BrocSoc opposes loss of Lewisham Way retail

The Brockley Society is lobbying Lewisham Council not to allow planning permission to be renewed for the conversion of 243 Lewisham Way from retail to residential. The unit is two doors up the road from Meze Mangal and the application is for:

The renewal of planning permission dated 8 April 2009 for the change of use of the ground floor and basement, the construction of an extension to the rear at first floor level and conversion of 243 Lewisham Way SE4, together with the construction of a basement light well to the front and alterations to the front and rear elevations, to provide 2 one bedroom and 3 two bedroom self-contained flats and the provision of bicycle stands and bin stores in the front garden area.

BrocSoc argue that:

This stretch of road along Lewisham Way has great potential as a good quality retail and restaurant stretch. It already houses one of the most successful restaurants in the area, Meze Mangal, who have plans to extend into the next door property. 

The forecourt in front of the shops would be ideal for outside dining – so this retail unit could be perfect for another new local restaurant. I have spoken to a number of people who have expressed an interest in developing such a business proposal in this area. 

It was a real shame that the application for a change of use for this unit from retail to residential was granted in 2009. It goes without saying, that the persistent change of use from retail to residential has the potential to hamper local business enterprise. We are running out of retail units in prime locations, and there is great demand. Things have changed since 2009, a collection of local restaurants and shops have opened that have demonstrated ambition and achieved local success. And Brockley market, near to this site, has created a new focus for this part of Lewisham Way.

We agree with BrocSoc that things have moved on since 2009, with an increasing number of businesses looking to locate in the area. We also think it is wrong to allow this parade to be broken up further and support their opposition to this planning application.

However, it must also be said that Lewisham Way does not seem to be in as much demand (at this time) as commercial property around Brockley Station. While Brockley Market certainly proves that new businesses can work on Lewisham Way, it's too far from this location to deliver much in terms of increased footfall. And while it would be great if Meze Mangal follow through with their plans to expand next door, until they move that sea container parked outside their property, it's not going to become an al fresco hotspot.