Thursday, 7 May 2015

What future for the Ladywell Baths (aka 'The Playtower')?

All of us are keen to see this semi-derelict local landmark brought back into use.
It remains in Council ownership but since the dissolution of the Trust, established about 5 years back (by the local voluntary sector and a church), and £500k+ works by the Council to weatherproof the building, little clear progress has been made towards finding a viable plan, not least because works costing upwards of £3m will be required before the building can be used.
The Council continues to look at options for raising funds to bring the building back into productive use, but there are significant challenges to overcome.  There have been ongoing discussions with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) about schemes, which could help overcome the investment hurdle (Heritage Enterprise and Heritage Grants being the two obvious funding streams).  The Council is also in contact with a ‘heritage consultant’ who has previously developed a number of successful HLF proposals.
The Council has indicated only this week that it is open to viable community proposals for the building’s future but, inevitably, everything will hang on securing the significant investment required.
The last full assessment of refurbishment cost was undertaken over 7yrs ago.  Then the estimated cost of restoring the building to basic productive use as offices was £2.3m, but since then costs will have risen significantly, and there is asbestos to remove which will make refurbishment even more complicated.
The Council could yet decide to dispose of the site, though the building’s condition and Grade II listed status, plus the site constraints, may make it unattractive to developers.  The only area where new build would be possible is a rectangular area at the rear of the site, adjacent to St.Mary's Churchyard. 
Anyone interested in joining potential discussions, later in the Summer, on developing viable community proposals for the site - which will need to include significant public and/or private investment and some sort of income generation plan plan - should contact
Robert Sheppard 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

59 Ladywell Road 'arches' space up for sale

Those beady-eyed bloggers at Brockley Central have spotted that this space, facing onto Ladywell Fields, which to outward appearance has been vacant for years, is currently being marketed by Hindwoods commercial estate agents.
The premises has the following permitted planning uses - A3 Restaurants Cafes Snack Bars, B1 Offices and Light Industrial, B8 Storage and Distribution and/or B8 Warehouse and Trade counter.  It comprises four adjoining vaults underneath Ladywell Road and "has the potential for an opening adjacent to Ladywell station platform" (though I'm not quite sure how that would work).
The marketing bumph says of the area "has benefited from significant investment and redevelopment including the construction of several hundred homes, major infrastructure works, new community facilities, pedestrian areas, cycle routes and open spaces which has increased the appeal of the area.  The University Hospital Lewisham, Lewisham Council and Ladywell Fields College occupy landmark offices nearby with Ladywell Fields and the Ravensbourne River providing an attractive local environment."
A CGI in the marketing pack shows the premises as a restaurant, which in principle would be a welcome addition to the area.   Rumours persist however of a possible microbrewery, also something that would be welcomed I think.

Robert Sheppard

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

10-14 Mercy Terrace Planning Application Lodged

This scheme, which has been the subject of considerable advance consultation over recent months, has now come forward formally as a planning application (which can be viewed on the Council website).
Robert Sheppard

Friday, 17 April 2015

Ladywell fire causes traffic chaos

A fire yesterday afternoon at the disused garages site at the corner of Ladywell Road and Malyons Road was put out by two fire tenders.  Ladywell Road was closed for several hours causing traffic chaos.  Planning permission for a mixed commercial/residential development was given some years ago but has now expired.  In the meantime the site has become a dump, something reported to the Council and posted on this blog in July 2014
Robert Sheppard

The Larder is One Year Old!

The Larder at 71 Ladywell Road is celebrating it's 1st Birthday this weekend!  Katherine & Cynthia say:
"Huge thanks to all our wonderful customers and friends who have supported us over the past 12 months; we couldn't have done it without you! We feel very lucky to be part of such a welcoming community.
We will continue to champion our great local producers such as Brockley Brewery, LKB, Coopers Bakehouse, Blackwoods Cheese, Ladle & Larder and Wild Brockley to name but a few. Big thanks to you all for continuing to deliver such delicious food!
To celebrate, we'll be offering 10% off all purchases on Saturday 18th April and 20% to the first 5 customers who come in and wish us a Happy Birthday!"
Cynthia Lamptey