Owners re-apply to demolish Ladywell factory

The owners of the have renewed their application (won on appeal in 2007) to demolish the art deco adhesive factory at 59 Ladywell Road.

The demolition would be followed by the construction of 14 apartments and 520 square metres of office space (class B1).

Click here for photos of the undeniably handsome (if somewhat awkwardly sited) building.

48 comments:

Nux said...

Oh I love that building! I saw it was for sale and wondered what the plans were... I really hope that they don't get to demolish it - you'd think there would be some way that they could at least keep it and incorporate it into any plans, it is really lovely

Anonymous said...

Great building,cant the just refurbish the inside into apartments,would be great to live there.

Sevenoakser said...

Oh no, my favourite SE4 building!

M said...

It's a lovely building and would be great converted into studios and offices for small businesses. It could help regenerate Ladywell too - maybe get some of those many empty shops filled.
No idea what state it's in inside though and I suppose knocking it down and starting again at least means it doesn't just sit empty.

Anonymous said...

Shame the building isn't protected by the new Ladywell conservation status.

Rachel said...

They can't seriously demolish such an iconic building?

Robert said...

The building is within the St Mary's Conservation Area and is also Locally Listed by Lewisham Council.

The developer appealed to the Planning Inspectorate a couple of years ago, after being rejected, and the Inspector, outragously, sided with the developer.

The only reason it has not already been demolished is the economic downturn, and the fact that their are significant site constraints which would result in a more costly build than the developer first imagined.

Another interesting fact. The building was actually constructed around an old Victorian Manor house in the 1930's, which is still in tact, to some degree, in the new Art Deco style shell.

There is also a local campaign afoot to turn the building into a Community Centre. Sadly, the value now attributed to the site due to the Planning Consent, currently makes this option financially unviable.

Zoe said...

Thank you Robert for the detailed information about the Adhesives building. Such a shame to hear about its interesting past and jeopardised future. I was going to comment, like most others on here, that the ideal would be to keep the exterior and incorporate it into any refurbishment plans.

nik said...

Shocking, it's a great and iconic building in Ladywell. Can't they convert it sympathetically? Afterall how mant art deco buildings are ther around here??

its a shame said...

What's to be done about the planning dept in Lewisham council? - there is story after story like this. I hope the Ladywell Society gets on to this one - yet I have a feeling it will be all too late.

Anonymous said...

This is really terrible. It's a lovely building and now I've heard more about its history, I feel even more incensed that - yet again - Lewisham council has made a horrible decision and has flouted conservation area rules. This area will never really 'up and come' if the council allows all this insensitive development to be thrown up all over the borough. It's like those hideous boxes that are going up behind Brockley station. Horrible to look at, and probably not very nice to live in as they're chucked up using cheap materials. What a short-sighted council we have.

Anonymous said...

Responding to every application to demolish an old building with resistance is getting predictable and boring.

Anonymous said...

Anon, If you're referring to Gordonbrock it's really not the same. Gordonbrock is not in a conservation area and it is not a paricularly unusual or noteworthy example of its style. The art deco building is locally listed and one of a kind. I'm not against developing it, I just think these developers should be made to do things properly. Why pull down an attractive building? I would think modern flats in an art deco building would be more attractive to buyers than a modern box in a bigger modern box. buyers might even be prepared to overlook the less-than-perfect location if the building was interesting and sensitively converted.

Anonymous said...

What does the earlier anon think a conservation area is for? If you dont like to move to Harlow

Robert said...

To be fair to Lewisham Planning in this case, they did reject the proposals, and then fought against the decision to grant consent with the Planning Inspectorate.

The Inspectorate is basicly a "planning judge" appointed by central government.

Tamsin said...

Unless being pressurised by other departments (and if you strike it lucky with the officer allocated) Lewisham Planning is usually pretty good. Some of the committee decisions are made by too few people and a bit iffy but that is the system for you.

Shocking that this building is under threat - it looked so fabulous when first restored a dozen years or so ago and could look the same again.

Something the MP should get involved with as soon as they are elected and in the meantime is there any public pressure that can be exerted.

Literally doing a new Hilly Telegraph today and would like to squeeze in a snippet if I can - any contact number or website for support and more information (apart from here, of course!)

Anonymous said...

The problem is attitudes like that of Brockley Central: 'ooh, it's a shame, but I guess it was awkwardly placed'.

What on earth is awkward about that building? Either come out and condemn these ridiculous plans, or go and side with the developers. Don't just sit on the fence about it.

Robert said...

Tamsin.

The Ladywell Society could probably tell you everything you need to know - in more detail than I can.

I can put you in contact if you email me:

planning@brockleysociety.org.uk

Brockley Nick said...

Pardon me, anon? I was reporting the news, not expressing an opinion other than I thought it was a nice building. The "awkwardly sited" comment barely constitutes an opinion - it's right next to a railway line and hemmed in by a waterway while much of the building is below the level of Ladywell Road and it overlooks another factory. That doesn't mean you give up on the building, but it does mean that it makes saving it more difficult.

I don't know the why it won on appeal, what the condition of the building is and what other complications there are (chemical factories can be tricky things to convert). Therefore, I limited myself to reporting the news.

If you want my opinion, it should be saved if possible. It is of far more architectural merit, in my opinion, than - for example - the threatened buildings at Gordonbrock. I also don't much care for the designs I have seen to replace it.

But it is also my opinion that people who immediately jump to conclusions without seeking to find out the facts first, don't have opinions worth listening to.

If you want knee-jerk objections to everything, there are plenty of other websites where you can find that approach.

Anonymous said...

Having said that Nick,they built a Dr's surgery - nursery on an old petrol station site down Lewisham Way.

Anonymous said...

This would be very bad if it got through. Can we get it listed???

Anonymous said...

Nice building, what a waste. Is there something that can be done to avoid its demolition?

Anonymous said...

I reckon it could be an Art Deco themed hotel. There can't be that many Art Deco buildings in the borough. There's no way they can justify demolition.

Steve said...

Love this building, please at least keep the facade a la spitalfields. Makes me smile every time I walk past.

oryx said...

This is a beautiful and stylish building and it would be tragic to demolish it.

Rosie H said...

Looked this up a while back.

OJ Estates were selling this for £1.3 million with plans in place for demolition and replacement flats. It would have to be one hell of a restaurant/hotel/profitable art gallery to be finanically viable.

The consultation period for objections has, I think, just passed. An awful shame that this great-looking building is going to be pulled down.

Anonymous said...

has permission been granted?

Anonymous said...

If you read the original planning application a building historian explains why in his view it is not significant.

I believe he's connected to English Heritage therefore doubtful it would be listed?

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Something that could be changed is the hideous railings installed either side of the road over Ladywell Bridge and the out of place concrete slabs at their base.

Anonymous said...

Also note the carpet warehouse is to be demolished to make way for flats.

With the conversion of the police station and flats at the rear, it leaves the Playtower site (after 6 years) still an eyesore with no plans for its future.

Anonymous said...

If I was to purchase a flat, I'd rather a building with history and a lovely facade than a non-descript boring modern build. I do hope they keep the front at least.

Anonymous said...

I think we should try to get it listed before it's too late.

Tamsin said...

Meeting of the Ladywell Society tonight where this will be discussed.

(7.45pm at the Ladywell Fields Environmental Education Centre)

Not sure if it is an open meeting or not - and regrettably I can't be there.

QJ said...

This is one of the most beautiful buildings in the area- it's amazing that plans to demolish it have been approved. I have often said that if I had the dosh I would tart it up and live in it. Unfortunately I don't have the dosh, but it could be developed really easily into flats without losing the character of the exterior.

Mike said...

Hi all
I have just come back from the Ladywell Society meeting where no-one from Brockley turned up. LWSoc have been involved in the Adhesives Specialities Building for eight years, the architects have given talks, Mr Goddard (owner, who embellished it with the red edge painted castellation in the mid 80s) has moved his business away. Award winning Street Vibes lease expired so it is now empty awaiting sale. It is a long story. An architect neighbour (also LW Soc) has been involved for many more years. Robert has a lot of correct information. There has been a lot of misinformation, it was nevr a 'factory' for instance. We would all like it kept. The rear is full of asbestos. It would need another million to sort after the purchase price. It may end up as a white elephant unless a rich community minded benefactor/business were to buy it and convert it slowly to studios, art space, community spaces, a residence with planning permission. It is unliklely to be knoked down as to remove the arisings (including asbestos) is prohibitively expensive and difficult with the blind access/egress - a result of the 'new' bridge being built over the railway and river above the original (oft flooded) ground floor. It is a loooong story. LVIG and LWSoc are on the case. IF you are intersted come along to the next LWSoc meeting on 1 June (always first Tuesday) and chat to members of the society. Opposite of course is the Playtower which is also another fine building with lots of potential uses. Ladywell could be a great commmunity and artistic hub, but it needs vision, co-ordination and lots and lots of money! By the way, Sevenoakser, it in SE13 not SE4 - a long way from Brockley Central! It was also Robert Elms' favourite London building a few years ago! I have tried to contact him two years ago to no avail.

Mike, again said...

Hi Again
I thought Robert was the Ladywell Robert, not Brockley Robert, having said that he taklsk some sense. Ladywell Robert is involved in LVIG and is secreatary of Ladywell Fields Park User Group and also Algernon Road Residents Society and knows a lot. having read most of the posts now....(I am v busy at the mo, should be working, bear with me)...It is an original Victorain Villa with a later shell. The English Heritage inspectors were shown rounbd but were not allowed to see under the internal cladding where we believe the original Victorian fireplaces are still preserved. It is not striclty Art Deco so has not been listed by EH. (I have been a member of LWSoc ten years and the neighbour is an expert, remembering it as Noakes' Laundry with washing hanging between the orchard trees in the back). Ghost Motors (Lewisham's own Rolls Royce showroom) used to be based under the arches. Planning applications have included facilitating the awful cycle (the worst on all of Route 21) crossing across LW Road. A restaurant under the arch of the downstream railway station platform ramp was also offered. Years ago I proposed refurbishing it by creating expensive flats at the front to pay for cheaper (more affordable) at the rear. Developers just wanted to start over again, but the logistics have put them off that, there is no money at the moment for anyone (unless a Russian Oligarch?) to do the former. It is in a very 'awkward' place for developers. The side access is owned by the neighbours down the drive (hangover from 50s new bridge days), legally complex to solve. The blind bend has been the scene of some accidents and inumerable near misses. Heavy plant would be a nightmare. Lewisham Planning department and councillors have defended it vehemently and lost the appeal so it cost council tax payers a lot of money. Look at Lewisham's 'Acolnet' site and type in Ladywell Road Lewisham Central Ward and yo may find the application details. BTW - LW Society meetings are open to all. BTW2 Where's the spellcheck>

Tamsin said...

Probably no one from Brockley because they were all at the Broc. Soc. meeting on Gordonbrock School.

What a nightmare! I do hope something can be done as it is such a lovely building, brings a smile to your face just to see it. And it was an absolute delight when it was suddenly re-painted and smartened up - as long ago as the 80s (how time flies!)

Anonymous said...

There's lots of these Art-Deco type buildings along the beach front in Miami.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether anyones already posted about the history of this building, but before its present incarnation it was a Victorian laundry business. The grounds at the back were filed with washing lines. The present building encloses the previous building, what you see is a facade. I did once buy some gaffer tape from them.

lee Newham said...

It's a beautiful building. Why can't developers be a bit more creative and create apartments or small business spaces that use the exisiting building and really fire the imagination. Artists especially are crying out for space to work. Surely there is a dignified use for this building rather than knocking it down (it should be grade 1 listed) and bringing it back into use rather than yet another example of the abysmal architecture this country seems to embrace for anything 'new' without any attempt to make our environments exciting, vibrant and beautiful.

Lee Newham said...

Has anyone written to English Heritage to get it listed? It worked in Sydenham for the Greyhound and Forest Hill for the pools and Louise House.

Anonymous said...

I do not think we should knock the factory down because we have very little historic buildings in Lewisham and we need something to remind us of the past , if we knock the factory down we are then one step closer to the local history deteriorating and our children and local children & history students will have less to learn about , the factory brings character to ladywell bridge with its beautiful art deco exterior and is an amazing piece of architexture . It would be such a shame to see this buliding dissappear into a block of modern apartments and I think we should do our best to save it from such sacrilage .

Anonymous said...

went past it today, it's been demolished, felt so sad it was a gorgeous building!!!!!! full of character not like all the new builds. and i never got to photograph it before they came and knocked it down! =(

Tamsin said...

I think listing was tried - but it was too much of a hodge-podge inside to qualify.

Highly regrettable - like the Hoover building on the A40 it brought a smile to one's face.

Danja said...

It was the outside which was regarded as hodge-podge - fake art deco frontage stuck on in the 1980s to what was previously a very ordinary industrial building.

All set out in the document giving reasons for refusal of any listing which was linked above or in the other thread.

Brockley Jon said...

Ah well, it fooled most of us!

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Anonymous said...

Sadly too late in the day but sufficient to note that on 24 March 2010 the boundary lines of Ladywell conservation area were redrawn - leaving a sweeping curve around the building listed as "works" ie. the Adhesive Factory, - purely coincidentally of course - the same day that planning permission was reapplied for by the owners to demolish the building. It was refused initially (11 objections, no agreements) but too little too late...check it out...

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/70814A41-DF56-43F5-B142-A8E71212869D/0/LadywellConservationArea_map.pdf

http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/LEWIS-XSLPagesDC/acolnetcgi.exe?ACTION=UNWRAP&RIPNAME=Root.PgeResultDetail&TheSystemkey=59389

Anonymous said...

There is a new sign up saying that the place has been sold! Flats? Tesco?

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