A meeting of full council on 16th December delivered some great news for Catford – the council is going to try to buy the shopping centre off the current owners St Modwen in order to bring forward regeneration plans in the town centre.
As Lewisham’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, I have long thought that we need to give more people more of a reason to spend time there. The quality of the environment and shopping/leisure offer has to be improved, we need to do something about Milford Towers (the flats above the shopping centre), we need to get the plans for the dogtrack moving forward and ideally we’d tackle the way in which the roads seem to dominate the town centre.
Lewisham’s Mayor Sir Steve Bullock made a manifesto commitment in 2006 to bring forward regeneration plans for Catford and this is concrete proof that he is doing just that. Whilst there is a huge amount of work still to be done – not least a very significant programme of community consultation – if the deal goes ahead, the council would have far more control over the sort of regeneration scheme that could happen and when.
Historically, the long leases held by St Modwen would have meant that any regeneration scheme would have been dependent upon them. As the owner of the shopping centre, the council would have much more control. With all units let in the shopping centre at the moment, Lewisham can make the commercial case for buying the centre now and putting together plans for the longer term – watch this space ….