A New Opportunity
A large foodstore would deliver benefits in terms of visitor numbers and commercial activity, but its large footprint constrains the arrangement of other buildings and outdoor public space on the site.
Removing the large foodstore from the plans allowed us to re-visit the arrangement of buildings, outdoor public spaces and pedestrian routes. It provided us with an opportunity to address some outstanding local concerns, notably (i) the desire for a larger, more central, outdoor public space, and (ii) the desire for a more permeable development with open pedestrian routes.
It is important that any new proposals are viable and deliverable. Our initial studies show that increased housing as part of an alternative scheme could financially counter-balance the loss of the large foodstore. The capacity to provide additional housing largely results from the removal of the large foodstore and car park. The additional housing could be provided without increasing the approved maximum building heights.
Improving permeability - Where do people want to go?
We met with Lewisham Council to discuss a fresh approach to the arrangement of buildings and outdoor spaces. A good starting point was to find out where people want to go – how would they cross the Leegate site if the existing buildings were not there? Some of the key connection points around the site are the shops opposite Sainsbury’s, the bus stops on Eltham Road and Burnt Ash Road, and the northern end of Carston Close. We used this study to create ‘desire lines’ for pedestrian activity around which we have arranged the building blocks of our alternative scheme plans.
Potential massing of buildings and layout of outdoor space
Our alternative scheme proposals see the development broken down into three main buildings arranged around a centrally positioned public square. An east/west pedestrian route through the proposed square would link Burnt Ash Road with Eltham Road, replacing the covered arcade that featured in the approved plans. Complementing this, a new north/south pedestrian route through the site would connect Eltham Road with Carston Close.