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.
I can’t read architectural drawings. As several people have pointed out, there is no plan at all to stick a whopping great shutter over the front of Blackheath station. Instead the plan is to keep the external windows and entrance unchanged, but to reduce the size of the newsagents at the upper floor, and to shift the ticket office to the right, which will make more room for ticket machines, as well as revealing the windows on the other side overlooking the tracks. Above is a before and after animated gif, to show the changes more clearly (hopefully). Sorry… I’ll get my coat…
UPDATE: There is no plan to stick a great big shutter over the front of Blackheath station. I got it wrong. See the comments below, and this updated post.
Following on from the News Hopper’s piece today about the station improvements, below are some images from the plans. You can see the full set of documents on the Lewisham planning portal.
I don’t know about you, but nothing says “this area is dodgy” like a roller shutter with graffiti on it. That appears to be what’s been approved for the station following renovation work (minus the graffiti to begin with).
A spot of colour in one of the planning documents:
Unusually, the track in the bay remains in situ, although it is now heavily overgrown
and otherwise obstructed. The area to the north (now a car-park) was formerly an
area of railway sidings, where commuter trains were stabled when not in use.
The bay platform used to come into its own when a circus was taking place on
Blackheath. Many of the animals would arrive in train vans. The circus would then
process through Blackheath Village on to the heath. There is a local legend that on
one occasion an elephant took exception to a passing bus — and the bus lost!
£420,000 of our money spent on tinkering with the station again. Bear in mind the lifts took nine months to be installed last time. Looking forward to the grand opening in 2035!
Artist’s impression of (badly photoshopped) Blackheath station with a shutter based on an image by Onnola on Flickr.
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.
Plans are available now to see what is planned on the field next to the church during the Olympics. As spotted by the Blackheath Village Residents Group:
The proper name of this area is Washerwoman’s Bottom, but the Council has chosen the more demure Church Field.
Live showings from 9am until 11pm each day, with booze served from 12noon onwards from 27th July until 12th August 2012, with up to 4,999 people in the venue.
Full details here, and license application here.
From Sue, on Betfred’s reapplication to open another betting shop on Deptford High Street.
If you don’t want any more betting shops in Deptford, take a look at Sue’s letter here, then write your own, and email it to email@example.com.
You’ll probably know that when Lewisham Planning turned them down in June, they appealed to the government Planning Inspectorate, who also turned them down (in August). Originally they were asking for the condition on the premises (that it was A2 Financial Use for a Building Society only) to be lifted to include Betting Shops. The Inspector agreed to lift the condition and then applied a new one – so that the present permission for the premises is now ANY A2 FINANCIAL USE EXCEPT AS A BETTING SHOP.
They have since reapplied to Lewisham to have this altered to include Betting Shops, claiming that it is unfair to judge them based on the behaviour of the clientele outside other betting establishments.
This application can be found on the Lewisham Planning Portal here and their covering letter is in the Documents section here.
Life on Marsh – from the Greenwich Phantom
Very interesting pamphlet from the 1980s about a proposed plan to build a riot police centre in Greenwich. Would be great to see the whole thing scanned.
Brockley Central reporting that Lewisham Labour councillor @CllrMikeHarris is suggesting a CarrotMob on Saturday. Turn up on Saturday and support the Lewisham Market traders. Great idea, although looks like some people may have other ideas?
And a cryptic carpenter tweeted:
Which I guess refers to 34 Montpelier Road – former home to Furley & Baker (known since 2008 on this blog as the kite shop). Maybe related to this curiously empty planning reference on the (terribly crashy) Lewisham Council Planning site. Reference DC/22/22222 if you feel like doing some detective work…
Lewisham planning were very quick to come back – there is no planning permission as the nature of the building hasn’t changed significantly. And the cryptic entry on their database was just a test that went wrong… Ah well…
Oh yes, and if you haven’t already, please bit.ly/openthisdoor !