Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sold down the river...

If you wondered what was going on with those cranes on the other side of Deptford Creek, the above visual is from Cathedral plc's planning application for their development in Norman Road. It's called The Movement. Read on to see how your landscape will change over the next few years (with a focus on the river)...

The Movement application for Norman Road SE10 was submitted to Greenwich Council in 2010. We weren't consulted even though it has a significant impact on our skyline if the cranes are anything to go by, which can be seen from the other side of Deptford.

Proposed buildings are always shown in isolation, renderings rarely show the true impact, and only planners know what's going on elsewhere in the area. On these borders between Lewisham and Greenwich, you may wonder whether there is any collaboration. Historically there is very little.

In the 2011 planning drawings (submitted to Greenwich), The Movement's new towers are set against the backdrop of Creekside Village, as if to say "our towers are quite modest and unobjectionable" compared with what's planned for the area.

Click on the image below of The Movement to see a larger view of what is proposed for Creekside Village EAST that has yet to materialise. It shows a really massive tower to add to the horrendous wall of glass that is already there (Creekside Village West). This would be on the site behind the Laban and straddles the borders of Greenwich and Lewisham.

Hidden behind the tower would be two more towers and another 'wall' style block. Both councils approved the plans in principle for Creekside Village East, but whilst Greenwich signed off on it, Lewisham held out over the Section 106 agreements. One of the pay offs for Lewisham would be a theatre space and extra facilities for Trinity Laban, but there was also a bridge across the Creek proposed that had little design (or practical) merit. Some time has passed since the last revised drawings in 2007 so plans will have to be reviewed, along with the Section 106 aspects. (View the old application here). Apparently, we were consulted – the Community Consultation statement says local residents on Crossfields and Millennium Quay attended a meeting held by Creekside Forum in 2006 (first we've heard about it!). Here's a promotional shot from 2009 that we posted in March 2010:

And below, the view from the bridge on Creek Road in which two of the new towers and the new wall are visible.

And a view from Creekside in which all four new buildings can be seen looming up behind the Laban.

The present view from the Creek:

Very recently, planning permission has gone in again for the footbridge that would cross from the Laban (west side) to Norman Road (east), which the Deptford Dame has written about this month. Update: It is now rumoured that the Laban bridge may be the one aspect of the old application that needs to be completed before the developer (Ampurius Nu Homes) can sell off the Eastern side of the site to another investor. It is thought that the poor bridge design is unlikely to be approved, and the Creekside Village East project may be delayed still further. We hope.

Closer to home, Workspace's Faircharm application uses Creekside Village West to show how modest their tower is in comparison. If the drawing was extended further east, it ought to show also the proposed Creekside Village East super-blocks and The Movement development. But it doesn't.

The drawing tries to show that views are not obscured very much for anyone standing in the road and that there is no loss of light, although everyone in the flats in front of the development on Crossfields will have a radically altered view and loss of light. The developers claim they'll have a better view because they'll be looking out onto a nice development instead of an industrial estate that the developers themselves have allowed to run down.

Meanwhile, the plans for Creekside Village West & East have served to make every other developer's ambitions look modest in comparison. We already have the monolithic new wall separating us from the river that is Galliard Homes' Capital Quay. The density of this development means there will be no light at all to the apartments at its interior.

Further out along the river, there's a new 40-storey tower planned for Surrey Quays (below)...and more towers at Greenwich Peninsula. Perhaps though, slimline towers (Seager Tower?) aren't quite as bad as the the 12+ storey blocks that always seem to surround them. The height, density and massing of the surrounding buildings are what cause loss of light and wind tunnels and make a development even more inhospitable and inhuman.

Back in Deptford, after a long lull (developers ran out of cash, rented out site as film set), building is progressing apace at Paynes & Borthwick Wharf down by the river on Deptford's Watergate Street (Greenwich), where local residents endure work going on six days a week, stationary concrete mixing lorries queue in the street waiting to get onsite, construction workers park anywhere they like (including in front of the Dog n'Bell, preventing beer deliveries) and Twinkle Park is littered with construction workers' drinks cans and fag butts. Here's a model of the development shown in isolation to its surroundings...and as it is on the street behind (with a similar block to Crossfields, Rowley   House, on the left).

Almost right next door is the 40-acre Convoys Wharf (aka The King's Yard). This week we shall see what Farrells have planned for the site since their first engagement with the project last year. It is still likely to be 3500 flats and three very tall towers. Below are two renderings by the previous architects Aedas (2011), followed by Farrell's model, shown in July 2012. Farrells lowered the heights of some of the surrounding blocks and paid lip service to the history of the site, but the density remained, as per the brief of their masters, Chinese conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa.

Like the architects before them, Farrells insists on talking about the towers at Convoys Wharf as a way of 'landmarking' Deptford as seen from the river and Canary Wharf. Obviously, tall buildings are a way of getting maximum return on a site, and to this day, News International, who sold the site to Hutchison Whampoa, still have a profit share on the luxury flats sold.

At a recent 'public' meeting Workspace also described their proposed luxury residential tower at Faircharm as a way of 'landmarking' Deptford Creek. The change from industrial use (employment) to mixed residential use will apparently fund the renovation of the much reduced business space. Residential use is required, says Workspace's Development Executive, because "Lewisham is a net exporter of employees to jobs in central London". However, not building luxury flats by this riverside, they say in their planning application, would be a "missed opportunity".

The gift that keeps on giving, of course, is public access to the river (or muddy Creek). But at what price?

That brings us to an article called Sold Down The River written by Deyan Sudjic, an architecture journalist writing for The Observer in May 2003. He is now Head of the Design Museum. Here are a couple of extracts:
Change in itself is not the problem. We have gained a lot from London's new relationship with its river. Tate Modern and the London Eye have both created new areas of the city, bustling with life, a healthy mixture of uses, and all the attractions that a view of water can bring. But a lot more of the new Thames is not like that. Large stretches are dominated by a continuous wall of riverside apartment blocks that have driven out everything else, to create a tidy but sterile monoculture. The river has become a thin strip of affluence, existing in a bubble that has nothing to do with life in the rest of the city just a street behind.
Now developers, driven by soaring land values to extract the most out of every inch of riverside, build as close to the river as they can. Whole stretches are now lined with apartment blocks, built to take advantage of the views of the river, but the result is to offer residents spectacular views of all the other ranks of balconies on either side of them, and on the other side of the river, looking back at them. In the process the Thames has been turned into something very much like a very long thin football stadium. 
Read the entire article here.

See also Owen Hathaway's recent article The Shard: Beacon of the left's skyline in The Guardian on 12 February 2013, a little less than ten years later than Sudjic's. Hathaway argues how the Section 106 agreement, by which local authorities are able to bargain some sort of public infrastructure out of developers, has failed spectacularly. Not helped, of course, by the relaxation in planning laws that now allows developers to duck out of any commitments to affordable housing (let alone housing that is actually affordable).

Postscript 28 February

For Crossfields, the immediate problem is Faircharm, where the owners wish to make the most of their land next to a very muddy Creek. Someone told them it was a river. Which it is. Across the way, architects BPTW who own the land across the Creek almost opposite the Laban had planned a tower. They have now modified their ideas. At the southern end of the Creek, Galliard have a hold, but Creek dwellers may be alarmed to hear the rumour that Lewisham College are reconsidering the sale of 'the island' again, a piece of concrete that straddles the Creek and which the Ravensbourne is channeled through to appear on the other side of 'Deptford Bridge' and provide a lovely setting for the Seager development. 

The Movement can't really be considered a riverside development. We mention it because it grows stealthily on our doorstep, and it's particularly relevant because it has displaced an industrial business site (an employment area) which had to be closed a few years ago to make way for it, in the same way Faircharm businesses will be closed down to make way for residential flats. The Movement is also in Greenwich, who don't seem to have any credible planning policy. But, although we haven't examined the respective land ownerships, it doesn't seem much different to Thurston Road, another business site which was sold off and is now being developed to join the towers of the monstrous new Croydon-like development on Loampit Vale. Update 6 March: see also Alternative SE4's news on the stalled Lewisham Gateway development.

Cannon Wharf and Marine Wharf also look to put more stress on the Evelyn Street area. (See  Alternative SE4). Round the corner there is the massive Surrey Canal Road development.
Also see: What is the right way to regenerate in London?

Friday, February 22, 2013

SAVE THE NHS! (and Lewisham Hospital!)

UPDATE 25 FEBRUARY: 38 Degrees have launched a new campaign that has overlapped the petition begun last Thursday (which we posted about then and which had already reached nearly 13,000 signatures in three days). Even if you signed the other petition, please sign again on the new one HERE! (Please sign both!)

UPDATE 26 FEBRUARY: Act NOW to stop Section 75! Save Lewisham Hospital have now put up a page about the story below, and have very helpfully provided two letters you can email to Parliament.

For some reason, most of the mainstream media (especially the BBC) appears to be ignoring all the government's sneaky back door attempts to privatise health, education, the fire service and anything else they can get their hands on. So you may not know about this...

Last week, the government brought out a legal document that sets out the Regulations to be applied to the Health & Social Care Act (which was passed last year). Hidden away in the jargon, and easily missed by many, is Section 75 in which Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are obliged to put out to tender almost every NHS service – to any penny-scrimping profit-making bidder.

The new regulations grant the 'regulator' (Monitor) sweeping statutory powers to intervene and enforce competition. Monitor will be able to decide when CCGs have breached competition regulations, and have the authority to stop arrangements that they deem flawed and to impose competitive tendering and the offer of 'Any Qualified Provider' (step in, Virgin etc).

As Polly Toynbee writes in The Guardian today, "At first patients may not notice who profits from their services, as private companies hide under the NHS logo. But the change will be irreversible when NHS services atrophy once contracts are let out."

Much of the tax you pay towards the NHS will go into the coffers of private company share holders, and we'll be bailing them out like the banks. The government have lied and misled everyone, and this secondary legislation is the final nail in the coffin for the NHS.

More reading:

Media coverage:
Update 25 February: Tories' hidden privatisation plan revealed
Update 26 February: NHS competition rules must be reviewed
Lib Dem pressure forces Jeremy Hunt to rewrite NHS provider regulations
Update 27 February: Is a new NHS reforms row brewing? Finally the BBC report the story we covered six days ago, but it's hidden away in the Health section of the news webpages:
Update 1 March: Doctors' concern over NHS contracts being put up for sale 
Update  3 March: With a broken promise, the government has handed the NHS over to the market
As NHS services are privatised, no one thought to write listening to patients into the contract
BBC News at Ten finally reports NHS privatisation with government bias, and story hidden away again on Health pages of website

Update 5 March:
NHS private sector climbdown a 'humiliating U-turn', says Labour Lib Dem health minister Norman Lamb announces rewrite of key competition regulations 'to remove any doubt' over privatisation fears
On BBC Radio 4's Inside Health, Lord Howe promises a re-write of NHS regulations "within a few days".
After thousands sign the 38 Degrees petition and over a thousand doctors write to the Daily Telegraph over the weekend, BBC News Health section (still not the main page) reports: NHS competition rules to be changed

Update 12 March: Government drops controversial clause from NHS competition rules 
Amend in haste, repent at leisure – NHS section 75 saga continues

Events and other news:

Boris Johnson will be at Broadway Theatre, Catford on Thursday 7th March (6pm for 7pm–9pm), for People's Question Time, which is organised twice yearly by the Mayor and London Assembly. You can apply for FREE tickets (maximum of two). Read more on the Save Lewisham Hospital website, or apply directly for tickets here. 

FILM NIGHT and discussion on the fight to Save Lewisham A&E – 4th March A screening of "Running Out of Patients", a documentary on the 1987 Victoria Nurses' Strike, followed by discussion on how ideas raised in the film (direct action) might be employed to save the NHS.
Monday 4th March, 7-10pm at Utrophia 
(opposite Deptford station) Deptford High Street
(£2 contributions)
Facebook event page

BORN IN LEWISHAM - Saturday 16th March (time to be announced)
If you, your children, your sister of brother, your boyfriend or anyone you know was born in Lewisham Hospital – or if you just want to show your support – come along and join hands around the hospital.
More info on Save Lewisham Hospital website
Or join the Facebook page

Update 25 Feb: Lewisham Council legal action decision delayed...see News Shopper story.
Update 27 Feb: Council approves Mayor's legal action. Please donate to public fund

POP-UP AGAINST PFI – Friday 1st March 12noon St Paul's Cathedral
Direct Action...targeting the companies which profit from extortionate debts put on our NHS, including the South London Healthcare Trust.
See  and Save Lewisham Hospital

Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Cross Assembly

Local assemblies are open meetings where local people can decide how to impove their area. Anyone who lives, works or studies in each ward can attend (our ward is New Cross). See this Council web page.

The next New Cross Assembly is:

Thursday 28 February, 7-9pm at Deptford Lounge

Chaired by Cllr Paul Maslin. On the agenda:
• an update on the Outer London Fund programme on Deptford High Street
• information about volunteering, time credits and skill swap schemes
• an extended session with the Safer Neighbourhood Team
• update on Lewisham Hospital
• Community Update open floor round-up

Refreshments will be available. For more details see here or contact Brigid Howarth, New Cross Assembly co-ordinator on 020 8314 8038 or email.

SLAM Last Fridays

Last Fridays is an opportunity for arty types to meet up and preview what's going on in galleries and spaces in Deptford, Bankside, Peckham and Bermondsey. It's organised by South London Art Map (SLAM).

This Friday SLAM have planned a 'Pay What You Can' tour of Peckham 'art hot spots' which starts at Camberwell College of Arts in Peckham Road at 6.20pm. See here and the Facebook page.

But if you're hanging out in Deptford, between 6pm and 8pm (9pm in some cases) you can visit Bearspace in Deptford High Street, APT Gallery in Creekside, Number 82 on Tanners Hill, and Enclave in Resolution Way, off Deptford High Street.

A little further afield are ASC Studios in New Cross and CueB in Brockley Road, plus a special event at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery in the Old Royal Naval College. Each area has an "After Party" – the Deptford After Party is at The Old Police Station in Amersham Vale.

See full listings.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Deptford nights out

A new Comedy Club launched at The Big Red last Saturday. Click on the image above for details of days, times and prices.

Meanwhile, Little Nan's Bar launched last Friday. It's downstairs in the old Bunker Club at 46 Deptford Broadway and has 'popped up' to stay for six months, open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5-11pm.

Tiger beer for £3.40 a pint, Strongbow Cider for £2.90 a pint and loads of vintage priced cocktails and premium spirits, bottled beers, ciders, ales and wines - along with Victoria Sponge cake, Cheese straws (88 year old Recipe) and Million Dollar Shortbread.

See Little Nan's Facebook page.

Thames Tunnel update

Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart reports:

• Thames Water are planning to submit the development consent application for the Super Sewer on 28th February to the planning inspectorate in Bristol
• This application will be 60,000 pages long
• The planning inspectorate will then have until March 28th to make a decision as to whether they will accept this application
• They are making a big play of their consultation claiming that they have listened to members of the community and stakeholders and have taking people’s views into consideration for the plans that they have submitted
• If the planning inspectorate accept the application they will make available the application available to the public
• It is expected that they will then hold a meeting to consider the application on 2nd and 3rd September 2013

The campaign believes that they have still not answered our questions or our concerns. We will continue to fight this. Please remember, so far only Thames Water have decided that this is a good site.

Keep up to date with the fight by joining Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart's Facebook page

Faircharm redevelopment update

Last Tuesday 12 February, around 40 locals gathered at Creekside Centre to hear more about the proposed Faircharm development (Application DC/12/82000) and ask questions directly of the applicants. The Chair, Dame Joan Ruddock, explained that the meeting was for those who'd registered objections but that others were welcome. She added that Lewisham is not required by law to facilitate such a meeting but often does when there are so many objections.

Lewisham planning officers, Gemma Barnes and Chris Brodie, were in attendance in a neutral role and to take notes. Ian Dubber, Development Executive for the developer (aka 'real estate investors') Workspace plc, was accompanied by Rebekah Paczek from PR firm SnapDragon (responsible for their pitiful public consultation), and the team from architects Karakusevic Carson.

The audience was made up of local residents, Faircharm tenants, representatives from Creekside Centre, APT Studios and Cockpit Arts. Much of the discussion was taken up with the plight of the present Faircharm tenants, leaving little time for Crossfields residents to express their concerns. However, there were some interesting points raised at the meeting which will hopefully inform the planner's negotiations with the applicant.

We also learned that there is more time to object, since negotiations between planners and Workspace may continue until May.

It was suggested that the developers use the Creek to transport materials in and out of the site, instead of 180 construction lorry trips a day for three years. This idea was supported by the planners and Creekside Centre and should be explored further with the Port of London Authority. (However, there are plans in the pipeline to build two bridges across the Creek – at Laban, and at the mouth of the Creek). *

Sunlight drawings which were not submitted at first have been requested by the planners, along with further information which should be made public in due course. Further sunlight studies may help to establish objections regarding the ancient by-law Right To Light (which is currently under threat)

Planners have asked Workspace to explore whether some B2 use can be fitted on the site so that present creative businesses can be accommodated (although this didn't sound very useful to the tenants present at the meeting)

Section 106 mitigation is unlikely to produce any direct benefits for Crossfields residents (so no point in asking for any)

Parking spaces are not likely to be increased (so this will still be a problem for everyone).

Notes made at the meeting can be read below. Planning officer Gemma Barnes' 'Local meeting notes' can be downloaded here (scroll to the bottom of the list of documents).

* Update 21.2.13: see the Deptford Dame's latest report on the two bridges here.

See also our previous post on how to object, or sign the petition here.


Ms Ruddock suggested four main themes as a basis for questions: Building Use, Phasing, Built Form and Transport, but no one really stuck to the list, so the headings below are partly notional.


Despite Ms Ruddock's proposed agenda, the meeting kicked off with a discussion about Consultation (or lack of it). Why had the invitation to comment arrived over Christmas and New Year, with little time to object? Lewisham Planners said that the Council cannot control when an application is submitted but had subsequently allowed extra time for comments/objections.

In fact, the application would now not be decided until at least May (originally March) since the application is still being negotiated, and comments can be received up until that time.

In a previous meeting with Faircharm tenants chaired by Joan, she had requested that a list of tenants' contact details be provided, so that they could communicate with each other. Why did this not happen? Dubber answered that they had consulted via blind copied email for data protection reasons. (So tenants were kept in the dark).

Building Use

When did Workspace make the decision to apply for change of use from Class B2 (general industrial) to Class B1 (light industry/office) and could they justify any demand for B1 use when so much of it was already lying empty elsewhere? The planners explained that B1 can co-exist with residential units but B2 is problematic because of noise and smell. Ways can be found, however, to deal with noise and smell nuisance, and Lewisham have asked Workspace to explore whether some B2 use can be accommodated on the site – probably in the older retained buildings.

However this would only be 400sqm (1300sqft), not enough to house the current B2 useage. One business present at the meeting needed 1000sqft and another 20,000. They had not been offered any help to relocate and could so far not find any alternative suitable space. Workspace did not have other such spaces in its portfolio.

Ms Ruddock pointed out that Workspace are known to buy big units and redevelop them as small units. Dubber said there is a great demand for B1 use, which prompted the question why then build any residential? Workspace said the residential development is needed to pay for reinvestment in the business space. Why can't business rents pay for this?

Dubber said that presently the site is 62% occupied, and the new proposals would create better and more flexible units to attract more business. A local resident commented that the high vacancy rate is because there is uncertainty about lease arrangements and tenants have left. Is it true that tenants will all soon be given notice? Dubber confirmed existing tenants have secured agreements until July, after which there would rolling monthly contracts.

Dubber said they had set up a relocation fund and appointed Kalmars to look at relocation options for present occupiers. A tenant pointed out that this information had not been conveyed to them. Dubber also said they were looking at how some businesses could be retained during construction. Again, it was pointed out that this also had not been conveyed to present occupants (probably because Workspace want the site emptied).

Had the architects looked at commercial development options that didn't involve residential? Dubber said they had done this exercise and decided against it. What would the rents be in the new units? The rents would go up, but service charges would come down.

We don't need any more residential, what we really need is more jobs? Dubber said Lewisham is a net exporter of employees to jobs in central London.


Dubber said they are currently looking at the 'phasing' options (the order and timescale in which to demolish and construct buildings). This would be submitted as additional information to the application. A resident commented that that must be tricky if they can't relocate some of the businesses. Another said they should do their utmost to work with current tenants when planning the phasing.

Couldn't the Creek be used for the transportation of demolition and construction materials to mitigate the proposed road useage? Dubber said the Port of London Authority (PLA) wouldn't allow it, but the resident suggested they approach them again, since this was one of the main concerns for residents and businesses. Lewisham officers said they would encourage the use of the Creek. The Chair of Creekside Centre said the Centre would support such a plan, and as CEO of Thames Gateway Partnership she would speak with the PLA to discuss the idea further.

Built Form

Ms Ruddock asked if there were any objections to the design of the development. A resident suggested the design isn't sympathetic to the heritage assets of the Conservation Area. Dubber said design is subjective. Others felt the proposed height was inappropriate, but Dubber said there are other tall buildings in the vicinity and their tower would "landmark" the Creek. The audience laughed.

A resident pointed out that Crossfields will lose at least an hour of sunrise each day. Workspace said the impact was not significant. The resident used the site model to demonstrate the bleedin' obvious, causing Dubber to start losing his rag. (Sunlight/daylight studies had been submitted in the application without any drawings – these have since been requested by Lewisham planners and will be made public in due course. These drawings were available to view at the meeting but were largely hidden from view behind the planner's and Chair's table.)

In designating the area a Conservation Area, why had a decision been made that Building B (proposed to be demolished) wasn't as important as Buildings A and C (fronting onto Creekside)? The planners explained that Building B wasn't considered to be as historically significant. Could the Planning Committee request retention of Building B? The Council will indeed have to decide whether to allow Building B to be demolished, but not allowing it would mean refusing the entire application. (Workspace would then appeal). The planners are still negotiating all aspects of the proposal.

How much commercial space will be provided on the site? 100,000sqft would be reduced to 57,000sqft.

Is there a Section 106 to mitigate the impact of the development? The Council would be expecting a contribution to affordable housing, improvements to transport links, education provision and enhancements to the Creek etc. (No ideas have been submitted by Workspace that would directly benefit Crossfields residents, and planners later said that they can't insist on direct benefits, for instance, nursery provision within the new buildings, if they are not offered by the developer).


Workspace have been looking at improvements to pedestrian routes which will form part of the Section 106 mitigation. Improvements to the Ha'Penny Hatch (the route to Greenwich rather than Deptford DLR), are proposed, whilst routes to Deptford station would resurrect plans for a path through the estate, involving the demolishing of a tenant's garden. 

Are 28 parking spaces enough? Dubber said the number was dictated by the Greater London Authority in the London Plan Standards. (Planners later said this was the maximum as it related to residential units, it could be demonstrated that more were required to accommodate commercial use, but it would depend on what other sustainable plans are put in place).

How will construction affect residents? Dubber said they had submitted various reports on transport, ecology, noise, air quality etc to be assessed by Lewisham. Construction traffic would be 90 trips a day. This was corrected by a resident to the real figure – 180.

Dubber said it wasn't a big deal because their reports showed there were already 290 trips to and from the site. Residents and business tenants argued that this figure was greatly exaggerated and the report must've been conducted when Creekside was being used as a rat-run which happens when one of the major routes is congested for whatever reason. Dubber suggested congestion may have been bad during the Olympics. This prompted more laughter (there was hardly any traffic during the Olympics).

Others pointed out that the road is too narrow for construction traffic, and there would be health implications.

Other questions that didn't get discussed before Ms Ruddock closed the meeting: How many residential units would be affordable? (15%). How many local people would be employed on construction? etc

After the meeting, some residents took the opportunity to view the model for the first time, and the main topic of conversation seemed to be the conduct of Workspace's Ian Dubber. One resident commented, "I thought the Workspace guy was appalling. He smirked, derided and patronised his way through the entire meeting. Even Joan Ruddock and the architects looked embarrassed by his conduct. They'd be better off appointing a better spokesperson or someone with better communication skills."

Friday, February 15, 2013

New Convoys Wharf exhibition – diary dates

Developers Hutchison Whampoa invite you to view their latest masterplan proposals for Convoys Wharf.

The exhibition takes place on two days and will reveal the work that architects Farrells have done since the last exhibition in July 2012. The photo above shows the height and massing of the masterplan as it stood in July – will it look any different?

Thursday 28th February 3–9pm
Charlotte Turner School, Benbow Street SE8 3HD

Saturday 2nd March 10am–3pm
The Albany, Douglas Way SE8 4AG

The model in July included on it home-grown community heritage projects Build The Lenox and Sayes Court Gardens, albeit in the wrong places. Will they still be included? How will the listed Olympia Shed be used? To re-familiarise yourself with the issues raised at the last exhibition, read this report on the Deptford Is... blog.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Save Lewisham Hospital events and legal challenge


Friday 14 – Saturday 16 February
Please tie a red balloon outside the railings of the hospital, take a picture, send to your local paper, Facebook it to your own page and to the Save Lewisham Hospital page.

Friday 15 February 1pm
LUNCHTIME RALLY at the war memorial opposite the hospital.

Date to be announced
An event is being organised in which people born in – or who gave birth in – Lewisham Hospital, their friends, families, colleagues and supporters, can join hands around the hospital. More info here.

Also read the latest news from Louise Irvine, Chair of Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign here.

Lewisham Council has launched a legal challenge and the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign is in discussion with solicitors to mount a separate but complementary case. Both need help with fund-raising for legal fees.

In a letter to the Secretary of State, the Council is giving Jeremy Hunt until 22 February to withdraw his decision. A similar letter has been sent to Matthew Kershaw.

The Council has set up a Legal Challenge Fund to enable people to help by donating to the court costs. In the event that the court awards costs in the Council's favour (or if for any other reason your donation is not used for the legal action) the Council will donate your money to local charity Children First Lewisham.

You can contribute to the Hospital Legal Challenge Fund here (via debit or credit card).  

Monday, February 11, 2013

NOT a Public Meeting about Faircharm redevelopment

Local bloggers have been ticked off for publicising a meeting at Creekside Centre tomorrow night in which Workspace, the owners of Faircharm, will be grilled by local objectors (see previous post).

Those who have objected to the development received a letter from Lewisham Planning inviting them to the meeting. It did not suggest the meeting wasn't open to the larger public, although recipients were requested to RSVP since space would be limited.

We have been told that "there is nothing to prevent attendees at the meeting from canvassing their friends and neighbours in advance for additional questions to put to the developer". But since the invitation to the meeting only arrived last Thursday (7th February), there has been precious little time (five days) for anyone to canvas anyone else. Many invitees may be unable to attend because it is such short notice.

That is why we publicised it.

THERE IS STILL TIME TO OBJECT (see how to here), but you may find it easier to  


Residents and other businesses were sent a letter just before Christmas (17th December), asking for objections to be received by 7th January – hardly an appropriate length of time for people to respond in, or even grasp the implications of the proposed development.

The developer's own 'exhibitions' (two in two years) failed to attract much interest, and showed only possibilities that might form part of their eventual application. 'Consultation' consisted of questions like "What kind of activities would you like to see during the day and in the evening at the Faircharm Creative Quarter and along the Creekside?" No reference, of course, to the downside of the development for local people.

The nitty gritty of the proposals were only revealed after the application went to Planning in late December – and very few people were ever going to read through the thousands of pages in the application and uncover the unpalatable truths (much of which is hidden in lengthy appendices).

Despite this, around 50 people have taken the trouble to make their opposition known to Lewisham Planning, but only 6% of Crossfields residents have recorded objections. Many residents will still be unaware that there will be noise, dust and pollution – plus 180 lorry trips per day rattling down Creekside – for three years, or that they are going to lose up to 20% of their daylight when the development is complete.

More on the development in previous posts:

View the application in brief here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

URGENT Public Meeting & Petition: Faircharm redevelopment

UDATE 11th Feb: Please note We have now been told this meeting is only open to those who have already objected.

TUESDAY 12th FEBRUARY 7–8.30pm
Creekside Centre, 14 Creekside SE8
(opposite Holden House play area)

Lewisham Planning has organised an informal meeting between representatives from Workspace and local residents and businesses opposed to their plans for the redevelopment of Faircharm Trading Estate on Creekside. The meeting is to be chaired by Joan Ruddock.

Come and hear them defend Up for discussion will be (in no particular order):
180 construction lorries per day for three years – Creekside will become dangerous, noisy – and polluting as traffic backs up a) because it's a rat-run and b) there is parking on both sides (where will people park otherwise). Dangerous for cyclists, dangerous for children, dangerous for drivers on that blind corner.

• Only 15% affordable housing in the proposed 148 flats (so no solving the housing crisis here)
• A 12-storey tower twice the height of any present buildings, and 8-storey buildings nearly twice the height of Crossfields, blocking out sunlight to Crossfields housing on Creekside by 20%, and radically altering the environments of two established and highly regarded cultural centres on either side

Demolition causing rats, dust and pollution, and more dust, but apparently not enough to affect your child unless s/he already has asthma.

• Only 28 parking spaces for a potential 250 residents and 200 employees – Crossfields already provides free parking for Faircharm, Lewisham College, APT, Laban, Cockpit, Tidemill, high street and Wavelengths users

• A major threat to the ecological biodiversity of Deptford Creek (it all goes on at night, not under electric light)

• The colonisation of the Creek by luxury housing even though the area is one of few designated for employment (where do people go to work?)
• Inappropriate development in a Conservation Zone (what does that mean?)

The ejection of the very creative businesses whose reputations have contributed to the applicant's dubious name for its development: Faircharm Creative Quarter.
And the only thing promised to Crossfields residents is access to the Creek. This will be an area by the Creek that will be in shadow for most of the day and evening thanks to the 12-storey tower block.

Many missed – or took no notice of – the previous two presentations by the developers over the past two years. Perhaps you feel you don't have the power to stop the changes being inflicted on you. But this is your chance to say no. 

Sign the online petition HERE.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Plastic bottle greenhouse for The Wonky Prong

The Crossfields Food Growing Project is hoping to build a greenhouse out of recycled plastic bottles – and needs your help!

A notice went up around the estate before Christmas, and so far around 200 bottles have been collected, but five or six times that many are required to build the greenhouse, so please keep collecting!

The greenhouse will be used to grow seeds for the community garden and also for growing free plants to put in your window boxes.

Please drop off used bottles to Tim at no.8 Castell House – just leave in a bag outside his front door. Only clear or green plastic (large or small) is required, please no opaque white bottles!

The greenhouse might look like this once completed (though Prince Charles may not visit us!). If you'd like to find out more about The Wonky Prong, or get involved, check out the Wonky Prong blog for contact details.