Controversial plans for a 15-storey tower and 563 homes to replace the Leegate Shopping Centre have been submitted to Lewisham Council.
Local residents have long been up in arms about the plans for the crumbling shopping centre on the corner of Burnt Ash Road and Eltham Road in Lee Green, facing the borough boundary with Greenwich.
Blocks of 8, 10 and 12 storeys are also planned for the site, as well as a public square, supermarket, medical centre, community centre, gym, restaurant, and a replacement for the Edmund Halley pub, which will also be demolished.
The 1960s centre, which is opposite a Sainsbury’s supermarket, has long been targeted for redevelopment. In 2015 a scheme including an Asda store was approved by Lewisham Council, but did not proceed.
Galliard Homes bought the site in 2020, and initially planned 630 homes. But it revealed revised plans for a slimmed-down tower last November, and has now submitted its final proposals to Lewisham planners.
Of the homes, 114 (20.2 per cent) will be for what Galliard calls “social rent” – past consultations have said this will be for London Affordable Rent, about half market rates and available to those on waiting lists, which is higher than traditional social rents. Another 59 (10.4 per cent) would be for shared ownership, which also legally qualifies as “affordable” housing.
However, because many of the larger homes will fall into these categories, Galliard is claiming the scheme will offer 36 per cent “affordable” housing.
There would be 62 car parking spaces, plus 14 for the supermarket.
The 15-storey tower, which would replace the eight-storey Leegate House, would have blocks of eight and 10 storeys alongside it, with a 12-storey block behind it. Alongside Burnt Ash Road there would be two more eight-storey blocks, a dramatic change from the current low-rise blocks there – meaning the taller tower may well be a less controversial element of the development.
One of the Burnt Ash Road blocks would contain the supermarket. Galliard has said this would aim to complement rather than compete with the Sainsbury’s opposite.
Along Leyland Road, where the current low-rise Leegate car park is, there would be two blocks of eight and 10 storeys, with a seven-storey block facing Eltham Road. At the centre of the site there would be low-rise development, with two three-storey blocks facing a landscaped, car-free “residential street”.
The new pub would be smaller than the Edmund Halley, but have more outside space than the limited amount the bar currently offers.
“No formal objections were raised relating to the loss of the pub. This indicates a lack of connection to the local community, and that the pub is not of local cultural significance,” Galliard says of the existing Wetherspoon pub.
The development is next to the three 11-storey blocks of the Leybridge Estate as well as another 11-storey block behind the centre on Carston Close.
Greenwich Council has been criticised for not taking enough interest in the development, one of the biggest to affect the south of the borough. It will now land in the in-tray of its new regeneration cabinet member, Aidan Smith, and his staff to co-ordinate a response to Lewisham.
Denise Scott-McDonald, who held the regeneration job at the time, was urged to meet the developers at a council meeting in November. Galliard’s agents, Kanda Consulting, say they contacted both Danny Thorpe, who was council leader at the time, and his deputy Scott-McDonald to offer a meeting.
Scott-McDonald eventually met them in January, planning documents say.
More details about the scheme can be found in the design and access statement, more images can be found in the visual impact assessment, while the full documents are on the Lewisham Council planning website.