Once the commercial heart of Sydenham, central Kirkdale has fallen on hard times. The once attractive sweep of Sydenham between the Bricklayer’s Arms and Willow Way has been prey to speculative builders and uncontrolled development. Short-sighted planning decisions have led to a mish-mash of styles. In recent years, important business premises have been lost to under-sized and badly designed residential housing. Pretty and practical buildings have been replaced or built on with ugly blocks, each block competing against its neighbours in terms of height and maximum density.
To put it bluntly: Kirkdale is a mess.
But we believe it’s not too late to stop and maybe even reverse this tide of ugliness. We want to put a team together to draw up a masterplan that will shape the area’s regeneration and give Kirkdale back its sense of identity and pride.
Currently, every planning application is viewed in isolation. The impact on existing buildings is taken into account, but not the cumulative impact of all the planning applications that have already been approved, but where work has not yet started. We want Lewisham’s planners to adopt a coherent approach to Kirkdale as a whole by commissioning a master plan for the area. And where Building Regulations or Planning decisions have been flouted, we want Lewisham to take strong enforcement action. Good builders and developers should be nurtured and supported, not discouraged by seeing the less honourable get away with thumbing their noses at the system.
There’s much to celebrate in central Kirkdale. We have a good community spirit and some great businesses and residents. We still have some outstanding architecture –
recognized by English Heritage as being of the highest calibre and much of Kirkdale is within a Conservation Area. But with the threatened loss of yet more amenities, such as the police station and The Windmill pub, there is likely to be further pressure on this vulnerable area.
We need your ideas and commitment to help create a farsighted, ambitious and inclusive planning framework for Kirkdale.
How you can help!
To find out more – and if you would like to get involved – please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone her on 020 8778 6914. Those with planning and/or architectural experience are especially welcome.
Or you can join the SEE3 planning group’s next meeting
The next Neighbourhood Planning Action Group meeting will be held on Tuesday 3 Sept from 7.30 pm – 9 pm. If you are interested in getting involved in the local planning process, lobbying and raising awareness of potential developments that may affect your area, as well as improvements in the public spaces, please join us.