Lewisham's cluster of towers to see new additions
The last retail-shed hold-outs on Loampit Vale by Lewisham station look likely to disappear as early plans for more towers are submitted. The sites comprise Carpet Right, as well as the parade over the road of Sports Direct, Mothercare, Family Bargains and Matalan.
The scoping report is looking at a 25 storey tower on the Carpet Right site with 260 flats. Early plans, which are in no way final, see a public space on the street corner called ‘station square’, with a new western station entrance.
At the larger site over the road at Lewisham Retail Park, the applicant is looking at buildings which max out at 26 storeys and have a total of 525 flats.
4000 square metres of commercial space would be present. It would be surrounded by towers.
These plans are welcome. Having single-level warehouse style retail sheds directly beside a major station in zone 2 is a nonsense. London needs far higher density housing by transport interchanges, particularly in inner London.
Greenwich council should take note, as they continue to encourage expansion of retail parks in Charlton/Greenwich. The expansions are drawing people and shops away from Woolwich, and the free parking offered is one factor greatly affecting Greenwich Council’s parking income. It has been millions below expected levels in the recent past which is affecting budgets elsewhere. Recent finance reports continually flag it up as a major concern.
One important question related to these developments is the provision of segregated cycle lanes outside. Over the road is ‘Renaissance’, a development with towers up to 24 storeys. Despite wide paving along its entire length, no segregated lane has been installed. Cyclists must jostle with cars and buses pulling into stops on a pretty tight road. Last time I was in Lewisham some paving work was ongoing outside Carpet Right. Hopefully that was for a cycle lane. Can anyone confirm?
As seen below, outside the recently completed ‘Renaissance’ development, there’s a stretch where one could’ve gone, even with the lamp poles. But without them there would certainly be enough space, so why wasn’t lighting attached to the new buildings to free up space at street level?
Simple things like this, which have recently been made easier by planning changes in London, will need greater consideration by local authority Highway Departments in future, to better utilise available space to maximum effect as population and congestion rise sharply. It’s crazy that it still isn’t happening. It’s common throughout many EU cities, and those often have wider streets to play with in the first place.
All areas of London’s streets need to be used efficiently. Another issue, not present here, is new builds positioned too close to roads leaving narrow pavements outside and no space for cycle lanes.
Impact on transport improvements?
Welcome though the development of retail parks is, the impact on transport upgrades needs considering. There’s been continual talk for years that Lewisham station will need comprehensive rebuilding work in future as it’s a bottleneck for Southeastern services to central London. Building on all sides could well impact upon any upgrade plans. It’s hard to see exactly what long term upgrades Southeastern’s network will see in coming decades, at least in terms of frequencies. All the current Thameslink and London Bridge work does nothing to increase the amount of trains that Southeastern can run to London terminals. It may actually lead to less peak time trains as a connection from Cannon Street is severed, though congestion will reduce with more through-lines to Charing Cross.
With limited long term scope to improve Southeastern services peak time capacity, 12-car trains is the obvious next step. Past that, extensions of other services such as the Underground will probably have to cope with an increasing population over coming decades.
So could development on all sides of the station hamper Bakerloo Line extension plans to Lewisham, or at least increase costs? And are DLR plans south of lewisham now extremely unlikely?
Whilst researching this story I stumbled upon a new image of citibank’s former tower. It looks like new owners Joseph Homes will change the exterior appearance, at least according to the image seen on their website.
The conversion to 230 flats is behind schedule but it was finally purchased in the summer. The latest planning application I read stated conversion would be underway by now but it doesn’t appear so. They need to get a move on as work is restricted from February. A couple of falcons are nesting on the roof and cannot be disturbed at certain times of the year.
Finally, here’s a brief list of Lewisham developments showing the scale of development in the town:
Heathside & Lethbridge estate rebuilds– 565 to 1201 homes. Under way. Part complete. North of station
Renaissance – 788 homes (Completed summer 2015)
Thurston Central – 406 homes just west of Retail Park sites including ASDA (Completing around now)
Riverdale House. 137 homes. Complete Autumn 2015.
Goldcrest House. 29 homes. Complete 2015.
Sherwood Court – 410 student rooms . 142 flats. Now underway.
Flora Villas – 62 flats. Now underway.
Lewisham Central – 193 in block A. 25 storeys. Outside station.
Block B. 22 storeys. 169 flats. Not yet begun.
Family Mosaic Tower – 49 flats. 11 storeys. In planning. Located other side of railway bridge west of Renaissance.
Citibank Lewisham – 237 flats
Boones almhouses – Belmont Park. Quite close to Lewisham. 88 flats & homes. Not covered on blog before. Planning ref: DC/10/74143