Via 38 Degrees, the campaign is petitioning Lewisham's Mayor to re-instate the anchor to the south end of the high street where it had resided for 25 years until being removed during regeneration works two years ago, amidst much protest. It later became the focus of a local art project, who have now teamed up with the Deptford Society to launch the petition. They want the anchor returned without the plinth it once stood on.
|Visualisation of the anchor without a plinth @Deptford Is Forever|
Whilst the anchor served as a landmark for friends to meet up, its plinth had also become a seating area for street drinkers, so it seemed to many that the new high street paving had been an opportunity for the Council to remove the anchor and 'design out' anti-social behaviour.
|©Ben Graville – http://www.bengraville.co.uk/bengraville/r.i.p_anchotor_photos.html#66|
The drinkers soon found somewhere else to sit – on the benches in the newly paved Giffin Square, in front of the new Tidemill school and the library. We heard that parents of children at the school are now petitioning for the seating to be removed!
Meanwhile, utility companies have since dug up new paving stones and filled them with tarmac, and the new paving is already badly stained. The top of the high street still lacks the proud focal point it once enjoyed. Although the space is used by market traders on Saturdays, the rest of the week it remains empty – except when it is occupied by a Talk Talk or Sky sales team, who, with their habit of chasing shoppers down the street and hassling them to buy broadband phone deals, could be said to be more anti-social in their behaviour than the street drinkers ever were.
|Talk Talk sales team hassling shoppers|
The empty space is also sometimes used as quick and convenient parking for Asda shoppers. And to the distress of residents living above the shops, Asda itself has been loading and unloading here in the middle of the night.
|Unmarked Asda truck parks up at 3am in the morning to noisily load and unload ©Ben Graville|
Below is where the Deptford Anchor currently resides. It's being 'stored' in the Olympia warehouse building on Convoys Wharf 'for safe keeping'. Why is it still there, under the so-called 'protection' of a developer who gives not a jot for the maritime heritage of Deptford?
|The anchor is stored in the Olympia building at Convoys Wharf @Deptford Is Forever|
Convoys Wharf is owned by Asia's richest billionaire, Li Ka Shing, via Cheung Kong Property Holdings – one of his two recently reorganised and renamed Hong Kong-based global conglomerates (with limited liability in the Cayman Islands) – otherwise known to us as Hutchison Whampoa.
As the Deptford Dame noted in July, when travellers made it their home for awhile, the site was not even that safely secured. She also pointed out that in the (now) eight months since the Section 106 agreement with the GLA and Lewisham Council was signed and almost two years since HW received outline planning permission for the development from the Mayor of London (March 2014), not a single planning application (ie, worked up designs for the individual buildings and parcels of land) has been submitted to Lewisham's planning department.
So if the aim of both Lewisham Council and the developer was to re-situate the anchor within the development itself, it is likely to be at least another ten years before it is seen again. Time to bring it back! Sign the petition here.