes a secret report is put before the Mayor and he decides the building should be demolished. He also decided further feasibility work be undertaken to investigate future uses of the site (and adjoining land) and the results be put before him early next year (2014).
So far I haven't been able to find the feasibility study
http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=139&MId=2840


Oct 2013 Planning department inform Ladywell Leisure Centre to be demolished starting December 2013.
http://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=_LEWIS_DCAPR_72067


Oct 2014 Officers report (Part 1) to be laid before The Mayor for re-deployable homes on the site. How much this will cost Lewisham Council Tax payers is in Part 2 of the report and guess what, we are not allowed to see it.


Jan 2015 Target date for issuing a contract.
Jul 2015 Target for work to begin on site


I may be a country pumpkin, but why didn't the council begin feasibility studies & consultation 2 years ago about the future of this site? If the temporary housing is completed by Jan 2016 and it's there for at least 4 years that's 2020....7 years after the site was demolished and 13 years after the council knew the site would be vacant.

Anon said...

On 23 Oct 2013 there was a response from the Mayor to the Overview & Scrutiny Business Panel regarding this site. Officers wrote as background...

"Given the prominence and location of the site and the adjacency of additional
Authority-owned land, it is of paramount importance that any future development is carefully considered in the context of other nearby developments and the Authority's ‘place-shaping’ aspirations for the area. Options are therefore being reviewed corporately in order that a plan for the area be developed over the next few months."


In response to the panel's request for a clearer timetable....

"The scope and timescales for any future feasibility work are being considered as part of a broader corporate development programme; as such, the specific programme for these works is yet to be defined."


Regarding communications the officers wrote....

"The Lewisham Central site (formerly the ‘Ladywell Leisure Centre’ site) is
identified in the Lewisham town centre local plan as one of the sites that are ‘key to the development of Lewisham town centre’. This plan was the result of extensive consultation, and is available on the Lewisham corporate website. As noted above, the plan also designates the site for ‘a mix of uses including retail…and housing’."

"Updates on the project have recently been provided to the Lewisham Central and Ladywell Local Assemblies. These Assemblies will be kept updated with
the development programme for the site."

18 days ago at the Lewisham Central Assembly, present were the 3 ward councillors one of whom is the Cabinet member for housing. There was no mention of this temporary scheme for this site that is 'key to the development of Lewisham town centre.'

Headhunter said...

I'm inclined to agree that this is a bad idea. "Temporary" will end up as semi permanent and the buildings will be low quality. The demolition of Ladywell Baths has been on the cards for years and years, why is there no proper, permanent plan for the site?

Max Calò said...

All these years trying to second guess their hidden agenda... nothing!

Anon said...

As the feasibility study that was meant to have been ready by the beginning of this year has not been produced won't that mean any permanent plan for the site has been pushed further into the long grass?
I can see the Mayor taking a decision on the temporary housing scheme without knowing what impact that may have on the long term proposals/prospects for the site. That we who pay for these things end up in the long term with a compromised piece meal plan for the site.

jondoel said...

Ok - I'm not a politico as such but it does seem incredible that Lewisham would spend millions and millions on redeveloping the centre in an effort to improve the area and yet build a future ghetto a stones throw from the whole enterprise. Lewisham is set to take off and become a wealthy and prosperous borough with the young and wealthy City employees eyeing the new shops and cafes, the ease of access, and the building stock in need of renovation. The long term benefits of a wealthier demographic will pay for much grander schemes for the 'needy' than constructing a posh trailer park, actually worse that- a posh temporary trailer park. Building future problem areas alongside the 'grand scheme' seems incongruous. And by the way the proposed time frame suggested by Nick Barron appears to be faster than greased lightning compared to other site plans or any other Lewisham plans. Very odd.
DON'T POISON THE LEWISHAM WELL

Anon said...

Could the Bakerloo line proposals impact on the thinking for this site and extend the timeframe way beyond 4/5 years to take into consideration the area surrounding the site?


For example at the rear of the site there are two social housing blocks that are not very impressive.


In 2006/7 St. Mary's School talked of a desire to move to the Ladywell side of the High Street is that still a aspiration?


There was talk at one time of the hospital giving up some land for development that idea seems to have been revised.

Could the council be waiting to see what develops before producing a master plan but be in danger of nothing happening for 10-15 years?

Max Calò said...

You're right, that could well be a site for a Tube Station indeed.
I think that 10-15 years is well within a realistic timescale, and I know for sure for having spoken with relevant Council officers that the social housing blocks at the back are indeed considered as part of a future redevelopment.

Brockley Nick said...

Just to be clear, I haven't proposed any time frame. You're confusing me with the Council. Please don't!

AliAfro said...

Interesting theory. If thats the case i do wish the Council would just come out and say it. I suppose it would cast doubt over the 4 year plan temporary claim...

Primeval Mudd said...

Does anybody know how last night's decision went?

Primeval Mudd said...

Just phoned the Mayor's office. They voted in favour of the proposal. No real surprise there!

Anon said...

I'm guessing the 24 units will possibly be piled on top of each other over 3 floors with the commercial/community units below.

terrencetrentderby said...

Why not save money by building mud huts instead?
I have already dug a hole if anyone wants to bring me Lewisham's planning team? Seriously they suck and Lewisham looks crap.

Tommo said...

Well this is disappointing!!! One minute we have a cinema, then next we have dreary prefabs. Presumably the '3d printer' has been mooted in some pathetic attempt to sweeten the deal?


Can we object to the planning proposal? Or does this sort of development circumvent the usual planning application process?

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