Local groups have raised significant concerns about the height of buildings proposed in redevelopment plans for Leegate Shopping Centre.  

Galliard Homes recently bought the run-down shopping centre, built in the 1960s and once voted the worst of its kind in the country.

Its previous owners St Modwen failed to redevelop the site after a series of hurdles.  

Plans from them in 2015, which included a large ASDA and getting rid of the public realm, were met with local opposition.  

Despite this, the council approved their planning application. But ASDA pulled out, along with its funding, and the plans fell through.  

St Modwen put forward more plans in 2018, which retained the public realm, but the council would not accept the low level of affordable housing proposed.  

Galliard started consulting on its initial plans this year , which according to its scoping report include “a residential-led mixed use development consisting of up to 630” homes, with shops, office, community, and leisure space. 

“The proposed buildings will range in height from two to 15 storeys”, according to the report.  

Ls Site View North

St Modwen proposed 393 flats in 2018.  

Galliard plans make 35 per cent of the homes ‘affordable’, with “both rented and intermediate tenures”. 

Lewisham Council’s draft local plan suggests the site would be suitable for 450 homes, nearly 200 fewer than what has been put forward by the developer.  

Galliard said it wants to put walking and cycling “at the heart” of its plans “through the provision of resident and visitor cycle spaces, and a range of new pedestrian routes through the site”.  

“We are also confident that our plans will not create any additional parking pressure on local roads, because new buyers will be informed whether their new home will have a car parking space allocated to it or not,” it said.  

Ls The Site

But locals are concerned that the development would inevitably put pressure on an already lacking transport infrastructure. 

The area has a public transport accessibility level (PTAL) of three on a scale of one to six, level six being excellent access to public transport and level one representing very poor access. 

In a consultation document Galliard lists constraints on the site, which include the existing commercial tenants, the several trees in the area that are subject to Tree Protection Orders (TPOs), flood risks, underground utilities, and heritage assets. 

“Our proposals need to take into account and respond to a number of important locally listed buildings nearby.  

“These include the Edwardian fire station on Eltham Road to the north, the new and old Tiger’s Head Inn on Lee Road and the Tiger’s Head crossroads.  

“In addition, although the site is not within a Conservation Area, the Lee Manor, Blackheath and West Greenwich Conservation Areas are nearby,” it states.  

Galliard has increased the height of the building facing the Lee crossroads from 10 to 15 storeys, compared with the 2018 plans. On the other side of the site, a 13-storey tower is planned.  

The 15-storey building would represent a 37 per cent increase compared the nearest highest building in the Leybridge Court.  

Local groups, who are concerned about the potential impact on Grade II listed and locally listed buildings it the area, have argued that the height of the 11-storey blocks in the estate should not be used for comparison as they are set back from the site, surrounded by green space and trees. 

They say if approved it will set a precedent, meaning the next developer of the Sainsbury’s or Penfold sites nearby – allocations earmarked for development in the local plan – could ask for another increase of 37 per cent.  

They are also worried about increased pollution from the development – the area is already around 75 per cent above the legal limit for C02 emissions.  

The local groups, including the Lee Forum and Lee Manor Society, have written to Galliard to express their concerns.  

A spokesperson for the Lee Forum told the local democracy service: “Galliard Homes have owned Leegate for less than three months.   

“The community want to work with Galliards 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.”