Dear Lewisham Council,
I work for Deloitte, and I’d like you to let us build a massive ASDA right opposite the massive Sainsbury’s. The reasons you should do this are manifold:
1) It’s not an environmentally sensitive area. There aren’t lots of fancy trees and shit, so fuck it, right? A new ASDA is going to look really pretty.
2) It will “increase the choice and value of food shopping locally which, complemented by an enhanced range of smaller shops, cafés and services, will cater to the community’s everyday needs”. That’s right. Think about it for a minute. If we build a really big shop full of cheap stuff, loads of other small shops selling more expensive stuff will make loads of cash, right? Totes obvious.
3) What we really need are 230 new flats in the area. Because the trains aren’t crowded enough already in the mornings, amirite?
4) We’d also LOVE to build a car park for 420 cars. But don’t worry, the roads won’t get busier, or more polluted. They’re for MAGIC CARS.
5) If you could ask the local MP to write a lukewarm, slightly hand-wringing letter about this, and make sure the Environment Agency only frets about flooding, that’d be grand too.
6) If you reject our plan, we’ll just keep appealing with a few changes until you have no choice but to accept. If you lose an appeal, your council will have to pay hundreds of thousands in damages. If we lose an appeal – well… We made £840m in profit last year. We can afford to keep doing this. You can’t.
Brockley Central has a great post, pointing out that a new ASDA is being planned to replace the dilapidated LeeGate shopping centre (the burnt-out-looking post-nuclear-apocolypse shopping square over the road from Sainsbury’s).
From their post:
St Modwen claim that a supermarket is needed to create the footfall that will make the rest of the retail offer (25,000 sq ft of new shops and restaurants along Burnt Ash Road) work. They must know this is hogwash. If one large supermarket has done nothing for the site (arguably, it accelerated the decline), how would another help? Lee Green has been a dysfunctional town centre for decades and something much more imaginative would be needed to reverse its decline. This proposal plans to keep the ugliest bits (including Leegate tower, which is a strong candidate for the borough’s worst building) and allow the site to be dominated by a supermarket shed, none of which is likely to turn this in to a leisure destination.
This looks like a cynical ploy to get permission to develop another large supermarket in the borough, rather than a considered attempt to regenerate Lee. None of the other projects featured on the developer’s website give any kind of reassurance that they know how to handle a site like this.
They haven’t handed any official plans over to Lewisham Council yet, but they have a weasel-worded “have your say survey” on their site.
Q: Do you support in principle the preliminary proposals for the regeneration of the Leegate Shopping Centre?
No, it looks like you’re just trying to crowbar another massive supermarket next to an existing one, further killing local shops.
Q: Are there any aspects of the scheme that you are particularly impressed with?
Q: Are there any aspects of the scheme on which you have particular comments or suggestions?
How about building some affordable housing on the site, without holding the council to ransom with the threat of a supermarket?
Q: Do you feel that a mixed-use scheme as proposed is the right way forward for the regeneration of Leegate Shopping Centre and Lee Green?
I’d love to live on top of a supermarket. Wouldn’t you?
Q: Do you welcome the opportunity for greater choice in your supermarket shopping?
Do you still beat your wife?
Feel free to add your thoughts on their feedback form.