Tag Archives: plans

Massive ASDA next to Lee Sainsbury’s?

Map showing the proposed ASDA next to Sainsbury's
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?
No.
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.

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The Olympic Washerwoman’s Bottom

Olympic live event plans next to the church
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.

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Pagoda Planning Proposals – Garden Grabbing?

UPDATE: Image removed due to rights issues – originally from this PDF file.

The current owners of the awesomely beautiful, and historically fascinating Pagoda in Blackheath have put in a planning request to Lewisham Council, to turn part of their back garden into an “eco-house”. The full details are here, and the documents submitted are here.

I highly recommend a look through the plans. Whatever your opinion on the site, it is a well put together document, full of historical photos and paintings of the Pagoda, the area around, and a spectacular Tithe Map from 1762:

UPDATE: Image removed due to rights issues. Original can be found here.

It could be argued that this is an example of garden grabbing, dressed up with a fig-leaf of eco green-washing. The primary definition of an eco-house in my mind is one that reduces dependency on resources, such as fuel, electricity and water, through innovative uses of alternative technologies, such as heat pumps, solar panels, wind farms etc. From what I can understand of the plans, this appears to be a retirement flat with some turf on the roof.

From the planning documents:

Although The Pagoda was originally designed as pavilion for taking tea, entertaining and enjoying the distant views it was later extended and adapted into a house over a period. It was listed when a house and it will continue to be so. The viability of this in social and economic terms is not compromised by this application.

The planning document includes a letter from John Payne Estate Agents, confirming that in their opinion, the remaining garden attached to the Pagoda would still be “sufficient” for a house of that size. (Page 17 of 25).

The proposal also quotes Blackheath Historian Neil Rhind (who was not referring to the specific plans for the Pagoda’s garden), when justifying the addition of a new architectural style to the area (page 11 of 25):

‘…it is not just the architectural set-pieces, listed buildings or formal uniform terraces that set Blackheath’s overall character. It is the juxtaposition of these with a rich and varied mixture of buildings of different periods; unexpected corners, strange historic survivals, and stylish new additions – all these give Blackheath its distinctive and pleasing character.’

I wonder if Mr Rhind feels like a film critic misquoted on a movie poster! The Blackheath Society felt that they could not endorse the plans (page 17 of 25):

The wooden pergola running the length of the pond, erected by the present owners, combine to provide a most attractive outlook from the house and undoubtedly enhance its current setting. In our view, their loss would be detrimental to that setting. If the current plans were to be approved, the long pergola (which we accept is modern and in need of restoration) would be lost, while the 1920s pergola would be taken out of the Pagoda garden and become a prominent feature outside the main living room of the new building.

We accept that the essential character of the Pagoda’s setting is a walled garden and that your proposals seek to retain that character. Nevertheless, the proposed new building would be very close indeed to the principal garden elevation of the house and would occupy more than half the present garden area: its very high wall would result in the Pagoda finding itself in a heavily reduced setting. A slightly smaller footprint of the new structure, moved slightly further South, and retaining the pergola, would change this significantly.

Lewisham’s Conservation Area Policy specifically mentions safeguarding larger gardens of listed buildings: the planning authorities will need to be persuaded that the planting proposed in the scheme, on the boundary wall and for the roof element, will result in a permanently acceptable replacement for the lost planting and greenery.

Taking all the above into account, and with considerable sympathy for your proposals, as matters stand the consensus of the committee is that we should not support the scheme in its present form.

Following this, the plans were modified to move the boundary wall slightly to the south.

The proposals were originally submitted back in February. The planning department have not yet reached a verdict.

(The images shown above are from the planning documents, which are publicly held by Lewisham Council. I will take them down if they are subject to copyright).

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Details of the proposed Piazza Square

Buildings to be removed in the Blackheath Square Piazza proposal

Buildings to be removed in the Blackheath Square Piazza proposal

Following the fuss on the previous post about the plans to develop the car park behind the library, I thought I’d try and take a look at the proposals.  Four times I’ve tried to get into the Blackheath Halls, and every single time they were closed!  I’ve finally managed, and thought I’d put the photos and captions up here, so that more people can see them.  They don’t appear to be on the Blackheath Society’s website, which is unfortunate, as it seems to have led some commenters to suspect a “stitch up”.

I’m putting the photos up here, as I think they have public benefit.  If the copyright holders want them removed, I will take them down.

The proposals seem to have many good points, but it is such a shame that they aren’t pushing ahead for the original plan – to cover a large proportion of the railway next to the chip shop and turn it into a large, pedestrian only space.  It would have been brilliant.  I can understand the concerns that have been raised about new buildings – the site is “underused”, as they describe it (I’m still not sure I agree with that concept – the trains certainly aren’t “underused” in the mornings – increasing population density has many knock-on effects).

In the end, it seems that the proposals have a sense of a “pact with the devil” about them – property developers are good at pushing for what they want, whereas local societies (even effective ones, such as Blackheath’s) will never be a match for their professional bargaining skills.  What they need is do find a wealthy local benefactor, who would fund the original plans, and suggest naming the square after him/her…  Ferrari Square? :)

They’ve asked for comments on the proposals – so please do give them, firstly to their email address blackheath.soc@lineone.net and also here if you have time to do both.  If anyone knows anything about the area (B) “owned by a family trust”, I’d be interested – it seems a very discreet way of writing about the ownership of the land.

Anyway – here’s the best I could do with my blurry camera-phone:

History of the site:

The site where Blackheath Village Library now stands was from 1863 until 1845 occupied by a much larger building – the 1,000 seat Methodist church with 120ft tower and a Sunday school to the north.  In 1945 a WW2 bomb destroyed the church and many surrounding buildings.

1920s map of how the carpark area looked

Ordnance Survey plan of about 1920 showing the Methodist church and Sunday school.

In 1961 the present “library block” filled the gap, but from several points of view filled it unsatisfactorily.  At two storeys, it is dwarfed by the neighbouring Barclays Bank, stylistically it is weak and unappealing.

In development terms, the building and the private and public car parks behind it represent a gross under-use of a key site in the heart of the Village.

To the north and east of the site, houses which had been damaged beyond repair at the western ends of Wemyss Road, and Blackheath Grove were replaced by five and four storey blocks of flats in the 1950s.  These were joined in the 1990s by a four storey block “The Point”, with basement car parking on the site of the former Express Dairy bottling plant.

Proposals:

The idea of a “piazza” in the heart of Blackheath Village sprang from public consultation on the Blackheath Society’s 2001 proposals for improving the Village.  Our initial ideas were ambitious: a huge raft over the railway stretching from the bridge to the post office, paid for by accompanying development.  But the amount of development needed to pay for such a raft would have dwarfed existing buildings.

What we are now suggesting – our “Plan B” – is more modest but in many ways better.  It demolishes the present library block and substitutes a new development, set further back and partly on the site of the existing public car park.  It would be taller than the existing building but comparable in height to its neighbours Barclays Bank and the Grove House flats.

The Blackheath Society would not, of course, undertake the development.  Our role is to show what is possible, likely to receive planning permission, and acceptable to Blackheath people.  We would then, with the owners of the site – Lewisham Council and a family trust – seek a developer or development partner to carry the scheme forward.

Ownership of the land on the proposed Blackheath Square Piazza

The current proposal focuses on the public cark park (A) owned by Lewisham council, and the library block and its private car park (B) owned by a family trust. Part of Blackheath Grove (C) would be incorporated into the new square.

Railway wall plan

Despite the acknowledged costs and difficulties of building over the railway cutting, we believe that a good case can be made for a small, prefabricated, lightweight pedestrian deck by the chip shop. Together with a ramped footpath down towards the Post Office, the deck would ease pedestrian movement between the Village and the Square. The could be combined with the redevelopment of the chip shop to provide a three-storey (unreadable - #### ###) building fronting the deck. The existing parapet wall would be partially removed to give access and a clearer view through to the square.

Initial design for Blackheath Square Piazza

Initial ideas looked at a wider area including the yard to the north and the railway cutting to the south. The illustration shows how buildings and a deck over the railway could have looked.

Blackheath Square piazza railway cutting

Photo showing the railway area, part of which would be covered.

A dissenting view of the plans for the square in Blackheath

A dissenting view of the plans for the square in Blackheath

Another plan of the area

Another plan of the area, hopelessly blurry, sorry...

The exhibition at the Blackheath Halls

The exhibition at the Blackheath Halls

An artist's impression of how the Blackheath Square could look

Where is the post office?!

The idea of a “piazza” in the heart of Blackheath Village sprang from public consultation on the Blackheath Society’s

2001 proposals for improving the Village.  Our initial ideas were ambitious: a huge raft over the railway stretching

from the bridge to the post office, paid for by accompanying development.  But the amount of development needed

to pay for such a raft would have dwarfed existing buildings.

What we are now suggesting – our “Plan B” – is more modest but in many ways better.  It demolishes the present

library block and substitutes a new development, set further back and partly on the site of the existing public car

park.  It would be taller than the existing building but comparable in height to its neighbours Barclays Bank and the

Grove House flats.

The Blackheath Society would not, of course, undertake the development.  Our role is to show what is possible, likely

to receive planning permission, and acceptable to Blackheath people.  We would then, with the owners of the site –

Lewisham Council and a family trust – seek a developer or development partner to carry the scheme forward.

plan caption:
The current proposal focuses on the public cark park (A) owned by Lewisham council, and the library block and its

private car park (B) owned by a family trust.  Part of Blackheath Grove (C) would be incorporated into the new

square.

wall plan:
Despite the acknowledged costs and difficulties of building over the railway cutting, we believe that a good case can

be made for a small, prefabricated, lightweight pedestrian deck by the chip shop.  Together with a ramped foothpath

down towards the Post Office, the deck would ease pedestrian movement between the Village and the Square.  The

could be combined with the redevelopment of the chip shop to provide a three-storey #### ### building fronting

the deck.  The existing parapet wall would be partially removed to give access and a clearer view through to the

square.

nice plan

Initial ideas looked at a wider area including the yard to the north and the railway cutting to the south.  The

illustration shows how buildings and a deck over the railway could have looked.

History of the site:
The site where Blackheath Village Library now stands was from 1863 until 1845 occupied by a much larger building –

the 1,000 seat Methodist church with 120ft tower and a Sunday school to the north.  In 1945 a WW2 bomb destroyed

the church and many surrounding buildings.

In 1961 the present “library block” filled the gap, but from several points of view filled it unsatisfactorily.  At two

storeys, it is dwarfed by the neighbouring Barclays Bank, stylistically it is weak and unappealing.

In development terms, the buidling and the private and public car parks behind it represent a gross under-use of a

key site in the heart of the Village.

To the north and east of the site, houses which had been damaged beyond repair at the western ends of Wemyss

Road, and Blackheath Grove were replaced by five and four storey blocks of flats in the 1950s.  These were joined in

the 1990s by a four storey block “The Point”, with basement car parking on the site of the former Express Dairy

bottling plant.

OSplan:
Ordnance Survey plan of about 1920 showing the Methodist church and Sunday school.

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Filed under architecture, blackheath, photography