15 November 2023

Ladywell Lewisham Housing

Ladywell Park Gardens, the redevelopment of the former Ladywell Leisure Centre Site in Lewisham, has been approved at planning by Lewisham Council. The scheme proposes 102 affordable homes in a series of mid-rise apartment blocks around a new public garden.

The new homes are arranged across four buildings ranging from three to seven storeys across the site. The simple forms sensitively reunite the existing context - the residential neighbourhood to the east with Lewisham High Street in the west, whilst the overall use of materials reflect the rich palette of brickwork in Ladywell.

The public garden at the heart of the scheme returns the currently inaccessible site to the public realm. The gardens open up new pedestrian routes through green and well-overlooked spaces and reconnect the site within the wider neighbourhood.

A mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments will be provided with 47 council homes for local families on the housing waiting list and 55 shared ownership tenures, with priority given to people already living and working in Lewisham.

The design reduces the risk of fuel poverty and overheating by employing fabric first principles, to minimise the requirement for heating and cooling. The energy strategy has been formulated to deliver low-energy, robust and maintainable buildings which will last for generations. Air Source Heat Pumps are located on the roof of the tallest block, providing heating for the whole development, with Photovoltaic panels provided on the other building roofs for electrical power.

In the apartments, the window design and layout balances desirable opportunities for views and lots of natural daylight with technical constraints to reduce heat loss, reduce the overheating risk and ensuring secure natural ventilation. All the new homes have private gardens, terraces or balconies with 85% of these facing south. The balconies, as well as the net gain of trees on site, help to alleviate the risk of overheating in summer months by providing additional shade. A sustainable drainage system will help mitigate the flooding risk and living roofs help support biodiversity.

As part of our social pledge, we sought to engage local school children in both the project and architecture more widely. Collaborating with artist Jake Sherwood, we led design days for local primary school children to envisage their ideas for the site and play spaces overlaid on a large site model. The design team also gave more detailed architectural workshops at a range of secondary schools throughout the borough, working with the Construction Youth Trust.

The project has been consultation led, with regular discussions and presentations taking place on the site over the course of almost three years. Working with Lewisham Council, a diverse mix of enthusiastic consultees were selected to become ‘design champions’ to lead on the landscape proposals across a series of engaging workshops. This all helped to foster and develop ideas that are appropriate, nuanced, and homegrown in Ladywell.

Chris Pittway, Architect at FCBStudios said “For Ladywell Park Gardens to be given the go ahead, four years since we first visited the site, is a great milestone for Lewisham Council, who can now deliver some low-energy, affordable and much-needed housing for the borough. Adjacent to the site of the first council homes in Lewisham, it feels great that this project forms part of the renewed ambition for high-quality, public-sector housing.”

As part of a wider masterplan for the area, the proposals also unlock a future phase fronting on to Lewisham High Street. Currently on that site sits PLACE/Ladywell, which is a demountable, modular and temporary housing project for 24 families. The approved plans for Ladywell Park Gardens have been designed to improve the current setting for the PLACE/Ladywell site as it is today, but also to enable the site’s development and integration with the wider neighbourhood in the next phase.

Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, said: "We are committed to building new homes across the borough to help tackle the housing crisis and help people on our housing waiting list. As well as delivering 47 high-quality council homes for local residents, this development will also provide more shared ownership homes to help local people get onto the housing ladder.