Lewisham’s mayor and cabinet are set to approve the first phase of the Catford regeneration programme, a revamp of the station area, on Wednesday (September 16). 

In a report due to be considered, the council also detailed why plans for a footbridge were scrapped in favour of £1.5 million in S106 funding. 

Barratt Homes secured a contract to redevelop the Catford Greyhound Stadium in 2009, part of which included providing a footbridge from the development across the railway to Doggett Road.   

If the developer could not build the bridge, it would have to pay a £2 million contribution to the council – minus already wasted costs – secured through a S106 agreement.    

Barratt told the council in 2018 that it could no longer deliver the footbridge so would instead pay over the money – but at the end of last year had still not paid it.  

The council sent the developer a letter asking for a £1,515,537 contribution after Barratt suggested paying less than a third of that. 

Barratt agreed to the figure in April, while its transfer from the S106 pot towards a “programme of public realm and accessibility improvements to Catford Station areas” is recommended for approval on Wednesday. 

According to the report, “attempts between Barratt and the council to achieve a footbridge with the budget available and within the timeframes specified in the associated S106 has not proven possible”.  

“Developers of the Catford Green development, Barratt Homes, carried out an extensive design consultation with the council to establish whether the footbridge was deliverable. 

“Prolonged design and costing revealed that the bridge proposal was not realistic and could certainly not be achieved within the financial envelope envisaged by the S106. 

“Providing a footbridge with an essential accessible ramp also proved to be impossible as the length of the ramp would have extended too far along Doggett Road to be a viable option,” it states.  

According to the report, other design options were tested, including a footbridge with lift access, but the cost “far exceeded the available funding”, so Barratt opted to pay the money.  

“Officers are satisfied that all efforts to deliver the footbridge have now been exhausted and have undertaken a study to consider how use of the S106 contribution could be fully utilised to undertake improvements around the stations instead,” it states.  

The reports states the “major benefit” of a footbridge would have been to enable people to pass more easily between Doggett Road and Adenmore Road, while Holbeach School was planning to use a building on the development for their nursery provision.  

But the school has since pulled the plans “reducing the demand” for bridge, officers concluded. 

The report also states that a footbridge “would also only reduce walking/ cycling distances between the town centre and Ladywell Fields by an average of 200 to 400 metres”.  

Along with the transfer of £1.5 million, mayor and cabinet will consider three other recommendations for phase 1, including matching the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund grant of £1.65 million the council was awarded in March.  

They will also consider recommendations to allow the executive director for housing, regeneration, and public realm to start the process of hiring contractors for construction and, along with the head of law, officially agree the terms of the Good Growth Fund.  

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Plans for the Catford Station area include a widened footpath along Catford Road, widened underpass, new river decks across the river, more planting and seating, covered and secure cycle storage, and potential new station platform access.

Councillor Paul Bell, cabinet member for housing and planning said the council wants Catford to be “the greenest town centre in London”.

“The town centre will be vibrant, accessible and green – a place for future generations to feel welcome.

“The council is prioritising key early projects that the community have said matter most – including the sensitive restoration of one of the oldest buildings in Catford and tangible improvements for pedestrians and cyclists in the area surrounding Catford and Catford Bridge stations – to give a better sense of arrival. These can begin as early as 2021,”  he said.