Ladywell's pop-up community revealed

Lewisham has revealed its plans to create a temporary residential development on the site of the former Ladywell swimming pool.

The designs are considerably better than the early examples the Council cited and it's good to see this kind of innovation in the borough, but there has to be a question mark about how temporary this scheme will really prove to be.

Once it's been on site for four years, you have to ask how much appetite will there be to demount it - and if it isn't really going to be temporary, then is it a compromise too far in terms of form and function? If the Council can provide convincing answers, then this is an experiment worth trying. If they can't, then it's a poor way to cover up for a failure to produce a proper long-term plan by now.

The Council release says:

Lewisham Council has unveiled its plans for an innovative and flexible housing development devised in collaboration with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. The Council is responding to the ongoing high demand for housing in the Borough by exploring a short term option for use on the site of the former Ladywell Leisure Centre building.

The volumetric technology used in construction means that the development can be built faster and cheaper than if traditional methods were used, and the finished structure is fully demountable meaning it could be used over a number of years and in different locations across the borough. Plans are in the final development stages, and full details of the proposed scheme are available on Lewisham Council’s website.

Local residents will have the opportunity to ask questions of the architects at Lewisham Central Assembly on Saturday 24 January, followed by a special drop-in event at Lewisham library from 2-4pm.

The temporary scheme will be procured for a maximum budget of £4,300,000 and be on site for between 1-4 years. The first residential units could be occupied as early as late summer, providing 24 homes for local people in housing need, as well as eight ground-floor non-residential units for community and/or business use. 

All units exceed the current space standard requirements by 10%, helping the Council to meet an existing shortfall in both high quality temporary and two-bed accommodation whilst it develops new build and estate regeneration programmes for the Ladywell site and others.

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “This scheme may offer a solution to an all too common problem that plagues many development sites, which often sit unused while complex regeneration plans are put together. When we have thousands of people on our housing waiting list and are paying out for expensive bed and breakfast stays that is a terrible waste. We are also showing with this partnership with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners that we can achieve real quality and value for money.”

Thanks to Brockley Kate for being first with the news, as always.

24 comments:

terrencetrentderby said...

"temporary residential development" in my day they were called camps, expect dodgy driveway builders, kids stealing sweets from the shops and theft of washing from lines.

Steve Bullock once again showing why he desrves the big bucks...

Joeg said...

Only the idiots at LB Lewisham would decide to build a shanty town full of vulnerable residents whilst they pontificate about what to do with the site. Producing a well thought through mixed use scheme with affordable housing provision shouldn't take long. This proposal risks failing to get a sustainable long-term solution onsite within the current economic cycle.

Mickey Dee said...

I can already picture the photos in the Evening Standard of some 28 year old single mum clutching her 3 kids saying how much she loves living there and doesn't want to be relocated by the devil, Lewisham Council. Whilst some newly formed political party called something like 'People before the taxpayers' blows its whistles and bangs its dustbin lids in support of the 'vulnerable' resident being so harshly mistreated by 'da Council'. This idea is a recipe for disaster as Lewisham Council will be obliged by the European Court of Human Rights to pay compensation to the relocated residents, who in reality benefitted from the cheap homes at the rest of our expense but bless them, they have been put out and the only way to may it better is giving them money. Nice one.

Lll said...

Only Lewisham council can think of something this stupid. That's £180k per temporary home!

terrencetrentderby said...

Amazing right? Confirmed we have one of the the worst planning teams in London and a completely pointless mayor.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, I think that is a very likely scenario. Who cares whether it was intended to be temporary when there is an angry resident ready to pose for a photo. And then why pull it down if the homes are still serviceable? Especially if it's technically more challenging to relocate the structure than they imagined it would be in the heady days of 2015.


Quite likely that this will morph into a permanent structure. And as a permanent structure it's fair to call it sub-optimal.

terrencetrentderby said...

£89,976-£94,836​ salary for the head of planning!!

The mayor is on about 100k too, that's about 140 odd band D council tax payers funding these jokers!

Anon said...

"Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said, “This scheme may offer a solution to an all too common problem that plagues many development sites, which often sit unused while complex regeneration plans are put together."
Why?
It was a personally decision made by Mr Bullock 7/8 years ago that the site would be vacated in 2013/14. So why not 2 or 3 years ago didn't he start the process for regenerating the area and create a master plan?
The council does not have a great track record for speedy developments for example Lewisham Gateway is a mere 10 years behind schedule. Plans for the area around Laurence House has been on hold for 30-40 years?
Maybe a clause in any planning approval for these units should include a financial penalty personally payable by the Mayor be he in power or not if the units are still on site after 5 years, that should focus minds?
Regarding these units are there any examples of them being re-used and I assume there is good sound insulation between floors?

Anon said...

I see RSHP are moving to the 14th level of the Cheesegrater, meanwhile...
"The owners of Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners’ (RSHP) Leadenhall Building have insisted there is ‘no risk’ to the structural integrity of London’s latest skyscraper after two connecting bolts broke

It is understood one of the steel bolts, described as the size of a human arm, broke on the fifteenth floor of the building at 122 Leadenhall Street earlier this week. Parts of another fell from the fifth floor on Tuesday (4 November)."

Danja said...

That's an engineering/manufacturing issue, surely, not an architectural one - they finished inspecting it last week I think, found a few bolts that need replacing.

Brockley Nick said...

"know better what's good for people in need than the people in need."


No, the question is whether it is possible us to know better than our elected representatives. You'd rather no decision ever be questioned, or shall we only ever question the decisions you don't personally like?

Martin said...

This is so wrong. The council should not be constructing buildings which probably will stay there for a long time but because of the 'first ever pop-up' aspect will be hard to maintain. Secondly, putting 24 vulnerable families next to each other is a bad idea. It's not empathy - it's a crime against their children. I can't believe that it's so hard to find 24 rental flats for several years on this budget.

As a side note I also never understood why boroughs solve social issues in isolation. I cross 3 boroughs every day on my way to work (as does almost every other Londoner) but suddenly it's specifically Lewisham that has to help these people as if we lived on an island.

I think it should be tackled at the metropolitan level. If I were a mayor I'd try to locate these vulnerable families in areas with many jobs and little crime, probably far away from their previous environment to help them get life back on track. And not all of them in one place.

Gu Est said...

£4.3m for 4 years is equivalent to a rent of £865 per week. I do not think there is a single flat in Lewisham that the Council can't rent at that price, I would be happy to rent them mine and move next door for £300 a week.



This is a mad Political spin

Anon said...

Nice little Ladywell's ghetto

anon said...

The word temporary is only used to avoid local residents consultations, planning and building control regulations.

Once they succeed with one expect the Council to push the model in any available site

NAT said...

Those salaries seem quite meagre to me given the powers and responsibilities in their hands. The economics of this temporary construction, on the other hand, seem quite deranged. Perhaps there is a connection , oh and congrats on being the perennial Daily Mailer, missing the point. There should be one.

Brian said...

This idea is bonkers. This sounds like a shanty town estate that once put up will blight the Lewisham / Ladywell landscape for years to come. Try taking someone's house away from them once they've lived there for 4 years. It's not going to happen. Surely the big thinkers at Lewisham Council could come up with something better: A good secondary school, an art-house cinema, a site for the market traders to relocate to so something more appealing and attractive could be done with the main town centre. Come on guys.

Mark Racz said...

no, go ahead and question authority, it's not about that. It's about infantilizing those served by this pop-up by the way of "Da Council" and "angry resident ready to pose for a photo". If you don't treat them like people and like your equals, of course you won't agree with something quite complex (this pop-up complex) being built for them.

Brockley Nick said...

It's not about the residents, it's about the political process. We all know the kinds of stuff the local fourth estate likes to run (angry local standing next to something = front page photo) and we all know how long-term political vision can fall victim to short-term political expediency.


The scenario originally posed is a likely one. Search your heart, you know it to be true.

terrencetrentderby said...

Is "Daily Mailer" the default attack for anyone criticising public servants?

Those salaries are fine for people who are good at their job but I don't see how these two are or where they add value. Lewisham has a crummy planning department and the mayor appears to be pointless. This hare brained scheme is the icing on the cake.

pocamac said...

using the site for social housing sounds like a brilliant idea
but as has been pointed out, the temporary nature/the cost doesn't seem to stack up
references to 'these people' 'vulnerable families' ;ghetto' 'them' 'at our expense' etc tho?
we're talking about homeless/inadequately housed families! In what sort of world would a flaming art-house cinema trump local people in housing need?
-hold on, don't answer that

Max Calò said...

The reason why the Council has opposed a cinema on that site is that they want it at the Lewisham Gateway development. It's possible that they agreed to that with their partners to help push up the unit's retail prices, but that decision would have been made "confidential".

From the Council's "Local Town Centre Local Plan":

5.93 The Council continues to be supportive of the provision of flexible community spaces along with a range of leisure and entertainment uses in Lewisham town centre. In particular, the Council will be supportive of proposals for a cinema in the town centre, and a site at the northern end of the centre, such as the Lewisham Gateway site, is considered to be an appropriate location.

Martin said...

Nobody argues here that we should leave them on the street. I just feel like the council is not being honest about what the real intention is. Finding 24 rental flats, or renovating abandoned properties would in my opinion solve their problems better and cheaper. And the fact that they are trying to sell it as something cool ('pop up', like some food stall in Shoreditch) and temporary (it's not possible to forcibly relocate social tenants) upsets me even more.

Shed209 said...

More slums of the future for the Sham. In this case they're cleverly short-cutting the decay process.

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