Consultations are currently underway on redeveloping the Achilles Street area between New Cross station and the Venue nightclub. It’s a wide ranging plan to demolish shops and flats facing New Cross Road as well as housing behind up to Fordham Park.

A local group are campaigning on the issue, and details can be seen here.

If you’re a fan of ’90s tribute acts you can breathe easy; the Venue is not included. Though who knows if residents living closer will complain about the noise?

One element of the current buildings I hope is retained is the step-back nature of the shops and flats lining New Cross Road. On what can be a horribly congested and narrow street – both road and paving – this stretch currently gives a bit of room to breathe with wide footways and paving.

Renders do NOT show such wide paving however. They allow new construction to follow building lines to the west so narrow paving is the plan. Why are pedestrians always shoved into such narrow pavements across much of London? A rising number of people contending with narrow pavements, street furniture, bus stops and the like.

Proposals at top show narrower paving around busy bus stop area

One thing that always stands out in many other developed nations are wide pavements on main city streets. London often didn’t have the foresight to do this, nor comprehensive building on the scale seen elsewhere, but where it does exist don’t remove it whatever you do.

Here’s the current width which allows restaurants to have outside seating and prevents bus stop pinch points. There’s another stop further along.

The buildings set back from the kerb, plus residential above the retail units further set back opens up the space allowing it to feel light and airy and encourage outside seating. Removing this results in a gloomier environment.

Here’s the width they are looking for: little space for outside seating, bus stops squeezed in and less daylight: