Lewisham Gateway Guest Blog: Cllr Amanda De Ryk

11.03.24 3 min read by Cllr Amanda De Ryke - Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategy at Lewisham Council

Lewisham Gateway shows public-private partnership working at its best

Councillor Amanda De Ryk, Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategy at Lewisham Council and former Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, reflects on how the partnership between Muse and Lewisham Council made the successful delivery of Lewisham Gateway a reality.

Taking transformational developments from the drawing board and into reality is always a significant challenge. Inevitable bumps in the road are par for the course but the key to overcoming these obstacles is the strength of partnerships between all parties. At Lewisham Gateway, one of the most ambitious redevelopments in the Borough, we have witnessed public-private partnership working at its best. As we now near the completion of this once-in-a-generation opportunity, we can reflect on the attributes of this partnership and the learnings that we, and other local authorities, can take forward.

Trust is key

When the story of Lewisham Gateway began almost 20 years ago, it was impossible to predict the economic turbulence which could threaten to derail the project, including the recession of 2007/8 and the global pandemic. Yet in the midst of each of these events, we have been able to rely on the support of Muse and our partners to continue pushing ahead with our vision of Lewisham Gateway.

At the heart of this shared commitment has laid a consistent thread of trust, transparency and courage.

This was no less demonstrated during the delivery of Phase 2 of the project, which has seen the creation of almost 650 new homes, public open spaces and much more. This Phase brought with it design challenges which had to be addressed creatively and pragmatically. Working together and in a manner which encouraged transparency and honest conversations, Muse took on feedback from Lewisham Council and came to the table with an innovative approach which matched the desires of partners. It is this characteristic which has made Muse an effective development partner – a willingness to be truly flexible in their approach in order to achieve the right outcome.

We are Lewisham Day 2022

Prioritising the community

While successful public-private partnerships require effective working relationships, they are also dependent on prioritising the wishes and desires of the communities they seek to support. For Lewisham Gateway, the major disruption needed to deliver the project meant that the community needed to see the benefits of this over the lifetime of its construction.

During this time, Muse has worked with Lewisham Council and our partners to find opportunities to use the project as a springboard for supporting the community. From providing employment opportunities and apprenticeships for local people, to working with Lewisham charities and supporting the Council’s Borough of Culture Event, Muse has ensured that Lewisham Gateway has made a positive impact within the community even before it is completed. This significant social value which has been generated at Lewisham Gateway has been timely and targeted – a result which has been greatly appreciated. Importantly, this has also helped to maintain community buy-in for Lewisham Gateway while ensuring the benefits of this transformation were always visible.

Of course, the full value of Lewisham Gateway will be truly realised on completion. The addition of over 1,000 much-needed new homes for rent comes at a time of housing shortages across the Borough, particularly for renters. In making a meaningful housing contribution and enhancing permeability to the high street, Lewisham Gateway will also spur local business activity, including Lewisham’s nighttime economy.

Through effective partnerships, Muse, Lewisham Council and all of our partners have been able to deliver the place-changing ambitions that were first established almost two decades ago. The result of this approach is clear to see, with over 1,000 mixed-tenure homes, two public squares, shops, bars and restaurants in a new night-time quarter, a future cinema, flexible workspaces and business opportunities for the local community all soon to be delivered. There is an opportunity for other Councils and placemakers to take inspiration from the strength of the partnerships which have made this a reality and ensure that similarly ambitious and transformational developments can be brought to life.

We are Lewisham Day 2022

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