Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Building Boom on the Triangle?

As with everywhere else in this vast city, Crystal Palace appears to be in the midst of a building boom. And with space become scarcer, and therefore more valuable, every scrap of land is now ripe for redevelopment, and every low-rise building seems to be extending upwards. Sadly the quality of much of the new building is not high, and more than one development on the Triangle has flouted planning permission and regulations. The Triangle is changing fast, and I just thought it was worth capturing things as they stand.
Although much of the development relates to new housing, there are retail and mixed use plans on the table, and visible from my balcony, a large new school is taking shape off Gipsy Hill. In the centre of the Triangle lies the Victory Place site which has been subject to several planning applications. Up until recently however, very little seems to have happened, except for a string of temporary users popping up on the open space fronting on to Westow Street. The latest being the highly rated Roti Brothers takeaway van. Then a month or two ago, after the closure of the neighbouring vintage shop, the rear of that building was demolished. Does this mean that works are finally under way, or will it remain a festering eyesore for months to come? 

Westow Hill meanwhile is enthusiastically embracing the trend for building upwards. The developers of the former Black Sheep bar, with total disregard for the planners, and the local conservation area, ripped out the old masonry pub frontage, replacing it eventually with a pale imitation in timber, while the lacklustre new-build above adds nothing of merit to the street.

Next door is getting similar treatment, although Superdrug who are reportedly taking on the retail unit, have withdrawn an application for a new shopfront.

Further along the street, the building which houses Winkworths has already extended upwards with warehouse style apartments, no doubt sending prices through the roof in the process.

Tucked just behind the library on Beardell Street, another development is rising, taking advantage of the spectacular views northward.

Probably the most awkward site, and one that's been crying out for development for decades, is the one just behind the Westow pub, which is to become 9 apartments and one business premises.  You get a great view of works in progress from the Farquhar Road bridge. Works are going at such a pace, that these images are already somewhat out of date.

Further down the hill, the new Paxton Primary school is taking shape, pre-fabricated block by pre-fabricated block. I could see them being craned into place from my balcony. 

Many of the neighbouring streets are seeing smaller works of their own, with scaffolding proliferating in every direction.

And building works are underway in countless shops around the Triangle, with signs of further works to come.

Well at least it's not another….

Start, stop, at the long empty former pet shop on Westow Street.

Dalhousie is now trading in what was Popiel (left), the bicycle shop, and works are ongoing in the former Blue Orchid.

Brasiliana on it's way to becoming the French House

What's the future for the site of Betty's?
While the upper floors have now, like everywhere else, become "luxury" apartments, there has sadly been little progress at the Cambridge.

And finally the news that the Triangle is now a bank free zone, although there has at least been a recent proliferation of cash machines. Expect new bars/cafes/restaurants to take their place before long.

Former Barclays

Former Lloyds
Of course, all the current building works around the Triangle, will look like a drop in the ocean, if Lambeth Council go ahead with their plan to erase the entire Central Hill Estate. I may revisit this theme in a year to see what's changed.