Consultation on the future of Lewisham

Brockley: Mostly harmless

Lewisham residents who want to submit their views on Lewisham's Core Strategy have until April 6th. The document that "sets out the vision, objectives, strategy and policies that will guide public and private sector investment to manage development and regeneration in the borough over the next 15 years."

The document is very broad brush - rather than going in to detail about any area of Lewisham, it explains the Council's ambitions for each part of the borough and its approach to issues like climate change, waste management and provision of public space.
This link summarises the key drivers that the Council thinks will shape the future of the borough.

Crucially, the document shows how Brockley figures in Lewisham Council's thinking, which is not a lot. New Cross, Deptford, Lewisham and Catford are the areas of greatest development potential and are therefore the focus for much of the document. It's no slight on SE4 that we merit relatively few mentions, simply a reflection of the fact that the majority of new houses and jobs will be created in these four areas.

Lewisham Council intends to exceed the number of new houses that the Mayor's London Plan requires of the borough. The anticipated breakdown of new homes is as follows:

2,600 will be distributed within the Lewisham Town Centre
1,750 will be distributed within the Catford Town Centre
10,625 will be distributed within Deptford and New Cross
3,190 will be distributed across the remainder of the borough
This is fine, because there's plenty of undeveloped land in London's least-densely populated inner city borough, with the caveat that the Council needs to get its act together on school, health and leisure facility provision.

Brockley's fate is to maintain two "vibrant hubs", in the form of Brockley Cross and Crofton Park. There is a recognition that more needs to be done to support local shops and attract small businesses, in particular from the creative industries, such as design, architecture, animation and performance art. The logical conclusion is that they should support the planning application for Martin's Yard and invest to provide a high-quality high street environment, which will attract more new shops, while supporting local arts and culture to strengthen the community of local artists and creative entrepreneurs.

The Brockley Society has produced a very helpful guide, which highlights the most relevant parts of the document and explains how to have your say.
Here are some of the most pertinent things that the Core Strategy has to say about Lewisham, Deptford, New Cross and Brockley:

Lewisham Town Centre

Lewisham Town Centre will continue as the borough's principal town centre. The aspiration for Lewisham Town Centre to achieve Metropolitan status, adding at least 20,000 square metres.

Lewisham Gateway will act as a catalyst for regeneration of the town centre providing up to 100,000 square metres of retail, business, residential (approximately 800 new flats), educational, health and leisure uses, with new road layout, parking, servicing, associated infrastructure and improvements to the public transport interchange, as well as open space and improvements to the River Ravensbourne.

Deptford Town Centre

The Deptford Town Centre is designated as a District Town Centre. It will continue to be a focus for the local community providing a range of high street and independent shops. The Giffin Street site adjoining the town centre will see a major public square at the heart of Deptford, strengthening the attraction of the High Street, and provision made for a new replacement Tidemill School, library and community space, and additional employment space and housing. The new Deptford Station will provide a new square connecting to Deptford High Street and improve station accessibility. The Deptford High Street Conservation Area will be retained and development will need to retain or enhance its characteristics.

New Cross

The existing New Cross District Centre is combined with the adjoining New Cross Gate to become a larger district centre within the retail hierarchy. Its role within the night economy and relationship to the adjoining Goldsmiths College contribute to the area's vitality and viability. With the opportunities at the existing New Cross Gate Sainsbury’s store and the improvements to both New Cross and New Cross Gate rail stations, combining the two centres will help strengthen their role and function to provide goods and services to the local area. The Telegraph Hill and Hatcham Conservation Areas covering the 'high street' along New Cross Road will be retained and development will need to retain or enhance their characteristics.


Brockley Cross is a small but significant neighbourhood area with an important transport junction, local shopping parades along Brockley Road and station approach. The immediate area around Brockley Station and the busy road junction at the northern end of Brockley Road, and to the west of the railway line, has a cluster of sites developed with industrial and warehousing uses. These sites provide opportunities for smaller scale mixed use development which would allow a comprehensive improvement to the immediate environs in order to increase the area's attractiveness, vitality and viability. Part of the Hub bounded by Coulgate Street and Brockley Road falls within the Brockley Conservation Area.

The Brockley Cross and Hither Green Local Hubs have a number of small business premises and sites that are too small to merit designation as Local Employment Locations. Many of these sites do not contribute to the quality of the urban environment as they are closed off, inaccessible, do not provide passive surveillance and lead to a barren and depleted visual experience. The Council will seek to ensure that mixed use development on these sites at Brockley Cross and Hither Green will provide new premises for small non-retail businesses, as well as residential uses in support of the objectives for these Local Hubs, while retaining the areas dedicated to B Use Classes at the Local Employment Locations.

In Brockley Cross and Hither Green the Council will seek to retain shops where the continuation in this use is considered to be economically viable.


Anonymous said...

Nice reference to Elite there Nick - probably unnoticed by most. Spent many weekends playing this almost non stop - I'd fly, dog fight, my mate would trade. A unique game never bettered in my opinion. Did you get to Elite? I got to Deadly before learning about a cheat that gave me unlimited everything. Happy days...

Anonymous said...

Also - how frustrating was that prism thing that you needed to load it?

Graham said...

Isn't it the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy? Earth, mostly harmless, unless I'm missing the gaming stuff.

Grumpy Old Bat said...

Just managed to find mention of this 'consultation' on Lewisham's web site (not exactly highlighted). Apparently the consultation period is 19th Feb to 6th April. So why have I only heard about it through Brockley Central? Surely the council should have advertised this and invited comments from the start of the consultation period?

Brum said...

Phew, just followed the link, no wonder people don't do anything about these things, the thought of ploughing through all that verbiage makes me feel quite sleepy.

crosswhatfields said...

Thanks for this Grumpy Old Bat says, WOT CONSULTATION?...Was just looking up Venn diagrams and would love to see the original one drawn by the council...on the back of an envelope.

Tamsin said...

There was the Option A, Option B, consultation about a year back - that this massive document is a result of. The daft thing being the Council's desperate urge to be seen to be exceeding the targets set for it with new "homes" etc. and no adequate infrastructure rather than rejoicing in being less densely populated than other boroughs.

But good point. You are required by Central Government to consult on these things (why the one last year was so hurried, they did not actually give any real options to consult on and were told to re-do it) but if you consult very, very quietly you can get away without nasty interference from actual residents.

And I thought it was Hitchhiker too

Anonymous said...

The core strategy was formerly called something else, and has been in development over some years.

Possibly because I've shown an interest in some of the larger developments I've been sent regular updates as the core strategy has been developed.

May be local councillors could have flagged up what was being considered for areas within their wards?

Isn't being the least densely populated inner borough seen as a selling point and an attraction?

Parts of the borough are about to be on the 'Tube Map' but those areas don't have large scale residential opportunities.

Where there are to be large scale opportunities ie Lewisham centre transport is already overburdened and there are physical restrictions to improving the situation.

The recent fire at London Bridge flagged up a major transport problem for central Lewisham.

Lewisham Gateway
This WAS a catalyst for example revamped shopping centre, new pub 'One' and a new bar/restaurant on Lee High Road.

Plus housing schemes such as Silkworks, Conington Road and the swathe of residential developments replacing the car dealers along Lee High Road.

Many national newspaper articles were based around the £250m regeneration.

Lewisham Gateway has stalled and momentum for now has been lost?

In the past year the Post Office has been replaced by a '99p' store and a large betting shop has recently opened at one of the entrances to the shopping centre.

Because of the developments along Lee High Road many of the independent shops have closed.

To me Lewis Grove and Lee High Road lends itself to unique independent shops alongside cafes and restaurants.

The market area on a Sunday seems a wasted opportunity to create a specialist/collectors market, attracting out of borough interest.

It's proposed the Dog Track is to be a large scale residential site and a revamp of the shopping centre is planned.

This will add to the number of people on the trains and buses?

Bromley Road
There are already a number of residential developments underway and more in the pipe line.

There are no additional train services planned or will the new residents hop on a bus to Lewisham for the DLR?

Maybe they will head to Bromley South station.

New Cross
A local paper recently reported the development of the Sainbury's site and station had stalled, as the supermarket was 'reviewing' the situation.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon / Graham - it was a reference to both. I only ever achieved "Deadly".

@Tamsin - i don't agree that low-density is a selling point for Lewisham. Of course, green spaces like Blackheath and Hilly Fields are wonderful, vital parts of the city, but they're not the reason why our density is low. Lewisham has acres and acres of brownfield or derelict sites that contribute to its economic and cultural poverty. which is better: low density Deptford riverside or high density Shad Thames? Low density Millwall or high density Millwall?

Never mind the moral and environmental arguments in favour of building new homes and increasing density...

Anonymous said...

Lewisham Gateway which is less than 10 acres will have a large scale commercial development and 800 residential units.

A smaller site nearby will also have roughly the same number of residential units by being 20 storeys high.

Across the road from that development on an even smaller site will be 500 residential units.

In a relatively small area there will be a population increase of thousands, but I think in the whole of Blackheath it's expected to increase by less than a few hundred.

Brockley Nick said...

My last post should have read: "Low density Millwall or high density Brockley?" But the original question probably works just as well.

@Anon - do you acknowledge that it's sensible to create different types of neighbourhood, with different characters, serving different needs. And therefore differences in density are inevitable?

Also, worth pointing out that Blackheath is served by one rail line. Lewisham has several, plus the DLR.

Anonymous said...

A Core Strategy should be 'to look at the bigger picture'.

Time and again in the borough projects that look OK in themselves look a mess when looked at collectively.

Again in central Lewisham take the police station, cititower, the data centre, Cornmill Gardens and Silkworks together and you can see large areas already in conflict with each other.

On its own Silkworks is fine but it's at odds with the buildings alongside the DLR, which in turn are in conflict with the buildings behind.

Catford has this on an individual buildings basis, the civic suite in contrast with the Brodway Theatre, a pub in the style of a tudor building along with twirly chimmneys.

The 'Tudor' pub is sandwiched between an art deco noodle house and a modern 1980's office building, oh and don't forget the 1960's trendy staggered window of another building in the vsame row of buildings.

Anonymous said...

To Nick,
Accept areas will have different characteristics and populations but the history of Lewisham has shown the damage caused by an area being too densely populated.

I wonder if the type of building that is being developed (lifestyle apartments)is a current fashion and the next generation will be looking for a different form of housing.

The 1960's saw a great deal of new housing to solve a housing crisis and councils including this one has been describing those schemes as poor and knocking them down, I'm concerned the council with the aide of private developers is going to repeat some of those problems.

Take a look at Silkworks notice something about the balconies in relation to other flats in the building?

I may be wrong but I suspect the most desireable properties across Lewisham are over a 100 years old.

The only modern apartments I can think that have attracted a premium price is the Z Tower at Deptford Strand.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - I'm not sure the history you're referring to, please can you explain what you mean? Historically, the area has been low density.

Also, important to differentiate between advocating higher-density and advocating a particular kind of building or architectural style. The core strategy doesn't say anything about specific buildings.

Anonymous said...

they are building 10,600 homes in deptford and new x alone? Jeez that's a lot of people. i hope they have thought about schools and hospitals!

Tressilliana said...

There aren't enough school places (primary or secondary) for the current child population of Lewisham and in ten years plus of talking about it the LEA has yet to start work on actually building a new secondary school. Dear me.

I heart cupcakes said...

The amount of homes in New Cross and Deptford is astouning - are they planning on increasing transport etc? We already have problems getting on buses for work in the mornings (mainly due to several buggies that seem unable to be folded down taking up a large amount of space but that's another matter). All this talk about making New Cross attractive to businesses yet they allow the area to be infested with nothing but christian shops and ministries of everlasting light etc which offer nothing at all to the community. New Cross needs investment in services, transport and shops first, rather than shoving up a load of houses with no thought for anything else.

Tamsin said...

Yes, but it's easier to run after the brownie points you get for exceeding the target number of new "homes" required - never mind if they are for transient commuters - than to actually get local business to grow and invest.

The Oracle said...

@BrockleyNick. Nice to see you get a mention on BBC NEWS, nick. Well done.

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