I’ve been back to take pictures capturing progress at Bexleyheath town centre’s biggest development for a generation. When complete the site will see 518 homes, shops and a new square.
Since my last visit three three blocks opposite Cineworld and Lidl have reached full height.
The scheme is from developer Bellway – and has proved contentious due to height and affordable housing numbers. It’s on former public land which was Bexley Council’s Civic Centre, yet affordable housing levels are low at 20 per cent.
In the last full year of data, Bexley Council saw zero affordable homes completed. That’s affordable homes, and not the lower cost social housing or council homes in old money. So-called “affordable housing” can still require very salaries of at least £60,000 to afford.
Bexley Council have admitted they lack expertise in scrutinising developers who state affordable housing is not viable – and now plan to train staff or hire external consultants. However, their own housing company is still proposing developments on public parks with not a single “affordable” home.
The site is now hard to miss when approaching from the south along Gravel Hill as it rises above the Marriott hotel:
Since I last visited, work on southern-most blocks has become visible above site hoardings and are now up to the second floor:
This block is just to the left of Albion Road car park in the image below. The site overview helps show the location:
With another block rising that means that only the two blocks facing Highland Road and left to rise – including the tallest block at the north-west corner. Preparatory work has begun for these blocks:
Renders of the finished scheme give an impression of what to expect of blocks around a new public square which will see commercial units along the edge:
And the view from Sainsbury’s looking towards the tallest block:
Retailers due to move into commercial space have yet to be revealed except for Sports Direct. Though that was announced a few years back, so whether it remains the case we’ll have to wait and see.
Plans to pedestrianise Highland Road, as seen in renders above, are now scrapped.
I’ll finish up this post with a shot showing things today, and how they should look when complete.
And when finished:
The first residents should move in late 2020 or early 2021.