Lewisham's grand designs

As longterm BC readers will be aware, big plans are afoot for Lewisham town centre. But you may not be aware that the council has similarly ambitious ideas for other parts of the borough. BC recently stumbled across a feature outlining the council's regeneration plans in Estates Gazette (unfortunately no link as the article is behind a paywall), and thought our readers would be interested in some of the detail ...

As part of the Thames Gateway housing growth area, northern/eastern parts of Lewisham borough should see 1,000 new homes delivered per year for the next 10 years. Specifically, this means Deptford, Catford, New Cross and Lewisham town centre. These areas, therefore, are where the council's major regeneration projects are focussed.

Lewisham Gateway
This £240 million scheme aims to transform Lewisham into a 'metropolitan' shopping centre on a par with Croydon and Bromley. To do this it must deliver more than 215,000 sq ft of retail floorspace.
Funding-wise, it's heavily leveraged, with only £16 million of the total being public money. That makes it seriously vulnerable to the ongoing liquidity squeeze.
John Miller, Lewisham council's head of planning, told Estates Gazette: 'Many of our schemes rely on housing to make them happen. We are very much in the hands of the private sector and the banks in terms of bringing regeneration forward.'
The key project here is a partnership between Muse Developments and Taylor Wimpey to deliver 1 million sq ft at the northern end of Lewisham high street. The application for outline planning consent is underway now and permission is 'almost delivered', EG reports.
The first stage of the scheme will deliver 150,000 sq ft of retail space, 80,000 sq ft of leisure space, some offices and 800 homes. There will also be an urban park, a new town square and potentially an extension to Lewisham College.

The Gateway plans have attracted other developers to sites around the town centre's margins. These include the former silk mill on Conington Rd, which is being converted by St James Urban Living into 270 flats and 5,000 sq ft of office space; and Barratt Homes' £226 million regeneration proposal for Loampit Vale involving up to 800 homes, a leisure centre and a cultural centre incorporating office space for arts industries.

Deptford town centre
As reported recently on BC, the area around Deptford train station is to be re-developed to create a public piazza on the existing goods yard. According to EG the former Princess Louise community centre will also be replaced by offices and flats.

Catford greyhound stadium
Over 7,500 sq ft of shops and offices and 600 homes have been proposed by Countryside Properties and Hyde Housing Association for the 10-acre site of the former greyhound stadium. Lewisham Council is currently scrutinising the planning application for this scheme.

Other projects :
Large residential-led schemes are also under discussion for the 40-acre Convoys Wharf site in Deptford, and the area around Millwall FC's current site. Southend Village (between Catford and Bromley) is another area identified as offering development potential.
These are all considered by the council to be long-term projects that would take 10 to 15 years to come to fruition.

All this work will require a lot of private investment, something which can't be taken for granted in the current economic climate. Whether Lewisham can deliver large-scale regeneration depends on whether developers can secure funding. And that brings the global credit crunch home to Brockley Central's doorstep.