£45m New Cross Gate development is reopened to competition after ‘aspirational’ plans are snubbed
Lewisham council is seeking new designs for its £45m New Cross Gate development in south London after it emerged that the original Will Alsop masterplan for the scheme has been shelved.

The council has branded Alsop’s masterplan for the New Deal for Communities (NDC) project “more aspirational than achievable,” and has launched a fresh design competition.

It has emerged that the council told Alsop Architects last Christmas that its designs would not be used.

The design brief, which focuses on the area west of New Cross Gate and south of the New Den, Millwall FC’s home ground, revealed that funding for the 10-year programme was already in its third year of delivery.

The brief, which has been seen by Building, said: “A masterplan was commissioned by the NDC in 2002 but was subsequently shelved due

to local dissatisfaction with the approach taken. It would be fair

to say that the approach was visionary but more aspirational than achievable.”

It added that a new Urban Design framework would need to strike a more appropriate balance and ensure the broad support of the community and key stakeholders.

David West, project manager for Alsop’s work on the initial plans, said that the practice had put a lot of work into the original ideas and had had the support of the community.

He said: “We were appointed to supply a visionary plan for the

new deal. Charles Landry’s report Creative Lewisham had just challenged the council to do

things differently and we came up with a progressive development programme.”

Alsop’s plan, which was praised

by the GLA and Richard Rogers’ Architecture and Urbanism Unit, went beyond the confines of the New Cross Gate area, connecting the whole of New Cross by means of four themed streets.

Also planned was an innovative community school, with dual-use campuses based around the area. The music department was to double as a nightclub, while the maths department was to be used as a centre to help local people with

their accounting.

West refused to speculate on the reasons for the retendering, but noted that the resignation of three key players on the Lewisham NDC committee and a change of mayor had shifted the creative emphasis.