Saturday, 21 August 2010

So farewell . . .

A great Ladywell landmark is no more! The Adhesives Specialities building has finally bitten the dust. The demolition squad move in - and completed its work in double quick time. One can't help feeling the developer was in a bit hurry because community efforts to save the building were gathering pace. Its disappearance is a great pity! It may have been pastiche Art Deco from the 1980s (hence no listing) but it added a bit of colour - even flamboyance - to the neighbourhood. What will we get in its place? More boxy, characterless flats?  TonyM


Geoffrey of the Ladywell Society said...

You're right about our landmark building coming down in double quick time: only two days for the main road frontage. One of the conditions for the granting of the demolition permission was that the internal structure of the main building be recorded, as the original Victorian villa was known to be encased by the concrete edifice (even the Government Planning Inspector who supported the owner in his demolition application acknowledged this). Perhaps our local Councillors (Ladywell and Lewisham Central) could get on the case to see if there has been a flagrant breach of planning law.

Geoffrey of the Ladywell Society said...

Over the last few weeks, people have asked me "what is the Ladywell Society doing about the Adhesives building?"
The involvement of the Society goes back about 6 years when we scrutinised the first plans put forward by the owner's architects and made suggestions. They came back to us having made a few alterations, and we made more comments. When a planning application was put in to the Council we organised a petition against the plans: over 400 signatures were collected (if my memory serves me correctly). The plans were rejected by the Council; the owner appealed to the Government Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspector turned down the appeal by the owner.
The Ladywell Society applied, unsuccessfully, to English Heritage to have the building listed.
In 2006, the Council extended the St. Mary's Conservation Area to include 59 Ladywell Road (Adhesives Specialities Ltd building) and "locally listed" the building. This designation carries no weight in planning terms.
The owner made a further appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, which this time upheld the appeal (that was in 2007, I think).
Although planning permission remains in place for 3 years, the permission can be extended by 2 years (brought in last year because of the financial crisis) provided there had been no changes in planning conditions etc. had occured. In the case of 59 Ladywell Road, "affordable housing" units had now to be included in the development as there had been a change in the London Plan directives, so apparently the permission could not be automatically extended unless these affordable dwellings were included.
Hence the "helter-skelter" pace of the demolition before the existing permission ran out; apparently the site cannot be left undeveloped as it is in a Conservation Area. No doubt many eyes will be watching this!!
I've done my best to be accurate with dates and planning matters, so I hope there is nothing legally contentious in my comments. E.&.O.E