Lewisham buys Catford

Lex Luthor: Miss Teschmacher, when I was six years old my father said to me...
Miss Teschmacher: "Get out."
Lex Luthor: Ha ha. Before that. He said, "Son, stocks may rise and fall, utilities and transportation systems may collapse. People are no damn good, but they will always need land and they'll pay through the nose to get it!

We are now all the proud owners of a giant plastic cat. Lewisham Council has bought Catford shopping centre in an effort to kick-start the area's wider regeneration.

Cllr Walton has forwarded us this announcement from Lewisham Council and explains:

"Essentially Lewisham has bought a shopping centre to make much needed regeneration of Catford Town centre much easier.This had all party support at full Council last week. It is not without risks - but I believe these were properly explained and managed."

The statement reads:

Lewisham Council has today exchanged contracts in a deal that moves the renewal ofCatford town centre a major step forward.The deal will see the ownership of freehold and leasehold interests in and around the Catford Centre transfer from current owners, St Modwen Investments, to a wholly owned companyset up by the Council to be called Catford Regeneration Partnership Limited (CRPL).

Catford Town Centre is one of the key areas within the borough with significant potential for regeneration. With this purchase of local land interests, the Council is opening the door toregeneration projects, improving its ability to influence future plans. Deputy Mayor of Lewisham Heidi Alexander said:

"The Council's vision for Catford is as alively, attractive town centre. Buying these land interests in the Catford Centre is a once in a lifetime opportunity that puts the Council in a much, much stronger position to shape the future of Catford. This is great news for Catford and for local people."

Catford Regeneration Partnership Limited will be responsible for managing the shopping centre and kick-starting a regeneration programme for the town centre by attracting investment from the private sector.

To view the Catford Town Centre Area Action Plan, go to www.lewisham.gov.uk and type'catford plan' in the search box.

45 comments:

Oaksys said...

Well taking the pension deficit into account the Lewisham Council deficit is equivalent to £16,000 per head of the borough population. Why not add some more debt by buying "Catford"?

Monkeyboy said...

Don't these people watch gangster films? Property deals in city hall, The Long Good Friday is here. Is Nick the new Harrold Shand?

Anonymous said...

With a bit of nous, the removal/sorting of the gyratory, and an provocative approach to the shopping centre, Catford could be the next Hoxton or similar, I shit you not. Obviously none of the above are likely to happen but...

ppp said...

This will please Fred.

The things that gave Catford it's old identity the dog track, cinema, are long gone. It's time for new phase. Go to places like Camden Town famous for it's scuzzy, half eaten falafel strewn streets, you can barely it's like Oxford well Carnaby street now.

Good luck to Catford. If this plan is executed well, it will make Catford an unarguably, desirable place to live by attracting young families after properly sized houses.

Paddyom said...

The Council offices are located in Catford so its no surprise they want to improve it, despite the cost to the taxpayer. This smells of self-interest. Sort manky Lewisham out first before moving on to the next place.

Paddyom said...

And can anyone believe the Council allowed the old Army & Navy store in Lewisham to be demolished to build Europes largest police station? In a town centre?? What would now be a House of Frazer store boosting the retail core of Lewisham is an eyesore police station causing endless siren after siren after siren in the town. Such a massive blunder doesnt give me much faith in Lewisham Council to ever create a pleasant shopping environment, in either Lewisham or Catford.

ppp said...

That was a horiffic decision. Actually with that in mind, if I was in Catford, I'd be terrified right now. Having Lewisham Council, with it's track record of chronic bad taste in charge of planning your townscape is about as reassuring as sitting in the back of the car with a drunk driver at the wheel.

Monkeyboy said...

Whish I'd signed is so i could pull my silly joke. Actually know nothing about the background to this, nor I fear do others. It now belongs to Lewisham, we vote for Cllrs and can even BECOME Cllrs so we have control? Why not complile some evidence that this was done just so the staff can have somewhere to pop to at lunch. Assuming you can't, lets here what the plans are.

Anonymous said...

The plans are to build high rise over the shopping centre which is only one storey high and therefore given its location has potential for anything you can think of.
For me the question is: do they just want to build a massive block in front of Milford Towers?
That won't improve the area much. But if they have a good plan to decant MT residents without creating major social issues and build something else there so that the area is genuinely improved then it can be good.
But that's major social engineering and the devil's in details, so we need transparency on this one.

Anonymous said...

What a lot of ill-informed kneejerk rubbish in the comments so far. How about asking some sensible questions before opining? It may or may not be a good move but you're making a lot of assumptions on very little information.

ppp said...

Oh come on! Lewisham planning? are you seriously going to defend them?

Anonymous said...

@Paddyom: the Lewisham Police Station planning thing was before I moved to Lewisham I think, but my understanding was that Lewisham DID turn the application down and the police won on appeal.

Can anyone who's lived here longer than me confirm/refute that?

Anonymous said...

The issue is much more complex than that. The Council wanted that land for other uses, they were talking of a department store so when the Police came forward they offered them Ladywell Pool in exchange, this led to the first Save the Pool campaign, I think it was 2001 but I'm not sure of that.
Anyway, the Council's plan was met with opposition, it failed and then the police went ahead.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I was recently told that when Milford Towers was first envisaged, which wasn't actually that long ago, it was sold to the public as a way to regenerate Catford and attract young and mobile professionals that work in central London.
I wasn't around at that time, so I wonder if there's anyone who remembers that.

Anonymous said...

4 or 5 years ago a senior planning officer gave a presentation giving a vision of Catford in the future.

This took into account the area from the BIG CAT all the way up to the David Copperfield.

Although the sale of the dog track was not publicly known the officer referred to a possible change of us of that area.

It was implied the owners of the shopping centre were a possible stumbling block, due to lack of investment.

From what has been said the current council would like to demolish Milford Tower and consign it to a landfill in Essex.

Re the Catford Giro system I believe a planning application has been submitted to demolish the houses on Plassy Road and built flats.

I think the council has been hoping for 20-30 years to have diverted the South Circular behind Laurance House and create a pedestrian precinct between Laurence House and the Civic Centre.

There is an opportunity to significantly change the image of Catford but will any politician dare to scrap the CAT??

Tamsin said...

The pattern of shopping has changed (for the worse) and outside of places like Westgate and Bluewater the old-fashioned department store is dead. Even in Oxford Street they are dying. And Allders in Bromley is now a rather upmarket (if there can be such a thing) Primark. In Lewisham Chiesman's (with its walkway over the road from the covered mall) was moribund before it morphed into the A&N then expired.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same poor Labour run Lewisham Council without the money to sort out Brockley Cross?

Anonymous said...

I think The Catford Purchase will go on to be a tipping point in the wider area's regeneration.

Now what will happen to the birdshit-plastered cat? Sand down and recoat with Conservation Area approved Dulux paints? Perhaps a partnership with its KFC hosts whereby it is made to mechanically eat fried chicken all day as an animated symbol of the spirit of Greater Lewisham.

Martin said...

If this gets Catford's regeneration underway, then this is fantastic news. This area has so much potential, with some lovely streets currently marred by a dismal town centre. I can only hope things get started soon!

Anonymous said...

The houses on Plassy Road have already been knocked down,and building work has started.

Anonymous said...

Where the hell is Fred?! Has he spontaneously combusted?!

Brockley Nick said...

BC readers now technically own Fred. Perhaps he's afraid to stick it to the man after all ;)

Hugh said...

Nick, did you consider opening instead by quoting that Yazz lyric?

Matt-Z said...

These are some current plans for Catford, including the much-discussed re-routing of the South Circular. It includes grand plans for the Wickes/Halford site too, as well as the old dog track land.

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/6B243842-7935-4356-9A34-AF79F72D6765/0/CatfordAAPPreferredoptionspages4465.pdf

Anonymous said...

Currently Lewisham Gateway is 6 years behind schedule or 4 years if take into account the revised timetable.

The developers have said this is a at least a 6 year project to build.

The council have recently announced they propose to demolish the empty buildings and landscape the site, it looks like this scheme is going to be on hold for some time.

Sorry to appear negative but read reports about delayed council projects and it's made clear the council have insufficent staff.

So there could be a number of large projects all happening at the same time...Catford, Leisure Centre, Forest Hill Pool, New Secondary School, Lewisham Gateway.

These schemes may well attract people with the appropriate skills and the Mayor, Council and Executive need to ensure what's on paper can be delivered.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm,

Time taken to install steps to Brockley Station - 6 months

Time taken to redevelop Catford Town Centre - ?

Anonymous said...

"These schemes may well attract people with the appropriate skills" Of course that costs, so people will whinge about 'fat cat' salaries.

Monkeyboy said...

We still haven't estabilised if the private sector contractor failed or Lewisham cocked up at Brockley Common. Both sides of the private/public argument can use exactly the same result to make a headline grabbing case, depending on their pre-conceptions.

Anonymous said...

Well Catford already has one fat cat so the precident has been set...

Can I add: "years spent campaigning that a ramp was needed on a site that already had a ramp" - x Years?

Anonymous said...

Update: Fred Vest has chained himself to the Catford Cat and is staging a hunger strike ....

Headhunter said...

I used to wait for the bus at the stop in front of what is now that massive, megapolice station in lewisham, back on 00/01 when I used to live in Catford. I don't remember it being an Army & Navy Stores, in fact my memory is very fuzzy as to what kind of building was there.

Ironically, I had my mobile phone stolen from my out of my hand at the bus stop there in 2001. AFAIC the police station came a few years too late!

Anonymous said...

i doubt the gateway project will ever happen in its current form unfortunately, there just seems to be no momentum behind it whatsoever.
heidi alexander started talking about landscaping the area occupied by those derelict buildings a year ago... and it's taken this long for that plan to be "confirmed"?
i seem to recall the council agreed a one year delay to the project about two years ago. have they actually released any statement about a start date? it seems they know as much as anyone on the street as to the developer's intentions.
shouldn't they have got a clause put in the contract that it had to be completed by a certain date?

Anonymous said...

I hope they manage to slide a few quid over to do something to fix up the wasteland between Catford Bridge and the dog track - that's totally wasted space and would make a good extension to the Ladywell fields improvements.

Brockley Nick said...

I think the site you are referring to is the one targeted for a housing development.

Headhunter said...

There have been plans in the air for Lewisham gateway since before I first moved to Catford in January 2000. Just put it on the London "to do" list like Cross Rail and Thameslink "2000"....

Anonymous said...

I think it is good that the council has bought the shopping centre as regeneration has been held up. This will speed things up.

Personally I'd like to see the shopping centre demolished (except the big cat)along with Capital House and Milford Towers. Also Eros House should be delisted - it is an eyesore.

ppp said...

In my view Eros House has a lot to recommend it, stylistically. Sadly it's surrounds and maintainence have allowed the beauty of the building to be cloaked.

love detective said...

"Nick, did you consider opening instead by quoting that Yazz lyric?"

Where Has All the Love Gone?

Anonymous said...

Your link to the Lewisham website is all screwed up by the way...

patrick1971 said...

Surely Nick's quote at the start of the article should have been from Gone With the Wind: "Land, Katie Scarlett, the rich red earth of Catford [Tara]; it's the only thing that lasts!"

Catford would be greatly improved if Milford Towers were demolished along with its inhabitants (murdered girls in rubbish bags, anyone?), likewise the shopping centre. IMO Catford is more of a priority than Lewisham; it really is a toilet, whereas Lewisham actually isn't too bad.

Like most on the thread, I have little faith in the council to do this properly, especially given that their "big idea" seems to be to build a large high-rise on top of the shopping centre.

Brockley Nick said...

I'm more of a Superman fan than a Gone with the Wind fan, sorry!

Anonymous said...

Catford would be greatly improved if Milford Towers were demolished along with its inhabitants (murdered girls in rubbish bags, anyone?...

Demolishing residents?

How then, are you any different to those that murdered the girls?

Robert said...

Trouble is, can we trust Lewisham Council to make the right decisions relating to regeneration and planning in Catford? They have made an enormous hash of it over the past fifty years. Their own municiple building is a hideous case in point. Someone mentioned that Catford might become a "Hoxton". These places aren't planned by elected bodies, they happen naturally through the creativity and callaboration of private business owners.

I recently left a position in quite a large firm of architects. One of the senior partners there was so exasperated with the "philistines" at Lewisham Council he has refused to do any more work within the borough, as "they don't deserve it!".

A humourous and egocentric aside maybe, but it does illustrate a point.

Anonymous said...

The Police Station In Lewisham was an Army and Navy Store, and Cheisman's before that.

Tamsin said...

And when it changed to A&N with the dark blue blue corporate colours the walkway over the road still had the orange and brown of Cheismans. A bit of a mixed message.

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