I thought I would just post a few photographs of some sites on the Old Kent Road which illustrate why there are opportunities there for it to be identified as such by The Mayor of London, and of some nearby areas which are quite different from the road itself.
Too many low rise warehouse like retail units have been built which present blank faces to the public realm:
or contribute little to place-making despite there being plenty of room to do so:
To those moving along the Old Kent Road, of which there are many as it is a major route from South East London and its suburbs into central London, the whole image is very poor which leads those who don’t know the area to assume that the whole place is awful.
But behind the Old Kent Road itself, just a few yards away in some cases, are places like this:
The frontage of the Old Kent Road has the room to provide new and additional homes (and other facilities), and can be done (if done properly) without displacing the existing residents en masse. The scale of new building will not be as low-rise as the two examples above, and will be of higher density, but I do hope that we will not end up with lots of large new buildings built right up to the pavement line, which do little to provide a sence of place and high quality public realm, turning the Old Kent Road into a high rise canyon – creating an equally poor, although different, look and feel to this major route into London. Indeed the public realm and place making should be the first things to be considered and designed well before any buildings are designed. Will we get this? Somehow I doubt it.