The changing face of Lewisham: A look at future cinema, shops and housing

Step off the train or DLR in Lewisham and you can’t fail to see massive changes across the town over the past few years.

If the DLR was your preferred choice of transport then the first main building visible is likely to be Lewisham Gateway’s next phase which’ll offer a pedestrian link between the station and Lewisham town centre upon completion.

View from DLR station exit

There’s no beating about the bush with this site; the massing of some parts of development are hulking.

Clearly there’s no cladding as yet though it’ll be very difficult to mitigate this brut which sits beside busy bus stops.

This is phase two of Lewisham Gateway which is set to see 650 homes, shops and a cinema. Phase one say around 350 homes.

Retail space in phase two totals 25,000 square foot, 15,000 sq ft is food/drinking outlets and 10,000 sq ft of office space.

Most housing is build to rent and set to be operated by Get Living.

Cladding that has been applied doesn’t bode too well. Much is a rather dreary grey (see the top of the tower in the shot above). This alternates with lighter cladding alongside seen on the western façade.

Taken Jan 2022. Cladding seen on tallest tower

Gold balconies look a bit tacky to boot on the tower. Gold and grey cladding will be applied:

Render of completed building

This is phase two of Lewisham Central. Phase one comprised towers immediately next to Lewisham station constructed in recent years.

A quick swing left upon leaving the station reveals the side where a future cinema will be located.

Cinema

Lewisham hasn’t seen a cinema for many years. A former Odeon closed decades ago and demolished in 1991.

CGI of completed development

Very little cladding is yet applied to the blocks containing the future cinema, though a checkerboard pattern is clear to see, as shown in renders.

View upon completion

These clashing materials and forms lift up nearby buildings with clearly defined facades.

It’s old and tired, but clean lines appeal after seeing new builds

To the north of the tracks lies another development. This is Meyer Homes’ tower on a former car park sold by Tesco.

Tower rising beside station

The tallest building has now topped out and can be seen through those earlier Lewisham Gateway towers:

That block will rise above 30 floors. The tower is just one element, with mid-rise blocks now making a mark to the north west.

Overall site

Nearby is Lewisham Exchange which topped out last year and is now occupied:

Completed 2021. Train seen in foreground. New station entrance hasn’t opened

In future Lewisham shopping centre will be also redeveloped with 2,500 homes planned.

The Bakerloo Line was supposed to help alleviate population pressures in coming decades but now seems all but cancelled.

Appearance of tallest tower in Lewisham upon completion

Relief for Lewisham station is also on the backburner. Network Rail announced a study into future expansion before the pandemic but little has been heard. Government cuts to rail will be playing a factor there.

Vita tower beside station completed 2021

Even modest improvements to the station are in stalemate. The Lewisham Exchange tower includes a new entrance to the station and is mothballed.

Lewisham Gateway phase one on left

Meyer Homes’ tower and adjacent blocks are beside Platform 4 where a station entrance and exit was locked shut around a decade ago. There are no plans to reopen.

Silver Road in foreground now underway. Developments behind not accurate in terms of massing

Another site now well underway is to the south of the town centre at Axion House.

A Travelodge hotel has also opened near Lewisham hospital.

Ccmpleted

And finally to the north there’s the final stages of major estate rebuilds, with 443 homes underway.

Overview of estate redevelopment

One major issue throughout all this is the dire, congested road layout.

The old roundabout has gone – and it presented major severance between the station and town centre, but the new layout is far from ideal:

Congested.

 

As a private renter with a young family, the cost of living is extremely high.

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Thank you

Murky Depths

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

16 thoughts on “The changing face of Lewisham: A look at future cinema, shops and housing

  • May 22, 2022 at 4:38 pm
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    Not quite sure how to comment without sounding a ‘NIMBY’ but if i throw caution to the wind and ignore the obvious need for more housing in every London Borough, I’d say, Yuck! And I’d say that few in their right mind would want to buy here, so it’s obvious why they are all for rent. This is the future Ferrier Estate but on a massive scale. Traffic congestion problems will soon be dwarfed by anti social behaviour and social unrest. It’s inevitable crime levels rise, and its already a problem. The massing is certainly on a ‘massive’ scale. A green new world is not on the horizon for these unfortunate inhabitants, who will no doubt be swayed by (initially) fab working lifts and the odd new gym or two and the latest in kitchens (budget range of course which will look naff within a year or two). I think its downright cruel to only provide these closed together monsters to ‘house’ people (no equiv word for to ‘flat’ people, though flatten their desire to live maybe). The pressure on local amenities will be severe and ongoing. Greenwich Park gets busier and busier with yet more litter strewn across our green and pleasant landscape. Congestion on roads, paved areas, PT and green areas alike even without new parking provisions will get worse, for people will turn to taxis when PT will not be sufficient to comfortably cope with the influx, as you rightly mention. With budget constraints from an uncaring central Govt toward a Labour dominated capital city. A doomsday scenario? Maybe, but somebody needs to tell the developers, the council leaders and the architects of such a futuristic ‘opposite to utopia’, which is a dystopia. Science fiction? I probably won’t hang around long enough to find out, but sell up and leave somebody else to suffer the downturn in property values here. Am I looking after number 1 family? Sure. Why not, I’ve worked damn hard for what relatively little I have, its not inherited wealth. tell me someone who wouldn’t, given the chance to leave while the goings only ‘not quite so good as it was’. Sorry (or should I even apologise?) It’s the planners, Govt, Architects, usual uncaring greedy developers who should be apologising, to us all, leavers and future tenants alike. All interested in trying to reach the unreachable targets and bigger profits. I’m only sad to be forced/choose to leave behind my birth place and community.

    Reply
  • May 22, 2022 at 4:50 pm
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    Another superlative report on existing and proposed development in Lewisham !
    I am of a certain vintage that remembers ‘Chiesmans, Studio 6&7 cinema and the large Odeon cinema’.
    What amazes me most, and this applies to Woolwich also, is the propensity for developers to build high towers. I guess this decision is tempered by the relatively high land costs in London ?
    Fascinating to witness change over the years !

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  • May 22, 2022 at 5:12 pm
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    Your birth place has been butchered, but for your bleatings about an uncaring Conservative government, if Lewisham council was run by Conservatives it probably wouldn’t look like the claustrophobic high rise hell hole that it has now become. Lewisham is an absolute mess, I struggle to think of a worse town centre in the whole of London.

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  • May 22, 2022 at 6:18 pm
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    Yep, my bet is that this is going to be a future sink estate like the Ferrier!
    What a horrible visual site with all these huge high rise buildings.
    I’ve said plenty of times before, we are not building the right-type of housing – homes with gardens for families.
    Where do you think the children will go to get their own space? That’s right, on the on the streets and they’ll get into anti-social behaviour and if not checked, crime.

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    • May 22, 2022 at 6:27 pm
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      These homes are for younger people, many of home are currently living in family homes divided into flat shares. This type of development is ideal for many and frees up family homes.

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  • May 22, 2022 at 6:35 pm
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    Lewisham has become a concreate jungle .I have lived in Lewisham since 1987 and I am happy here .I know it is important to build housing but these new buildings are the most unattractive creation .Luckily I don’t live near the centre of Lewisham so I don’t have to wake up to the sight of this every morning.It looks like the only way is up .I miss the old Lewisham at least we had Army & Navy department store everything under the one roof and could get good quality purchases. We have no decent fashion shops in Lewisham so one has to go to Bromley or West End .When are we going to get a better quality of fashion shops in Lewisham so we don’t have to go elsewhere to shop ???????

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  • May 22, 2022 at 8:09 pm
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    @ DSmall: rents will be high and out of the reach of the “problem” people.

    @ NosyNeoghbour: Conservative councils are just as bad and lest you forget, 72 people died in Tory owned Grenfell Tower. Further, in the local elections, Barnet, Wandsworth, Westminster went from Tory to Labour.

    @ David Cook and @Mary: I remember that Lewisham. There was seemingly nothing you couldn’t buy on the high street or in nearby shops. I used to live on Belmont Hill and would love to return to Lewisham proper, but I had to settle for Lee. It’s okay, but has added 10 minutes to my journey with fewer train options.

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  • May 22, 2022 at 8:19 pm
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    In future years Lewisham should be looked upon as how to NOT carry out urban development.

    A mass of high rise buildings with little or no consistency of design, little respect to the surrounding area and the basics like roads, train station and shops either altered and ruined (the old roundabout had its issues, but whoever designed the new layout deserves to be sacked), there is no easy pedestrian access from the station to the shopping centre and high street as no subway or foot bridges have been designed into the surrounding area etc.

    Such a shame as with a good vision for the area Lewisham could have been developed into a fantastic place instead of the mess we have in 2022.

    As for the shopping centre, yes more homes are needed but I fear the result will be the typical quick land grab gold rush which has led to the grim high rise mess of the rest of the area.
    Time will tell, but I’m personally not holding my breath that it would be much better.

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  • May 23, 2022 at 11:38 am
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    the new H junction really needs an overhaul with all the new pedestrians coming in; segregated bike lanes and 24/7 bus lanes will be essential

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  • May 23, 2022 at 7:01 pm
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    More Tory whataboutery?

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  • May 23, 2022 at 7:01 pm
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    It’s the Lewisham Gateway to hell!

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  • May 23, 2022 at 10:00 pm
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    I totally agree! Lewisham is a mess and the planners should be held accountable for this atrocity. It looks worse than Croydon and all the character has been stripped out of it with monstrosities everywhere casting a huge shadow over central Lewisham. For all the housing that has appeared there has been no corresponding investment in essential infrastructure i.e. doctor’s surgeries, schools and nurseries, dentists etc. I hear there are plans afoot to strip away even more shops so I hate to think what on earth will be left!

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  • May 24, 2022 at 5:08 am
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    That said no one has learned the lessons from the tragic and very sad events of Grenfell.

    With planners the length and breath of the country still passing planning permission for high rise blocks with cladding..making new developments which tend to high density with very little space between the blocks for open spaces for residents and children to play. Most of the new build rents are totally put of reach for local residents born and bred in the area. Forcing them out of the local area in which they grew up in..

    This can lead to anti social behaviour and crime and very quickly could be like the Ferrier Estate.
    .

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  • May 24, 2022 at 1:46 pm
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    I live near Lee Green and never go shopping in Lewisham. The shopping centre is dire, with no decent shops and travelling around that new roundabout near the train station is awful. My usual food shopping destinations are Bluewater and Greenwich.

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  • May 24, 2022 at 3:57 pm
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    I agree. The overwhelming tower housing is awful and soulless, looming right over the footpaths. Huge monstrosities. I would have thought restoration of all the beautiful old buildings already around and above all the existing Victorian shops would have been much more appealing and more green spaces in between would have been so much better. Profits to jam maximum people in one area is clearly what drives the plans. I am however a fan of more local amenities such as a cinema and more bars/restaurants but a facelift for the existing buildings makes more sense to me and would have honoured the traditional look of London – instead it’s will look like a modern suburb with no history – not London, not historical cold as concrete.

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  • May 24, 2022 at 7:11 pm
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    The Ferrier Estate is no more and much of what replaced it is privately rented or owned. However, I do agree with you that central Lewisham is fast becoming somewhere that people who grew up in the area cannot afford to live.

    Reply

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