New Cross Area Framework & New Cross Gate SPD — London

Client
London Borough of Lewisham / Transport for London / Greater London Authority

Collaborators
We Made That / Alan Baxter / Lambert Smith Hampton

New Cross is experiencing great change, its South London context being transformed by large scale redevelopment projects. This Area Framework, jointly commissioned by the London Borough of Lewisham, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London, aims to establish the key strategies to guide that change towards what the Mayor of London has termed ‘good growth’; transformation that acknowledges and works with the character of a particular place and its inhabitants, and that is physically and socially diverse.

The extension of the Bakerloo line has the potential to radically alter New Cross as a place to live, work and study. It could have a dramatic impact on patterns of movement across the area, while also creating a catalyst for changes to the physical and social environment experienced at street level.

This Area Framework establishes an evidence base that provides insight into the life of New Cross, its economy and built environment, and how that can be reinforced and improved. The study will be used by LB Lewisham, the GLA and TfL as they work with local communities to plan for the future of New Cross through projects like the LB Lewisham Local Plan, the Mayor’s London Plan, and the design of new Bakerloo line infrastructure. We have taken cues from how the area has evolved and developed in the past and considered how that understanding can inform future change. For example with over 350 artist studios discovered within the study area – demonstrating the huge influence of Goldsmiths, University of London – New Cross is one of London’s most creative zones, which must be acknowledged in forthcoming development plans.

The fundamental purpose of the Area Framework is to develop an aspirational and practical vision that maximises the benefit of infrastructure investment in terms of supporting Good Growth principles, through co-ordinating, negotiating and integrating the needs and desires of all those that have a stake in the future of New Cross.

"We have really very much enjoyed feeling part of a collaborative process in developing the NXAF + SOS, and feel our contribution as clients and project managers has been valued and has meaningfully informed the final document. We hope to replicate this process in future projects."

Mathieu Proctor, Principal Urban Design Officer, London Borough of Lewisham

Growth and Change

The draft new London Plan’s spatial strategy identifies a number of Opportunity Areas, Growth Corridors, and Intensification Areas that are envisaged to deliver a significant proportion of London’s growth. New Cross is located in the New Cross/Lewisham/Catford Opportunity Area, sitting between the Old Kent Road Opportunity Area, Deptford Creek and Greenwich Riverside Opportunity Area, and the masterplanned regeneration around Lewisham Gateway.

The arrival of the Bakerloo line extension (BLE) will be a catalyst for growth, and will be an important element of the London Borough of Lewisham’s new spatial strategy and emerging local plan. This plan identifies the growth corridor extending from New Cross and Deptford to Catford, as well as planning for the BLE and the possibilities generated by an extension to Lewisham and a potential further phase beyond Lewisham.

Spatial Strategies

The New Cross Area Framework maps in spatial terms a series of transformational strategies for New Cross and the surrounding area to provide a framework to guide future change. Each of these strategies sets out a clear vision, along with a series of priorities and actions to guide this change.

The detailed understanding of the area gained from our analysis, alongside the outcomes of stakeholder and public engagement has identified many of the current strengths and weaknesses in the area; including local identity, development potential, connectivity and transport issues, and the quality of the public realm. The resulting strategies seek to retain the existing strengths and character of the area, while also responding to the significant development activity to the north of the Borough.

New Cross Road

New Cross Road, a historic route into central London from the South East, has many competing demands, and is key to the identity of New Cross as an Area. The study focuses on the qualities of New Cross Road as one of London’s great high streets and proposes ways in which new development can support the critical functions of the high street as a piece of transport, economic and social infrastructure – while addressing its more challenging aspects to make New Cross Road a place in its own right. Analysing through multiple lenses, the study builds an understanding of how the street’s physical fabric supports its social and economic functions.

The study identifies practical measures for how new development can support this by improving bus journey times, creating a better pedestrian environment, ensuring street layouts and unit sizes support diverse land uses and improving connections to green spaces and outlying residential areas.

1. Rebalance the street - The A2 is currently dominated by large volumes of traffic, compounded by narrow street sections and a gyratory. Transport focused improvements encourage more people to walk, cycle and use public transport.

2. Maintain the vitality of the high street - New Cross Road is home to a vibrant mix of uses. Through targeted public realm improvements the high streets its network of adjoining side streets can reinforce the function of the high street, accommodating spill-out uses to create a vibrant town centre.

3. Identify opportunities for joined-up development - A number of extensive development sites will likely bring significant change over the next 5-10 years. Co-ordinating this change is an opportunity to reinforce the high street, overcome severance and make the best use of land to deliver Good Growth.

4. Celebrate and protect its history New Cross Road – a historic Roman Road – marks boundary between the Thames Marsh to the north and chalk hills to the south. Key views and historic fabric can be protected through new development that is sensitively located and designed.

Aggregate Projects

This study identifies a number of opportunities for new development and intensification that collectively can help realise the strategic objectives, reinforcing New Cross as a distinctive and diverse part of London. Planned together, these areas of change can realise outcomes greater than the sum of their individual parts. New and existing development should be supported by a network of excellent public realm connections which make it easier to move around the area, reconnecting New Cross to the river and enabling existing green spaces to work harder.

The Area Framework is made up of a series of development and connectivity opportunities, and is supported by an implementation plan, that identifies individual projects alongside funding opportunities, potential delivery partnerships, priorities and indicative timescales.

Opportunities for new development and intensification, an aggregate of projects...

...supported by a network of excellent public realm and green space

Opportunities for Development and Intensification (1) Hatcham Works and Goodwood Road (2) New Cross Road (3) Amersham Vale (4) Surrey Canal Road (5) Folkestone Gardens (6) Woodpecker Road

New Cross Gate Station

There is an opportunity to create a combined station incorporating both the new Bakerloo line and current overground services. This interchange space will serve as a gateway to a local area, creating an important and defining first impression of New Cross. The legibility and quality of this space is therefore paramount.

New Cross Road must be transformed so it is able to accommodate the current and increased journey interchanges with the planned arrival of the Bakerloo line extension in 2030. The street must support convenient and safe pedestrian movement between different transport modes, as well as allowing the high street to function socially and economically. This includes; significantly increased public realm around New Cross Gate station, better interchange with buses, improved cycle parking, and improved wayfinding.

A new station should create easy interchange between transport modes, connecting existing overground, rail and proposed underground services and facilitate onward journeys by bus, bike or on foot.

The Draft New Cross Gate SPD is now open for consultation - (https://consultation.lewisham.gov.uk/planning/nxgspd/) and will run from 13th Nov 2019 - 5th Jan 2020.

Winner

New London Awards 2019

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