Q: When is a masterplan not a masterplan?

A: When it's a contributory document for a draft local development framework

This image, produced by ACQ Architects, shows the area that was considered for the masterplan

Since Brockley Central's inception, we've been trying to discover the truth behind the legend of the Brockley Cross masterplan. Fact or fiction? Clues have been scattered around the internet like a JJ Abrams viral marketing campaign. The Brockley Cross Action Group have only spoken of it in dark whispers. Lewisham Council have remained elusive... until now.

We first heard about the masterplan on a web forum. Then we tracked down the conceptual designs on the website belonging to the architects who were appointed back in 2002. The ACQ website claimed that "the study is now in its final draft," but the news was clearly old.

Lewisham Council documents added:

"In September 2002 the Council together with the Brockley Cross Action Group appointed consultants ACQ Architects to undertake an Urban Design Framework and Development Strategy for the Brockley Cross area. The purpose of the study is to guide future regeneration of the area and to attract new investment into Brockley Cross."

Exciting stuff, but no indication what had happened in the intervening five years.

We also knew that the consultation had been supported by a series of images, asking residents to think outside the Brockley box about the possibilities for their area and that they'd set up a community consultation "shop" on the site now known only as "Ask Toes"

The upshot of all this blue sky thinking? Here's the final vision (sorry about the size):

Essentially, they proposed to turn the site facing the Tea Factory and the double roundabout in to a mixed use live / work development, with community facilities, including a sports centre. A modest but probably quite welcome proposal. The scope of the masterplanning exercise was much wider than just that site, but this is the only element we've been able to find.

However, the project concluded in 2004 and the timber yard and its neighbours are going nowhere for the time being. Was this a real masterplan, or just someone playing around with Photoshop?

Finally, the rising star of Lewisham Council, Sarah-Ann Wilks, came to our rescue, albeit with some disappointing news. She told us:

"The draft Brockley Cross Urban Design Framework and Development Study was released in July 2004 and thereafter has had the status of an 'unofficial' planning guidance document.

"Although the document is unlikely to ever have formal planning status, recently the development sites identified in the study have been included in the emerging Local Development Framework. The LDF, once adopted, will have official planning status and will therefore be a formal consideration when assessing planning applications within the Lewisham Borough."

So there you go. All hope for that blighted section of street rests on the future of that Framework.

In the mean time of course, many parts that were featured in the master plan have simply got on with things. Coulgate Street has become a charming little gateway to the area from the station, The Tea Factory is being built and Bridge House is subject to a planning application. Even though it's not a formal masterplan, it has helped to shape Brockley's development and may play a continuing role in future.

Thanks to Sarah-Ann for finally clearing things up.


Anonymous said...

Is Bridge House the building opposite the Tea Factory?
As you say Nick, it seems that plenty is going on around that area with or without ACQ. You've got the apartments and shops at the end of foxwell street, the maypole inn being turned into apartments, the derelict building next to the station (mantle road) being turned into apartments and the Tea Factory. Many thanks for the update

Anonymous said...

Evening all. I work in in an organisation that is constantly commisioning RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects in case you'd wondered) 'feasability' studies. Most are commisioned at not inconsiderable cost. Lots of 'stakeholder workshops' 'value mangement workshops' meetings about meetings. All in all a biscuit and coffee fueled orgy of minute taking. What happens? the usual reaction is 'it's gonna cost HOW much!? erm...lets just paint some lamp posts and stick up some baskets - Hob Nob anyone?'. The trouble is with this kind off study is that it's a good way of looking as though you're addressing something without any real obligation....sigh....

Having said that sometimes they actually happen so don't listen to my cynical rant

Off for a run, Ciao.

Ploomie said...

Very interesting.

Lots of money spent so it will seem on..er..nothing yet again. I have very little faith in many who run Lewisham Council...better do it yourself.

Monkeyboy is exactly right...It's a good way of using your budget, pacyfying people into thinking that things may happen and actually delivering nothing except false hope. Look at Lewisham...wasn't there a scheme called Lewisham 2000? What did they do..build a great big ugly police station? Nope, if you wan't something done, don't bother the Council. Use people power to effect change.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought that with your propensity for tall buildings you would be striving to get a couple around Brockley Cross


Better to be concerned about the little things down the road than the elephant in the room (Lewisham Gateway if you didn't get that) - the council likes that.

get your paintpot out and paint your lampost!!

Ploomie said...

Who said anything about wanting tall buildings around brockely Cross? What has this to do with painting lamposts?

Anonymous said...

And who says the issue of Brockley Cross is a little thing, when there is more traffic going through the Cross in rush hour than along the New Cross Road.

Anonymous said...

Yes, shame those images above make no reference to changing the road layout so it's not such a nightmare for cars and pedestrians to navigate!

Ploomie said...

What has happebned to the brockley cross action group? Any news? Are they still pursuing this?

Brockley Nick said...

Second anonymous... I have no idea what you are on about. There's been plenty written about Lewisham Gateway on here.

Moira said...

The Action Group has four options for the design on their website. www.brockley.com/bcag click on masterplanning.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the roads need sorting. I live in Malpas road and am constantly shaken off the sofa by a lorry delivering an emergency supply of genetically modified battery chicken portions to the takeaways around here. Honestly you can’t even enjoy a hangover these days.

I think ‘B’ roads, which Malpas is, belongs to TfL (Transport for London) rather than the council so banning lorry’s or restricting traffic may be a problem. We all want less traffic, we all want to drive our cars to Bluewater. Something’s gotta give.

I wouldn’t get too excited by the master plan, It’s a necessary exercise to cost a proposal but I suspect it’s gone in the big Lewisham filling cabinet labelled ‘Interesting but too much hassle’.

Andrew Brown said...

The Council have been conducting a consultation on where they're going to be developing (or actively promoting others to do it).

Looking at it it'd seem that Brockley isn't top of the list for redevelopment. As you'll see if you take a look at what they're proposing the proposals are to focus on the corridor from New Cross up to Catford via Lewisham.

Anonymous said...

I like the cross as it is

Anonymous said...

What is it about the Cross you like? You could argue it has a shabby charm but you'd be wrong. The amusing double roundabout? tell that to two mopeds I've seen knocked over. The cross just dosn't work.

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