Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Convoys Wharf Planning Objection Workshop

A new campaign has been started that hopes to respond to the plans submitted by Hutchinson Whampoa and News International for the massive site at Convoys Wharf.

The group, calling themselves DEPTFORD IS..., have organised an urgent Planning Objection workshop to help people understand what is planned for the site and to show folk how to object if they feel Deptford is not best served by what's on offer. Objections must be submitted to Lewisham Planning by 27th September, hence the urgency.

Saturday 24th September 10am (for 10.30) – 12noon
The Blue Room at The Albany

They also have a few ideas of their own that go much further than the developers' present plans in honouring the site's international heritage as King Henry VIII's royal dockyard, which they hope to present at the end of October. To keep updated, join their mailing list or sign their petition Hands Off Our Heritage, see their blog at


There are three towers proposed for Convoys Wharf – Tower A is 148m tall with 46 storeys, Tower D is 124m with 38 storeys, and Tower I is 106m with 32 storeys. But it is the density of the buildings around the towers that gives cause for concern – some are as high as 60m. 3500 homes and 2000 parking spaces also seems excessive.

To get an idea of these heights, compare with the Z building (aka Aragon Tower) on Pepys Estate at 92m with 29 floors. Eddystone Tower is 26 storeys. The Seager Tower on Deptford Broadway is 82m with 26 storeys, with still to come, its accompanying highrises (9 storeys sloping down to 3).

Meanwhile, the Deptford Dame reports on The Wharves (Evelyn Street/Grove Street/Oxestalls Road), which has just received the go ahead including detailed planning permission for two thirds of the site. The whole development will comprise 905 residential units plus shops, restaurants, bars, takeaways and other non-residential uses. It will be very high density – above London Plan guidelines – with buildings as tall as 18 storeys.

Though small in comparison, the development by Cathedral at Deptford Station/Octavius Street is far too high (eight storeys) in the context of the high street, and they plan to add another floor to the existing St Paul's House overlooking the street. There will be 124 luxury apartments and 11 'affordable' flats. Although not what you'd call a tower, the new building will cast an enormous shadow over the planned public piazza (and the repositioned train carriage) in the afternoon.

The tallest buildings at Lewisham Gateway are 77m. At Loampit Vale, the development looms above the local landscape. Local residents fought hard against these plans but failed to stop the latter.


At WorkSpace on Creekside, at least one tower is planned. At Creekside Village we still have towers to come. The present nine storey buildings may be joined by 14, 17 and 22 storey structures.

Still, it could be worse – the Shard at London Bridge is due to reach 310m by completion in 2012 when it will be the tallest structure in London (and the European Union). Presently the tallest building is the 50 storey One Canada Square (Canary Wharf) at 235m followed by Heron Tower in the City of London at 230m.


  1. Although I don't believe the second phase of Creekside has yet been granted planning permission. The first phase was granted by Greenwich council, the second phase is under Lewisham's remit and is still pending with no date for decision.

  2. I was one of the residents who campaigned against the Lewisham Gateway - we didn't lose the campaign but the developers lost the will to go on during the credit crunch - they've been given a couple more years to try and come up with the money but I don't think it'll happen.

    I was also part of the Loampit Vale campaign - OK, we lost that one . . .

    But you'd be right in saying the by and large residents always lose out in these circumstances - the developers have large pots of money to put into their coffers - we had nothing - and the Council offer few obstacles to developers - not entirely through faults of their own - the planning laws are complex - but Lewisham is still be propelled forward as part of the 'New Labour' experiment, and that means that business always wins, eventually . . .

  3. Many thanks to you both, Dame and Anonymous, for corrections. Have amended text. Sympathies too, Anon – perhaps you can lend your expertise and experience to the Deptford Is... group?

  4. I'll try and pop down to the meeting on Saturday, but one thing I do know - the reasons for trying to stop developments have got aim very clearly towards finding reasons why planning laws have been contravened - and 'emotional' arguments will be ignored

  5. Not sure whether it counts as a parallel but the Ram Brewery development in Wandsworth proposed a couple of massive towers around a historic brewery site. I used to take my son to the real donkeys, sheep and cattle nativity in the stables every Xmas as well as admiring the dray horses so it has fond memories! The application was knocked back by Eric Pickles last year after some powerful local opposition and a public inquiry. Developers have submitted another application with the density much reduced and one 32 storey whopper which doth not a landmark make just because it's bigger than everything around it. Anonymous is right about focusing on planning. I'm happy to support Deptford Is... The Convoys development (and the Oxestalls Road one, although that's a bit better) could be so much improved.

  6. yes I second that Anon, emotional arguments will go nowhere and that's why these documents need to be read

    Some of the Hutchison Whampoa's Design Teams' documents for the redevelopment of Convoys are deeply misleading, especially in respect of the heritage. There are other considerations such as density, heights, environmental impacts and transport infrastructure that are real areas of concern also. Hopefully there will be people at Saturday's meeting with more understanding of these issues.