Monday, December 22, 2014

Kent Wharf Planning Application + other Creekside developments

As 'near neighbours' Crossfields residents have been invited to comment on this application (which we last mentioned in September). All should have received the formal letter from Lewisham Planning for application DC/14/89953.

Mixed use development at Kent Wharf and 24a Creekside SE8 comprising the construction of three buildings ranging from 6 to 16 storeys incorporating balconies and terraces comprising 1,375 sq.m of commercial floorspace (use classes B1/D1/D2), 143 residential units (Use Class C3) public and private amenity space, together with associated landscaping, refuse stores, 184 cycle spaces, 3 car parking spaces, associated highway works and plant.

The illustration above shows the development in isolation to the other FOUR new towers planned for this end of the Creek (see below).

According to the Lewisham Planning Portal, the application from Bellway Homes was received by Planning on November 26th. A trick often employed by developers is to submit an application at Christmas time when everyone is too busy to notice or do anything about it. So we get a letter from Planning on 19th December with a deadline to comment by 8th January.

Of these 20 days, three are bank holidays – so that's really only 17 days. But worse still, Planning has not put up ANY documents related to this application. We called the planning officer in charge of it this morning to find out when the drawings and detail would be added to the website, only to be told he is on annual leave. One of his colleagues said the documents were being scanned and would be available to view tomorrow.

So, that brings the time for commenting down to 14 days. The same thing happened two years ago with the Faircharm development. On that occasion Lewisham Planning decided to extend the deadline (see our Jan 2013 post) – they disliked this application so much and requested so many revisions that the deadline was eventually extended till May. Long before that, they had attempted to mitigate the worst aspects of Workspace's plans by designating the area a Conservation Zone. Ultimately, they passed the application, claiming to be 'at the mercy of market forces'.

However, they have already been working with Bellway Homes on various aspects of the Kent Wharf site, so they are probably fairly happy with the application. Apparently at Lewisham's request, earlier versions of the development have altered so that the 12 storey tower originally positioned on the Deptford Creek waterside has moved to the road side edge of the plot. Four more floors have been added, which is presumably a compromise for either more affordable housing units, or for more space to be given over to creative business units / artists studios (which were lost in the Faircharm proposals).

Finch House residents may certainly have something to say about the heights of the buildings; the rest of us may want to lobby for the Creek to be used for the transportation of construction materials, if nothing else. To view the application, keep checking the Planning Portal for DC/14/89953. Click the Documents tab to view any drawings and relevant details that might appear after today. It will be interesting to see if Bellway Homes have submitted any drawings which show their development as rather titchy and benign in relation to the others planned at Creekside Village...

Update 26 December: We received an email from the planning officer on Xmas eve stating that "the Council will be accepting comments after the normal 21 day consultation period for the proposals at Kent Wharf due to the Christmas period". The bad news is that there are now an extraordinary 81 documents associated with the application available to view on the planning portal!



Kent Wharf is not the only new development planned for this end of Creekside – just the only one that has reached application stage. Locals should also have received a flyer about Creekside Village East and the public exhibition being staged by Kitewood on Saturday 10th Jan (12–4pm) and Monday 12 Jan (2-4pm) at the Laban. www.creeksideeast.co.uk

As Kitewood's website / flyer states, this is in addition to separate proposals from Essential Living for Greenwich Creekside East. Apparently there was a public exhibition of their plans on 6th December but we were not informed about it – probably because, although it is practically on our doorstep, the development falls within Greenwich Council's remit. The exhibition boards can be viewed at www.greenwichcreeksideeast.co.uk and you are invited to let them know your views by emailing michaels@curtinandco.com (see the visual below).

Again, we are not shown a visual that shows all five towers of the three different developments all together – nor any view that includes the SIXTH tower a few blocks down (and much closer to Crossfields) that will be built at Faircharm.

The Deptford Dame has very recently posted about Greenwich Creekside East – essential reading on Essential Living's plans. And although all this stuff has been on the cards for some time, it is still rather shocking to contemplate the phenomenal changes that lie ahead! Crossfields is now a building site as MITIE proceed inexorably slowly with their 'Decent Homes' programme. It's unlikely to be finished before the end of summer 2015, by which time work may have finally begun at Faircharm. There is no escape! Merry Christmas!


Update Jan 25th 2015: See our detailed look at the Kent Wharf application to Lewisham Council here. Also see our notes on Creekside East and the live application to Greenwich Council for Greenwich Creekside East here.


Friday, December 19, 2014

No lights on Ha'Penny Hatch for past three months (Lewisham side)

While on Deptford High Street there is a shortage of Christmas lights, at the Ha'Penny Hatch where Lewisham meets Greenwich over Deptford Creek, there have been NO LIGHTS AT ALL since the beginning of October (or is it longer?).

The picture above is from 9th November. There's no change. Fortunately, as far as we know, with darkness descending at 4pm or sooner, the only remotely bad thing that has happened is graffiti artists having a party or two (and leaving all their litter, which is also never cleared up). But it's almost three months since this path has been lit.

Usually this is the sort of thing you could post to Love Lewisham, but it is not so simple. Firstly this path has no postcode – so they can't find it and you can't use their interactive map to report it. More importantly, neither can the police if something awful happens here in the darkness.

Secondly, you have to report the number of the nearest lamppost that has a number written on it (back on Crossfields) because none of the lampposts on the path have numbers. We would normally have been reported it ourselves, but we have been waiting to see how long it takes for someone else to do it for a change – or to see if Lewisham notice it themselves!

It's a very important path since it forms part of the GLA's Cycle Quietways. In fact TWO so-called Quietways are offered at the Creekside end of the route across the Ha'Penny Hatch (one of which is through Crossfields – the maintenance of some of the path has been paid for by the leaseholders who were never even consulted). Strangely, that path is the responsibility of Greenwich Council even though it's in Lewishame, and roadworks to accommodate it across Deptford Church St are still being carried out by Greenwich, months after the work was started. Lewisham Homes wasn't even told about it. (Not that them knowing now makes any difference since they would hardly tell us).

However, cyclists using the Ha'Penny Hatch usually have their own lights. Pedestrians do not.

(This story was originally posted as part of the previous post).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Do They Know It's Christmas? Where are the festive lights on our High Street?

OK, so the cuts have taken their toll. No Xmas lights for Deptford High Street.

Just the south end – the lights came on (as they have for the past week) just as the Wednesday market was finishing today. Nothing in Giffin Square or Douglas Way. Obviously no Christmas tree here, that would be excessive (and of course attracts street drinkers, so we can't have that). Nothing from the Giffin St junction down to the very bottom (or very important north) of the high street where there are a couple of lampposts with a twist of lights as it meets Evelyn Street. In fact there is a twist of lights down there with no bulbs attached to their sockets.

Cuts? Incompetence? Lack of care? Couldn't one of Deptford's millionaires sponsor some lights? Did no one from Lewisham ask HSBC? Barclays? Poundland? 99p Store? Iceland? Tesco? Cathedral (cashing in already on Deptford)? Hutchison Whampoa (Convoys Wharf owners about to cash in)...Waitrose even? Just who the f**k is running this high street anyway? The "Deptford Society" don't appear to know. Who at Lewisham is responsible?

No doubt Lewisham Gateway (latest phase 0% affordable housing), Lewisham centre and Catford are bountifully lit up (we've no idea because we avoid these areas like the plague). But Deptford, non! And no bloody explanation or apology either!

Update 19th December: 
(We've edited this post. A related story about no lights on the Ha'Penny Hatch is now a separate post).

Our mate Fred called the council but didn't really get a definitive answer – the chap he spoke to didn't really know and could only guess. There might be three reasons, he said. 1. The lights were found to be not fit for purpose (bulbs missing?). 2. It might be Skanska's fault (they have the contract for street lighting). Skanska have put in new lamps at the south end of the street but have not yet replaced the old lampposts at the north end. 3. It was more likely to do with cut backs. On average, Xmas lights might cost between £12-£15k (to run or to install, he didn't say). Residents could apply for money from Ward Assembly funding, get their Ward Councillors to apply for funds. Or residents could approach a developer to sponsor.

As one commenter below has said, we're an enterprising and creative community in Deptford. If we had known in advance there would be such a poor show, we might have found an alternative way to bring a bit of festive cheer to the rest of the street.

Update 22 December: Five more lampposts were lit up yesterday...


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sunday 14 Dec : Deptford Fowlers Molly + London Pantomime Horse Race



Deptford Fowlers Troop do a kind of morris dancing as part of a tradition associated with Plough Monday, the first Monday after Epiphany. Molly dancing began with out of work ploughboys touring around villages offering the landowners the opportunity to pay them to dance instead of plough (since there would be no ploughing till Spring). If the landowners refused them money, they might find their garden lawns ploughed up, so the dancers would conceal their identities by blacking their faces with soot and dressing up in a variation of their Sunday best, with one of the members – the Molly – dressed up as a woman.

Basically it's a pub crawl with music and dance and a bit of dressing up! If you fancy joining the festivities, here's the schedule:

12.00: at the Royal Albert, 460 New Cross Road with dance commencing at 12.30. 
1.30: dance at the Little Crown, 495 New Cross Road
2.30: dance at the Job Centre, 120-122 Deptford High St
3.30: dance at the Dog and Bell, 116 Prince St

Deptford Fowlers Troop also celebrate Mayday when the Deptford Jack in the Green tours south London and the City. The video above is shot outside the Dog and Bell, their spiritual home. If the dancing starts a little too early for you, you can catch them at the Dog & Bell later, and meanwhile, head down the road to Greenwich for the annual Pantomime Horse Race...

Now in its fifth year, this Greenwich event has grown in size (though the contestants remain smallish in numbers – they're hoping for between 20 and 40 this year). Lots of comedians and showbiz personalities get involved.

This year the festivities begin with a science fiction themed opening ceremony at 11am. Stormtroopers (including Darth Vader) will march from the Cutty Sark to Devonport House where the race will start at 1pm. The panto nags then race to the Union Bar on Royal Hill. An after-race party hosted by comedian Stephen Frost starts at 2.30pm at the Greenwich Tavern next to Greenwich Park (£12 on the door). The event raises money for Demelza Children's Hospice – for more details and to see the route go the website!



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Do you need help with computers?

The Digital Lab is a new club-type space for Crossfields tenants who need some advice and help with using their digital devices, whether it's a laptop, tablet or smartphone (Android or iPhone).

Local IT trainer Paul Clayton will be setting up a club at the Pink Palace in the new year but in order to get this off the ground, he needs to know how many Crossfields residents are interested.

Paul says "Residents can come to the club with their own devices, or pop in and use the laptops and tablets I'll be setting up. I'll be doing a couple of talks about useful topics such as using wifi and keeping your laptop cleaned up. Internet will be provided via a 3G modem – which limits the numbers of people who can be online to around five – but all are welcome. You may just want to pick up some tips on typing! I'll have some accessibility software, big keyboards and trackballs which are useful for older people or people with low vision, and for those with limited movement. So, if anyone gets a digital gadget for Christmas this year, the club will be a perfect place to show it who is boss!".

The hope is to get it started in late January. Paul already has some interested tenants, but needs a few more to make a case to get funding before setting the date and time. It's intended that the drop-ins will last 6-8 weeks.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their gadgets, get in touch with Paul on 07958 251448 or email paul.clayton@soulchip.co.uk.
www.soulchip.co.uk

Friday, December 5, 2014

Busy weekend of Creekside music and art starting tonight

Starting with Number3London...

We've slagged off her landlord in the previous post, but we wish only the best to Caffy St Luce and her latest Rocklands project Number3Live Sessions launching at Number 3 Creekside this evening (and continuing 12th and 19th December). The bill tonight is Rhiannon The Nightmare, Jean Genie's Massive Hugs, James Fisher and DJ Gavin Black. It's free entry, doors are 7pm.

Despite the planning application being unresolved, the licensing is in place, so it's likely to be a late one, and a good opportunity for the nearby Crossfields residents to test the sound and noise barriers! Here's hoping their evenings won't be disturbed, and everyone has a great time.

Artwise, it's Christmas Open Studios at Cockpit Arts  – lots of visitors expected as usual as people come from far and wide to pick up classy and crafty Chrismas presents at studio prices at Numbers 18-22 Creekside. It's free entry from 11am till 9pm today but a £3 ticket price over the weekend (which allows entry both days, Sat & Sun 11am-6pm).

APT Gallery at Number 6 Creekside and Arthub Studios at Numbers 5-9 Creekside hope to attract some of these visitors to their own Christmas sales – though of course it might be the other way round! APT were open late for 'SLAM Last Fridays' last weekend and the traffic on Creekside was terrible! Tonight they'll be open from 6–8pm and 1-5pm on Sat & Sun.

Arthub Studios & Gallery's 'Snap it up!' offers a free glass of mulled wine this evening (6-9pm), a DJ and some 'screen printing' (not sure what that means!). Then they're open 1-5pm on the weekend.

Next week on Saturday 13 December, there's a Winterfair at the Arthouse and a Vintage Christmas & Craft market at The Albany.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New developer buys into Creekside gold rush...

Number One Creekside is the latest bit of real estate in our vicinity to be snapped up by developers. The owner of this popular MOT Testing Centre (opposite the Bird's Nest pub) has sold out to Bluecroft Property Development.

On their home page, Bluecroft announce their new land purchase (May 2014, apparently) as a site with "potential for a large residential new build development of circa 150 apartments".

In an effort to distance himself from this boast, one of Bluecroft's two directors, Tom Mulligan, told us that this refers to another site in Deptford, but he wouldn't say where. So it's probably this one. With 150 flats to fit in to this medium-sized plot, it is likely there will have to be a tower block.

Tom said they specialised in "Affordable Commercial", a mixed use of housing and commercial space – with the affordable emphasis on units for 'creatives' rather than homes that ordinary people can afford. Conscious that he was talking to a local artist, he was keen to show his awareness of the area already being a 'creative and small business environment'. This is also the designation for Creekside given by the Council, though this did little to stop Faircharm Estate owners Workspace cutting its affordable commercial employment space by two thirds in order to build luxury flats by the Creek.

Bluecroft say it will take two to three years to work up suitable plans and they will do their best to consult with their neighbours, since they "are a small company who cannot afford refusals" – in other words, they cannot afford to appeal if planning permission is refused. It is equally true that the Council cannot afford appeals either – there is only so much they can do in the face of aggressive market interests (and practically nothing at all when Boris Johnson steps in and takes planning control from them, eg Convoys Wharf, where the GLA has bent over backwards to give the Hong Kong developer everything it wants). Anyway, just how small can Bluecroft be if they can also boast a £150m project in a secret location in the City?


The north London outfit are also already ensconced in Lewisham – they include Riverdale House next on their list of recent projects. This is a bit odd since Galliard Homes are already actively promoting a whole floor of (15) properties 'off-plan' in this "all private" development (with no 'help to buy'). One way or another, Bluecroft are partnered with some big sharks.


Perhaps they will operate in a similar way to Cathedral plc's Deptford Project. They 'worked with' the Council in its plans for the new station and claim to have 'worked with the community' (the train carriage and low-rent 'creative' spaces in the arches). They certainly threw some money at the area around their site, but where's their investment in Deptford now? Nowhere to be seen. Since they arrived in Deptford, they've acquired large sites in Greenwich. Building on Deptford Project aka Rise was delayed whilst they concentrated on their Greenwich High Road site, and at Morden Wharf on the peninsula they're now pretending to be terribly concerned about the future of the river (and all those terrible high rise luxury developments!).

Then as soon as building started in Deptford they brought in IP Global to sell their properties overseas. See our recent post, and also the Deptford Dame's new post on local reactions to IP Global's marketing strategies. (See the video which provoked protest at the end of this post). It remains to be seen what businesses can exist and survive in the renovated arches, but the busy market and cafe culture depicted in their visuals will be in shade for most of the day.

Will they be offering special rents to social enterprises? Why aren't they doing that now in another part of Deptford – and showing their on-going commitment to the area? As the ex-director of Deptford X Visual Arts festival often noted when trying to raise funding, developers only give money when they are trying to curry favour. Once they have their planning permission, the funding dries up. This year's (late) funder was Anthologynew kids on the block, and making all the right noises and showing themselves to be well cuddly. They only appear 'nice' because they're not as awful as Lend Lease or, indeed, Hutchison Whampoa.

Still, even if Bluecroft intend to pretend to be friendly (quote Tom Mulligan "I come from an artists' background, so I know all about the arts"), it is blindingly obvious that development is their business and they are out to make shitloads of money (as the Deptford Dame coins it). And that is almost preferable to the deception being forged by the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing that is the owner of Number Three Creekside. Mr John Cierach (whose portfolio also includes the yard behind the Bird's Nest and the Big Red Pizza Bus) claims to be creating a "creative hub" for this little corner of Creekside and has tried to convince locals that he is "fully invested in the creative life of the area". Fully invested alright – with his secret plans to buy the Bird's Nest pub and turn it into flats (so far resisted) and his fanciful idea of building flats under the DLR viaduct (nice!).

[Ironically, whilst Cierach's plans to stage weekend late-licensed live music events attracting up to 500 people give nearby long-term residents on Crossfields much cause for concern, a brand new residential development at the MOT-Bluecroft site would be incompatible not only with that, but with the already well-established activities at the Bird's Nest. Venues are often shut down as a result of noise complaints from people who move into new developments knowing full well there is a lively and popular venue nearby – hence this recent e-petition.]

Ultimately, the issue we have with developers is that they are not building the homes that ordinary Londoners can afford. Creating balanced communities is simply not their business; their role in 'regeneration' is totally skewed. Bluecroft Property's plans may include affordable creative business units but they'll probably be the 'micro' kind suitable only for trendy mobile app designers who have been outpriced in Shoreditch. And then only because the Council have asked them to – so that they can continue to attract development money to Lewisham! But Bluecroft are under no obligation to provide any remotely affordable homes. Are they?


"When the artists start coming, that's when you want to get in" Tim Murphy, IP Global.
Er, they're already here, Tim, you knob, and you're pricing them out so they'll all be gone soon.




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trees for Deptford Broadway

As the news goes round about the TfL consultation on their long overdue proposals for junction improvements at Deptford Broadway (see previous post), the idea of bringing trees into the equation has surfaced and is gathering wide support.

A local architect has unearthed early drawings for the Seager Distillery development which were submitted to Lewisham Planning in its initial stages some years ago. This visual was used to sell the scheme to the Planners and shows trees planted in the central reservation.

The scheme was later "value engineered" by a different architect to create a cheaper-to-build version of the development, and any mitigation to locals such as trees on the north side of the development was lost – perhaps in favour of the new ball courts and improvements to Brookmill Park on the south side. It may even have been difficult at the time to get TfL on board.

The idea has already found traction with up-and-coming Deptford MP Vicky Foxcroft and the Brockley Society (who have a 'tree group' with experience of getting funding for new trees).

Such an idea would probably have to go through Planning, but if TfL are looking at improvements here, then they need to be brought on board because it is their land. One of their proposed improvements is to remove the brick walls on the central reservations on the A2 and Deptford Church Street, so how much harder is it to put in some trees while they're at it? (See the proposals here).

If you think it's a great idea, and you haven't yet completed TfL's online survey, do so now and add to the comments section that you'd like to see some trees on this busy junction (as well as pedestrian signals on every crossing) and why not trees on Deptford Church Street's central reservation too? The consultation ends 12 December.

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/a2-deptford-broadway-deptford-bridge-junction/consultation/intro/view

And look out for further news of how you might support what may become a worthwhile campaign...


Friday, November 14, 2014

Good riddance to the worst scaffolding firm in the world!






On Tuesday this week, 1st Scaffolding returned to the estate to "strike" the scaffolding they began putting up at Wilshaw House on 18th August but never completed because they were 'sacked' three weeks in. During those first three weeks they made as much noise as it is possible to make on a building site (which we are not). As we reported almost a month ago, they were given the push when MITIE, who had employed them, 'discovered' the firm was not licensed. Apparently, Ist Scaffolding have enjoyed a long term relationship with MITIE but no one has ever actually checked their credentials. How many other estates have had to endure their behaviour?

A dispute followed, with residents kept in the dark about what was happening. At the end of October, Lewisham Homes' newly and specially appointed Major Works Project Manager informed a small  TRA meeting (and no one else) that the preference was for Ist Scaffolding to return to finish the job rather than take it down. This would mean that the other (much quieter and more professional) scaffolding firms that have since been employed on other blocks would not have to rebuild it. It would be quicker to finish what had been started than to have it taken down and rebuilt. But this was not to be.

Having had unalarmed half-finished scaffolding up on their block for the past THREE MONTHS with no work actually taking place on it, Wilshaw residents will now have a brief respite before another company begins building platforms around them again – with a further predicted EIGHT months to be spent in the dark. In the intervening period, scaffolding on seven out of Crossfields' nine blocks has been completed. Wilshaw was supposed to be the first, but now they will be the last.

If that was not bad enough, Ist Scaffolding's return on Tuesday at 8.15am meant more intolerable noise for residents as the men shouted their way through the dismantling job, led by their foreman – the loudest of them all. They banged and clanged as they literally threw pipes and planks to the ground. Complaints fell on deaf ears. The MITIE Resident Liaison Officer did not consider the noise a problem and was only concerned to know if the men were swearing or not. He has obviously never read Lewisham Council's Guidelines on Best Practice. Never mind that these cowboys were laughing like hyenas (the foreman especially), removing their hard hats (daring the rest of the crew to throw poles at them), singing pop tunes loudly and badly, and generally taking the piss.

Despite the complaints, 1st Scaffolding continued in the same vein the following day, from early in the morning till around 3pm. No attempt was made to shut them up, and they could be heard from the main road.

On Thursday morning, there was quiet, with no shouting and no pole clanging. One might have assumed they had finished the job. But no, the foreman and a much smaller crew were on site again to take down the last bits of scaffold. However, this time they were being watched by four or five management types. It seems that finally someone at Lewisham Homes or MITIE had taken notice, and it was great to see the gobby-mouthed foreman going about his work quietly, lifting poles and planks without banging them, and with his mouth clamped firmly shut for once. (However, MITIE / Lewisham Homes insist it was a different company doing the 'strike').

Unfortunately, they have left all their poles and planks piled up all around Wilshaw House – the recently dismantled ones are now added to the ones that never got put up that have been taking up valuable parking space for months. When they come back to pick it up, no doubt they will use their loud fume-emitting unsilenced diesel HGV with the engine powered hoist – because they are too lazy to lift the stuff themselves or use pulleys like the other scaffolding companies. Strange that the other companies do not have to leave their stuff here overnight like this lot. In most cases, they bring what they need and use it, only using a small space to store overnight.

Perhaps Ist Scaffolding are exceptionally cheap – this could be why they were MITIE's firm of choice to work here. We were told a few months ago by Leasehold Services that there is a set fee for the scaffolding – so MITIE were possibly making a dirty fat profit out of Ist Scaffolding, and the more professional firms now being used are eating into their dirty fat profits. MITIE's role is to outsource, to sub-contract, and they can't even get that right. But do MITIE get thrown off the job? No. They are "partners" with Lewisham Homes. More on that another time...

Update 19th December:
Lewisham Homes / MITIE gave 1st Scaffolding till 2nd December to move their stuff out of around 25 parking bays. If they didn't meet this deadline, MITIE would move it for them. The deadline was not met. MITIE promised to remove the stuff themselves on Wednesday 10th. That didn't happen either. Five weeks after the Wilshaw scaffolding was struck, the poles and planks were finally removed today (or at least most of them!).

Saturday, November 1, 2014

TFL Consultation: Deptford Broadway junction improvements


For 30 years or more, locals have been risking their lives to cross the road at Deptford Broadway – because one of the busiest junctions in London has never had signalled pedestrian crossings.

Hopefully, that is now about to change, with proposed junction improvements now in consultation. The objective of Transport for London's proposed scheme is "to improve crossing facilities at the junction, enabling people to cross the road easily and safely". Hallelulah! Why has it taken this long?!!!!

The Consultation opened yesterday and runs until 12 December. You can state your views by completing the online survey.

Read the proposals here. There are several points relating to parking restrictions and cycle paths, but the main improvement is this:

•    New signalised pedestrian crossing facilities on the north, west and south sides of the junction. A signalised crossing on the east side was considered, but rejected on the grounds of junction capacity and low pedestrian flows.

We think that they should have signals for pedestrians on ALL the crossings!

Cyclists may also have comments to make. And one local has pointed out that a tree-lined central reservation was promised as part of the Seager Distillery redevelopment. Whatever happened to that?

(Click on the image above to enlarge)

Consultation on changes to Bronze Street and Creekside as part of new 'Quietway' Cycle Path


Lewisham Council is consulting on the Lewisham part of the Waterloo to Greenwich Quietway. We know this because Lewisham Homes sent us a text.

No one however – not even Lewisham Homes – was consulted on the changes that have already been made to part of the route through Crossfields (see our previous post), so we're lucky to be hearing about these other plans now. However, 'consultation' ends on November 7th.

The section of Quietway that Lewisham Traffic and Parking have drawn up draft plans for involve some 'interventions' on the route between Surrey Canal Road and Creekside, as well as repairing or upgrading the road surfaces and improving lighting. For more info on the proposals see here.

At our end of the route, the intention is to close Bronze Street off from Deptford Church Street as shown in this diagram, plus repaving the 'footways' and resurfacing the road and raising the entry to the road at the Creekside end. Residents of Finch & Congers Houses who drive will still have access to their carpark area, but will no longer be able to exit the estate onto Church Street.

You are invited to comment on the plans by emailing traffic@lewisham.gov.uk.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Changes to Southeastern train services from Deptford

If you're a commuter you are probably now familiar with the planned changes to Southeastern train services into town. Occasional users may still be in the dark. Although local bloggers (Deptford Dame, 853, West Greenwich and others) have been talking about it for some time now, it can't do much harm to reiterate the changes here.

The first impact will be the loss of services to the centre of town (Charing Cross) in January 2015 – either directly or by changing at London Bridge (because Charing Cross trains will not stop at London Bridge). The second major change will be in August 2016 with the loss of any access to London Bridge (and thus to all other places, such as Gatwick) until 'early' 2018.
 
12 January 2015 onwards (forever)
•    Southeastern services from New Cross, St. Johns, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park stations will no longer operate to and from Charing Cross or Waterloo East, and will instead operate to and from Cannon Street. These diverted services will still call at London Bridge

12 January 2015 to August 2016
•    Southeastern services to and from Charing Cross will not call at London Bridge
•    Southeastern services to and from Cannon Street will continue to call at London Bridge

August 2016 to early 2018 
•    Southeastern services to and from Charing Cross resume calling at London Bridge BUT
•    Southeastern services to and from Cannon Street will not call at London Bridge. Some diversions will take place between Charing Cross and Cannon Street

2018
•    Southeastern services to and from Cannon Street will resume calling at London Bridge

For a full list of services affected by Network Rail's rebuilding of London Bridge (as a result of the Thameslink programme) go to this Transport for London page.

Update 28 Oct:  

There is a campaign to reduce the disruption – see GLUG (Greenwich Line Users Group). Contact them via greenwichline@outlook.com.

Thanks to From the Murky Depths for further clarification on the decimation of our services:
A big issue is 4 trains cut in the evening peak (4-7pm) to Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park. Three are at the busiest time of 5:30 - 6:30pm. This is around 38 carriages in total, and 30 alone from 5:30-6:30pm.

They say they will extend other services to make it up but the numbers don't seem to add up to maintain capacity at the busiest times. Other trains are already around 8 carriages long, with some 10, and trains cannot be longer than 10 as Woolwich Dockyard along the line has short platforms, and no mitigating action has been taken about it.

"Buy-to-let opportunity in exciting location with growth potential"


There is nothing particularly surprising about the price of this single Deptford Project (aka 'Rise') flat being sold off-plan (before it has been built) by World LTD via primelocation.com. At £604 per sq ft, it's a bit pricier than the existing new-build luxury flats in the area (£593 per sq ft at Creekside Village) and after all, there are two properties on the high street presently going for £1m+ (a Grade 2 listed building on Albury St and an architect-designed contemporary building in Mary Anne Gardens).

On the Prime Location website the flat in question appears to be the only one left from this development – the others having been marketed overseas or via Conran Estates as investment opportunities with rental yields of 4.75% earlier in the year. (see our April post).


Our only reason for posting about it now is to share the amusing blurb being used to sell it. As usual, Deptford is "considered 'the new Shoreditch' (where prices are £1,000 per sq ft)" and "has more artists than anywhere in London". It is "an area poised to be a hub for young urban professionals". ...And it's only "6 minutes to London Bridge". No mention of the upcoming changes to the Southeastern train service - see our next post!

Property consultant (and director of 'Properties of the World') Jean Liggett writes:
I visited The Rise in Deptford, and the local area at the beginning of July – it was a gorgeous day and I left the town excited, for buyers, residents and visitors alike.

I took the train from London Bridge and it literally takes just six minutes. The development is right next to the recently rebuilt station and has its own private entrance – the first in London to do so.

It is also only 15 minutes from the City and Canary Wharf on the DLR, which is just six minutes’ walk away.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has earmarked Deptford as one of London’s ‘main opportunity areas’. [ No he hasn't! ] It has huge potential for capital growth and I think you are looking at a 5-year return of around 100% on capital invested in the Deptford Project.

I noticed on my walk that the population is a real mix that includes local business people, artists, students, parents with children, professionals and people from the creative industries.

In my opinion, the area is following the same pattern as Shoreditch did a few years ago – the ‘trendies’ move in first, prices rise, and the professionals follow. There is already a lot of building going on, as well as some recently completed building.

The Deptford Project is about a 10-minute walk from the river with fabulous views of Canary Wharf. A bit further on you can see the Gherkin.

This is an exciting area that until now has been slow to experience the price rises of other parts of London. But with its regeneration underway and its excellent transport links, the area has huge potential for capital growth.
Ironically, the statistics posted in Prime Location's 'Local Info' show a more recognisable picture: 


Friday, October 24, 2014

Crossfields Green part closure as works get underway


An unspecified contractor working for Thames Water will be cordoning off most of the East side of Crossfields Green from tomorrow for eight days. They will be digging two trial trenches, working 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. It looks like a couple of the parking bays in Coffey Street will be suspended for good measure. This is bad news especially for dog walkers and the first taste of how the Supersewer works will affect us on the estate (though the main works are not until 2016-2020). It's not really clear why these trial holes are necessary though the notification implies it is a follow-on from previous ground investigations work. Nor is it clear precisely where the trenches are being dug, but it seems inevitable that two thirds of the space overlooking Deptford Church Street will be inaccessible while it's going on. 'Sections' of the grass area will be reseeded afterwards. Generous! A detailed map is available at here.

 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Crossfields Major Works: Scaffolding debacle

As part of 'Decent Homes Major Works' the external refurbishment of our estate began on 18th August with the erection of scaffolding on Wilshaw House, one of the nine blocks on Crossfields. It was originally scheduled to go up on 28th July (if not before).

The scaffolding company, 1st Scaffolding, were very noisy. Three weeks later they were 'thrown off' the site for breaches in Health & Safety. In that time they had only managed to cover less than half the building. By this Monday, the half erected scaffolding will have been up – unalarmed – for NINE weeks.

No Decent Homes work has taken place on the block during this time, so affected residents have had to tolerate a reduction in light for two months for no reason at all

Lewisham Homes estimate that scaffolding on each block will be up for around 6 months whilst works take place. However, at Tanner's Hill, scaffolding has been up on Deloraine and Heston Houses since February – nearly 8 months. The most recent 'schedules' have Wilshaw House scaffolding commencing yet again on Monday 20th along with its neighbour Holden House.

Where Wilshaw were supposed to be the first block to receive the 'gift' of major works, it appears they will now be the last – without any explanation for the intervening time.

The only information given to Wilshaw residents was contained in a newsletter published by contractors MITIE (a massive out-sourcing company) in late September. It said "We have recently been in discussion with our scaffolding supply chain partners concerning their work practices, in particular their attention to specific details concerning health & safety. Therefore we have now sourced other suppliers to continue in their place." 

In the meantime, the scaffolding has not come down because there is a contractual dispute that has gone into litigation. We're not sure who's involved with the scaffolding company in this – MITIE or Lewisham Homes. The two have become an interchangeable mess of middle and senior managers saying different things. LH have out-sourced to out-sourcers MITIE, but seem to defer to them. Lewisham Homes defer even more so to surveyors Baily Garner, who earn 1.34% on the total cost of the works (last reckoned to be £36m of central government funds across the borough) and have therefore, unsurprisingly, specified unnecessary work that has gone unchallenged by LH.

A different scaffolding company arrived on the estate on 15th September and began work on Farrer House. Before finishing Farrer, they also worked on Browne House which was the first to be completed. Scaffolders are now working on Castell, Frankham and Finch and have been remarkably quiet and efficient. The contrast between the two companies has been huge – and much noted by residents who have hardly noticed the second company's presence whilst they stealthily cover the whole estate in scaffolding.

The noise made by 1st Scaffolding in the first week was so disturbing that some residents complained to the site office. The nuisance noise was from one scaffolder who never stopped talking/shouting and the vehicle they used to hoist their materials. One complaint was met with "That's scaffolders for you" from the MITIE resident liaison officer. That response was so poor that the complaining resident consequently shouted and swore at the scaffolders themselves, resulting in Lewisham Homes raising an Anti-Social Behaviour complaint against her whilst no action was taken against the scaffolders.

The issue of Wilshaw House scaffolding was raised at a meeting on 11th September, convened by Lewisham Homes' Director of Housing to discuss leaseholder's queries on the Schedule of Works. Leaseholders reported that they had heard that morning from their caretaker that the scaffolders had got the push and that new scaffolders were starting work on another block the following Monday.
The regional head of MITIE, Rod Sutherland, replied: "They have not been sacked. I have slowed the works down because of your queries". 

It was then suggested (and laughed about by some senior managers) that the caretaker was indulging in idle gossip. In fact, he had got the information from the MITIE site foreman and it was true. 

As well as shouting continuously onsite, 1st Scaffolding used a diesel hoist to lift poles and planks (the new company uses pulleys). The hoist was run 30 minutes at a time at intervals whilst they unloaded their materials. It appeared to have no silencer on its exhaust and was pumping diesel fumes into residents' homes. Both the shouting and the diesel hoist vehicle were breaking the guidelines outlined by Lewisham Council's Good Practice Guide, which also states that noise monitoring should be undertaken by the contractors (which it obviously wasn't). There was supposed to be a Scaffolding Inspector on site, but it was three weeks before 1st Scaffolding was asked to leave.

No actual work has started anywhere on the estate yet.




Update: Friday 24 October

No news on the Wilshaw House scaffolding which is still up. Work started on Browne on Wednesday.

We've been told there's a set fee for scaffolding. Some residents have asked for reassurances that just because it makes no difference to the cost how long the scaffolding stays up, works should not be delayed or prolonged because of this, and should be managed so that it is up for the minimum amount of time. The reply given was "the documentation presented to MITIE for tendering purposes required them to charge for scaffolding based on its dimensions alone. However scaffolding companies commonly charge based on dimensions, erection charge, dismantling charge and weekly hire charge. Consequently there is an incentive for MITIE to leave the scaffolding in place for the minimum period necessary to complete the works and have it accepted."

There are only a few items for which scaffolding is required – roof works, brick cleaning, brick and masonry repairs, renewing (undamaged) sealant around windows. Even if these are done first, it seems other works (which don't need scaffolding) must be completed before all works can be 'signed off'. On other estates, inadequate work has had to be done again in order to be fully signed off (usually where residents have intervened), and 'snagging' seems to take a long time. So Crossfields residents can expect to remain in the dark (with a 35% loss of light for those on the lower floors) well into the middle of next summer, if not next autumn.

Update: Monday 3 November

Wilshaw House scaffolding has now been half up and unalarmed for 11 weeks with no work taking place.

The TRA was told last Thursday that Lewisham Homes/MITIE are waiting for 1st Scaffolding to get the appropriate certification required in order to either come back and complete the job or take it down. The preference is for them to complete the job  – but only on the balcony sides of the block. Another company will erect the platforms at the back. That way it will take less time than if 1st Scaffolding take down what they've put up and then another company has to re-erect the front as well.

What beggars belief is how long this company has been allowed to operate without appropriate certification (CISRS or CSCS) or membership of any scaffolding associations. We found out weeks ago that 1st Scaffolding did not have NASC membership (the National Access and Scaffolding Federation is the main scaffolding association in the UK). In other words, MITIE/Lewisham Homes do not check.

 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cycle path plans revealed long after work started


We reported on the cycle path improvement works back in July, and now they are almost complete twelve weeks later. Whilst the actual pavement works finished sooner than this and new (red) tarmac was laid at the main entrance to the estate before the end of September, there are still a couple of items to complete – and there appears to be no sign of the project's finishing touches being applied in any hurry.

Railings and gates are yet to be installed to replace those which were removed. Guard rails were also removed from the pavement outside the gate. Some safety conscious residents are now concerned that the new opening, whilst very convenient for cyclists, is dangerous for children who may run excitedly out of the estate and directly into the road.

In July we requested a copy of the plans for this project from both Lewisham (the road is in the borough) and Greenwich (who were doing the work). We finally received these rather belatedly from Lewisham on 23rd September after a reminder. There was no response at all from Greenwich.

The following illustration shows how the entrance was proposed to be modified (click on the image below to enlarge). 

The intention was to "take down and reconstruct pier [pillar] with same bricks and coping stone. Procure and fix new wrought iron gate and hinges". In typical planning cock-up stylee, this drawing was Photoshopped by someone who hadn't actually been anywhere near the proposed area and therefore didn't take into account the fact that the wall on the right – that they suggested should be "reduced in height to relocate existing railing" – is actually supporting a railing on the other side of the wall, which borders the garden area behind the wall and runs alongside the path into the estate (see the photo at the top of this post taken from inside the estate).

Meanwhile, on the plan we were sent (marked "not to be used for construction"), the entrance is shown as being widened on either side to a width of 3 metres:


This would have involved taking down both pillars and re-constructing them wider apart after removing the railings either side of them. Those railings (and low walls they are embedded in) would then have to be cut down in order to fit them back into smaller gaps. And a gate "double in width" 'procured'.

When it actually came to construction, only one pillar was taken down and reconstructed (as per the first illustration), and only one railing needs cutting down and re-installing, albeit a shorter width than in the illustration. A new gate (or pair of gates?) is yet to be 'procured' and fitted. In addition, the grey metal guardrail between pavement and road (the 'baffle') is to be "replaced with 6 metres of new 'visi-rail' panels". How long will it take for all these to be fitted?


Of course, the real completion of the project will be when the signs go up. If the time it took to put up the one-way signs in Deptford High Street after the new paving works is anything to go by, we've a long wait.


Rapman returns

Residents wondering about the flash cars and the noisy, but well-dressed and very polite youths outside Farrer House all day on Thursday will have witnessed the return of Rapman. He was making the third of his Blue Story videos partly set on the estate. You can view the first two episodes on Youtube at link
 
The video tells the tale of two young people whose friendship goes badly and violently wrong when they find themselves associated with opposing postcode-based gangs. For the purposes of this story Crossfields is the Ghetto and the opponents are from Peckham. Whatever you think of that, the videos and the rap are very polished and the acting is also surprisingly strong. And, of course, the issue is a very live one. But there seems to be some irony in using Crossfields as the location since the actors are clearly not from here but were warmly and excitedly welcomed by pretty much everyone - young and old. I guess that's one comforting thing about our postcode.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Deptford X continues + Fun Palace weekend



Lots happening this weekend in and around Deptford town centre. Exhibitions and open studios continue as part of Deptford X – apologies that we have not had time to pick out the best! It sounds like it's worth visiting both St Nick's and St Paul's churches, just two of the non-gallery spaces where artists are showing their work, but what else is going on?

We popped into the Deptford X HQ on Creekside (next to APT Gallery) earlier to find out what we've been missing. Co-ordinator Caz Underwood told us that Luis Rodriguez's "Dancing Builder" (see the short video above) has been very popular. Rodriguez has been dancing – like no one is watching – at regular intervals (peak travel times) on the roof of the Bird's Nest in full view of passing DLR trains. He's up there right now (singing to himself as well), and tomorrow he can be seen between 8-9am and 4-6pm. You can also watch him at these times on a live stream.


Caz also suggested we go see Jessica Voorsanger's show "It's about the hair" at the temporary gallery space on Brookmill Road. Jessica's large format photographs are self portraits of herself dressed as various celebrities, a project she embarked on after her hair grew back strangely curly following a period of baldness when she was undergoing chemotherapy recently. "Witty but dark" is how Caz describes the work.


There is far too much to see all over Deptford to list here, but to find out what else is going on, head to the HQ to pick up a map. You'll still need to refer to the website to find out about the artists and times and you can also check the map online – which Caz says is more up-to-date. Over the weekend at the HQ, lead artist Bob and Roberta Smith will be finishing his "Vote" painting, and you can try your hand at screen printing. There'll be live music here on Sunday (12-5pm) and banners are being made to carry on "a march" from the HQ to the Job Centre pub at around 5.30pm. Later, there's Fred's Art Quiz at the Dog and Bell (9pm), or if electronic music is your thing, spend the day at Vinyl cafe (2-11pm). Follow Deptford X on Twitter @DeptfordX.


Meanwhile, local theatre folk are taking part in and presenting "a weekend-long celebration of arts, science and culture" as part of the nationwide Fun Palace weekend (also see coverage in The Guardian). Pop-up performances, story-telling, food fights, circus, music – find out what's going on at the information point in the market square next to the Albany – or download the timetable and map.


We noticed this anchor last night and wondered if a new campaign to bring our anchor back had started, but it's part of the Fun Palace weekend... "Deptford's newest street theatre troop" The Red Anchors will be presenting pop-up theatre wherever you see a red anchor – "on the ground, in the trees, on lamp posts and on people" is where things might suddenly happen from midday on Saturday and Sunday...

Incidentally, last year's Deptford Is Forever art project are selling their tattoo-inspired Anchor T-shirts at the Deptford X HQ on Creekside on Saturday and Sunday (Unisex or Ladyfit – scooped neck, capped sleeves – all sizes @£10 with 10% going to Deptford X). Other Deptford X merchandise will be available at reduced prices, including silk screen prints of the festival poster "What is the value of art?" and limited edition signed prints of "Art makes people powerful" by Bob & Roberta Smith.







Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Amber Tree Café and other high street news

Meet Jolanda and Virginia at the Amber Tree Café, a new delightful new addition to the south of the high street (number 45). Proprietor Virginia is Lithuanian and the cafe has got off to a great start, offering a varied lunch and breakfast menu (eat in or takeaway) at very reasonable prices. Virginia says all their food is handmade, freshly produced and uses only natural ingredients, and the cafe's speciality is their amazing homemade cakes, which include gluten free, dairy free and eggless recipes.

Co-incidentally, you can watch a live performance of traditional Lithuanian music at 1pm on Saturday 27th at the Deptford Lounge. Part of Deptford X festival, more info here.
 
Amber Tree has replaced the ill-fated Slices pizza restaurant which set up shop around the same time as the Pizza Bus down the road – the latter may have usurped Slices' USP. In a similar manner, the lovely Lithuanian women's lunchtime trade may about to get unwanted competition. A couple of doors down, the former Abermarle & Bond is now being refitted, and the builders have told us it's to become a new (franchised) branch of Subway, the bread-based food outlet that seems to be set on massive expansion.

At least it's not another pawnbroker. However, Subway don't offer hot meals and homemade cakes like Amber, or spicey Caribbean bites and breads like the great Chaconia bakery opposite, but the new store may give Percy Ingles another two doors down – and Greggs up the road – a run for their money.


Abermarle & Bond went bust earlier this year after the price of gold dropped dramatically last year (although their main trade was in Pay-Day loans). When the branch opened in late 2011 it became the fourth pawnbroker on the high street in a betting-shop-and-pay-day-loan cluster, as we reported at the time.

A later addition to the cluster was Cash Converters which took over the old Halifax premises, after locals campaigned against it becoming a Betfred (and which the Council managed to stop due to an unusual planning clause that applied to the building). But along with Abermarle & Bond, the Deptford Cash Converters branch has now inexplicably closed, having denied earlier in the year that their "Big Sale" was a "closing down sale"...



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Deptford X 2014 26 September – 5th October


The theme of this year's Deptford X festival, set by the lead artist-in-residence Bob & Roberta Smith, is What is the Value of Art? "Bob" will be esconced in the temporary Deptford X 'headquarters' in the former cafe at the now closed-down Faircharm trading estate on Creekside. Visitors will be encouraged to contribute their own ideas to create a collective statement around the theme. 'Bob' heads up The Art Party, a loose grouping of artists and organisations concerned about the Coalition's reduction of the role of the arts and design in schools.

The festival launches on Friday 26th September with local galleries open late. On the first weekend, there'll be Open Studios at APT & Old Police Station, with Lewisham Arthouse, ASC and Acme opening their doors the following weekend. During the festival activities at the HQ will include sign painting, badge making and screen printing, plus performances from local musicians, all culminating in a special event on Sunday 5th October.

For more information on participating artists, venues and events go to the Programme page on the Deptford X website. Follow on Twitter @DeptfordX.

Update: a printed map will be available on Friday to help you navigate the various venues and exhibition times. It can also be downloaded from the Deptford X website.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Deptford Gardens Festival + Open House London at the Shipwrights' Palace

Two local events this Saturday 20th September:

Deptford Gardens Festival at Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, 12-6pm
Celebrating all things green in Deptford, a day of music, games, performances and creative workshops. Assembly who run the garden are joined by urban fete & fun providers Madcap Coalition, plus gardeners from the Wonky Prong (Crossfields), Deptford High Street Community Garden (Coffey Street) and Sayes Court Garden CIC, the team hoping to build a Horticultural Centre of Excellence at Convoys Wharf. And...The Purple Ladies, Hula Hoop Workshops, Treehouse Art Lab Workshops, Ping Pong with Serve & Return, art installations, and pizza direct from the Assembly oven!
Entrance to the garden at Reginald Road

Open House London at The Master Shipwrights House, 10am-5pm
If you haven't yet taken advantage of the annual opportunity to have a look round this famous Deptford building, now's your chance. See this post from the Deptford Dame to give you an idea. The Lenox Project CIC put on quite a big show here last year with firing cannon, re-enactors and art stalls. This year they'll be exhibiting their restored cannon, providing tea and cakes and talking up their project – an added bonus for Open House visitors who will also be able to view plans and images of the Royal Dockyard in the riverside residence. Watergate St SE8 3JF. See the listing here.

Other Open House buildings in and around Deptford include Lewisham Arthouse, the Richard Hoggart Building at Goldsmiths College, The Seager Distillery Tower, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, Deptford Green School, Deptford Lounge, and Fordham Park

Open House London gives public access to 800 fabulous buildings – both old and new – all over the city for one weekend only. Pick up a FREE brochure at Deptford Lounge.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Thames Tunnel decision – a blow for Deptford

You may have heard on the news that the government have given the go ahead for the Thames Tideway Tunnel. And if you visit this blog often you'll know there's been a local campaign to stop Thames Water building a 17m wide 48m deep shaft on the Crossfields green space on Deptford Church Street.

The campaign initiated by Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart started in 2011. This year we reported in detail the well attended Open Floor Hearings held by the Planning Inspectorate at Deptford Lounge in February. Also that month, along with a small number of Crossfields residents and others, we took part in some air quality testing to map the pollution levels on Deptford Church Street, surrounding areas and beyond. We announced the shocking results in May. The aim was show to how the partial closure of Deptford Church Street required to build a tunnel shaft at this site would have a severe impact on local residents.

Whilst the final decision on the Thames Tunnel was in the hands of the Secretaries of State, the Deptford High Street Garden Association began to develop a container garden on the Deptford Church Street site.

The campaign by Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart (with assistance this year from Joan Ruddock MP, plus Joe Dromey and Brenda Dacre who have since become New Cross councillors), the opposition of Lewisham Council, plus the work done by a few folk on Crossfields, all seems to have made an impression on the Examining Authority. In their view "the use of the Green as a work site would be a serious loss to the local community" and even with the mitigation measures proposed by Thames Water, there will be significant impacts on St Joseph's School and St Paul's Church. But...

The Secretaries of State Decision Letter and Statement of Reasons can be found here. A paragraph on Air Quality mentions the local air quality testing we did in February:
"(para 28) The independent Deptford air quality surveys contained within representations from J.Ruddock MP / S. Lawes agree with the findings of the Applicant that Deptford’s current air quality has pollutants in excess of EU targets. The Report states that the construction phase of the tunnel will add to pollution levels in Deptford. The ExA conclude that this increase will not be substantial and the Secretaries of State agree with this and are content that the impact is acceptable". 
The section on Deptford Church Street can be found in paragraphs 113-115:
"113. The Secretaries of State accept that the ExA’s examination revealed limitations with this site, particularly in terms of loss of open space in an area of deprivation and in respect of noise impacts on St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School and on St Paul’s Church, for a period of three and half years during construction."

"114. The Secretaries of State acknowledge that the ExA consider the loss of open space at this site to be a matter weighing against making the Order. They agree with the ExA, that Crossfield Amenity Green is not surplus to requirements and that even the temporary period in which it will be used as a work site will represent a serious loss to the community. However, the Secretaries of State agree with the ExA that the impact will be mitigated and the adverse impact on the landscape will be reversed . They also note that it will be open to the local authority to secure with the Applicant through the consent process under section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 23 1974, additional mitigation measures in the form of noise enclosures, to help minimise noise impacts predicted on receptors."

"115. The Secretaries of State agree that the alternative sites considered offer no less significant impacts, that the need for, and benefits of, the project overall outweigh the adverse effects and the temporary loss of open space, and are satisfied that impacts are mitigated as far as practicable since some disruption is unavoidable in a project of this scale."
The actual Planning Inspectorate's recommendations on which the Secretaries of State have based their decision can be found here. Skip through the huge report to page 357 to find out what they said about the site at Deptford Church Street.

Because campaigners had focused on the only alternative presented by Thames Water (another 'interceptor site' at Borthwick Wharf) the panel restricted themselves to considering only that alternative. They did not look in detail at previously suggested alternatives. And they did not think Borthwick Wharf was suitable either because it was so close to people's homes. Never mind that one residential home at Millennium Quay was given the same weighting (as a "receptor") as one whole school of a few hundred children at Deptford Church Street!

The panel noted that Thames Water had not presented the alternative "of avoiding the use of an interception site by redirecting the storm overflow direct to Greenwich Pumping Station, which is only approximately 400m from the Deptford Church Street site". Unbeknownst to us, the panel questioned Thames Water on this but they demonstrated that such a proposal was much worse – including the requirement to demolish the Birds Nest pub!

The Planning Inspectorate concluded that "a suitable alternative is not before us" and consequently the government have approved the Deptford Church Street site.

Now, as the news sinks in, there's a bit of fighting talk about judicial reviews on the whole project, or trying to get better mitigation locally. If you want to contribute to the debate, get in touch with our local councillor Joe Dromey.

But the Thames Tideway Tunnel isn't the only juggernaut heading our way. Whilst the development at Convoys Wharf (which, from a Crossfields point of view, will bring hundreds of HGVs thundering down our road) can be partly blamed on the policies of the current Mayor of London, Lewisham Council's own plans for our little area are not that short of a steamroller...


London Design Festival in Deptford

The London Design Festival is an annual event which both celebrates and promotes London as the "design capital of the world". It starts tomorrow 13th September and runs till the 21st. Check out events all over the city at the LDF website.

Three local events include:

The Living Installation in Giffin Square
Sat 13th September, 9am-4pm
Local designer Linda Florence will create a 60s living room in the square and fill it with stuff she's sourced in Deptford Market and the high street. More info at deptfordhighstreet.com and thelivinginstallationdeptford.tumblr.com

The Intertidal Cinema at Deptford Creek
Sat 13th 9.30-10.15pm, Sun 14th 9.40-10.40pm, Mon 15th 10.15-11pm
Hannah Fasching shows two films she has made about Deptford which overlay local peoples' narratives onto scenes of its architecture and landscape. Both can be viewed from the Ha'Penny Hatch footpath – one film is screened in an arch and another is cleverly projected onto the river bed.

Contemporary Craft & Art Weekend at Greenwich Market
Sat & Sun 13th & 14th September, 10am-5.30pm
Designers and makers will be demonstrating their crafts, including rag rug making, ironmongery, furniture making. For more info see Meet the Makers. Plus up to 80 designer makers in the market and exhibitions at the surrounding galleries.


Totally Thames festival throughout September


Usually known as the Thames Festival, Totally Thames is organised by the Thames Festival Trust and is a month long celebration of the river. Go to the events page to find out what's on.

There are a lot of free events and activities in and around Potters Fields Park this weekend (Tower Bridge) with a music stage at the Blue Ribbon Village and the Kids' Choir at the Scoop. Watermen and lightermen battle it out in the Barge Driving Races on Sunday 14th, and the Great River Race takes place on 27th September.

There are also Archaeological Walks on the banks of the Thames, and tickets are still available for one on Monday 15th (12pm-2pm) in Deptford, which will examine the history of shipbuilding at the Royal Dockyard, with a muddy walk along the foreshore below Convoys Wharf.


Party in the Park : Saturday 13th September 1-9pm


Party in the Park is a free festival organised by local community groups in New Cross, Deptford and the surrounding areas. With its roots in the legendary Deptford Urban Free Festival, today’s incarnation is a community event for all ages with family events, food stalls as well as the best local musical acts.

Fordham Park plays host to a diverse and talented line up of bands and artists including: Ras Keith, North 37 & Jazzman John, Rhiannon The Nightmare, Parshmaune, Rags Rudi, Blurt, Magic City Trio, The Ongoing Project plus many more – including one of the originals back from the Urban Free days Back To The Planet!
Plus performances from: Wala Wubeeba African Drum & Dance and Januka Quadrille
Also: Village green games & fairground sideshows with Madcap Coalition Urban Village Fete, Dr Burnheart Gloss, as well as stalls from local businesses.

Loads more info at www.pitpnxd.co.uk
Twitter @pitpnxd