Sunday, December 11, 2011

Consultation #2: Faircharm Trading Estate redevelopment

Despite leaflets in every door and posters in stairwells, only an estimated 40 people attended the Drop-In organised especially for Crossfields Estate by Workspace last Wednesday to view the latest plans to redevelop the Faircharm Estate. Perhaps 3.30-7.30pm was not particularly convenient for most?

The above visuals were kindly provided by Karakusevic Carson, the architects tasked with drawing up a plan for Workspace who want to knock down the present buildings and construct four new buildings that will house both business and residential units. There would be a decrease in the former use and a massive increase in the latter. Three of the buildings will be residential from the first floor up, including a 13/14 storey tower in the south east of the site, next to the Creek.

It was claimed that 30% of the housing would be affordable and that there would be parking for 60 cars. The new buildings fronting onto Creekside will be much taller than the present buildings – two floors higher than Crossfields, one-to-two floors higher than the APT building, and half the height of Creekside Village. The proposed tower would be almost three times as tall as Crossfields.

A questionnaire accompanied the exhibition. Here are the questions for local residents:

1. Do you live locally / on the Crossfields Estate?
2. Is there anything you would like to see improved on (the) Creekside?
3. Do you have any comments on the existing buildings at (the) Faircharm?
4. Do you think more access to the Creek would be beneficial?
5. Would you come to a cafe/pub on the Faircharm?
6. Would Creekside & Deptford benefit from other evening venues?
7. We have designed the buildings to be mainly built in high quality brick with large windows. The architectural feel is both elegant and robust, is this an approach you support?
8. We are proposing a mix of both commercial, arts space and residential space. Is this something you feel is appropriate for Deptford?
9. Most of the buildings are 5-7 storeys in height, and are a similar scale to the Crossfields buildings. Do you think this is the right approach?
10. A taller building is required on the site to achieve a viable proposal. A 12-13 storey building is proposed to be located on the Creek edge, do you think this is the correct place? (please see the model)

So, there is a promise that we shall have more access to the Creek, and that we might welcome the addition of new cafes and bars, since it is claimed there will be no barriers to entering the development. However, considering the present security arrangements, one suspects that access to the Creek may well be restricted to the daytime, since the newly housed businesses (and possibly the new residents) may not welcome the local oiks wandering around their premises at night time. Drawings show potential cafes, bars and galleries situated inside the site, but it is also suggested these public spaces are actually placed on the main road, opposite Holden and Wilshaw Houses.

That idea – along with the height of the buildings fronting the development – will greatly impact those residents in Wilshaw and Holden who face onto Creekside. It was suggested there may be the possibility of securing mitigating Section 106 agreements that could benefit Crossfields directly, such as key-fob operated bollards at our entrances (to stop businesses and new residents using our parking spaces). Perhaps you have other suggestions – a resident has already suggested we have a fully equipped laundry, another has asked for a state-of-the-art community space that could house activities other than meetings.

Workspace hope to submit to Lewisham's Planning Department in February and say they will hold another consultation in January. Their plans are not entirely popular with the present business tenants, and Lewisham's Conservation Team are presently consulting over designating the area a Creekside Conservation Zone which would call for the buildings to remain as they are (see previous post where you can download the full proposal).

Click on the elevation drawing below to get an idea of heights and massing.


  1. Thanks for the post and the pictures. Interesting (and sadly predictable) to see how the images fail to show the buildings on Crossfields to any kind of comprehensible scale. The closest you can get is on the line drawing; if you click on it to enlarge it you will see the roofline on the left.
    As well as local loss of sunlight/privacy for the Crossfields buildings facing Creekside, one major issue will indeed be parking.

  2. Thank you Deptford Dame – I meant to tell readers to click on the elevation plan to get it big and see the tiny dwarfed Crossfields on the left, but I forgot amidst all the other consultations going on!

  3. Karakusevic Carson have now kindly provided full resolution images and I have added a note about the elevations.

  4. Those buildings at the front are too high, but because the Crossfields blocks are set back there is quite a wide avenue. If they were the same height as Crossfields it wouldn't be as bad as the rather too small gap between Holden and Castell House, which is far too "intimate". What we don't want is another CANYON after what Creekside Village has done to Creek Road. The Creek must be the only canyon around here.

  5. I wish I had seen the model mentioned in the questionnaire. I reckon everything will be in the shade for most of the day, including any public spaces in the development that may want sun on warm summer evenings – on Creekside itself Crossfields will keep it in shade apart from the penthouses above it. A sunlight study is most important and should be done for the next consultation.
    For Crossfields dwellers on the lower floors the pay off for the darkness has always been the trees full of wildlife, not buildings filled with rich people. The Deptford Dame is right about privacy, but I doubt if this is ever a consideration for planning.

  6. No shit, Anon! This is the same as Cathedral's development next to Deptford Station. An imaginary piazza full of folk on a summer's eve, when in reality they'll be shivering in the cold...

    Why can't they get this sun thing right?

  7. I'm a ground-floor Holden House resident on the Creekside side of the building. We didn't get a flyer through our door, and I didn't see the posters as I don't use the stairs. The first I heard of the proposals was a letter from Lewisham council today. Obviously we would be among the most affected residents, I hope our omission from the flyering wasn't deliberate.