DON’T MISS …. Developers Guildmore are hosting public exhibitions of their proposals for the restoration of the Ladywell Playtower ahead of submitting a planning application. The exhibitions will offer an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. The exhibitions will be held at Lewisham church St Mary the Virgin, 346 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6LE on Thursday January 16 (4pm-6pm) and Saturday January 18 (10am – 2pm).
Developers Guildmore and their partners Curzon are proposing to increase the number of screens in the Playtower cinema from three to four after agreeing a revised plan for the Grade II building with Lewisham council’s mayor and cabinet.
It is understood Guildmore are also going to increase the size of the flats in the development as the council is thought to be opposed to small studios. As a result the number of flats will fall from 39 to 33.
An area of affordable commercial space which can be let to local people who want to run their small business there will be included in the development.
Guildmore will hold sessions with the local community to talk about their plans and hope to submit their proposals to planning in the early part of next year.
It is thought the renovation of the Pklaytower and development will take two years to complete.
The Lewisham Building Preservation Trust, which led the fight to save the building, has broadly welcomed the proposals.
“We look forward to playing a full part over the coming months in helping to move the refurbishment and re-use of this iconic building forward.”
After council agreement to the revised plans, Mayor Damien Egan said: “The restored Ladywell Playtower will be an exciting new community facility in Lewisham, with a new Curzon cinema and space for the community. I am proud that we are protecting our heritage and are keeping the restored Playtower open for the future.”
In 2017 developers Guildmore and Curzon Cinemas won the bid to restore the Playtower after the building was badly damaged by fire and fell into disrepair.
Subsequent investigations of the Playtower revealed that the cost of the restoring the building, which sits within the St Mary’s Conservation Area, were greater than anticipated.
As solutions to raise the necessary funds were explored, the restoration works slowed raising concerns in the local community.
Guildmore’s original plans which included cinema, new homes, nursery and supported living facilities evolved.
The nursery and supported living facilities were dropped and the number of new homes to be built increased.
It is understood most of the new homes will be sold to help fund the development costs.
The council said that after “conversations with developer Guildmore and Curzon over the summer, the proposed restoration works to Ladywell Playtower have been revised.”
“It has been agreed that up to 200 square metres of ground floor space can be used as an affordable workspace for local businesses or bookable community space.”
It added: “The space would be let at rates below the market rate. Curzon Cinemas has also committed to offer discounted cinema tickets to local residents.”