The regeneration of Catford has been years in the planning and looking at the recent regeneration review, we are a long way off from seeing any real changes.
The number of different landowners with stakes in and around the town centre, as well as financial issues, have hampered the project over the years. Now The Council has either direct or indirect ownership of Catford Shopping Centre and Milford Towers as well as the Town Hall, Civic Suite, Laurence House and Broadway Theatre, giving it more influence on future regeneration plans.
The regeneration programme is mainly focused on the sites owned by the Council as well as the road network, which is predominantly owned by Transport for London (TFL). Progress of the programme is heavily reliant on a decision by TFL on whether to realign the South Circular (A205). The town centre local plan was withdrawn back in 2013 due to a delay in TFLs decisions on the South Circular.
Key elements of the Council’s vision for Catford include
- the redevelopment of Catford Shopping Centre to create new retail space
- demolition of Milford Towers and the provision of several hundred new homes across the town centre
- major infrastructure work to the road network (which is mostly owned by TFL) which would create a more joined up town centre and could also free up additional space for development
- new community facilities, pedestrianised areas and open spaces
- a possible re-location of Council services which would provide further development space on the existing site
Highlights from the report
Two options have been considered for the highways network in Catford: the hybrid scheme and the gyratory scheme. The Committee heard from an officer from TfL who discussed the benefits and drawbacks of both schemes as well as their costs. TfL advised the Committee that they currently do not have funding allocated for either scheme.
The hybrid scheme would divert the South Circular behind Laurence House – (see image below). In August 2014 TfL completed their initial study of the impact of this hybrid scheme. It was called the hybrid scheme as it represented a compromise between TfL’s priorities and those of the Council. The scheme has an estimated cost of £15 to £20 million. Modelling has shown that benefits of the hybrid scheme would include: reduction in journey time for some bus routes; general improvements to traffic times; realignment of A205 out of the Town Centre; some improvements for pedestrians and the provision of 1,039 homes.
The gyratory scheme would retain the current road layout of the roads with certain localised improvements – see image below. The Council had commissioned a study on the impacts of this scheme. The scheme has an estimated cost of £10 to £15 million. Benefits of the Gyratory scheme included: reduction in bus journey time on four routes; a slight improvement in traffic times; some improvements for pedestrians; and the provision of 1,295 homes.
Currently neither scheme included substantial improvements for pedestrians. Both schemes aimed to improve signal timings and pedestrian provision but once a scheme was selected, more work could be done to ensure objectives for pedestrians and cyclists were delivered.
The Council had bid for Catford Town Centre to be designated as a Housing Zone by the Greater London Authority (GLA). Housing Zone are identified by the GLA as areas that could deliver significant housing, and the GLA provides some funding to accelerate these developments. London Boroughs have to bid for this funding. The funding from the GLA to support the building of affordable housing and infrastructure
The GLA has now designated Catford Town Centre as a Housing Zone. This has provided additional funding to the regeneration programme. The details of the funding agreement between the Council and the GLA are still be decided. The houses would need to be delivered within 10 years of the funding agreement.
A report outlining the timeline for the regeneration programme including consultation with residents about the development plans is due to be presented at the Sustainable Development Select Committee in September/October.