Ladywell's pop-up community revealed

Lewisham has revealed its plans to create a temporary residential development on the site of the former Ladywell swimming pool.

The designs are considerably better than the early examples the Council cited and it's good to see this kind of innovation in the borough, but there has to be a question mark about how temporary this scheme will really prove to be.

Once it's been on site for four years, you have to ask how much appetite will there be to demount it - and if it isn't really going to be temporary, then is it a compromise too far in terms of form and function? If the Council can provide convincing answers, then this is an experiment worth trying. If they can't, then it's a poor way to cover up for a failure to produce a proper long-term plan by now.

The Council release says:

Lewisham Council has unveiled its plans for an innovative and flexible housing development devised in collaboration with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. The Council is responding to the ongoing high demand for housing in the Borough by exploring a short term option for use on the site of the former Ladywell Leisure Centre building.

The volumetric technology used in construction means that the development can be built faster and cheaper than if traditional methods were used, and the finished structure is fully demountable meaning it could be used over a number of years and in different locations across the borough. Plans are in the final development stages, and full details of the proposed scheme are available on Lewisham Council’s website.

Local residents will have the opportunity to ask questions of the architects at Lewisham Central Assembly on Saturday 24 January, followed by a special drop-in event at Lewisham library from 2-4pm.

The temporary scheme will be procured for a maximum budget of £4,300,000 and be on site for between 1-4 years. The first residential units could be occupied as early as late summer, providing 24 homes for local people in housing need, as well as eight ground-floor non-residential units for community and/or business use. 

All units exceed the current space standard requirements by 10%, helping the Council to meet an existing shortfall in both high quality temporary and two-bed accommodation whilst it develops new build and estate regeneration programmes for the Ladywell site and others.

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “This scheme may offer a solution to an all too common problem that plagues many development sites, which often sit unused while complex regeneration plans are put together. When we have thousands of people on our housing waiting list and are paying out for expensive bed and breakfast stays that is a terrible waste. We are also showing with this partnership with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners that we can achieve real quality and value for money.”

Thanks to Brockley Kate for being first with the news, as always.