Knock-back for block plot on Lewisham High Street

BCer Ed writes:

A few weeks ago I was shocked and appalled to find my favourite go-to spot for giant pots of honey, enormous tubs of humus and unlimited plates of baklava was no more. The Turkish Supermarket on Lewisham High Street simply closed overnight.

This site has actually been targeted for major redevelopment, with the latest proposal recently knocked-back by Lewisham Council.

A couple of years ago planning permission was originally granted for a 4/5 storey block of 22 flats and 195 sq m of street-level commercial space at 223-225 Lewisham High Street – that’s where the hole in the street is now. But planning permission for a much bigger development, stretching from 223-229 Lewisham High Street has now been knocked back.

A planning application was submitted in July last year for 691 sq m of commercial space and 51 flats over 5-8 floors – but it was refused at the end of October 2017. These pictures show what they were hoping to build.
In her refusal letter, Emma Talbot, head of planning, gave three reasons why Lewisham Council had refused planning permission:

1. The size of the development would fail to provide a high quality design.

2. The proposed flats would provide “A poor standard of accommodation that would fail to provide long term sustainable housing”.

3. The development as a whole was over-development, with an unsatisfactory “compromised internal layout”.

In short – loads of poky flats.

Since that decision was made the site at 223-225 Lewisham High Street has been cleared, although no building work is taking place there yet. The TFC supermarket at 226-229 Lewisham High Street is still standing, for now.

I have not been able to find another re-submitted planning application for the whole site, so - big leap - I presume it is going through the usual scaling-down hoops before being resubmitted. (I am an amateur when it comes to planning applications - perhaps someone else can tell us more?)

It is worth noting that barely 30m away, on the other side of the street, there is a development of 40-odd flats with a now-empty ground floor. It used to be a Tesco, but it’s been sitting empty for at least a year, if not more.

A block further south is the highly regarded and award-winning Place Ladywell – a well thought-out scheme of social-housing flats, as anyone who lives there, or has walked around them on Open House Weekend, will know. The cafe is nice too and has become something of a community hub – as was the planning intention.

It is clear that getting the planning mix right is crucial for Lewisham, especially in the town centre. What’s more, the success of Place Ladywell proves that planning actually works. When done well it can and does revitalise areas that need it.

Well done to Lewisham Planning for knocking this development back – lets hope, and lobby for, something better and more appropriate for this corner of Lewisham High Street.

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