Lewisham’s new student tower has seen its first occupants move in before being evacuated.
Evacuations and student blocks are hardly uncommon bedfellows, though this time it appears it wasn’t a smoke alarm but leaking pipes. Annoying as it is, teething troubles are a common occurrence.
Mind you, at £250 quid a week for a student room you’d expect the best.
People moving in also got to enjoy signal problems this morning heavily delaying trains at Lewisham station, while a new station entrance remains locked indefinitely as no funding was made available to staff it.
A corner site between blocks includes passive provision for a Bakerloo Line station (which like the station entrance is on indefinite hiatus) alongside a new entrance to the National Rail station and DLR.
The tower – named Vita or Lewisham Exchange, has 758 student rooms and over 60 flats in a neighbouring building.
The pandemic pushed back opening by a year.
The structure was built using modular construction on the former Carpetright site.
Marketing images showed an Underground sign – something which is definitely not happening in the next decade.
The word “station” where the new entrance was built can just about be made out behind a tree in the above render.
The Department for Transport will not fund and Southeastern felt spending money refurbishing three year old trains soon due to be introduced was a better use of money than staffing the new entrance at a major interchange station they manage.
In recent months a new Kidbrooke station building opened two stops down the Bexleyheath line, with a lack of staffing seeing barriers removed from the station design very late on.
No one from the DfT, Southeastern, Network Rail, Berkeley Homes and Greenwich Council could leverage income from a development comprising over 5,000 homes for minor changes to staff numbers to enable a safe and secure station.
TfL are building 619 homes the other side of the station and Greenwich Council over 100 homes. No mention of funding from those for station improvements.
When Abbey Wood station saw first to last train station staffing and barriers, counted passenger numbers rose despite local population reductions as large parts of Thamesmead estate were demolished.
TfL took over in October 2017. By October 2018 there was an annual passenger increase of 51%.
Numbers continued at higher levels with 650k extra passengers journeys in the first full year of full time staffing and barriers.
Over the other side of London the Northern Line tube extension opened today – funded by private developers.
At Lewisham developers have funded the station entrance – but unlike at Battersea staffing is absent to use it. If passenger numbers rise back to normal Lewisham will be hit hard. Before 2020 a one way system was introduced due to overcrowding.
Other nearby developments include shops, a cinema and hundreds of homes at Lewisham Central and a tower above 30 floors on the former Tesco car park from Meyer Homes. That begun in recent months.
A small square outside Lewisham tower is also seeing last minute work and should open soon.
Commercial space faces the new area on Loampit Vale, and design changes were made which opens up the space.