Really Local Group are on track to reboot Catford Mews which will include a 3 screen cinema with a combined capacity of just over 200 seats, independent food vendors, coffee shops, a bar and a public breakout area with natural light and access to WiFi.
Cinema ticket prices will range from around £5 to £8 per ticket in an effort ensure the mews remains affordable and inclusive.
Renegade spoke with Really Local Group's operations director Chris Hancock who who describes the organisation as an independent business with a community ethos.
*The Catford Regeneration Partnership is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lewisham Council. The company was originally created in January 2010 to purchase the leasehold interests in and around the Catford Centre in order to manage and regenerate the property to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the people of the London Borough of Lewisham (LBL). [Source, Council Meetings, Lewisham.gov.uk]
"[The Council] has been really great and Team Catford have been really great as well," continues Chris, "helping promote us and we'll be continuing that relationship as well.
"Because obviously it's really encouraging to have businesses coming into this place and bring a new kind of cultural infrastructure."
Lewisham Council and Team Catford are currently developing a masterplan framework to regenerate the town centre so it's really encouraging for them to have businesses like ours come here and bring a new kind of cultural infrastructure.
"This is all part of the ethos,” says Chris.
“You know like reusing and re-purposing - we're re-purposing this venue and part of that as well as part of what we're doing is making this affordable.
“We're aiming [for] people [to], you know, [be] able to afford to come and watch cinema and not pay 20 quid or whatever you pay if you go to Everyman or whatever, so we're hopefully aiming at a bigger group of people and we're hopefully not excluding people from coming into the venue either.
“We wanna get all local people involved, not just people who have a load of money to spend."
The council is keen to ensure that the available outdoor spaces in the shopping precinct and the opportunities therein are put to good use for both the economy and the community.
“Everyone’s keen for us to get all these bits ‘n’ pieces – the front – you know, get a little forecourt licence going on – getting all these things operating again, you know?” says Chris.
Catford Mews was originally an indoor community shopping mall opened in the 1980s, located in Milford Towers - the brutalist, mixed use retail and residential complex designed by Owen Luder in 1974 and included clothes, jewellery and textile stores, hairdressers, record shops and cafes - it even included a Games Workshop for a while.
It was closed on 3 July 2011 with unit holders being given 4 weeks notice to vacate by Lewisham Council. According to one retailer, some shopkeepers had not been paying their rents which unfortunately contributed to making the Mews financially unsustainable at the time. [Sources, News Shopper and Catford Central]
Earlier this year, Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham at the time, commented on the Mews' reopening saying, "It’s exciting to be getting set to welcome the return of a cinema to Catford.
"Catford always had a historic tradition as a cultural hub in south London. We want to revive that tradition.
"The cinema joins the Catford Beer Festival, Catford Jazz Festival and the new independent restaurants that are opening in the town centre.
"Catford has a real buzz and things are set to continue to improve." [Source News Shopper]
In fact the area also has a history of filmmaking and was once home to the Catford Studios - also known as the Windsor Studios - a film studio which operated from 1914 to 1921 producing films during the silent era. [Source, Wikipedia]
Catford has also had 3 cinemas in the past, the earliest opened in 1909 and the most recent one [now currently the site of UCKG's help centre] closing down in 2001.
All below photography by Renegade Production:
Renegade will be following the progress of this much anticipated and welcomed reboot of the beloved Catford Mews, but in the meantime, here are some links to relevant communication channels and digital platforms:
Really Local Group: