Say 'No' to further retail at Bell Green



THESE STREETS BELONG TO US - say ‘NO’ to further retail development at BELL GREEN

Meeting: 8pm, at Livesey Hall, Bell Green –Tuesday 4 April.

**The Sydenham Society is working together with These Streets Belong to Us to oppose further plans for more retail development at the Bell Green Retail Park. **

Representing the rich local heritage of Lower Sydenham, alongside the Livesey Memorial Hall and the Grade 2 Memorial to local residents who lost their lives during WW1, the blue gasholders are under threat of demolition, to be replaced by more out of town retail stores according to plans just submitted to Lewisham Council. We believe their heritage should be protected and celebrated and not torn down. The gasholders are a key part of Sydenham’s history and should be incorporated into an ambitious scheme of which the community can be proud.**

The existing retail park has increased traffic with more heavy goods vehicles clogging up roads and spitting out toxic fumes. Our streets need to be cleaner, safer and more friendly. Further out of town retail units should be stopped and investment should be made in our high streets in Sydenham, Forest Hill and Catford.

The Sydenham Society is working with ‘These Streets Belong to Us’ (residents in and around Houston Road, Perry Vale), who already live in streets overloaded with heavy goods vehicles delivering to the existing retailers at Bell Green. Additional heavy goods vehicles on what were residential roads will become intolerable.
The Sydenham Society will be holding its AGM on Tuesday 8 April at 7pm in Livesey Hall. All members are welcome. It is an open meeting and other local residents are welcome to attend.
At 8pm Steve Grindlay, well known local historian, will give a short illustrated talk about the history of the gasworks. The meeting will then discuss the problems local residents anticipate with further retail development and other possible alternatives for this site.

To sign the online petition go to


What would you rather it be used for?


We don’t want to see the gasholders removed. They are part of the historical heritage of Lower Sydenham along with the Livesey Memorial Hall and the War Memorial to those who died in WW1. If they must go then let’s have some open space - why not green up Bell Green?

What is not wanted is more retail and more heavy goods lorries on our roads.


I think the issue here is, the demand by the locals for more retail is clearly high enough for investors to pour in millions to redevelop the area. If the demand is that high, then the locals will still use cars for long journeys, caught in traffic to visit the nearest alternative, which may be miles away.

As for the historic nature, the cottages and original works were far more historic than the holders themselves. They went years ago. The holders meanwhile will require maintenance for many decades to come if left in situ. Who should pay for that?

While I admire the message, the reality is hard to avoid. A growing area needs growing resources.


I’m not particularly sentimental about the gasholders, but I agree that this is a missed opportunity to do something a bit different. If money was no problem I would convert one of the gas holder into an Imax cinema:

Possibly with a standard cinema next door.

The new Aldi could find a home on Sydenham High Road in a ready made supermarket which recently closed.


My understanding is the Hall would remain we would just be losing two rusty old gas holders and increasing the job opportunities for the area? If the gas holders were of significant historical value surely English Heritage or the National Lottery would support their retention?


I agree in principal but I would prefer to promote a well thought out alternative plan which has a positive message. I don’t want to sound too critical but it is very easy to say what we don’t want rather than what we do. There is a gert long thread on here about what people would like to see and of course opinion differs.
Give me a positive alternative to what has been proposed.


To me, THIS is historic. The old operation, the buildings etc

Many gas holders around London have been removed. Once no longer in use, they are an excess, and expensive to maintain. As much as a part of the landscape they are, it is something that can be managed without.

As @Wynell has said, it is unlikely a memorial and existing hall would be removed. IF that becomes the plan, stopping that part of things would get far more attention. I would welcome some of the suggestions for further retail. I would mean I could shop without using my car, as oppose to driving somewhere.


Are these streets really overloaded with heavy goods vehicles? When? I cross Houston Road all the time and can’t recall ever seeing a HGV using it.


Michael posted a basic plan in December which clearly shows the Hall existing in the new layout I believe this was produced by the developer. Not sure how to copy here but can be viewed in that post under Bell Green development.


I have to say here I think locals are concerned about the amount of traffic flooding their Roads. Maybe we should think about this too…

I think they might be thinking it will be paramount if more retail space is created & possibly may have to move because of the noise created by even more traffic.

Just a thought!


Also as has been pointed out on the other thread, this won’t be offering anything new in the way of retail, it’s just another Aldi when there is already one in Catford, plus there are 3 Lidl supermarkets (very similar offering) nearby. I don’t think this is a necessary development for local residents, it is merely Aldi wanting to take market share from Sainsbury’s.


Most developments of this type are based on market research if there was no demand they would not be built. Budgens in Sydenham obviously was not successful so it closed but that was a trade off deal with the coop. If Aldi dent Sainsburys turnover then there will be a price war so shoppers benefit.


Slightly off-topic, but the Budgens in Sydenham has closed because the whole Budgens group has gone into administration. That site has had a supermarket on it for as long as I can remember and there is no reason to think another wouldn’t be successful.


Budgens is a franchise operation the owner of some 34 stores has gone into administration. Not sure if all the stores are in danger


All the Budgens stores have been closed. Transcript of the press release on this thread on the Sydenham forum.


As Wynell says Budgens is a franchise operation, the owner of 34 stores has gone into administration.
Budgens Stores Ltd is owned by the Booker Group who are in discussions about a £3.7bn takeover by Tesco.


Indeed. My point is that the viability of that site for a supermarket can’t be judged on the failure of the last tenant, that tenant being Budgens.


I think people confuse what THEY would like to see locally, and what business giants see as a business opportunity.

Just because some people don’t want to see a certain retail outlet in a certain location, the information from the businesses usually pans out well.
For large expanding businesses like Aldi, they have a huge catch up to do with the other retail giants

Leaving it empty is pointless, housing can’t be built. Home park is 5 mins away. Putting retail or local services on there makes perfect sense.
And as already been said, the existing buildings are safe.


Sorry but the Aldi in Catford is a tip. Apparently the photo on any box is not enough, you need to open the box, look at the contents and then discard them on the floor.