Council meetings

Agenda item

Catford regeneration update: masterplanners


Resolved: that the update be noted


4.1    David West (Studio Egret West) gave a presentation (which is attached to the minutes) on the development of the masterplan for Catford. The following key points were noted:

·         There was lots for the masterplanners to do (to prepare the masterplan) and lots for them to learn about Catford.

·         The delivery of the plan was being managed in stages. The initial work would focus on listening and understanding.

·         The masterplanners were using the ‘Catford Cornucopia’ shop on the Broadway to meet with local people.

·         The masterplanners had adopted the title of ‘C-Team’, which built on the work of Team Catford, and included: Studio Egret West (architects, landscape architects and urban designers); Carl Turner architects (which specialised in temporary installations); Greengage (sustainable environmental consultants); and Civic Engineers (public realm specialists in street design).

·         It was intended that the masterplan would change and evolve over time. But the intent was to regenerate Catford from the outset.

·         It was intended that the redesign of the south circular would provide a new street (with features and spaces for interaction) for Catford rather than just a larger road.

·         The masterplanners intended to creatively co-author the masterplan with the local community.

·         The plan would be authentically ambitious, taking account of the 2500 homes that were likely to be required in the town centre as a result of the new London Plan.

·         The targets in the new London Plan would require every new mixed use development in London to host many more new homes and new infrastructure.

·         There were currently 244 homes on the Milford Towers site. Initial estimates indicated that 800 new homes might be required on the site, which would probably necessitate some buildings to be built between 10 -20 stories high to meet the London Plan targets.

·         It would be challenging to ensure that Catford would be able to host the number of new homes required. Future development would also need to enable the creation and maintenance of quality public realm and a new civic centre.

·         Public realm in Catford was not currently green, active and clean enough. The masterplan would aim to create sustainable, welcoming public spaces, as well as homes and employment opportunities.

·         The masterplan would be delivery focused. There had been lots of discussion about development in Catford – it was time to ensure that things started happening.

·         Catford’s character was complex. People had things they loved and hated about the town centre.

·         Laurence House was an exemplar building of its kind. It was originally designed to be a temporary office building. The masterplanners questioned whether its location should determine the realignment of the south circular.

·         It was expected that Milford Towers would be removed as part of the future redevelopment. However, activity could take place immediately to change the feeling of car park underneath the Towers and its surroundings. One example of local innovation was the Peckham Levels.

·         There were a number of strong examples of innovative short/medium term uses for development sites.

·         There were also examples of buildings being redesigned, retrofitted and repurposed. The masterplanners were open minded about these options for buildings in Catford. The benefit of this approach was that it could be more cost effective, quicker and more sustainable.

·         There might be an option to move the Council offices into a renovated car park in order to release the land occupied by Laurence House and achieve the optimal realignment for the south circular.

·         The masterplanners had met with the original architect of Milford Towers, who had no strong feelings about retaining it.

·         Catford was car dominated and there were lots of car parks. The movement of the south circular had to be considered as part of the overall development of the town centre – rather than just as a means of pushing the flow of traffic southwards.

·         The south circular passed through a number of communities. There were some sections that felt more inviting to pedestrians and cyclists. It was important that future plans for the realignment of the road prioritised pedestrians and cyclists rather than just cars and lorries.

·         Catford had excellent green spaces surrounding it. The masterplan would consider how to green the town centre.

·         Options would be considered for integrating St Dunstan’s – and its sporting facilities better with the town centre.

·         There was lots of space in Catford. Which meant it should be able to accommodate a range of new homes, including genuinely affordable homes.

·         Some of the discussion about the development of Catford was controversial. It was necessary to be open about the challenges and the language being used to talk about the redevelopment.

·         Catford could be better connected. Consideration would be given in the masterplan to the linkages between the two stations and the realigned south circular.

·         Plans were being considered for the creative redevelopment of the pedestrian lanes in Catford – in collaboration with local people.

·         There were options to trial ideas on a temporary basis in order to change the way that people felt about the town centre.


4.2    David West, Kplom Lotsu (Service Group Manager, Capital Programmes), Sarah Walsh (Regeneration and Urban Design Programme Manager) and Tony Piggott (Development Advisor, Capital Programmes) responded to questions from the Committee, the following key points were noted:

·         Travel by car had to be considered in terms of whole journey times rather than the speeds that could be achieved on separate sections of road. The intention in Catford would be to create a smooth overall journey through the town centre rather than to for there to be constant stopping and starting of traffic through patches of congestion.

·         The speed and volume of traffic around all parts of the south circular was generally the same. However, the feeling of different sections of the road was markedly different. In those sections with shops, restaurants and open spaces felt more pedestrian and cycle friendly. The intention was to avoid Catford being dominated by a widened, busy, traffic heavy section of the south circular.

·         The alignment of the south circular was a priority for the masterplanners – because decisions on its future were already being made.

·         There were a number of challenges facing the redevelopment. It would be important to balance the requirement for new homes in the London Plan with the expectations of existing residents.

·         It was important to sustain the pace and momentum of change. Lots of work had to take place before the delivery of the masterplan in March 2019.

·         Catford was recognised for the quality of its connections to central London. However, part of its future offer could be to provide affordable local employment spaces and homes that supported the viability of the town centre.

·         The masterplanners were using the information gathered though the Catford Common Place to inform the engagement with the local community.

·         Perceptions of places in London changed over time. People were moving to Catford because of affordability. The key in the redevelopment would be to ensure there was a balance between existing and new residents.

·         Incremental changes and small scale initiatives could improve the way that people felt about a place.

·         There were positive examples of multi-use/multi-function spaces that Lewisham could learn from in order to ensure that its new offices made a positive contribution to the town centre.

·         The exact alignment of the south circular was still being defined. The masterplan and the realignment programme for the road had been coordinated to develop together.

·         The integration of the Broadway theatre into the cultural offer in the town centre would be key to unlocking its potential.


4.3    In the Committee discussions the following key points were also noted:

·         Members wanted to ensure that there was thorough engagement with local people.

·         All options should be considered for improving the layout and design of the south circular.

·         The plan for Catford should build on the Council’s experience of delivering the redevelopment of Lewisham town centre.

·         Members were supportive of increasing the level of greenery and high quality public spaces in the town centre.


4.4       Resolved: that the update be noted.

Supporting documents: