Local groups have raised concerns about plans to build towers of up to 15 storeys in a new development to replace the Leegate centre.
The run-down shopping centre has been scheduled for redevelopment for many years, and has recently been bought by Galliard Homes after its previous owners, St Modwen, failed in its plans to transform the site on the Lewisham-Greenwich borough boundary.
In 2015 St Modwen hoped to build an Asda store as part of its plans for the site, and Lewisham Council approved the proposals despite opposition from residents in Lee Green.
After the supermarket chain pulled out, St Modwen submitted new plans for 393 flats, but Lewisham would not accept the low level of “affordable” housing proposed.
Galliard started consulting on its initial plans last month, which include up to 630 homes, with shops, office, community, and leisure space, with buildings of up to 15 storeys at the front and rear of the site – five storeys higher than St Modwen’s proposal. The developer says it plans to make 35 per cent of the homes “affordable”, with “both rented and intermediate tenures”.
However, Lewisham Council’s draft local plan for the site suggests that it would be suitable for 450 homes, nearly 200 fewer than what has been put forward by the developer.
Local groups say they are worried about the impact on local transport, pollution and on listed buildings nearby, including the Old Tiger’s Head pub, and the former New Tiger’s Head opposite, which recently became a supermarket, and Lee Green fire station.
They also fear that if Lewisham approves the Galliard proposals, it could set a precedent for the the Sainsbury’s supermarket opposite, as well as the former Penfolds car dealership further down Lee High Road, both of which are slated for redevelopment in the council’s local plan.
While the Leegate centre is close to 11-storey towers at Leybridge Court, the Lee Forum and Lee Manor Society say they should not be used for comparison as they are surrounded by green space and trees. The groups have written to Galliard to express their concerns.
A spokesperson for the Lee Forum told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Galliard Homes have owned Leegate for less than three months. The community want to work with Galliard and Lewisham to ensure Lee Green is developed sustainably.
“Information provided at consultation was inadequate, showing a lack of knowledge of and coordinated thought about the site and wider area.
“It’s clear that more consideration and discussion is needed before plans are submitted to the council.”
A Galliard Homes spokesperson said: “Galliard Homes completed the purchase of the Leegate Shopping Centre in April and we are looking to unlock the regeneration potential of this site after two false starts from the previous owners.
“The deadline for community comments on the first of two pre planning consultations has just passed and we are pleased that many local residents and local community groups have taken the time to pass on their view on our initial proposals. We are therefore currently in the process of reviewing all feedback.
“A second round of consultation is planned soon and we look forward to continuing to work with residents, community groups and local elected representatives in the coming weeks and months as our plans continue to evolve.”
Gráinne Cuffe is the Local Democracy Reporter for Lewisham. The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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