Erith town centre development plan submitted

Plans for new housing in Erith town centre have been submitted to Bexley Council.

The site on Pier Road will see the locally listed Bank Chambers continue in commercial use and see refurbishment alongside 19 flats.

Renovated Bank Chambers

Bexley Council themselves are behind the proposal.

There was a BBC online article just this past week looking at how Erith has lost so many shops and one key reason is after the heart of the town was ripped out few ended up living within walking distance – and there’s now little reason for many others to visit from further afield.

The application’s Design & Access Statement feature images from 1960 and again shows just what was lost when the bulldozers moved in and ripped the heart out of the town. Fast forward to the present day and replacement sites are often struggling.

Bank Chambers the only remaining building in this image from 1960. Courtesy Bexley Council. Original streets swept away across town centre

Comprehensive redevelopment

Back then many lived in and around Erith town centre with a traditional High Street before it was mostly knocked down for a shopping centre save the odd survivor here and there such as the Post Office.

Having more residents in the town centre once again should help it grow and aid sustainability of the town’s commercial offerings.

Shopping centre has relatively few homes above shops to help sustain the area

There are some homes above part of the post-war shopping centre but they’re relatively limited and far from enough to give much custom for retailers.

More footfall means more life and a better chance of Erith having a beating heart again.

Housing above shop on left but much of the site lacks it

And of course it helps if it’s a pleasant place to get around on foot walking between shops such as Morrisons and the shopping centre rather than across a vast car park

Note in the above image how someone is walking with a buggy in the road.

Courtesy Google. Large car park acts as severance from both river and between shopping centre and Morrisons

This scheme along with others recently approved are relatively small-scale in nature though bigger ambitions exist and the shopping centre’s new owner is clear they are in the business of redevelopment.

There’s grand plans but they’ll come to fruition when the shopping centre is redeveloped either entirely or in places – and when Morrisons better utilise their own land so that much of the town centre beside the Thames isn’t a massive, single level car park.

The area could be far, far more of an attractive place to visit and spend time in a revamped town centre and beside the Thames pier without acres of single-level tarmac.

The application can be viewed here.

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J Smith

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.

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