Plans for a multi-screen cinema and community business space in a refurbished Ladywell Play Tower have stalled raising fears the Grade II listed building will be allowed to deteriorate further.
Lewisham Building Preservation Trust (LBPT), a charity which supports the restoration of listed buildings, has written to Mayor Damien Eagan urging him to do what he can “to move the scheme forward”.
The trust is concerned the PlayTower will be “vulnerable to further break-ins and arson attacks the longer it remains empty”. It says the building will “continue to deteriorate” if work does not start soon.
Tony Rich, chair of the LBPT, says the trust feels strongly “that the only effective way to secure the building for the future would be by getting it refurbished and occupied.”
In its letter to the mayor, the trust stresses that “there is a great deal of interest among local people and we are regularly getting messages of support and interest in the future of the building.”
The trust says it remains “very supportive” of the proposals put forward by Guildmore Developments which was chosen as the council’s preferred development partner after a public ballot in 2017.
Guildmore originally proposed a 220 seat multi-screen cinema run by Curzon with a bar, restaurant and public events space, around 20 new homes, a nursery, and supported living facilities.
Guildmore’s plans have since evolved. The nursery and supported living facilities have been dropped and the number of new homes to be built has increased. Most of the new homes will be sold to help fund the development.
But recently Guildmore hastily abandoned efforts to show its latest proposals to the local community. Trust members believe Guildmore is now in discussions with the council over the number of affordable homes in the development.