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Bringing life back to Leegate

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09 September 2009
Bringing life back to Leegate The run-down state of Leegate has been a cause of much concern in recent years and the local Labour Party has been working hard with the community in Lee Green to improve its fortunes (I’m pictured above at the centre with Lee Green Council Candidates Jamie Milne, Jemina Brown and Jim Mallory). With the closure of Woolworths and a number of other shops, the centre does have a neglected feel about it and so as the Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, I have worked hard to encourage St Modwen (the owners of the centre) to come up with plans for improvement/redevelopment.

At the request of the Lee Manor Society, I have facilitated a number of meetings between St Modwen and the local community but it’s slow progress (the state of the property market has undoubtedly not helped). The council has earmarked the site as being suitable for a mixed use redevelopment in its planning policies (this means the centre could, in principle, be redeveloped, providing new shops, homes, office space) but for any scheme to come forward, detailed plans would need to be drawn up and someone would have to come up with the finance to make it happen. I’m also very keen that in the interim we find some temporary uses that could enliven some of the empty shop units – the Labour government launched a really good “meanwhile uses” scheme last year and it would be good to have a local example of that at Leegate.

In terms of the bigger picture though, the London Development Agency has recently commissioned a study into the future of a number of smaller town centres in South London and Lee Green was one of the case studies. The Mercury ran a story on the study today and I was asked to give a quote from the council’s perspective (see article below).

I’ll continue to work with the community and St Modwen to come up with a solution for Leegate as I know how the slow demise of the centre saddens many local people. I’m also determined that Leegate gets some Christmas Lights this year – watch this space …


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