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Bell Green Community Masterplan – feedback

The Bell Green masterplan was launched at a public meeting held at the Livesey Hall on 12 September 2019. Following this, proposals have been available online, and via exhibition panels and booklets of drawings at Catford, Sydenham and Forest Hill Libraries.

We collected feedback from people who attended the public meeting and those who visited the exhibitions. 26 people filled in paper forms and 52 people completed the online survey.

The response from most people was very positive:

  • “Plans are well thought out and imaginative as well as being practical. They seem completely achievable with so many common sense suggestions.”
  • “Great initial progress of a scheme that is made for people by the people.”
  • “Imaginative, holistic approach with a balance of eco/housing/business priorities.”
  • “It will greatly enhance the area.”
  • “I like the overall look of the design. People are more important than sheds and vehicles.”
  • “It’s a well thought design that focuses on making pedestrian access better but not to the detriment of car users.”
  • “It all seems more people friendly and nature friendly. I’d like to see even more attention to supporting biodiversity”

Some people had reservations. For example, they said that they would be sorry to lose retail space on the site and that such an increase in housing provision also needs other facilities such as schools, GPs, surgeries, etc.

It should have been made clear that the scheme includes the same retail area as that currently provided on the site, and that other kinds of facilities could easily find a place within the scheme and be put near the bus and the train station. The difference is that housing and other uses are provided above the retail space and parking.

Average scheme valuation

Q1Improved pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, wider pavements and street trees.8.77
Q2Develop facilities for new and existing communities around the historic core of the Livesey Memorial Hall.8.81
Q3Should there be a new entrance to the linear park from Perry Hill (to the east of the bowling green)?8.29
Q4A new bus station with associated housing, retail and commercial uses located in the southern corner of the Sainsbury’s car park.7.35
Q5Create a balance between pedestrians and vehicles, keeping them separate wherever possible8.43
Q6Should we integrate public spaces, landscapes and nature?9.06
Q7How much do you like the overall approach of the design?7.37
Don’t like it at all = 1 • Like it a lot = 10

What happens next?

Lewisham Council is using data based on our masterplan to support the case for relocating Lower Sydenham Station to Bell Green and extending the Bakerloo Line from New Cross to Hayes. We strongly support this initiative.

We understand that Lewisham Council is also seeking funding to commission a full masterplan for the site, in order to appoint consultants with the professional skills to make a balanced assessment of the needs and opportunities. This is something that we strongly support, provided that this work is carried out in consultation with the local community.

In order to ensure that local people can control the scale and form of development, we propose to establish a ‘Neighbourhood Forum’ for Bell Green. Neighbourhood Forums are a government initiative to give local communities a legal right to direct the form of development in their area. We suggest that the Neighbourhood Forum should include Bell Green plus surrounding streets and parks.

We will shortly publish a map showing the suggested boundary as a basis for discussion.

The Forum will require a board of at least 21 local people and the support of at least 50% of the voters within a designated local area, which can be wider than the one within the planned boundary.

In the next few months we will help to arrange a public meeting at which the creation of a Neighbourhood Forum can be discussed and constituted, provided of course that there is support for the idea.

Discourse Architecture: Ruta Benetyte, Simon McCormack, Bruno Tonelli