FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Greenwich borough

Towers and estate demolition between New Cross station and Venue club on the cards

Consultations are currently underway on redeveloping the Achilles Street area between New Cross station and the Venue nightclub. It’s a wide ranging plan to demolish shops and flats facing New Cross Road as well as housing behind up to Fordham Park.

A local group are campaigning on the issue, and details can be seen here.

If you’re a fan of ’90s tribute acts you can breathe easy; the Venue is not included. Though who knows if residents living closer will complain about the noise?

One element of the current buildings I hope is retained is the step-back nature of the shops and flats lining New Cross Road. On what can be a horribly congested and narrow street – both road and paving – this stretch currently gives a bit of room to breathe with wide footways and paving.

Renders do NOT show such wide paving however. They allow new construction to follow building lines to the west so narrow paving is the plan. Why are pedestrians always shoved into such narrow pavements across much of London? A rising number of people contending with narrow pavements, street furniture, bus stops and the like.

Proposals at top show narrower paving around busy bus stop area

One thing that always stands out in many other developed nations are wide pavements on main city streets. London often didn’t have the foresight to do this, nor comprehensive building on the scale seen elsewhere, but where it does exist don’t remove it whatever you do.

Here’s the current width which allows restaurants to have outside seating and prevents bus stop pinch points. There’s another stop further along.

The buildings set back from the kerb, plus residential above the retail units further set back opens up the space allowing it to feel light and airy and encourage outside seating. Removing this results in a gloomier environment.

Here’s the width they are looking for: little space for outside seating, bus stops squeezed in and less daylight:

1 Comment

  1. The area by the shops currently feels a bit too far though, decreasing the retail footfall as those walking past are too far from shop windows to glance in and see if there’s anything they want.

    I’d wandered for a while when this stretch would be redeveloped – seemed obvious it was failing – but didn’t expect a scheme that would encompass such a large area. The density seems about right, perhaps a second tower would be good, but looks good overall.

    However as a leaseholder of a council flat in New Cross it does make me a bit worried – Lewisham previously seemed a bit of a safe heaven for us compared with neighbouring Southwark. Estate regeneration could be done well for existing residents, but it hardly ever is. Leasehold flats on council estates effectively provide intermediate housing, like Pocket Homes. The redevelopments don’t replace this with similar housing, so even where council tenants are rehoused, the leaseholders are often forced away from the area as there’s limited cheap leasehold ex-council stock available at any one time.

    I hope Lewisham, who are relatively new to estate regeneration, think about this and have a plan to help leaseholders stay – I’d suggest getting a new flat in the development on a form of shared ownership without rent, where the only financial implication will be if they sell – at which point they’ll have the same value they’d have if their flat still existed at that point, and the council will have the rest. I.e. if their flat is worth £300k at time of redevelopment, and the replacement is worth £450k, they’ll get 2/3rds ownership of the new one with no rent to pay, and when they sell they’ll get 2/3rds of what it sells for, which should work out at the same value as their original flat would have sold for at that point.

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