Green light for Ladywell Playtower restoration
Plans for the restoration of the Ladywell Playtower have been approved by Lewisham Council’s Strategic Planning Committee. The proposals will see the much-loved Playtower building repaired and restored to its former glory, re-opening as a four-screen cinema with a restaurant and bar.
Originally opening in 1884 as a swimming pool and public hall, the Playtower closed to the public in 2004 and fell into disrepair. In recent years, Lewisham Council has been developing plans to bring the building back into public use and secure the future of this important local landmark. In January 2022, the Council announced an agreement with Guildmore to lead the restoration project, in partnership with an independent cinema operator.
The four-screen cinema will provide a welcome boost to the night-time economy in Ladywell and the surrounding area, as well as creating new jobs, with staff paid the London Living Wage. The cinema will have a strong community focus, reflecting the Playtower’s important role within the local community, hosting special events and screenings and helping contribute to Lewisham’s legacy as London Borough of Culture 2022.
The project will also see new homes built on site, helping to subsidise the cost of restoration and secure the long-term future of the Playtower. The development will be car-free, with secure cycle storage provided to residents, and see new trees and greenery planted.
Restoration works are set to begin next year, with the cinema due to open in 2024.
Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, said:
"This is an important milestone in the restoration of the Ladywell Playtower and takes us another step closer to securing the future of this much-loved local landmark. As well as safeguarding the Playtower’s future, the new cinema will be a fantastic addition to the local community and create new jobs, paid at the London Living Wage. I look forward to seeing work begin on the restoration next year.”