New Cross Gate NDC Retail Restoration Scheme, Lewisham
Keegans worked for the New Cross Gate New Deal for Communities (NDC) in the London Borough of Lewisham to design and project manage improvements to approximately 100 retail units in an around New Cross High Road.
As the scheme was in a designated conservation area, Keegans worked very closely with English Heritage and Lewisham planning authority to deliver a sympathetic and where possible, original scheme through the use of traditional building techniques and appropriate materials, to preserve the historic character of some of the buildings
The scheme attracted grant funding that matched contributions from the owners of the retail units so there was a real incentive for the owners to embrace the scheme. Our appointment was as lead designer and also contract administrator for the entire programme which affected over 50 units. In addition it was our responsibility to liaise with the owners and sign them up to the scheme. This took consultation on to another level including the presentation not only to a group of stakeholders where we presented schematic proposals but also one-to-one consultation on proposals.
The scheme itself was inherently challenging. The property was a mix of Georgian and Victorian street properties that had been converted or were purpose built retail units which over the recent decades had undergone a myriad of changes which meant that restoring them to their original detailing was a painstaking process of initially identifying the correct detailing and then finding the correct materials and detailing to meet correct regulations and user requirements.
The significant issue for Keegans as lead designers was the need to make the shops secure. Many of the owners had fitted security roller shutters and felt that these were necessary to maintain security but of course didn’t complement the original design. We explored a number of options with the owners and English Heritage eventually settling on a bespoke external motorised design which, when opened, the shutters were stored behind the shop facade.
We also dealt with a number of Party Wall issues relating to the adjoining properties each time managing to successfully negotiate a solution. Once we had completed the initial pilot properties we were able to demonstrate to the other shop owners the real tangible benefits of joining the scheme.
The scheme was successful and has greatly enhanced the streetscape in New Cross area and has increased the viability and demand in the retail units.