Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crossfields Parking Survey

Oh dear. There only has to be one person ringing Lewisham Homes to enquire why their visitor can't find a parking space because they're all taken up by MITIE workers, and it's an excuse to try and roll out the Parking Survey again.

We voted NO the last time we were asked in September 2012. Only 47 replied (out of a potential 364) and only 15 were in favour (with some reservations – see previous posts here, here and here).

There are a couple of points to note here:

• Even if you don't own a car you will still need a permit for your visitors, which may include relatives, friends or care workers – so the survey applies to you too

•  You could be clamped for forgetting to renew your permit or not displaying a valid tax disc, or for simply going over the time allowance of the permit

There are some stories going around about how much residents pay on other estates – and that it is much more than the £10-£15 quoted by the Lewisham Homes' Tenancy Officer in the survey. We know, for instance that residents in Reginald Road pay at least £85, but they are having to park in the street. However, parking on Evelyn Estate (within the estate and not on the road) costs only £10 a year.

Presently, parking is at capacity on the estate during weekday working hours and half empty at the weekends, so is obviously used by non-residents. Although the MITIE workers are gone (temporarily at least before they return to do 'external works') and some of the business tenants at Faircharm Trading Estate who used to park here have left, the MITIE compound which is taking up a lot of parking bays is not causing the problems it did previously. High street shoppers continue to park on the estate especially on market days.

But perhaps there is another reason why the issue has come up again (apart from the alleged 'enquiries from residents' stated in the letter). There is soon going to be a lot of new development construction work going on in the immediate area at Faircharm Trading Estate, Belway Homes and Creekside Village. There will also probably be work at the Thames Tunnel site on Deptford Church Street if local campaigners lose the battle against it.

Construction workers from The Movement development on the other side of Deptford Creek were originally parking close to that development – in fact they were parking on the Ha'Penny Hatch footpath to Norman Road. Greenwich Council stopped that, so they started parking in Creekside. You can spot them walking back to their cars in the afternoon.

With the Thames Tunnel site, Lewisham Council are negotiating for money from Thames Water to set up a Controlled Parking Zone around the Laban and Berthon Street. This will no doubt form part of any negotiations with Bellway Homes next to the Laban and fit in with the Creekside Village development behind the Laban. With the Faircharm redevelopment soon to create up to 90 lorry runs a day on Creekside, this will probably prompt the extension of a CPZ to the south of Creekside. If Crossfields does not have a Parking Scheme, construction workers will use our spaces.

Perhaps we should point out that since Crossfields residents will be suffering an intolerable level of noise and pollution from a massive increase in HGV traffic in both Creekside and Deptford Church Street, the developers should actually be paying for us to be immune from any parking charges whatsoever.

The survey needs to be returned using the FREEPOST address supplied by March 24th.

Every Picture Tells A Story

An exhibition of photos by the late Chris Schwarz
The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford, SE8 4AG
Exhibition: Saturday 22 March – 31 March
Performances: Saturday 22 March at 12.45 and 13.45 (performances last approximately 30 mins)

An exhibition of photographs by acclaimed photographer Chris Schwarz which record Lewisham and Deptford in the 1970s and 1980s and the work of The Combination Theatre Company, taken when he was photographer-in-residence at The Albany. They provide a fascinating legacy of the changing faces of Deptford over a 15 year period.

Highlights include images of totters, Millwall Football Club fans, adults at work, performances by the Albany’s resident theatre company The Combination, images of the old Albany in Creek Road and the brand new Albany in Douglas Way and its opening by the late Princess Diana in 1980.

Chris Schwarz was a professional photographer who worked for the Guardian, Time Out and many other publications. His work was exhibited at the Photographers Gallery in London and overseas, and his work was published in several books. He also founded the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland. Chris died in 2007 and bequeathed his vast collection of over 8,000 photographs to The Art of Regeneration, a creative regeneration project that was at one time based at the Albany.

There will be special storytelling performances at each venue by members of The Deptford Stories Theatre Company, who will interpret selected photographs. Their performances will be based on oral history interviews that have been conducted between 2011 and the present.
The exhibition and performances are free of charge.

After the exhibition the photographs, along with the rest of the vast collection of Chris Schwarz Deptford and Lewisham work will be stored by the London Metropolitan Archives and will be available to the public to download.

The Deptford Stories Theatre Company was founded by director, John Turner and Jenny Harris. Jenny was the creative producer and after a lifetime of creative production in theatre, education and community arts development including the Combination at the Albany, The Education department at the National Theatre and the Art of Regeneration, Every Picture Tells a Story was Jenny’s last production for the Art of Regeneration and the Deptford Stories Company. Jenny herself died before she could see Every Picture Tells A Story or hear the stories the Deptford Stories Company will tell; this is a chance for the public to witness her final production.

The Every Picture Tells a Story project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and includes the exhibition, performances and digitisation of the photographs as a permanent public record.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Only 6 days left to object to the plans for Convoys Wharf

So, how do you help Mr Pepys to save Deptford's Royal Dockyard? 

The Mayor of London is 'keen' to hear your views about Convoys Wharf! 
Email before 20 March 2014. Quote the application reference DC/13/83358 and include your name and address.


If you have previously written an objection to Lewisham Council, there is no need to write again to the Mayor of London. You can, however, make comments on the very slight changes to the application that have been agreed by the developer in talks with the GLA. These changes are so minor you might want to write to say that they're welcome but it's just not enough!

For those who wish to object in general, here's some notes taken from Lewisham Council's report on the application, plus a couple of policy points from the Mayor of London's London Plan, which you might want to use (in no particular order):


The Mayor of London's London Plan states:
Policy 7.7:
Tall and large buildings should
•  generally be limited to sites in the Central Activity Zone, opportunity areas, areas of intensification or town centres that have good access to public transport
•  only be considered in areas whose character would not be affected adversely by the scale, mass or bulk of a tall or large building
•  incorporate publicly accessible areas on the upper floors, where appropriate (not offered in this application)
Tall buildings should not
•  affect their surroundings adversely in terms of microclimate, wind turbulence, overshadowing, noise, reflected glare, aviation, navigation and telecommunication interference
•  should not impact on local or strategic views adversely
General comments
• the buildings, and especially the towers, are too tall
• the density and number of units proposed is too high
• this site has terrible public transport links (in reference to London Plan's guidelines on tall buildings above)
• the tall buildings are out of scale with the surrounding area
• this proposal does not incorporate publicly accessible areas on the upper floors
• locals will lose satellite TV throughout construction and after (to be mitigated by being offered FreeSat)

English Heritage note: “the cumulative impact of the three tall buildings within the proposal is at odds with London Plan Policy 7.12D.A which states that panoramas should be managed so that development fits within the prevailing pattern of building and spaces and should avoid a canyon affect on strategically important landmarks...the view that the impact of the three towers within the Blackheath Point and Greenwich Panoramic Views is dramatic and contributes towards a potential canyon effect.”

Lewisham Council required a reduction in scale and massing on some of the proposed buildings, especially in relation to the historic buildings and spaces which they consider "overbearing in a number of locations and views"; Lewisham's Design Panel called the towers 'monolithic' 

NB: Minor revisions to the application have now been made that allow for greater flexibility at the design stage, plus a reduction in the heights of one of the blocks, but those towers will still be there.

The image below shows the Seager Tower on Deptford Broadway with the proposed 48-storey Convoys waterfront tower superimposed beside it. No, the Convoys building isn't nearer, they are side by side, that is the size it will be compared with the 26-storey Seager Tower – almost twice as tall, and twice as wide. (Click to enlarge)

Here's the architect's illustration which shows the new Paynes & Borthwick tower in the foreground of the proposed development. The foregrounding makes the waterfront tower look only twice as high, when in fact when pictured side by side it is three times as high (click to enlarge).

Here's the proposed waterfront tower side by side with Aragon Tower on Pepys Estate.

• Deptford Royal Dockyard is an historic site worthy of international recognition that goes back 500 years: founded by Henry VIII in 1513, it was the most significant royal dockyard of the Tudor period, and central to the development of the British Royal Navy for the next 350 years

• It is strongly associated with several of Britain's most famous people: Henry V, Henry VIII, Elizabeth 1, Charles II, Capt James Cook, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Nelson, Samuel Pepys, John Evelyn, William Bligh, John Rennie (and other famous engineers)...(see end of post for more detail on ships and people) 

• The World Monuments Fund has placed the site on its 2014 Watch List because it's endangered by insensitive redevelopment. See their statement on Deptford Is... here.

The Mayor of London's London Plan states:
Policy 7.9:  Heritage-led Regeneration
A  Regeneration schemes should identify and make use of heritage assets and reinforce the qualities that make them significant so they can help stimulate environmental, economic and community regeneration. This includes buildings, landscape features, views, Blue Ribbon Network and public realm.
Planning decisions
B  The significance of heritage assets should be assessed when development is proposed and schemes designed so that the heritage significance is recognised both in their own right and as catalysts for regeneration.
Wherever possible heritage assets (including buildings at risk) should be repaired, restored and put to a suitable and viable use that is consistent with their conservation and the establishment and maintenance of sustainable communities and economic vitality.
• Many of the significant above and below ground remains are being ignored by the developer: inter-related heritage assets include a scheduled ancient monument, six listed buildings and structures, and a further structure under consideration for listing, in addition to the dockyard archaeology uncovered during recent investigations – but all except the Grade II listed Olympia Shed will be built over.

General comments:
• The plans do not go far enough to reflect the heritage assets
• The relationship between the river and the Olympia Shed is unacceptably restrained
• The scale of buildings around the Olympia Shed and its setting is wrong
• Failure to reference many of the dockyard features
• No feasible or sustainable use of the Olympia Shed is provided
• The treatment of the Double Dry Dock is ‘unimaginative and disappointing’.
• The archaeology on site should result in a reduction of the density

• The historic significance of the dockyard is classified as high under National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) guidelines; NPPF paragraph 131 states “In determining planning applications, local planning authorities should take account of: the positive contribution that conservation of heritage assets can make to sustainable communities including their economic vitality…”

English Heritage "remain concerned that the overall scale of the development is such that the opportunity to create a distinctive sense of place which responds to the outstanding historic legacy of the site has not been realised"

English Heritage believe "the overall scale of the scheme, including the tall buildings, will cause harm to the significance of designated and undesignated heritage assets"

English Heritage remains concerned that "the proximity and massing of the feature buildings and 14 storey riverside block create a dominating scale around the listed building [Olympia Shed]...The narrow glimpsed view fails to make the best opportunity of this prominent and centrally located heritage asset...the current proposal would appear to represent the most restricted view.”

The Council for British Archaeology says “Currently, the proposed development of the site is considered to be at the cost of a proper historic appreciation, and is therefore unacceptable.”

Lewisham Council says “there are parts of the site where historic connections and layouts have been lost or ignored...and more detailed aspects of the proposed layout fail to respect the underlying heritage assets or the location and setting of key buildings..."

• Paragraph 7.4 of the London Plan states that local people “should have access to a…built environment that reinforces a strong, unique local history and character.”

• Local heritage project Build The Lenox CIC should be accommodated in the Olympia building along with a Deptford Dockyard Museum; this is a better use of the listed building than shops and boutiques

• The Great Basin should be reinstated so that Build The Lenox can have a home port and be a venue for visiting ships; buildings infringing on the footprint of the basin should be altered, but will benefit from a larger waterfront

• Local heritage project Sayes Court Garden CIC should be fully accommodated on the site and their aims to create a John Evelyn Centre of Urban Horticulture fully supported, with more adequate surrounding space given to a new building so that a green area is created that joins the archaeological remains of John Evelyn's Sayes Court Manor House with the present Sayes Court Garden

See also the report from Deptford


General comments in local objections:
• The element of Social Housing proposed on the site is NIL
• The affordable housing allocation is only 14%
• The affordable housing includes shared ownership and would not be affordable to local people on incomes of £20K pa or less
• Housing units are likely to be marketed at a starting price of £300,000 for a studio and the wider Lewisham community is not likely to see any benefit whatsoever from this.
• Restrictions on units sold abroad and on the number sold as buy-to-let investments are required in order to stop the local rental market from seeing mass rent increases and more local people being priced out of the Borough
• A percentage of affordable housing should be by the River Thames to avoid ‘class distinction’.
• More family housing is needed to make the development sustainable

NB: This latter point is partly addressed in the minor revisions made since the application has been with the GLA to slightly increase provision for affordable rented units and provision of family-sized affordable rented units. Lewisham Council were challenging the developer's formula for 'viability' – more realistic 'growth' assumptions [property values] "would allow for more affordable be increased from the applicant's present proposals."


The application includes parking for at least 1800 cars. See Deptford Is... reports here and here.

General points raised by local objections:
• The use of misleading figures to ‘manipulate’ traffic statistics by including side streets with lower usage than Evelyn Street, plus misleading statistics for traffic on New King Street
• Existing bus journey times will be considerably lengthened
• Potential for bus and DLR overcrowding
• Rail capacity has been overestimated and the increased use of Deptford Station in recent years has not been accounted for
• Cumulative impacts on the road have not been assessed
• Construction impacts have not been assessed properly
• The potential for nuisance and disturbance during the construction period, including for homes ‘downwind’
• Parking for construction workers will infringe on local parking
• HGV traffic and the impacts on surrounding residents and safety for children on local roads
• Condition of local roads already poor
• Removal of parking spaces on New King Street unacceptable
• A CPZ will be unavoidable
• Access would be on to Evelyn Street, which when combined would greatly increase traffic and cause future gridlock
• All heavy traffic will have to be diverted along a route of Grove Street and Oxestalls Road and past the local Deptford Park School, causing hazardous air and noise pollution
• More effort should be put into using the river for material access rather than by road
• Parking provision for over 1800 cars on the site, without counting service vehicles, will add to vehicular congestion on the A206 which is already a very heavily trafficked road

• In Lewisham Council's report, Transport for London concluded that further assessments need to be made in order to comply with the London Plan.

• Lewisham Council said, "Given the scale of development and predicted vehicular movement to/from the site there will be a significant increase in traffic, both vehicular and non vehicular, on the local highway network, and modelling of key junctions by the applicant has highlighted potentially significant and unresolved capacity issues. These would be exacerbated if the London Mayor’s Cycle Superhighway scheme on Evelyn Street is implemented as this will reduce capacity..."

“….TfL acknowledge that when they come to look at the detail it may throw up impacts which have not been identified so far and that it cannot accept on the network. They also note that the extent of that risk is yet to be determined… [Lewisham] Officers have serious concerns with this approach and leaving matters for resolution after the outline application has been approved. ..[The GLA and] TfL must ensure that the impacts are fully assessed and understood before the case is determined.”

NB: We have not had time to read up on whether these very obvious transport issues have yet been reviewed, but there is certainly no modification in the 'minor revisions' that relates to the number of car parking spaces.


• [the] impact on existing infrastructure…will place an unacceptable burden on existing services such as utilities providers, water supplies and sewerage

Thames Water states in its consultation response: “With the information provided, Thames Water has been unable to determine the waste water infrastructure needs of this application. The existing water supply infrastructure has insufficient capacity to meet the additional demands for the proposed development."

• Thames Water had not been furnished with the finer details of “the points of connection to the public sewerage system as well as the anticipated flow (including flow calculation method) into any proposed connection point”. So they had not been able to determine the impact of the proposed development on the existing water and sewer system

• Local objectors and Lewisham Officers “remain concerned that daylight/sunlight impacts have not been properly assessed” 


• Over 300 ships were built or refitted at Deptford; warships include HMS Neptune and HMS Colossus, which fought under Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar

• Refitted ships include HMS Endeavour, HMS Resolution and HMS Discovery used by Capt James Cook, as were HMS Discovery and HMS Chatham captained by George Vancouver, and William Bligh's HMS Bounty and HMS Providence

• Privateer Sir Francis Drake was knighted here by Elizabeth 1 in 1581 after his circumnavigation of the globe in the Golden Hind, which was moored for exhibition in Deptford Creek until the 1660s

• Explorer Sir Walter Raleigh had the Ark Raleigh built at Deptford; the ship was purchased by Elizabeth I and renamed Ark Royal; Raleigh laid his cloak before Elizabeth at Deptford

• Diarist Samuel Pepys, Secretary to the Admiralty and Master of Trinity House, initiated and oversaw Charles II's 1677 shipbulding programme here (including the Lenox)

John Evelyn, diarist, author, horticulturist, inventor and founding member of the Royal Society,  lived here in Sayes Court Manor; his ideas formed the basis of the National Trust, and much of Deptford Dockyard was given by Evelyn to the Admiralty at a peppercorn rent as long as a ship lay on the stocks: with no ship in the dock, the yard actually belongs to Evelyn's descendents

Tsar Peter the Great learned about the latest technologies in shipbuilding here in 1698 – because Deptford Dockyard was the "cradle of the Navy" and the 'Cape Canaveral' of its time

• Deptford was the first of the royal naval dockyards to have a wet dock or basin: where John Evelyn carried out the first diving bell experiments, where Cook hoisted the pennant on board the Endeavour in 1768, where Bentham built the dry dock in 1802 with Edward Holl, where in 1814 John Rennie rebuilt the basin entrance with the latest caisson gate technology, where Capt Sir William Denison built the slipways to the basin with slipway covers built by George Baker &Sons, where George Biddel Airey tested the effect of a ship's magnetism on navigation instruments...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Johnson's London – a millionaire's playground

Crossfields residents receive constant reminders from the government about how big a discount they can get if they buy their flat. The frequent flyer from the Department of Communities and Local Government comes through the door with regularity, whether you're a tenant or already a leaseholder. Bigger discounts than ever before are now available for Right To Buyers as the Tories push through their evil plan to get rid of 'social housing' altogether. What possible incentive can there be to build more social housing when tenants can buy their properties after only five years?

Meanwhile, the Bedroom Tax is forcing some unemployed social housing tenants into private housing since there are no one-bedroom flats available for those single occupants currently living in two-bedroom homes whose housing benefit has been cut. If they can find a landlord who will take DHS claimants, the private rent is likely to be at least twice as much (£250pw) as their council rent (£110pw), a bill which the council tax-payer and local authority will foot and from which private landlords will profit. Continuing low rates on buy-to-let mortgages has landlords increasing their property portfolios and enjoying record yields on higher rents, and profits from rising house prices.

Add to this the total lack of affordable housing being built, whilst Boris Johnson boasts about meeting housing targets. The Financial Times reports that Bozo promised 55,000 new homes between 2011 and 2015 but only 20,684 are being built. The London Assembly reports that he's recently opted to 'clear London's backlog of housing need' over 20 years – instead of the 10 years he initially proposed.

In the news today, we hear that nine London boroughs have joined forces in a legal challenge against the Mayor's plan to relax 'affordable rents' rules, to be heard in the High Court today and tomorrow. Presently, boroughs have been able to cap social housing rents within new developments (what little there is) to around 40% of 'market rent'. Bozo wants to raise that cap to 80%. That is the percentage that has defined 'affordable housing' for a while now, and for most Londoners, this is still unaffordable. Lewisham set its cap at 50%. Lewisham is not one of the boroughs taking Boris to court. When Lewisham sells off its housing stock next year to a reconfigured Lewisham Homes Housing Association, new tenants may well find themselves paying 80% of market rent.

Speaking from a developer's conference in Cannes yesterday, Bozo announced that he'll be selling up the last couple of development sites owned by City Hall, with only a third available for affordable rented housing. And he wants to launch a 'state-backed housing bank' that would offer cheap loans and guarantees to private developers to get homes built more quickly and reduce the risks for his builder mates.

The news today from the same Cannes property conference is that Bozo's team want to allow house bulding to go ahead without planning permission in certain parts of London. Deputy mayor for housing, Richard Blakeway, said the mayor was "particularly interested" in exploring the potential to "build markets" in certain zones by offering tax incentives to both "investors and consumers". The Mayor could use his compulsory purchase powers to acquire land for private residential use, at the expense of any borough's strategies to achieve a balance of uses (such as employment zones and community uses). These changes to the London Plan are said to be designed "to encourage boroughs to support private rented housing".

The London Assembly has also recently questioned the Mayor about his stripping of London boroughs' right to make planning decisions by using his power to 'call-in' large planning applications. He has already 'called-in' five schemes in the past year. In many cases, Bozo has been 'calling-in' applications before the local authority in question has even had a chance to examine them. (See also the Deptford Dame's latest post).

Darren Johnson, Green Party Assembly member, said, "The recent acceleration in the number and speed with which the Mayor is taking over planning decisions from boroughs...puts developers and investors before local democracy". The Assembly's motion (agreed by 16 votes to 5 against) listed 11 applications – including Convoys Wharf in Deptford – and said that on many decisions, the Mayor has ignored legitimate borough concerns about issues such as inappropriate density and very low targets for affordable housing.

This isn't new. In 2009 in Tower Hamlets, when there were 23,000 people on the housing waiting list, the council refused planning consent for the 74-storey Hertsmere Tower in Canary Wharf because it didn't include enough provision for affordable housing. But a few months later, Boris Johnson overturned the council's decision and Hertsmere is set to accommodate over 700 luxury apartments, some marketed in excess of £10m each.

Here's Boris at the Cannes property conference in 2012, announcing his new 'architecture, design and urbanism' panel for architects, which was to hand out £30m worth of work over the following three years. There's Terry Farrell, second from left, one of those appointed to the panel and the architect employed by Convoys Wharf developer Hutchison Whampoa.

As any fool can see, there has been an enormous amount of new housing being built in London, especially locally. Like many of these new developments, Convoys Wharf has a minimal amount of affordable housing (down from 35% to 14%, and social housing from 4% to zilch). As the Deptford Dame pointed out back in November, another site owned by Hutchison Whampoa – Lots Road in Chelsea – is already being marketed via their Hong Kong estate agency. (See also the BBC film "London's Property Gamble").

Darren Johnson says, "London's property market is only serving the super-rich, leaving crumbs for ordinary Londoners, who have to rent overpriced homes on insecure tenancies or move out of the city altogether". A new industry has even built up around helping developers avoid building affordable housing and paying Section 106 to local authorities (the bribe – or money paid by a developer that is  supposed to benefit the communities in which the development is sited). (Click to enlarge).

The Evening Standard reported yesterday that the number of skyscrapers in the capital is set to double. Meanwhile, Chinese investment in the UK is forecast to triple this year. Boris is busy signing up business deals with Chinese investment consortiums wanting to turn London into a replica of Hong Kong – with a focus on construction projects of all kinds. Meanwhile, Hutchison Whampoa has been busy selling off its luxury properties in Hong Kong since the Chinese state are bringing in 'cooling measures' – described as 'a tough stance on reining in an overheated market' (in other words a 'bubble') – with new rules on the sale of new homes, and stricter rent controls – the opposite of here, in fact. 

Boris Johnson's London is a playground for millionaires. Of course Bozo doesn't want to take over Cameron's job. While Cameron has only a year left to decimate the lives of millions of ordinary people across the country with austerity measures whilst rewarding bankers, Bozo has over two more years to promote and implement their hideous Tory agenda across the capital.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Convoys Wharf update (and the Deptford Sea Shanty)

Local shanty group, the Deptford Shanty Crew, have recorded a special Deptford song that tells the story of how the historic Deptford Royal Dockyard is about to be buried under an uncaring developer's plan to build 3500 luxury flats. Click on the YouTube logo to read the lyrics in full.

The decision on the developer's application is now "in the hands of the London Mayor" and Boris has promised to decide very soon (originally by the end of February, now postponed to the end of March). But it's not looking good for Deptford's heritage or Deptford in general.

Crossfields residents were recently sent a letter from the Greater London Authority (GLA) Planning department, requesting comments on very minor changes to the developer's masterplan. Please don't ignore this letter, but use it as an excuse to object to the scheme in general! A Crossfields resident who has already written an objection has received a reply from the GLA Planners which states:
Thank you for your representations to the Mayor of London with respect to proposed development at the Convoys Wharf site in Deptford. The Mayor has asked me to respond on his behalf. The issues you have raised will be taken into account, and your comments (along with all other representations made on the case), will be made available to the Mayor when he comes to consider the case.

I can confirm that the Mayor is mindful of the historic importance of this site, and is committed to securing a well-designed scheme that would deliver benefits for Deptford, as well as for the rest of London. To this end the Mayor has instructed his GLA officers to work closely with the Council when negotiating on the case - to ensure that local priorities are appropriately considered and addressed as part of the determination of this application.

Planning negotiations associated with this case are currently ongoing, however, the Mayor is currently undertaking public consultation until 20 March 2014 on a number of minor revisions to the scheme. Further information is available on the GLA website here:

In due course the Mayor will hold a public Representation Hearing, before considering the full details of the case, and deciding whether or not to grant permission. Further information, including the date for the hearing, will be made publically available on the GLA website here:
But in reality, there is very little of the "historic importance of the site" that is being saved, and the GLA appear to not be listening fully to either Lewisham Council's recommendations or those of English Heritage and the local heritage projects, Build The Lenox and Sayes Court Garden. The projects are still waiting to meet with the developer and are still marginalised in the plans. The GLA still does not recognise the full potential of the archaeological findings on the site and seem quite happy to let the developer build over and bury forever the significant and recoverable 'below ground' remains.

The 'Representation Hearing' referred to in the GLA letter above will allow only 20 minutes of public representation! So it is important for locals to write to the GLA (or sign the petition) as soon as possible. Email (or and see guidelines from the Deptford Is... campaign here. This needs to be done by 20th March.

The Lenox Project wants to build their ship in the Olympia Shed but the developer still wants the Grade 1 Listed building (the only surviving 'above ground' building) to house boutique shops rather than anything meaningful relating to the building's history (such as shipbuilding!). The project also requires the re-instatement of the old Basin in front of the Olympia building, but this historic body of water is currently re-designed as a small shallow pool incapable of holding boats or ships. The Sayes Court Garden project requires more of the land due to be occupied by giant blocks of flats in order to restore the footprint of John Evelyn's original gardens.

Dame Joan Ruddock, as patron of both local projects, recently wrote to the Deputy Mayor Sir Edward Lister. She is not allowed to converse with Boris himself, in case he becomes prejudiced (even though one of his advisors is Sir Terry Farrell, the developer's architect). Joan said:
Although both projects have gained the support of the developer, neither is being given the opportunity to properly reflect the archaeology and history appropriate to their design. This failure makes both potentially unviable. 

The Lenox has a unique potential to create a tangible link to Deptford's history; to directly connect the Olympia Building to its heritage, and – by recreating a basin in front of the building – to re-establish its historic links to the river. 

Hutchison Whampoa...have proposed limited-term accommodation for the ship [7 years maximum] on the protected wharf [north of the site and reserved for other uses such as cargo handling]. Critical factors to enable the project to thrive are proximity to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, easy access for visitors, a future legacy for the site that perpetuates its heritage, and a permanent home for the ship and the Dockyard Museum...

The Sayes Court Garden has been developed to expose the John Evelyn heritage, in a collaborative venture with the National Trust...

...We were delighted with Hutchison Whampoa's proposal to expose the archaelogy of the [John Evelyn's] Manor House but their current proposal to 'capture' it within a large block bears no relationship to its historic setting and orientation. This design would divorce the archaeology from the open space which gives it meaning...
Hutchison Whampoa announced a record increase in their profits at the end of March. Due to their increased 'investment' in Europe, their net profits had risen 30%, yet they still insist Convoys Wharf cannot be 'viable' (profit making) if they provide more affordable housing, or make space for more of Deptford's heritage.

So please get writing!
And it's [stamp] sell her off to a big business man
there goes Deptford's dockyard
there goes our history and our land
way off in the hands of the London mayor

Crossfields in 1893

We love maps! Here is a new facility from Google maps that overlays the Ordinance Survey Town Plan of London 1893-6 onto the present day (well almost present day, Google is always a bit out of date). It shows Crossfields as a warren of little roads and houses, with a chemical works between the estate and Deptford Creek. Toggle the map on and off to see old and new.

Find the map here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

High Street Tesco paint bombed

Last Friday evening we popped in Deptford High Street's Tesco Express for a bottle of vino – just after the entrance had been attacked with a pot of red paint.

The manager said it had been done by a shoplifter who'd been caught earlier and had gone away and come back with the pot of paint. By Saturday, the same story had spread up the high street.

But it seemed a rather unlikely explanation to us (what seasoned shoplifter would go to so much trouble?), especially when we heard on Saturday evening from a pal who'd just seen a Tesco cash point in the Oval covered with white paint.

Perhaps the work of an activist, then? Yesterday we got an email from Greenpeace, who have begun a campaign (see the petition link below) targeting Tesco for selling a brand of tuna called Oriental and Pacific. Their tuna is fished with destructive methods that kills turtles, sharks and rays alongside the tuna. Last night, Channel 4's "Fish Fight" was going to expose and confront Tesco about selling the dodgy tuna.

We're not suggesting Greenpeace activists are going round throwing paint at Tesco, but it's surely worth linking the two events together! 

Petition: Tell Tesco to pull Oriental and Pacific off their shelves