It can be difficult to keep up with the constant flow of tower plans in Lewisham right now. And another is joining the fray. Columbia Threadneedle plan a 30-storey tower directly beside Lewisham station on the Carpetright site. The development is named Lewisham Exchange.
Thanks to a reader sending me these photos from a consultation event held last week. No details appear to be online.
This site is beside a retail park comprising Matalan, Mothercare, Sports Direct and Family Bargains which saw seperate plans submitted last year for 525 homes by Legal and General with a 24-storey tower.
Plans at the Carperight see 242 homes, four commercial units and the possibility of another entrance to Lewisham station.
Here’s the view down Loampit Vale from under the rail arches. This scheme is to the right – behind is Legal and General’s plan.
A small square is planned at the corner of Loampit Vale and Thurston Road, with a new rail station entrance possible at this spot.
A new entrance is surely a must, but so are ways to change platform as the narrow underpass is increasingly crowded. The consultation revealed close working with TfL and Network Rail on plans for an additional entrance to platform 1. Blocking devolution of South Eastern suburban Metro services to TfL could have thrown a spanner in the works.
An entrance/exit on platform 4 was actually closed in 2013 despite rising passenger numbers, supposedly for safety, but with many suspecting Southeastern did not want to pay for staff to watch barriers. At the time they stated:
“It will most likely be temporary and we will probably open them at peak times, during the mornings and evenings.”
It didn’t happen. Here’s the gate:
It seems a poor decision given growing passenger numbers. There’s been some large methodological changes so treat this with a pinch of salt, but passenger numbers at Lewisham station have grown from 8.2 million a year in 2012/13 to 10.6 million in 2015/16 on the Southeastern side. The DLR side saw rises from 9.5m to 11.5m a year over a similar period.
Closing the entrance on platform 4 will be an even more pressing issue in coming years as Meyer Homes plan to build a tower by Tesco with 365 homes.
If TfL were in charge they would probably reopen the closed entrance/exit on platform 4 and open one to platform 1 planned within this development.
The entrance appeared to have been designed with TfL input based upon the text on this board:
“In the event that TfL and Network Rail projects do not come forwards, the commercial use (only) will continue”
With the Department for Transport in Whitehall, led by Chris Grayling and Paul Mansfield, now retaining control of future franchise specification and staffing levels, this idea could hit the buffers.
The recent franchise consultation makes no mention at all of reopening the recently closed entrance. Whilst many politicians seem blindsided by Cannon Street plans this is another issue swept aside.
Consultation on a Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham has just concluded, but even the most optimistic current plan sees a wait of 11 or 12 years. It was to be 2030 but now pushed forward to 2028 or 2029 and heralded as a success. Whoop de doo. Embarrassing time-scales for a major world city. Paris will have built numerous extensions to lines in that time, to give one example.
Housing schemes above will all complete long before that. And waiting so long means financial contributions from these site towards the tube extension will have gone. But when Whitehall pulls the strings and doesn’t allow cities to make their own decisions, this is the result.
Another development in the area is Lewisham Gateway. This is the site directly outside the station. Developers Muse put in plans to alter the next stage last year and increase building heights whilst increasing public space at street level.
There’s more schemes in the nearby area covered here, from a small block on a former petrol station, another further along Loampit Vale and the huge estate redevelopment just to the north.