Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lewisham Gateway

As we've had a number of enquiries from residents about the town centre development, I thought it might be useful to post a more detailed statement agreed by the Green group (minus Dean who is on strategic planning committee so didn't take part in the discussions) on the Lewisham Gateway application:

The Green Group supports in principle the regeneration of Lewisham TownCentre to improve the pedestrian links from the rail station to the town centre; to make the river more accessible and a key feature in the towncentre; and to provide high-density housing given that good public transport links make this a suitable site for accommodating Lewisham's growing population. We believe that making Lewisham a more attractive shopping venue will help encourage more people to shop locally and reduce the number of journeys to other town centres and out of town shopping centres. We also welcome plans to improve bus facilities to help accommodate the expected increase in bus usage. However, we have a number of serious concerns about the current proposals that need to be addressed: -
  • We support the Mayor of London's demand that detailed traffic modelling is required to determine whether the "low H" shape road layout is appropriate.

  • We support Lewisham Cyclists in demanding a number of specific measures to meet the needs of cyclists, including road safety improvements, improved cycle routes through and around the Gateway, crossing provision for cyclists, and increased secure cycle parking for residents.

  • We call for a significant reduction in the overall number of car parking spaces, given the location next to Lewisham's main public transport interchange. We would welcome a car-free development, with no automatic right to a residents' parking space, but the provision of a car club for residents. We have serious concerns that a development with extensive car parking provision will merely add to traffic problems, and exacerbate the already poor air quality in the area.

  • We call for exemplary standards in sustainable design and construction, and are extremely concerned about the lack of ambition and lack of detailed information in the current plans regarding renewable energy. Ideally, we wish to see such a landmark development be a carbon neutral development, but at the very least, we expect to see the renewable energy targets in the Mayor's London Plan strictly adhered to.

  • We are concerned that currently only 20% of housing is proposed to be affordable, way below the Mayor of London's overall target of 50%and Lewisham's target of 35%. We call for the level of affordable housing to be significantly increased, and with an appropriate mix ofsocial housing and intermediate housing, in line with the policies on affordable housing within the London Plan.

  • We support high density housing on this site in principle, but this is subject to being convinced by full daylight, shadowing and wind reports and the buildings being of high quality and sustainable design. We also require further clarification about whether the proposed level of housing density can all be accommodated, given the range of different facilities planned for this site.

  • We support proposals to remove parts of the rivers from concrete channels and place them in a natural setting, but we share the concerns of the Quaggy Waterways Action Group, that the opportunities for improving riverside access have not been maximised, and the plans need to be modified to improve upon this. It is important that there is no overall loss of public open space, and specifically that levels of accessible green space should at least be comparable to existing levels.

  • We support improved shopping facilities, but do not wish to see Lewisham just becoming more of a "clone town", and therefore wish to see start-up premises for small businesses included in the overall plans. We want to see planning conditions used to ensure a diversity of retailoutlets.

  • We are very concerned by the loss of the children's play area in the Shopping Centre. We support the Mayor of London's demand that provision needs to be made for children's play space, but believe indoor as well as outdoor play facilities are required.

For more info also see the official Lewisham Gateway site and a site set up by opponents to the scheme.

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