New retail development at Bell Green



Large but already somewhat busy due to the Lidl there and other local businesses. Certainly isn’t designed for high flows of traffic that the bigger sites see.
Access to it is bloody narrow and awkward. Only once car can enter or leave at a time.

Suited for a small increase in traffic, but nothing too busy or it would take the parking away from the local businesses. Not to mention very close to the busy junction of Mayow Rd. The slightest snarl up would cause horrible delays.


I use this car park regularly. Never a snarl up at the entrance. The area below where you’ve marked is also part of the free car park and is never more than a third full currently. Lidl actually has its own car park beside this one.

We’re not talking about volumes of traffic for a large store, are we? We’re talking about a largish convenience store. This car park is bigger than the one Aldi has in Penge.


At the moment is won’t snarl up, my point is if it got busier and was used instead of a new site at Bell Green.

I agree, for a convenience store or a couple of smaller stores under one roof, it would be ideal.

Aldi in Penge causes bloody nightmares at times with people waiting to get in and out, on a junction. Same with Southend Lane and other sites.


RE the pic, the marks are from Google Maps, not me :slight_smile:
The car parks in their entirety are OK in size but would not support much more of an increase.
The access to the car park via Lidl is entrance only though is it not?

Ere, hold on a minute, that’s SE26 anyway… What do I care lol.


To me the old Co-op/Budgens store has indeed great potential - to be knocked down and built on with something nicer. Shame to see the store go but not the building itself. It’s a prime site for a good-sized housing development of attractive architecture, with smaller-scale commercial units at ground floor for whatever the high street needs - maybe space for market stalls as suggested. This location is town centre material - the building is quite the opposite. Putting a local landmark there could do wonders for other high street businesses. Maybe one day even Audi could be pushed out to somewhere more suitable - Bell Green anyone?


Unless I am confused one cannot exit and turn towards Bell Green as there is an island obstructing vehicles? So you have to go around the houses?
What about trolleys being wheeled across the road to the car park? Or will purchases be limited to a single bags worth, thus negating the profitability of a supermarket.
So we will wait and as previously mentioned we can revisit this subject in 12 months time and decide then what to do with the empty shop. In the meantime we can enjoy the Gas holders and the enrichment they endow on our lives.


Trolleys? Convenience store. As it was before for at least 20 years.

You are correct about the no right hand turn onto Sydenham Road, though.

My point really is that there IS parking if people are minded to use it.


Site is too big for a convenience store, and with Tesco and Sainsburys plus other small shops, never going to work.
20 years ago there was no Ocado, deliveroo, Just eat, hungry house etc.

There is also reallly convenient parking at the back of Sainsburys FH snd plenty at Bell Green so why struggle and detour? As said previously if it was such a jewel in the high street it would be snapped up
Flats with small shop lots


Okay, so I don’t know what the definition of a convenience store versus a full blown supermarket is. But I do know there has been a small supermarket on that site since before I moved to the area, and that was 18 years ago. It changed hands as the chains themselves got bought out: Safeway became Somerfield became the Co-Op became Budgens. The store was always well used, the changes in ownership were national takeovers, not a reflection on this store itself. My point about parking was not that people would chose this site over Bell Green if they had a large shop to do, but that there is parking for the Sydenham Road as a whole and it’s perfectly possible to do a small grocery shop as part of a wider ranging trip to the high street. That’s certainly how I have used that store in the past,

That’s not to say there wouldn’t be a better use for the site now. But the history of the site is being somewhat misrepresented as continually failing.

Do any of our commercial property gurus know if the site has been advertised as available? I assume the administrators of Budgens will want to dispose of the property portfolio quickly, but are there likely to be any complications?


The planning committee will make a decision on this proposal on Thursday evening. The planning department are recommending granting permission. You can read the planning department report at

6.24 On balance, officers consider that when material considerations such as potential regeneration benefits including significant employment benefits arising from a future redevelopment of the gasworks site are taken into account, they may be considered to outweigh any potential harm to heritage assets associated with the demolition of the two gasholders

6.61 Subsequently, the test demonstrates that there are no appropriate sites available for the subject application. All of the sites identified in Sydenham and Forest Hill fall below the 0.9ha threshold, and therefore would be unable to meet Aldl’s store operational and market requirements.

6.65 It is also considered that Sydenham and Forest Hill town centres would be ‘acceptable’, with diversion of 2.6% and 0.2% respectively

Plus £85k investment to help manage traffic around Bell Green.

6.98 A SCOOT system would not eliminate congestion attributed to the proposed use, but it would serve to have benefits toward the busy junctions around the site, whilst reducing the prospect of ‘rat-runs’ to residential streets. The SCOOT system would be installed to link the signals on the Bell Green gyratory, and would optimise the traffic signals by constantly adjusting the signal timings to minimise the modelled queuing/ delays.


@Michael - three points:

3.5 Ten dedicated parking bays for Livesey Hall would be provided to the western side of the
Aldi store. A new garden area would also be formed for Livesey Hall directly to the south
of the Hall.

I recall there being twenty plus spaces allocated in the proposal at the consultation phase. This reduction is significant.

4.11 The Forest Hill Society object to the proposal on grounds including historic context; traffic management; and impact on local high streets.

So FHS did object on historic context grounds.

6.28 The current condition of the application site is neither welcoming or conducive to the public use of the already developed areas of the gasworks site. The site is desolate, characterised by a scaffolding yard; a hardstand area for motorcycle training; an overgrown bowling green that has been unused for many years, unsightly galvanised steel fencing around the gasholders; and overgrown hardstand areas for which their only function is to provide access for SGN workers. It may therefore be argued that the site itself is detrimental to the eastern setting of Livesey Hall, and that the redevelopment as proposed would provide an opportunity to enhance the appearance of the site, and its relationship with Livesey Hall as a listed building.

A more precise and realistic definition of the detrimental impact on the historic setting.


Is there any detail? Perry Rise really should not be burdened with more traffic.


The £84k is contributed by the developer to fund the ‘SCOOT’ (Split Cycle and Offset Optimisation Technique, in case that wasn’t immediately obvious :wink:) traffic management system. As far as I can tell from a brief read, this is a system that ‘optimises traffic signal settings to reduce vehicle delays and stops’

These are the junctions that will benefit from ‘SCOOT’ and how much it costs to implement at each one:
Stanton Way - £14,519.80
Bell Green - £13,312.44
Perry Rise - £10,238.82
Kangley Bridge Road - £ 27,527.87
Worsley Bridge Road - £ 18,527.30


I was disappointed there wasn’t more detail about pedestrian access or how they would encourage more public transport use. The focus really seems to be on car parking spaces.


Agreed, pedestrian access to the site is not great right now (side-step the rubbish, dodge a crow, try and find a good place to cross…). I live a few minutes away, as do a lot of other people, why would we want to drive there?


Often walk to the retail park, Sainsbury’s and SD. Never had an issue just press buttons wait for a green man hey presto!


There aren’t the handy buttons to press on the bit I was thinking about…
Walk in past the gasholders, try to cross entrance to retail park - not a great corner if you’re going straight ahead (and coming the other way cars don’t see you), plus the only way to walk in to the retail park at that end is straight across the car park. Or walk in past Sports Direct, no pedestrian crossing at the roundabout.


Today is the day for the decision from Lewisham Planning Committee C.
I think it will be an interesting discussion and will probably pop along to hear what happens.


Rejected on the grounds that it would have a detrimental impact on:

  1. A nationally listed building
  2. Levels of traffic above capacity and increase in rat-running
  3. levels of pollution from vehicles on roads above acceptable limits
  4. Contrary to retrictions on the amount of retail at bell green as specified in a planning inquiry and included in the core planning strategy for lewisham. And a detrimental impact on retail on high streets (not sure if that last bit will be stated explicitly)

The committee rejected the application unanimously.


Thank you for the very prompt update Michael.

I think both of us (and many others) could be entangled in debate on this one for some time to come.