Asda pulls out of redeveloped Leegate and more homes to come

From Killian Morris of St Modwen:

As you will be aware, St Modwen’s regeneration plans for Leegate Shopping Centre were approved by Lewisham’s planning committee in May of last year. It took until February of this year for the GLA to approve the scheme plans, and we are currently negotiating our way through the draft Section 106 agreement with the Council and their appointed lawyers.

In the intervening period, however, our development agreement with Asda has expired and they have subsequently taken the opportunity to withdraw from the scheme. Whilst this was initially disappointing, it has presented an opportunity to revisit our proposals and to consider alternatives that address outstanding local concerns (public realm and traffic issues in particular). Removing the large format foodstore from the scheme would provide flexibility to redesign the proposed outdoor public space, with potential to create a recessed public square flanked by a smaller foodstore, shops and cafes. We have carried out some initial feasibility studies, and I am pleased to report that we have received interest from a number of food retailers who are prepared to consider our alternative proposals. It is therefore our intention to progress these alternative plans, whilst evaluating the potential for delivering the approved scheme with an alternative anchor tenant or tenants.

The alternative proposals would involve an increase in the amount of housing to be provided at Leegate, as a direct consequence of the reduction in retail floorspace proposed. It is important to note, however, that we are not proposing any increase in building heights over and above the approved scheme proposals. I would also add that we have retained award winning architects Maccreanor Lavington, who remain responsible for the scheme design along with East landscape architects.

As a next step, we intend shortly writing to stakeholders and local residents with an invitation to attend a public consultation on our alternative scheme proposals.

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