Big Yellow wins Lewisham Way fight

Big Yellow has been given permission to build a new storage facility on a site opposite Lewisham Art House on Lewisham Way. The site is currently occupied by poor-quality commercial warehousing.

The plans had been strongly opposed by local campaigners and Lewisham Council's planning committee voted 5-1 to turn down Big Yellow's application, but the decision has been overturned by a planning inspector.

The setback is not really about aesthetics. Big Yellow is not proposing to build one of its trademark bright-yellow centres on the site, but has come up with something more muted. It will arguably be less ugly than what it replaces. The real blow is that storage centres encourage traffic and discourage development on a human scale. It means that any hope that this stretch of Lewisham Way could be redeveloped to create shop-fronts or housing, to form a coherent stretch of high-street, is gone.

As Darren Johnson writes on his blog:

"This is the wrong facility in the wrong place, and this decision to overrule elected councillors is bad news for Brockley. Lewisham Way should be a vibrant high street for the area, not a location for warehousing and storage. Local people say they don't need another storage facility and want to protect the existing local jobs on the site."