Council seeks one or more developers for regeneration of three town centre sites

The Borough of Lewisham is searching for a development partner to transform the 1970s Catford Shopping Centre into a £200m 7 hectare town centre scheme.

The south-east London council surprised the retail property market in 2010 by taking matters into its own hands and purchasing the Catford mall from St Modwen for £11.5m to ensure its redevelopment.

The initiative was heralded as a model for other councils to follow to rejuvenate ailing town centres.

Now the council is preparing a tender to find one or multiple development partners for a regeneration project of the centre and two neighbouring sites, Catford Broadway and Laurence House. The council owns the freehold of the three sites.

The regeneration is likely to involve the demolition of the 148,000 sq ft mall, and the four five-storey Milford residential towers, which will be replaced with up to 200 new homes.

The mall redevelopment will likely include a new superstore for existing anchor Tesco.

The Catford local plan states the plans for the shopping centre include a “wholesale redevelopment which would require demolition of the Catford Centre, Milford Towers, the car parks and associated buildings along Thomas Lane.”

It adds the “council’s preferred approach is to demolish and develop in a single phase”, but the market will be retained. A new shopping centre could extend to around 200,000 sq ft and is likely to have a cinema on upper levels.

The plan outlines that there is scope to add 87,188 sq ft of retail space by 2026, and an additional 19,375 sq ft of convenience retail floorspace in Catford town centre.

Catford Broadway, which comprises the town hall, civic suite and Broadway Theatre, will be redeveloped into a mixed-use scheme retaining the theatre and including the council offices and library. It could also include a hotel.
Laurence House, which is occupied by the council’s offices and library, will be transformed into a residential-led mixed-use scheme with around 250 homes.

The council would prefer a single partner to regenerate the entire site, but it could consider different developers for each plot. It will launch a full tender in the new year.

The council could retain a stake in any redevelopment.

Kate Anstey, a senior programme manager leading the redevelopment who is calling for developers to talk to the council about potential plans, told Property Week: “We want to understand the three sites as a whole to improve the retail offer and provide public spaces. We are very proactive and we are now in a good position to move forward and get developer interest.”