Bell Green Proposals

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RJM
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Joined: 2 Jan 2016 15:30
Location: Sydenham

Bell Green Proposals

Post by RJM » 21 Sep 2019 22:53

Did anyone make the public meeting last week? The proposals are here: http://www.discourse-architecture.com/B ... Panels.pdf and the feedback form is https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/survey-t ... x2S8kv4_3D

My first thought is to wonder where I'm meant to do my food shopping if they get rid of the big Sainsburys! I do shop on the High Street, but there's stuff I can't get there or I'm not always back in time to go, so rely on the supermarket. Given that we walk there, taking it away means we'd have to start getting our shopping delivered - which is obviously less environmentally friendly, as well as not being an option for everyone.

The plan also doesn't cover the bit of Bell Green by Sydenham Green surgery, which really could do with some improvement, only the bits where they can do something big, shiny and new. I'd prefer to see them improve what we have already and come up with a decent plan for that - surely a bigger challenge in many ways? Plus where is the infrastructure to support 4000 new homes? Build a new primary school, sure, but the plan suggests it's to replace Haseltine - will it be twice the size to cover all the pupils currently there as well as the ones to come? What about GPs/dentists etc?

Overall I think the short to medium term goals are reasonable, but the long term ones don't seem to take into account what people who already live here need. They're sufficiently fanciful that I can't be convinced it'll get off the ground, which makes me feel a bit negative/cynical about the whole thing.

Rachael
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Location: Sydenham / Forest Hill Intersection

Re: Bell Green Proposals

Post by Rachael » 22 Sep 2019 11:39

It says the long term goal is to replace the single storey retail units with multiple level mixed retail and housing units, so presumably Sainsbury’s could stay. Looking at the currently Sainsbury’s building, I can seen it could well need levelled and rebuilt in the medium term. It’s been there a very long time for that sort of construction (I’m saying that with no expert knowledge!).

There are some good things in the plan, but I agree that presenting achievable things with longer term ‘fantasy’ elements means the achievable things will be probably fall by the wayside.

RJM
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Re: Bell Green Proposals

Post by RJM » 22 Sep 2019 15:10

I assumed when they said mixed retail/housing that it would be the current favoured style of block of flats with Tesco Metro/Sainsburys Local in the bottom of it, rather than the big supermarket we currently have. That's not an ideal replacement for a big supermarket in my view as they tend to be pricier and with a less good range. As a possibly similar style of development, the massive Sainsburys at Nine Elms/Vauxhall looks like it was rebuilt from a store much like the Bell Green one, to be a big shop with some flats round and [possibly] underground parking so something like that would be a sensible option.

As you say, there's some good stuff in there - I like the short to medium term goals a lot. It's the longer term bit that I'm less sure about, and does anyone who made the meeting had more insight into them?

TredownMan
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Re: Bell Green Proposals

Post by TredownMan » 22 Sep 2019 17:12

I support turning these big box sites and car parking into homes. However, we can't allow this to become a displacement activity that allows viable plans for homes elsewhere in Sydenham to be refused now, on the pretext that they could be situation in Bell Green at some other point in the distant future.

sophie
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Re: Bell Green Proposals

Post by sophie » 22 Sep 2019 21:08

My first thought is it reminds me of the development on the old greyhound track in Catford. I’ve not been in it but have been past it and it looks and feels strange. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

I don’t understand the plan in that the retail park is getting a new Aldi in a couple of weeks time. Presumably they sign a lease for a number of years. The plan appears to show only housing. If the idea is to have retail units underneath flats (like Sports Direct) parking will be a nightmare for everyone. If people can’t park they won’t go there.

Am I maybe misinterpreting the plans?

michael
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Re: Bell Green Proposals

Post by michael » 23 Sep 2019 08:14

I was also a bit concerned about the loss of retail, but was reassured that some of the blocks would be entirely retail on the ground level - not just the 'C' shape but the whole block and joining the neighbouring 'C' block. That creates a retail unit at least as big as Aldi, but possibly not quite as big a Savacentre (which seems to include about five different shops now).

Above these retail units would need to be multi-storey car parks, possibly with additional residential above that to reach the 4-8 storeys proposed for the main area.

This would mean that there may not necessarily be a reduction in retail, but there could be the addition of 4,000 new homes - all of this would still be slightly constrained by the existing two entrances/exits from the area. But with a transport hub on the door step, many of the residents wouldn't own their own cars (especially in 30 years time when personal transport may be distance history). Of course if we don't all have cars in 2050 then the whole problem of Bell Green goes away - not sure why we need to build 4,000 new flats to solve a problem that will have disappeared.

I like the early phases of the plan - removing some cars from some streets. It would be interesting to better understand the likely impacts of these changes as somebody said that before the multi-lane one-way system was built there was constant jams - even worse than today - but that was before my memory of the area. But these early phases need to stand on their own and cannot be dependent on the later phases. We are still waiting for that little bridge to be widened after 25 years of Savacentre. It should have been possible to find an opportunity to make these changes during quarter of a century, but then I think we have been waiting the best part of a decade for a simple foot bridge to be replaced.

alywin
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Re: Bell Green Proposals

Post by alywin » 23 Sep 2019 21:18

Two things occur to me:
- what Bakerloo extension? The one we're not getting? Or have the powers that be changed their minds again?
- I thought the whole site was contaminated and not suitable for residential accommodation, but then I wasn't around here back in the days when it was being constructed, so may be wrong.

carty
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Re: Bell Green Proposals

Post by carty » 27 Sep 2019 05:24

Isn't this just a group of folks wishes?
And nothing to do with the council/land owners?

RJM
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Re: Bell Green Proposals

Post by RJM » 27 Sep 2019 11:14

carty wrote:
27 Sep 2019 05:24
Isn't this just a group of folks wishes?
And nothing to do with the council/land owners?
Yes, but I imagine they must think there's some point in doing this and asking people's opinions - presumably to then try and campaign for the council/land owners to improve the site. If they're just doing it for interest, then it's a bit of a waste of everyone's time.

Editing this to add that I've just spotted Michael's comment about waiting 25 years to replace a simple foot bridge. In my limited knowledge of rail engineering, bridge replacement isn't simple! It's potentially weeks of having to stop the trains running along that line and I imagine that Network Rail would only do it if someone else were paying for it eg as part of a new Lower Sydenham station where developers coughed up the money.

Tim Lund
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Re: Bell Green Proposals

Post by Tim Lund » 27 Sep 2019 13:46

I went along, and while the vision for a mix of housing and retail, at decent densities - for which read high enough to help solve housing shortage, but not overbearing - was good, it felt to me, in the words of Tredownman, something of a displacement activity. I think the project was too architect led, and would have been better led equally by transport planners. A good reference for anyone thinking about this sort of thing is the organisation Transport for New Homes

http://www.transportfornewhomes.org.uk/ ... elopments/

As Alywin observes, the relocation of the Bakerloo is a bit of a fantasy, and Likelike's reality check on making changes to the line out to Hayes is worth remembering too

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19428&start=20#p182478

The immediate traffic problems are to do with cars producing air pollution, and the comments from the floor, other than those already bought into this vision, we mainly about that. Somehow they seemed to think the volume of car journeys would come down in the short run, but I didn't find much about how - maybe I missed it. If that was possible, I'd have said it was something to focus on now, rather than these particular proposals

mosy
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Re: Bell Green Proposals

Post by mosy » 27 Sep 2019 17:32

I fail to see by anyone would want to live adjacent to a fume-ridden car park or access road and certainly not above a car parking elevated level. I doubt any of the planners or proponents would be putting their names on a "Yes please" list for themselves or families.

I wholly agree with Michael when he says "But these early phases need to stand on their own and cannot be dependent on the later phases." There's plenty of evidence that incidental improvements and later phases are by no means guaranteed.

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