News, views, comments and rumours from the neighbourhood.
Coral flat occupied … but there’s no electricity and only cold water
Strange happenings in the flats above the old Coral bookies. We’ve noticed people going in and out of the flats. LL’s first thought was that Alina and Joel of Oscars, who are taking over the shop unit and opening a restaurant, were getting quotes for work that needs to be carried out for renovation of the site. But it appears someone has moved into one of the flats and the locks have been changed. They have no access to warm water or electricity and may well be paying rent to someone who does not own the flat. The flats, which had been empty for more than 20 years, are owned by former bookies E Coomes who are now looking to repossess the flats. Meanwhile, Alina and Joel are working on sorting out the lease for the shop unit and hope to start work on their “modern European” restaurant in the near future. They have yet to decide on a name for the restaurant.
The car wash Co-op … to be or not to be?
Well it looks like a supermarket … but there are still doubts surrounding the future of the old car wash development on Ladywell Road. Two planning applications regarding deliveries and refuse collection were refused by the council. The Co-op was expected to submit an amended application but so far nothing. So what now? The Co-op hasn’t responded to email requests for comment. Our councillors have yet to be told what is happening.
Play Tower restoration work set to start early next year
Plans for the restoration of the Ladywell Playtower have been approved by Lewisham’s strategic planning committee so work on repairing, restoring and developing the Grade II listed landmark. But when? LL has been told that first some further weather proofing of the building is required for the next few months. The council also has to negotiate s106 planning obligations and infrastructure levy with the developer Guildmore. That means work on restoring the building is unlikely to start until the early months of 2023. The project will also see new homes built on site, helping to subsidise the cost of restoration and secure the long-term future of the Playtower. The development will be car-free, with secure cycle storage provided to residents, and see new trees and greenery planted. The cinema is due to open in 2024. Watch this space.
Building works move along on Mercy Terrace
A previous planning application for the plot, granted in 2012, was for flats and a ground floor hall (DC/11/077223). It was to be a 2-3 storey building containing ground floor commercial space and 2x one bedroom and 1x two bedroom flats, with a water tower clad in zinc.
So what is happening at the end of Mercy Terrace? Surely somebody knows. The last planning application was DC/14/087655, granted by the council, was for a refuse and bike store with a ridge height of 4.2m. But the current building work looks a little intricate for such a store.
Is this too good to be true? A new restaurant in old Coral bookies?
Health warning! This is just a rumour … but worth passing on nevertheless. We have heard that there’s growing interest in the now notorious former Coral betting shop at the end of Algernon Road. It seems someone who has been involved in the Peckham Cellars restaurant on Queens Road SE15 is looking to open a restaurant in the old bookies. Peckham Cellars is a neighbourhood bistro and wine bar that was set up by three friends from Southeast London. It offers, according to the Michelin Guide, “well priced, original small plates … full of flavour. They’re made for sharing, so choose three or four per person …”Food is described as Mediterranean Cuisine. Fingers crossed. It is about time owners Coomes sorted this out. And while they are at it they could open up the flats above the shop!
Safer Neighbourhood Panel needs you!
Ladywell’s Safer Neighbourhood Panel plays a valuable role in the ward by bringing police and community together to help prevent crime and solve neighbourhood problems. The panel gives the community a chance to be involved in the setting of local police priorities, and by discussing local issues it can help decide how increasingly limited police resources are deployed. The panel is looking for a new chair and a secretary. The safer neighbourhood team will update the assembly on March 24 and will discuss the need for the community to get involved.
The wine bar has arrived!
Finally. Ladywell’s long-awaited wine bar has arrived! Cafe Oscar’s is now opening Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 10.00pm. It is offering cocktails, fine wines, and good food (small plates) with a North African/Middle Eastern touch. Most of the dishes are vegan, but meat plates are available. Ladywell-Live wishes Oscar’s well. Ladywell needs a bit more night life onthe high street.
Playtower hopes 2: a reason to be cheerful ….
Ladywell might finally be about to hear some good news on the long running Playtower saga. The revised plans for the Playtower are expected to be on the agenda for the Mayor and Cabinet meeting on Wednesday November 20 – purdah permitting. Ladywell Live understands that everybody involved is keen to move the project forward. Let’s hope so. Guildmore and Curzon Cinemas were appointed by Lewisham Council to restore Ladywell Playtower into a new three-screen cinema about two years ago..
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.
The plans have since evolved. The nursery and supported living facilities have been dropped and the number of new homes to be built has increased.
But most of the new homes are likely to be for sale in order to raise the funds needed to cover the substantial restoration costs of the Playtower.
That seems to have been the sticking point.
Discussions between Guildmore and the council seem to have stalled over how much affordable housing there should be in the development. Affordable housing is a key council priority.
Perhaps Mayor Damian Egan can come along to the Ladywell Assembly on December 18 and bring us all some good news.
Open all hours
Is Ladywell finally about to get that long-awaited wine bar? We can but hope. Cafe Oscar’s has applied for planning permission to extend its opening hours to 10.00pm. There’s been local pressure for a wine bar ever since previous owner Petra organised occasional wine tasting sessions. They were well attended to say the least! We await further news.
Our reliable informant on Ladywell Road tells us there has been a bit of activity around the Playtower. The Lewisham Ledger recently reported that the developers and the council were close to announcing “something later in October”. Our informant tells us there have been security guards with dogs patrolling the site. Are developers Guildmore finally getting close to starting work or are the guards just out to deter Halloween pranksters?
From car wash to convenience store?
Back to one of our favourite stories from the high street.to match Remember in the dim and distant past there was talk of Tesco taking space in a development on the garage site behind the billboards. It never happened.
But now customers of our very own chip shop, the Catch Inn, have been overheard speculating freely about the recent activity around the Ladywell car wash. The developers of the site are understood to be interested in digging out the petrol storage tanks of the old garage and creating a basement in the proposed development
They’ve talked about housing a gym there but that would need more space than is currently available on the ground floor of the proposed development. Basement space would make it viable. But a ground floor with a basement would also be big enough for a small Tesco Express … or a Sainsbury or Co-op. Could this be the plan? We await further developments and rumours.
“So what happens if Transport for London decide to extend the Bakerloo line past Lewisham to Ladywell. Catford and Beckenham”, we were asked recently. Tfl will replace the rail track with Underground track but ”how long will that take?”
“ Will we have to take buses for three years? And will we have to change at Lewisham – already overcrowded – to get to London Bridge and the City?”
Sabesh the celebrity
Sabesh is enjoying his celebrity status after Ladywell Live’s recent profile of our man in the station ticket office He tells us that Southeastern have republished our article on one of its staff websites.