A new entrance to Lewisham station included as part of a new tower beside the station will not open when the tower finishes.
Lewisham Exchange comprises two blocks with a new station entrance located between.
It includes passive provision for a future Bakerloo Line station entrance, and a separate entrance for National Rail and DLR services, as this image from the planning application shows:
The tower and associated blocks are now all but complete with final snagging underway. Scaffolding is entirely off the main block and coming down fast on the other.
With residents expected to move in within months, Southeastern have revealed that “no specific details will be available for quite some time” on the new entrance.
The new tower includes 758 student rooms and 67 flats.
Before the pandemic, Lewisham station became so overcrowded an one-way system needed to be introduced – to the irritation of some passengers.
A former entrance and exit on Platform 4 was closed a couple of years before adding to the squeeze. Southeastern, the Department for Transport and Network Rail couldn’t agree who hsould pay for barriers and staffing.
A new tower from Meyer Homes is also now rising on that side of the station, but again there’s no confirmation a new entrance will actually open.
The failure to open the new entrance is perhaps of little surprise. There’s been no publicity for the new entrance despite the tower approaching completion.
A recent station rebuild in Kidbrooke – which was officially opened yesterday – saw plans for barriers and associated staffing cut late on after originally being part of the planning application.
Even with a mass increase of homes, no funding has been found in Kidbrooke.
The explanation for lack of investment – which goes back long before the pandemic – is that Southeastern has been a zombie franchise for years which is hampering improvements. Long before current issues, the franchise was given regular short term extensions with no plan or strategy for the long term.
That continues now. Southeastern and parent company GoVia aren’t going to pay for staffing or infrastructure if they may not actually be running services in the near future.
Only with a long term plan and financing will anything probably happen. Not an issue now with diminished passenger numbers, but will it arrive when numbers pick up and thousands of new homes become occupied?
The new tower development is expected to complete by the autumn.