A Green Vision for Catford Town Centre
Consultation on a vision for Catford town centre could resume this year, as the draft Catford Town Centre Framework is due to be shared with Lewisham’s Mayor and Cabinet on Wednesday 16 September.
Despite an initial pause during the pandemic, work has continued over the summer on developing the draft framework which sets out a sustainable vision for how the town centre could develop over the next 10-15 years. The Council now wants to release this for further input and discussion with local people.
Over 2,500 comments and over 500 hours of face to face community engagement – led by Team Catford – has informed the draft framework plan. The starting point is the re-routing of the South Circular Road (A205) behind Laurence House which will free up more space to reimagine the town centre with pedestrians at its heart.
All these views and inputs have shaped a vision which fundamentally seeks to deliver:
- green town centre
- a vibrant town centre
- an accessible town centre.
Catford Shopping Centre and Milford Towers will be replaced providing several hundred new homes, retail and commercial space and job opportunities. Up to 2,700 new homes (35% affordable) will be delivered across the town centre to reflect housing targets within the Council’s Growth Strategy, which plans for a growth corridor from New Cross and Deptford to Catford.
Planting on streets and in new generous public spaces will enhance biodiversity providing new habitats for birds, insects and other species through ‘green stepping stones’ linking the town centre to nearby River Pool Linear Park and Ladywell Fields.
Catford will remain the civic heart of the borough and work is underway to consider a refurbishment of the Old Town Hall and Civic Suite to provide new workspace for Lewisham Council, flexible public meeting space and an opportunity to celebrate the Grade II listed Broadway Theatre with public space around this important heritage building.
The framework document is still in draft form, pending community consultation. A programme of community consultation for autumn 2020 has been designed to be COVID-19 secure and will see the ideas shared with local people in pop-up locations throughout the town centre, video highlights, door-to-door distribution of newsletters and digital information sessions on Zoom.
Led by Team Catford, the consultation aims to capture a consensus from the community on a positive outlook for the town centre, with a particular focus on gathering views from a younger generation who may be looking to move into their own home, start a career and lay down roots in Catford.It is anticipated the Catford Town Centre Framework could be finalised by spring 2021 and some aspects of the plan could begin construction after 2021 with the entire redevelopment set to be complete by mid 2030s. Early projects include improvements to the stations area around Catford and Catford Bridge stations, the restoration of the former Catford Constitutional Club to provide a new lease of life for the community and workspace with Good Growth Funding from the Mayor of London.
Councillor Paul Bell, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning said:
“To be successful, the framework must be relevant to those with deep roots in the town – those who have lived its history and want the best for the town’s future. Team Catford has spent the last three and a half years listening carefully to local people and we believe this latest draft framework reflects how Catford’s community wishes the town centre to evolve.
“Our ambition is for Catford to be the greenest town centre in London. Nature will be prioritised to create a cleaner, healthier and a more sustainable town centre for the benefit of people, urban wildlife and ecology. The town centre will be vibrant, accessible and green – a place for future generations to feel welcome.
“Change has been talked about for many years and we share the community’s desire to see the positive progress and investment. The Council is prioritising key early projects that the community have said matter most – including the sensitive restoration of one of the oldest buildings in Catford and tangible improvements for pedestrians and cyclists in the area surrounding Catford and Catford Bridge stations – to give a better sense of arrival. These can begin as early as 2021.”