Guildmore, the partner chosen three years ago to develop and renovate the Play Tower, says it remains committed to the restoration of the historic building.
In a letter to local resident Robert Sheppard, the chief executive of Guildmore Engin Ertosun says “he can confirm the Ladywell project is still viable”.
Guildmore is “committed to the restoration of Ladywell Playtower. We are in regular contact with the London Borough of Lewisham, with a view to advancing this project as soon as possible.”
Both Lewisham’s mayor Damien Egan and Guildmore have now confirmed their commitment to the restoration project although as yet no timescale has been put forward.
Mayor insists restoration project is top priority
Mayor Damien Egan has written to local resident Robert Sheppard assuring him that “the protection and restoration of the much-loved Ladywell Play Tower building remains a top priority”.
The letter says council officers continue to meet with the intended developer, Guildmore, to advance the scheme that “we all want to see”. The Mayor says he and Cllr Paul Bell, the cabinet member for housing and planning, will be stressing to Guildmore that we want to see progress in 2021.
The Mayor adds: “In the last administration, the previous Mayor and Cabinet agreed to enter into the agreement with Guildmore. Work is underway to meet those commitments. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on many parts of the Council’s work, including plans for the Ladywell Play Tower.”
In the wake of recent fires at the historic building, the council will “be increasing security on the site to prevent people from gaining access illegally and ensure the Playtower building is protected”, .says the letter
Mayor urged to safeguard Play Tower and explain hold-ups with refurbishment
Long-time Ladywell resident and activist Robert Sheppard has written an open letter to Mayor Damien Egan urging him to provide more information on the Ladywell Play Tower cinema project amid growing local fears the planned refurbishment and development has been shelved.
His letter follows a similar plea from the Lewisham Building Preservation Trust which is concerned the building will suffer more serious damage because of delays in getting the refurbishment started.
A recent planning notice outside the Play Tower also alarmed local residents as it suggested a further consultation on the fate of the building would have to take place.
Developers Guildmore and cinema operator Curzon were chosen more than three years ago as the preferred partners for the refurbishment of this important historic building.
Members of the local community have witnessed several fires and break-ins over the last few months. They are concerned the building is at risk of being completely destroyed. They want the council to at least secure the site properly.
Robert asks the mayor if “the planning process been completed and what is holding up the commencement of ‘boots on the ground’ works on-site?”
He goes on: “What is being done to prevent further break-ins and damage to, the building?”
Robert points out that the community has been looking forward to delivery of this project since the previous Mayor approved the Guildmore project in 2017. Ladywell “is looking to the Mayor and Council to make sure it happens.”
“Safeguarding this historic building for community use as a cinema/bar/cafe/restaurant “would be a huge community benefit and would, amongst other things, provide some new local employment.”