When it opened in 1977, it was known for the figures in the main square, as well as the hippo and pelican-shaped bins that were removed during a redevelopment in the 1990s. But Lewisham shopping centre, originally inaugurated as the Riverdale Centre, is about to undergo a makeover.
According to Landsec-U+I, the development plan pledges to build 1,700 new homes. There will also be a covered shopping centre, open streets, a music venue, a cultural centre, student accomodation and shared-living housing.
The new plans have been greeted sceptically by some residents who claim the project could push long-standing businesses out of the borough.
Forest Hill resident Lesley-Anne told ELL: “It’s a concern. Will this provide affordable housing for the local community, or will it be touted as an investment opportunity for overseas investors, ultimately driving up rent in the local area? And where will Lewisham market be when they turn the area into a building site?
“Lewisham Centre could definitely do with a revamp but what about the locals and traders who rely on it? What happens to them in the interim?.”
Landsec-U+I first announced its intention to redevelop the site two years ago. They say plans to create a new public park will be the “crowning glory” of the new development, elevated above the shopping centre and high street.
In addition to owning the Bluewater Centre, a shopping mall in Kent, Landsec is the largest commercial property developer in the UK. It recently merged with U+I, the developer.
Lewisham is undergoing major site changes next year, including the second phase of the Lewisham Gateway development. There is also a multi-million-pound overhaul of the street market and library underway. Both are expected to be ready in 2024.
The exhibition will take place at 25 Lewisham Shopping Centre, next to XO Cycles, from 11.30 am on Saturday, November 11, and 11 am on Sunday, November 12 and will be open on Wednesdays until Christmas.