101-103 Erith High Street has been partly vacant since late 2018.
The space is to be remodelled so that London Borough of Bexley’s Employment Services can occupy the unit. The project will improve the natural daylighting within the interior and to help activate this section of Erith High Street.
The current facade has two relatively small office-type windows facing the High Street. Along with the solid wall opposite, this creates an unappealing and unwelcoming atmosphere to the pedestrian street which forms a key link within the Town Centre.
By creating a more open and glazed “shopfront” appearance to the High Street, the aim is to provide a more vibrant frontage and so encourage pedestrian usage of the street.
The proposed shopfront glazing will include an area for display showcasing and celebrating local fabrication to encourage public engagement and to create a point of interest on Erith High Street.
The proposal will be accompanied by modifications to Erith High Street which sit outside this planning application.
The planning application (Ref. No: 20/03049/FUL) can be found on the London Borough of Bexley’s website here: https://www.bexley.gov.uk/services/planning-and-building-control/
Erith Town Centre
Due to its pivotal position adjacent to the pier, Erith Town Centre has historically played a critical role to local industries, commercial establishments and leisure businesses. The growth of the town was also prompted by the railway network linking London and Kent.
In the 1960s, the recession faced by local businesses and wartime bomb damage led to a substantial redevelopment of the town centre.
The modern town planning included the erection of multi-level shopping complexes, residential tower blocks and flood defences on the Thames, which dramatically changed the townscape between the 1960s and 1980s.
Erith High Street
The extensive buildout has significantly altered the streetscape of Erith High Street from a primary business street to a service road for the new shopping mall.
The construction of the shopping centre turned the section of Erith High Street adjoining the proposed site into a pedestrian pathway, cutting off the historical relationship between the riverside and town centre.
Mitchells Department Store
The design for the facade has been inspired by the historic shopfronts of Erith High Street, and in particular Mitchells Department Store which was a key local landmark on the corner of Erith High Street and Pier Street until the town centre demolition in the 1960s.
The department store played a significant role in activating the High Street providing a large and engaging display window to the street.
The angled display windows enabled a dynamic and active frontage, while the recessed doorsteps welcomed its visitors.
The design has also been developed to create a sympathetic and complimentary extension to the existing shopfronts further south along Erith High Street.
The existing retail units are lined with a run of fixed glass display windows with fascias above. They provide an active frontage to the pavement at ground floor level.