The Future of West Norwood – Site 18

The Draft Lambeth Site Allocations Plan is currently out for consultation and has significant implications for the future of West Norwood. The site allocation plan – known as SADPD for short – is a planning strategy document not a finalised building plan but does significantly affect who kind of developments could get planning policy in the future.

Of particular interest to us is the site at 286-362 Norwood Road, the stretch of Norwood Road which currently has B&Q and Waylett Place Car Park on and is at the centre of the retail area of West Norwood.

The proposals in the SADPD say that the whole area is suitable for development of a tall building in centre of site of around 12 stories which could have around 400 flats. There would also be space for community use and commercial use built into the bottom of the flats. Alongside this there is also a specific aspiration to workspace to support growing creative cluster across the area.

The area from above.

The whole site has been under consideration for some time. Originally designated site 18 by an earlier Lambeth Local Plan, previous aspirations have included the development of a destination store shopping area, the creation of a square for the town centre and the regeneration of the carpark for the town centre. The large section of brownfield site makes it a suitable area for development.

Although it is not in Thurlow Park Ward we have been very concerned about its future. This site is at the heart of West Norwood’s town centre. It is integral to having a functioning retail area and contains the largest hardware store of its size in the vicinity of Central London. It is directly opposite Thurlow Park Ward and where many residents shop, socialise and use services.

There are some strong reasons for not supporting these plans and looking for a more ambitious and appropriate plan for the area. These are;

  • Anything over 7 stories is out of keeping with the area and the various aspects of the skyline made up by the topography of West Norwood. This does not mean that housing cannot (and should) form part of a development here, but the creation of a 12-story or higher building would significantly alter the entire nature of the area.
  • There is no clear direction for the retail space that would have an equivalent replacement for the existing destination stores there and the parking spaces those businesses (such as DIY stores) by their nature require.
  • More ambitious plans on the site would include the production of a square or common space that could directly complement not take from the local area.
  • Although this is only a zoning exercise at the moment there is a real danger that if this approved there could be a development which really undermines the entire fabric of the town centre potentially removing one whole side of the street and altering the town centre feel of the area.
  • There needs to be more community involvement in the creation of what the future of site 18 should be and is used for. This area of Norwood Road could be used to remake the area with a real community focus, including community assets, but the efforts from the masterplan refresh exercise of 2017 and other work done in the construction of a Norwood Local Plan are going to waste.

You can access the draft consultation document here and you must have your say by the 22nd of February.

We would also recommend that you comment on the Knolly’s Yard site whilst you are on this consultation site. This is for a much larger development that is just outside the town centre of up to 22 stories. Again the argument is not that nothing should be built here but that there is a full community led development programme. There can and should be a large development that involves multiple residential units created on this site and one which fits in with the area.

We support the Norwood Forum’s call to take site 18 out of the SADPD and develop it as a project in its own right. This should include buildings more in keeping with the existing framework of the area, containing affordable housing and a revitalised town centre space, to compliment the existing shop fronts.

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