Lewisham Gateway: A piecemeal approach?

Estates Gazette has re-visited its coverage of Lewisham Gateway and had a second (and much larger) bite of the cherry.
In a double-page spread in the current edition, the magazine claims that the project (currently comprising two major aspects: a Muse/Taylor Wimpey mixed use development, and Land Securities' re-development of the existing shopping centre) could be tackled in a 'piecemeal' way. The reasoning for this is mainly due to slow progress in delivering the major infrastructure investment needed to re-site the large roundabout by the DLR station - this is a pre-requisite of the Muse/Taylor Wimpey scheme.

Attention is therefore shifting towards Land Securities, and what can be done with the existing shopping centre.

EG reports: 'The fact that less than £16 million of public money has been earmarked for the [roundabout re-routing] scheme has not eased concerns about its viability. Neither has unsettling speculation about Taylor Wimpey's commitment, given its exposure to the housing crisis.
'There has been a growing feeling that the [Lewisham Gateway] project should be broken up and brought forward on a piecemeal basis, with the retail ambitions [for new shops in the Muse/TayWimpey development] put on ice. LandSec [the shopping centre developers] certainly appears to be veering towards this view now.'

Tom Venner, LandSec portfolio director, told EG: 'From what we gather of the Muse/TayWimpey plans, there appears to be inactivity still and no movement towards delivery of the project's retail element ... there is a lot that can be done with both the town centre without the need to extend the retail pitch.'

Land Securities is currently focussing on re-aligning its tenant mix in the shopping centre to meet the area's changing demographics - in particular EG cites research by Lewisham Council which the magazine said demonstrates growing gentrification by young professionals. EG says LandSec has seen 'a spate of lettings in recent weeks' and has appointed two agencies to help it secure tenants which will 'cater for the changing retail tastes of the catchment area'. More than 10% of the shopping centre's floorspace is currently under offer.

Additionally, EG reports that Barratt has submitted revised plans for the Loampit Vale site. Changes include a reduction in the height of some buildings, and a reduction in the number of flats from 819 to 788. The scheme also includes a swimming pool and office space.