There is a planning application to be considered by Lewisham Council that proposes, “the alterations and conversion of vacant commercial units at The Arches Childers Street SE8 into 2 one bedroom and 7 two bedroom self-contained flats, together with the provision of 4 car parking and 18 cycle spaces.”
The five units which have been empty since the buildings were completed have so far been marketed as offices with practically no success, according to the Marketing Report and Appraisal produced by Richard Kalmar of Kalmars Commercial Ltd. (Click here to read the full report)
The report states “The marketing response has been very poor comprising a total of 4 parties, most of which has been interested for D1 nursery use”.
And it the proposal for the conversion to residential use is also recommended in the report quite early on page 6, stating, “In conclusion, unless planning permission is granted to allow a change of use to residential the space is likely to remain vacant. Even if a company is found to take the space they may well be driven solely by a cheap price and not have a strong sustainable business”.
While it may be true that the units’ designation as office may not be the right one, there has not been an exploration of other commercial uses for the space. Especially as the new cycle quiet way passes within close proximity.
This is part of the reason DeptfordFolk, who brought this to our attention oppose the conversions.
In their Objection Letter, DeptfordFolk summarise by pointing out the reasons they oppose the conversion. And these include:
- The low quality, low natural light residential use in units described as not for habitation whose lack of interface with the street will contribute to an increased lack of safety in the area.
- Their belief that there has been little attempt to market the properties or any commitment to maintaining the units to present viable business opportunities.
- And the belief that adequate consultation with neighbours has not been undertaken.
- Stating further, that they “would support the reclassification of these units to A1/3 usage to allow shops or cafes reflecting the changing demographics, population increase and cycle quietway in the immediate area.”
The full DeptfordFolk Objection Letter can be found here.
And to respond to the consultation, please click here.