The narrow site at 180 Brockley Road has been home to Brockley Motors since 1960. Prior to that it was the site of the Ritz, a cinema open between 1913 and 1954 under various names including the Brockley Picture House, the Giralda and the Palladium.
The site is currently the subject of a major planning application to redevelop. New proposals will create 25 new apartments, with units for shops or cafes on the ground floor facing Brockley Road. We think that the developer, McDonald Egan, and his architect have consulted well with local people including groups such as the Brockley Society and Brockley Cross Action Group. They have listened well, and come up with a scheme that could work for this site. The new retail units should offer Brockleys shopping centre a chance to expand. The design is contemporary but sympathetic, and uses high quality materials and brickwork.
In following this project closely, we have learnt something about the level of public contributions that developers make to the public purse for buildings like these. As part of a deal struck with Lewisham Council if this project goes ahead, McDonald Egan will contribute 41,834 to local education, 32,500 to health, 20,816 for leisure facilities, 37,053 to Lewishams open spaces, 7,851 for community centres/libraries, 21,206 for employment training, and 90,000 towards public realm improvements in Coulgate Street. As well as this, the developer will contribute nearly 250,000 through the London Assembly for Crossrail. The eventual profit margins on this building for the developer are likely to be less than 10% – though there will be a further clause in the planning consent that means if profits rise above 20%, then further contributions will be made to Lewisham for affordable housing.
We thought that it is worth pointing this out. Not all development is bad, and not all developers are cynical. We look forward to seeing this project get consent, and for building works to start.