Three more residential developments planned for Ashby Mews

Top to bottom: 111, 143, 153-155 UBR
Three proposals have been submitted to turn garages on Ashby Mews into residential properties.

Buildings to the rear of 111 Upper Brockley Road, 143 Upper Brockley Road and 153-155 Upper Brockley Road.

Each of the projects is a modernist rebuild of dilapidated storage areas, with access from the mews.

Objectors to the development on the Manor Avenue side of the mews complained before it was approved that it would set a precedent for further development. They were right.

However, these three developments are fairly modest and could help to civilise a stretch of mews which remains a dumping ground, despite new gates being installed in an effort to curb anti-social behaviour.

The closing date to comment on these planning applications is October 27th.

Coulgate Street update

Liam posted an update to the Coulgate Street consultation story, which deserves its own thread. The plans to improve Coulgate Street that have been put forward by the Council feature a number of measures to tidy the street up, but stop short of the more ambitious schemes many people had been hoping for, with no shared surface element.

Liam responded to the consultation and updates us. He says:

I asked three questions.

1. Why are you not pedestrianising Coulgate Street?
2. Where are all the cars that normally park on Coulgate Street going to park?
3. Can we have easier access for prams etc?

Here is the Council officer's response:

We are still open to ideas regarding the use of Coulgate Street. "Pedestrianisation" means different things to different people but any scheme that we implement will have to allow for some vehicle access to and from Coulgate Street. Apart from Coulgate Street's residents, business premises, including Network Rail and London Overground, need vehicle access for deliveries and maintenance purposes. The Council also needs to be able to collect the refuse each week. We also have to consider those disabled people who need to be able to reach the station's entrance with a minimum of inconvenience. Having said that, I am sure that we will be able to come to some compromise that will satisfy most, if not all, of Brockley's residents.

If we exclude parked vehicles from Coulgate Street then their owners will of course have to make alternative arrangements. Our thoughts on this are that Brockley's streets are already at or near capacity so there is very little spare, kerbside space for any vehicles that are displaced from Coulgate Street. It is likely therefore that, since the majority of these vehicles are owned by commuters, many will change their commuting routes. The only comprehensive solution to the problems created by commuter parking is permit-only parking, by way of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). The Council intends to consult on a possible CPZ in Brockley during the Summer months of 2016.

Finally, yes we will be dropping kerbs at various locations to improve access for pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Silvertown Tunnel vision

This week, TfL launched a public consultation for the planned Silvertown tunnel, which would link Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks. The plan would reduce the strain on the Blackwall Tunnel, create a direct road link between two of London’s biggest development areas and provide an alternative option whenever the Blackwall Tunnel decides to have one of its little closures.

We’ve kept out of the Silvertown Tunnel debate until now, because the details of the plan hadn’t been released and because there are people we respect who have mounted a very credible campaign against it on the basis of the deleterious effect it would have on air quality in the area. But now, a consultation leaflet’s been shoved through our front doors, it’s time to wade in.  

Opponents are right to highlight the risk of increased air pollution as new capacity encourages more cars and lorries. Air pollution is already bad across London and the Blackwall Tunnel approach is among the capital’s worst hot spots. Air pollution kills thousands of Londoners a year and harms the health of many more. It is arguably the single biggest problem we need to fix. But the campaigners are still wrong to oppose Silvertown.

Back in 2008, when the Thames Gateway Bridge plan for Thamesmead was cancelled, BC argued that the pitiful number of river crossings in East London was the biggest brake on employment growth in the city and it was time to build not just one, but several river crossings here:

“South East London needs more cross-river journeys. It needs more business people jumping in taxis to get across the Thames. It needs more tourists strolling or catching a bus across the river from the north bank. It needs to be part of the same city as north east London. The fact that one of the key crossings is a ferry only strengthens the feeling that the two places are foreign countries to one another.” 

Now, six years and one cable car sop later, wellity, wellity, wellity – everyone’s talking about the urgent need for more crossings to cope with London's rapid growth. Prospective London Mayor Andrew Adonis and a new report called Linking London argue that East London needs four more links to boost the economy by up £1 billion annually. For its part, TfL promises a “package” of new crossings, “including improved connections for cars, public transport, pedestrians, cyclists and freight.” They say:

"We recently held a consultation on options for further river crossings in addition to the Silvertown Tunnel; at Woolwich, Gallions Reach and/or Belvedere.  The Department for Transport has also proposed building a new ‘Lower Thames Crossing’ to provide additional capacity at Dartford."
The planned new river crossings
And it's in this context that Silvertown deserves support. In the absence of other crossings, Silvertown would encourage too much traffic into Greenwich - forcing traffic that doesn't need or want to come in to inner London through Zone 2. But with a range of new options and smart traffic management, Silvertown will be a huge asset, massively reducing the congestion, which is the biggest cause of air pollution. Yes, new supply begets new demand, but proposed tolls at Blackwall and Silvertown, as well a bridge at Belvedere will deliver smoother traffic flow even as the number of journeys grows.

Instead of trying to stop the tunnel as a way to reduce air pollution, we should be campaigning for positive solutions - pushing for a 'Bridge and Tunnel and Ferry' strategy to stop the Peninsula being treated as a funnel - or maybe even lobbying for electric vehicle-only crossings. By the time any of this stuff gets built, we'll all have self-driving, fusion powered, hover cars.

You don't fix London by trying to halt - or worse, ignore - its growth, we have to find smart ways to manage the network. Let the call go out - four more crossings!

Hills & Parks & Resignation

Honor Oak deli Hills & Parks is up for sale. Reporting a turnover of a quarter of a million quid and seeking buyers willing to stump up £95,000, the sellers say:

The Deli has been established for over 3 years and is at the heart of a growing local high street. The business has a fantastic local following and trades daily with the knowledge its customers attach an immense amount of goodwill to the business. The business offers a wonderful and profitable catering service which has a grown with the reputation of the deli.

My Jamii Cafe, Honor Oak

3 Honor Oak
SE23 1DX

My Jamii Cafe is a new cafe-cum-not-for-profit enterprise scheme in Honor Oak.

It aims to help young (17-23) people with low educational attainment, minimal literacy and little access to work experience or opportunities to improve their circumstances in the Borough of Lewisham.

It also does cake.

Factory-built home plan for Ladywell baths [UPDATED]

Another bit of residential experimentation in Ladywell. The News Shopper reports that Lewisham Council is considering installing factory-built temporary housing on the site of the former Ladywell baths, while they draw up long-term plans for the site. The units would be semi-portable and low-cost.

The Council promises they won't look anything like the units in this photo from the Shopper
The Shopper says:

Lewisham Council is considering the move - thought to be the first of its kind - at a meeting next week.

The innovative pilot scheme would see 24 housing units blocked together, with four retail, commercial or civic spaces beneath, on the old Ladywell Leisure Centre site.

Ideas for the units below the housing include a meeting space, an "enterprise hub" or a "21st century library" with a 3D printer.

Once the units have been used in Ladywell, they could then be re-deployed elsewhere in the borough, across a number of different sites if necessary, or even given a different use.

Details here.

UPDATE: The Council adds:

If the idea is approved on 22 October then the Council would move forward with a formal tendering process with the aim of awarding a contract early in 2015. New homes could then be ready for occupation in autumn 2015.

Brockley Road Sainsbury's confirmed

Simon Hosking of Boultbee, the developers of 180 Brockley Road, confirms the story we reported yesterday - that they have agreed a lease for the main retail unit with Sainsbury's. He says:

"The new retail space has been let to Sainsbury’s under a "green lease". It was important to ensure that the retail space reflects our design and sustainability-led approach, so the team strived hard to achieve the BREEAM Excellent rating, which is the highest level possible rating. The BREEAM Excellent rating includes high levels of insulation, increased ecology through the incorporation of a green roof, energy efficient plant and equipment, reduced water consumption, as well as detailed waste management strategy."

"The 4,000 sq ft store will also create approximately 25 local jobs. We believe the store will help to enhance the overall area."

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