Proposed Development at Portakabin Site, Waldram Crescent - Drop-in Meeting


We’ve received a letter today from GL Hearn Ltd, announcing proposed (mixed use) development of this site by Caerus Developments.

Drop-in session to view and discuss plans at The Signal pub, 4 - 8 PM on 7th June


Nothing there at present but this is the developers site…


Fascinating. It had a for rent sign recently.


Looks like residential is planned based on the company site.

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Long expected, makes perfect sense really.


Just hope mixed use means a couple of shops on the ground floor

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The letter proposes mixed use of residential apartments above a ground floor shop or office space. Hopefully the co-op can move a few doors up when the hotel is built!


In practice, it usually means an empty shop unit, nobody wants to rent, below residential units.


Aren’t all shops underneath residential developments such as Sainsbury’s on London road and most shops on dartmouth road so I don’t really get your point


You are correct but I also think James is too - remarkable how long it can take to rent them out.
When the development on Perry Vale was built it took an age for the shops to develop and even now we really only have the Forest Hill Superstore. Maybe it is all about location or pricing but very often you see the familiar wooden shuttering on the space below the residential units. Even when the flats were built in Bell Green the units were empty until Sports Direct took them all over.
Anyway I am surprised that Portakabin kept the site going for so long - it always seemed an odd location and a site prime for development. Hopefully this will dev will be benifical to FH…


So are we saying don’t provide any trading space in danger of them standing empty for a while? I rather look at the positive that there will be some kind of shop operating rather than an office. We do not have any gig shop floor spaces in forest hill so this could be a great opportunity for a larger retailer coming to forest hill, with the hotel being built the whole area seems to be changing dramatically over the next 5 years. I hope this development will be named ‘The Mural’ :smiley:

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Hell yes! I wonder if our mural actually increased the desirability (or at least the prominence) of that patch of land?

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Well I am not saying anything like that at all in any shape or form. I hope this dev will be great for FH whatever form it takes. Just commenting on the rather odd observation that new residential devs often seem to take ages to let shops and wondering why that is - maybe @Anotherjohn or someone in the trade has better insight than me on this. Or maybe they just stand out more as they are new and there is nothing to it…
I’m glad this area is being developed and interested to know what is planned - I hope it is something new and exciting…


Yes, one large shop could work well, depending on design for parking, loading etc I think Forest Hill could easily support a Waitrose or M & S Food store. Lidl and Morrisons also welcome.

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Or a Coop.


If spaces are empty for prolonged periods doesn’t that suggest that rent and rates are being set too high…?


This would be a terribly inconvenient location for a convenience store.

I can’t think of many shops that would work in this location as most people avoid walking on this stretch of pavement, the road is impossible to cross except down at Stanstead Road, and stopping cars is not allowed.

The only reason that there are proposals for retail on the ground floor is to avoid losing this employment location from the town centre. I’m not sure it is worth it if the unit will be permanently empty.


I agree that people avoid that stretch including myself but the reason is that there is nothing there what would make me go this way but if there was a shop which offers something different it would give me a reason to go there, i just wished someone at the council could coordinate the two developments and look at wider changes to that part of forest hill as the forest hill society started with their vision for this side of Perry vale already, it would be a shame if this opportunity would be missed to look at the bigger picture but this is just hopeful thinking on my part


I have always thought that the site would be ideal for a farmers/ weekend market and would provide us with a great opportunity for the two sides of Forest Hill to be linked; the great new mural in fact made me dream about a space similar to the indipendent style box park developments seen all over London now, similar to the one designed using portakabins in Elephant and Castle.

Anyway, let’s hope the new development is of a good design quality and includes provisions for trees/ green spaces


Exactly what I was thinking.
The problem here for a decen’t size shop is its serviceability for large deliveries and customers parking; and the effect that cars and lorries waiting and turning across the carriageway would have on the flow of traffic on the mega-busy Sth Circular Road. In my view, I can’t see how a site of this size could be viable if it were to give over a large area on ground level for parking and loading so this would limit the size and type of commercial user who’d go for it. some small independent traders might see that location as an opportunity but would the developer be interested in dealing at that level when they could go for 100% residential units (with no parking required), which would all be snapped-up.

Unfortunately, @Foresthillnick , I don’t have the answer to that as I have only ever dealt with small shops and one-man-band tenants. However, I do have a theory, which is that developers tend to instruct commercial estate agents to find them a tenant with excellent track record and prospect; and the small, niche individual traders wouldn’t even get a look in. Then there’s the due diligence and drawing-up of a new lease, with all the backwards and forwards between solicitors to formally button things up, and we’re talking ages! Contrast that with my little operation, where I advertise a little £200-a-week shop and talk directly to prospective tenants about the area and whether or not there is enough of a demand for their particular idea and then work out how long they’d like to commit before drawing-up a short licence agreement or longer lease, then a month’s rent in advance and away you go!