07 March 2023

Planning Application: 57 Willow Way

An application for a new mixed-used commercial and residential development on Willow Way has been recieved by Lewisham Council. Below is the objection sent on behalf of the Forest Hill Society.

I am writing on behalf of the Forest Hill Society, regarding the proposed development at 21-57 Willow Way,SE26 4AR, planning application reference DC/22/129789.  This relates to the demolition of the existing buildings and redevelopment of the site with a block of 5-6 storeys, providing employment use (Use Class E(g)) at ground floor and 60 residential units above, with associated landscaping, car parking and amenity areas. 

While we are generally supportive of the provision of employment use and residential units, especially affordable units, in this location, we have the concerns and comments noted below.

This site is an important element of the Willow Way Employment Location, as identified in the emerging Local Plan, and it is unfortunate that there is currently no detailed or agreed masterplan for the wider site, against which these current proposals can be appraised.  The indicative masterplan provided with the Application is not clear on when the works to the public realm, including shared surface and the widening of Willow Way, will take place and how this will be achieved without the loss of area to the sites opposite to the Application Site. A detailed and agreed masterplan would clarify issues such as access and servicing, which are important considerations in the mixing of employment use and residential accommodation on the site. 

The Transport Assessment identifies one loading bay for the use of all three employment uses.  This bay will therefore be used regularly by goods vehicles and we have safety concerns that the location shown, outside of a main residential entrance, may not be suitable and that further thought should be given to the servicing strategy.

Regarding parking related to the development, it is noted that only disabled parking is provided. The Application documents suggest that there will be little demand for parking from new residents, but we still have concerns that without parking controls along Willow Way, car parking, access and pedestrian safety may become an issue. The road is currently consistently parked up with cars encroaching on the footpath, providing poor pedestrian access. This would be exacerbated if residents increase parking demand.

Regarding the massing, we remain concerned regarding the overall height of the proposed buildings which is excessive when compared with the 3 storey buildings in the adjacent Sydenham Park Conservation Area and the recently built 4 storey buildings at each end of Willow Way.  The mezzanine level in the employment use results in a height closer to 6 storeys overall.  We would recommend that the overall height is reduced by at least one storey.

We would ask that the above concerns be considered carefully before the proposals are determined.

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