Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cathedral Group plc and Deptford Station

We heard a rumour that the developers of the revamped Deptford station, Cathedral Group plc, were pulling out. (see Snippets and Rumours). The project featuring a Richard Rogers design was supposed have been completed in 2008. Lewisham Council say on their website that work is to begin around now in 2010. Since work has not started, naturally rumours abound.

Although we have not been able to find anything that substantiates this story, a Crosswhatfields reader has drawn our attention to the following report in the News Shopper, which refers to a Cathedral Group project in Sidcup:

SIDCUP: Credit crunch hits Cathedral Group's plans for Athena House 
18 March 2010

THE first of an expected flurry of applications to reduce financial promises made on the back of planning permissions, has been agreed by Bexley Council.

As part of its planning obligations, Cathedral had promised to pay £542,593 towards various items or projects which residents of the development would benefit from.

Cathedral says, having looked at all the costs of the project again, it cannot afford to pay what it offered, if the scheme is to be viable. It has now made a revised offer of £353,394 with payments for items such as community facilities and education, dropped.

Councillors could have rejected the offer and risked a fresh planning application with less on the table, which was likely to go to appeal if refused and cost the council even more. Councillors reluctantly agreed the new offer, with a deferred payment system, so if the financial situation changes, Bexley could ask for more money. 

 News Shopper story on Sidcup here.

It may be that our Deep Throat has got his wires crossed, but the above Sidcup tale does not bode well for the Deptford station development which is worth loads more (£5m). Nor for any other Cathedral Group development around the city and further out (Lambeth etc and Bromley).

Enquiries within architect contacts revealed little, but caused considerable rumbles, upset applecarts and almost lost someone a job.

Since Joan Ruddock claims enormous credentials for creating the partnership between Lewisham Council, a n other developer, and Network Rail that will bring us our new station, I asked her for the latest news when I caught her after the Election Hustings at Utrophia on Saturday evening.

She said she had only recently had a meeting about it and had heard nothing that worried her. The delay has been entirely due to Network Rail's intricate and complicated engineering issues, which were now resolved and building will commence in the Summer.

Not the Spring, then, as promised on the Lewisham's website, I asked. The smile said it all, "Network Rail" were to blame. She was certain she hadn't been lied to by the developers. "Dave wouldn't lie to me, I'm sure." (David Cullingford, Development Director, Cathedral Group plc?). She also suggested there were rumours put about for political gain.

I can't forget the look on Joan's face, which she must have employed several years ago to the same effect, as she said, 'How Could Anybody Be Expected To Use That Station As It Is? Especially If You Were Disabled?'.

So, we'll see, eh,


  1. Someone needs to ask Joan why it got so compicated. we didnt need a station designed by richard rogers we just needed Network Rail to maintain a perfectly good station (and maybe put in a lift). we needed a deep clean of every surface and a look at where the homeless and pigeons were making it messy. It didn't need to take this long.
    Network Rail must be ringing their hands at fucking 'Creative Lewisham', nothing to do with Ruddock's 'partnership', the council's over inflated "artist-led" shite has turned a simple improvement into a developer nightmare.Not to say Ruddock hasn't been there all along. but she wasn't.she was a cabinet minister for climate change...Just saying we could have had a clean station back in 2008...

  2. indeed mushroom.....
    the cast iron pillars forming the canopies on the station platform were made by George Baker and Sons in 1841. This is a forerunner to their work on the Olympia Sheds in the dockyard that are listed Grade II. The dockyard slipway covers (Olympia Sheds) then became the forerunners to the great cast iron roofs of the major rail stations. The developer plans to remove these 1841 pillars and canopies, because they are "inconveniently placed". So despite having been in place for 169 years off they must go. sustainability anyone?

  3. Nice work Sue, I think I've still got the letter somewhere that she sent me a couple of years ago denying any delay on the station.

  4. Cheers, Dame. I sort of ran out of time on this... a comment or quote from Deptford Town Centre Manager or someone from Lewisham would've been good (or could still be)...