Over £2.1million has been allocated towards the regeneration of Catford Broadway, which is now officially a pedestrian zone.
Any vehicles that drive or park within the zone will be liable to a penalty fee notice.
Funded by the Lewisham Council and the Mayor of London, the investment is part of a major regeneration programme aimed at making the town centre and the Broadway a more attractive place for people to shop, eat and socialise.
Improvements include new lighting and seating, improved accessibility, refurbishment of shop fronts and better facilities for market traders.
Previous attempts to improve the area were hampered by different landowners in the town centre and a shortage of external funding.
Nearly £12,000,000 was borrowed by the council to purchase the shopping centre, including all the leaseholds, as well as Milford Towers.
The cost of the loan is to be generated from the rents paid by retailers, until the council can establish a commercial deal with a partner.
Lewisham council has set up Catford Regeneration Partnership Limited to manage the shopping centre and to drive improvements forward in the area.
The only vehicles that will be allowed to access the pedestrian zone are those delivering goods, vehicles used by market traders or those belonging to private residents.
Cyclists are also allowed within the pedestrian zone, but are advised to observe all existing restrictions on the Broadway, such as one-way travel.
The new restrictions also include Brookdale Road, between Catford Broadway and Catford Shopping Centre.
ELL asked local people what they thought.
Barbara Sakhabuth, 47, a branch manager from Catford, said:
“I don’t think a lot more people are coming in yet, but the changes will make the market area better. If they do it right, a better market will help to make the area more attractive and bring more people to the area, which is also good for business. I look forward to seeing what they will do to the area and the shops surrounding the market”.
Hassan Mustafa, 33, local shop owner, said:
“It’s about time that this happens, we’ve been here for 5 years so it’s nice to see that they´re making some improvements in the area, and making the shops look better. This will definitely help to bring more people to the area. Our shop, and several others have been refurbished and looks much better now”.
On its website, Lewisham council said:
“The Council will keep the community informed at every stage about changes to the programme. In the meantime, the decant process for Milford Towers is expected to take until at least mid-2014, while improvements to Catford Broadway should be finished by spring 2014”.
For more information and frequently asked questions about the Catford regeneration, visit here