Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Council issues response to Ladywell Baths ('Playtower') petition

The Ladywell Baths - in their former glory
In an undated response on its Petitions webpage the Council has given the following, somewhat minimalist, response to the community petition that secured 914 signatures earlier this year.
We understand the importance of Ladywell Playtower (the former Victorian Baths on Ladywell Road) and the contribution it makes to the local area’s character and welcome the community interest in preserving this heritage asset.
The building has fallen into disrepair and requires significant investment, particularly after major setbacks such as the 2005 fire.
We have already taken steps to slow down the deterioration of the buildings.  With the support of English Heritage in 2012 we replaced the roof and made the building water tight.
But much more investment is needed before the building could be made useable again.
In the coming months the Council will invite prospective partners to assist with developing a vision and raising funds for the restoration of this Grade II listed local landmark.
Robert Sheppard

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Love Ladywell Fields? So share your issues and views with others!

The Friends of Ladywell Fields (a.k.a. LFUG) will meet at 7.30pm this Wednesday 23rd March in the art gallery behind the Ladywell Tavern.

Please come to talk about current issues with other people who appreciate this wonderful local park.

Robert Sheppard

Friday, 29 January 2016

Ladywell Old Baths/'Playtower' - update

The Ladywell Old Baths (or 'Playtower') featured heavily at the Ladywell Ward Assembly meeting on 27 January where a presentation was made by Ashton Bentley, one of the organisations proposing to restore and re-use the building.  The Company, which makes audio visual equipment, proposes to base its R&D and main offices in a fully-restored building.  They would also enable various leisure/cultural uses - including a cafe, rehearsal space and exhibition space as well as 30 hi-tech office 'pods' which would be installed in the main swimming pool hall.
The Company would also rebuild the old destroyed 'second class' pool hall (at the rear of the site adjacent to the Churchyard) and use this for their own offices.  Ashton Bentley are also interested in taking on the Coroner's Court building, although it is unclear whether the Council is willing to dispose of this building at the same time.  There was considerable support for the proposals from those present, though there was consensus too that the public should be able to see all the other proposals coming forward.
The officer responsible for the future of the site, Gavin Plaskitt, also spoke at the meeting.  He indicated that the Council had received a number of exciting proposals for the Old Baths from some very experienced organisations, of which Ashton Bentley's was just one, and the Council would be publishing an 'Expression of Interest' form in the next 4-6 weeks to kick-off the process of selecting a development partner.  He gave a clear assurance at the meeting that the local community would get a chance to see all the various proposals, potentially at a future local assembly meeting.
Tony Rich

Monday, 25 January 2016

Self-build Scheme for Ladywell - update

Proposal for the Ladywell site by designers Architype
Last week the Guardian reported - in the context of Walter Segal's pioneering Walters Way self-build scheme of the 1980s - on the self-build scheme planned for the former Watergate School site, at the end of Church Grove in Ladywell.  The article says:
"On a site in Ladywell, a couple of miles east of Walters Way, the council has agreed to hand over the land on a long-term lease to the Rural Urban Synthesis Society (Russ), a community land trust (CLT) set up by Dayes, to develop 33 new homes for a mix of affordable tenures. Unlike the original Lewisham self-builds of the 80s, the Ladywell development will remain affordable in perpetuity, with rents linked to local incomes through the community land trust, which will retain a stake of at least 20% in each home.
"The proposal includes five flats for social rent; two shared flats – each with three purpose-designed studios for young people unable to afford full market rents; 14 flats offered on a discounted shared-equity basis (the CLT’s stake will enable control of subsequent resales to people similarly in need); and 12 homes available shared-ownership, where residents buy a 25% share and can 'earn' up to a further 12% ownership to reflect the sweat equity in building their homes."
Robert Sheppard

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Ladywell Assembly - Weds 27 January

Even at this time of austerity, Lewisham Council maintains its costly system of ward assemblies and the ward budgets (albeit now reduced to £12,500) which are annually doled-out to those (generally 'usual suspects') clued-up enough to complete a longish application form and mobilise the necessary flashmob on the night.
At next week's Ladywell Assembly, which will be held at Gordonbrock School, Amyruth Road, London SE4 1HQ from 7.00pm on Weds 27 January, decisions will be made on funding for 2016/17 and anyone aged 14 and above who lives in the Ladywell Ward has a vote.

One of this year's bids comes from the Friends of Ladywell and Brockley Cemeteries.  Others in the mix come from:
  • Max Media Arts
  • Dalmain Athletics
  • The St.Andrews Centre
  • Ladywell Youth Club and One Community Project
  • EMT First Aid and Lifeguard Training
  • Bellingham Football Club
  • Brockley Three Peaks Walk

What may be of more interest in reality is the update expected on the Ladywell Baths ('Playtower').  It's hoped that the Council, stirred into action at last by the Victorian Society's shaming and the local petition (now with over 800 supporters), will have some positive news on what might be done to save this very special local landmark.

The contact at the Council is Sam.Dias@lewisham.gov.uk