Monday, July 30, 2007

Comments on revised Lewisham Gateway Proposals

Artist's impresssion of the Gateway from Cornmill Gardens

Below is a response from the five Green councillors not on strategic planning committee, to the revised planning application for Lewisham Gateway. This is a slight revision of our earlier statement. If you would like to comment on the application, you should send comments to planning, quoting the application reference DC/06/62375/X, by 8th August.

We support in principle the regeneration of Lewisham Town Centre 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 town centre; 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:-

  1. 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 of social housing and intermediate housing in line with the policies on affordable housing within the London Plan.
  2. The plans need to ensure the provision of safe cycle routes around the Gateway. We also call for an increase in the level of non-residential and residential cycle parking and are concerned that the Supplementary Transport Assessment is underestimating the number of cycle trips in its predictions.
  3. Given the air quality monitoring reports and future air quality projections for the site a development with extensive car parking provision will merely add to traffic problems and exacerbate the already poor air quality in the area. We therefore call for a significant reduction in the 500 private parking spaces, given the location next to Lewisham’s main public transport interchange. We would welcome a car-free development, but plans for a car-club, car sharing, cycle user facilities and a green travel plan must be required as a planning condition.
  4. We call for exemplary standards in sustainable design and construction. Ideally, we wish to see such a landmark development be a zero carbon development but at the very least the Mayor’s London Plan policy of at least 10% on-site renewables (due to be increased to 20%) must be delivered.
  5. 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. Planting and other mitigation measures such as terracing to deal with excessive windiness must be required in the Confluence Park. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 retail outlets.
  8. 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 in the Gateway needs to be made for children’s play space but believe indoor as well as outdoor play facilities are required.


    Cllr Darren Johnson
    Cllr Sue Luxton
    Cllr Ute Michel
    Cllr Romayne Phoenix
    Cllr Mike Keogh

1 comment:

Brockley Nick said...

I think this is a very sensible and well-considered response.

The 50% affordable housing target can be missed if the project brings other benefits to the local area, which I believe this certainly will.