Surrey Canal – What does it mean for New Cross?

The Surrey Canal was once used to transport timber from Greenland Dock to Camberwell. The Canal was built in 1809 and closed in 1971, all that remains now is the string of parks, railway arches and the long uneven road that’s clogged up with traffic every other Saturday.

But, Surrey Canal is Changing.

Lewisham Council and property developers Renewal have agreed a multimillion pound regeneration project around Surrey Canal road to turn the area into “Londons Sporting Village”. Both the council and Renewal feel the site is in great need for investment and regeneration, specifically looking at the embankments, roads and railways lines which isolate the area

The 30 acre site will include: a new London Overground station (Surrey Canal Road) living space, shops, companies and of course the “sports village”. More on this later.

From what I have seen over at the official Surrey Canal site the whole project is based around Millwall FC. Chairman Andy Ambler believes the regen is a plus for the club but I, along with many other Millwall fans am unsure. What worries me is; what happens when Lewisham council tell the club that we don’t fit in with the surrounding area any more and we need to move? Or, we stay put, re-brand the club and try to attract a different crowd? Millwall are a working class club in a soon to be very middle class area, despite more money coming in the new breed of football fan will take away a lot from the Millwall experience. This scares me.

The area surrounding the ground doesn’t look that much better, I predict a lot of glass and metal cheaply built high rise apartments / flats, that will cost a fortune to buy or rent and will resemble a battery chicken hutch inside. There will no doubt be a Starbucks, probably a Costa next door to that and what new build would be complete without the spiciest of Portuguese chicken chains, Nandos. What ever happened to building a row of houses from brick putting a newsagents on one end and a greasy spoon on the other? The only positive I can see here is having another train station. Match days will be easier on the surrounding areas and providing some decent drinkingholes are opened the atmosphere closer to the ground may pick up.

So what does it mean for the rest of New Cross? To be honest I don’t think much will change, I imagine it will be a lot like the North Greenwich, people will only go when there is something worth doing, like Rihanna or Wagamamas. Still, if the sports center turns out to be decent we might see a better Goldsmiths rugby team!

Let us know what you think of the regen in the comments below.

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