An abandoned Dulwich milk depot that has been left to crumble for over 30 years will become home to 23 new flats.
The former Express Dairy depot building in West Dulwich has been empty since bottled milk stopped getting delivered from it in the 1980s.
Since then it has become a hotspot for squatters and fly-tippers, with graffiti covering its walls and shrubs growing from the roof.
But the building is now set to be converted into flats and a nursery after Lambeth Council approved a developer’s plans for the site on Rosendale Road at a meeting on Tuesday May 9.
The depot’s locally listed arts and crafts style frontage will be preserved and cleaned up under the proposals.
The buildings hidden behind the facade will be bulldozed and replaced with a five-storey block.
HOW IT LOOKS NOW:
WHAT IT WILL LOOK LIKE ONCE DEVELOPED:
Of the 23 new homes, five will be available at the cheapest social rents. Another two will be available through shared ownership, where buyers purchase a share of a property’s mortgage and pay rent on the remaining amount.
Previous plans brought forward for the site by the developer were rejected by an inspector last year over concerns that ground floor flats in the proposals wouldn’t be of high enough quality.
In the new proposals accepted by the council, the developer replaced the flats on the ground floor with space for a nursery, creche or healthcare service.
Local resident Caroline James told the planning meeting that the derelict storage building had become a magnet for antisocial behaviour and needed cleaning up. She said: “I canvassed local opinion recently and found universal approval.
“There was a general relief that someone had come up with a practical funded solution.
“It’s a haunt for socially undesirable activities and it pulls the whole of the area down.”
Ms James, who has lived in the area since the 90s, added: “I’m very much in favour of the applicant’s proposed development.
“Over the years we’ve seen many changes in the area, mostly for the better as the area has evolved. However, in stark contrast, this site has been allowed to deteriorate badly.
“We can see shrubs growing from the roof, the walls are graffitied. Water gets in, windows are smashed and the surrounding land is used illegally as a dump for unlicensed cars and fly-tipping.”
Alfie Yeatman, the developer’s planning advisor, said the proposals would improve a local “eyesore.” He told the meeting: “Key elements of the proposals and benefits of the proposals include retaining and restoring the front facade to create a significant improvement in the public realm.
“You could see the site is currently a really bad eyesore and could do with being refreshed.
“Each [home] has been carefully refined to ensure it will provide exceptional quality of living accommodation.
“The high-quality flexible commercial space at ground floor will most likely be used as a nursery, which was a direct request by the local community.
“The applicant has confirmed there is a strong demand already from potential occupiers.”
No one spoke against the plans for the depot at the meeting on May 9.
A council planning committee made up of six Labour councillors and one Green councillor voted to approve the project unanimously.