Saturday, November 4, 2017

Demolition Deptford #4 : Number One Creekside

Another long overdue post...

Back in September, Bluecroft Property (now 'Bluecroft Creekside') held a little-publicised consultation on their plans for Number One Creekside. Attendees could admire a lovely wooden model of their neighbourhood but could only express shock and dismay at the balsa wood representation of the building that Bluecroft intend to construct on the corner of Creekside where it meets Deptford Church Street opposite the Birds Nest.

In a previous post we wrote about how Lewisham Council gifted the developer a strip of green publicly-owned land that runs alongside Deptford Church Street in exchange for a lease on some commercial space in the new building to be run as creative workspace or artists' studios.

Yes, in order to build this monstrosity, we're to lose at least ten mature trees, which help to mitigate the pollution at this stretch of Deptford Church Street, where pollution readings at the roundabout have been as high as 62microns when the EU limit is 40. That is why we're including it in the 'Demolition Deptford' series – it's wanton vandalism of Deptford's green lungs and it's in addition to the 70+ trees that will be lost at Tidemill across the road. As usual it's green space versus housing and employment.

Apart from 'at least 1200sqm of ground floor workspace', the scheme proposes 55-60 new homes. Nothing on the exhibition boards mentioned affordable housing.

The oddly shaped building is made up of two towers joined together by a lower middle area, described as "preserving views between the two and forming a sculpted townscape proposition above a three-storey podium with shared amenity space connecting the two". This indicates that the entire site would have been one huge structure, but for the necessity to "preserve the view" – presumably of St Paul's Cathedral so that it's visible from Point Hill in Greenwich. (That is the usual reason for holes in buildings – such as the one in the ugly Creekside Village building on Creek Road, no doubt masquerading as a 'sculpted townscape').

The gap certainly doesn't seem to be designed to save any sunlight for Frankham House residents as it doesn't line up. Nope, their morning light will be gone, and all their other light removed by the Tidemill development. We'll have to wait for the daylight/sunlight studies in the planning application to see the impact on other residential buildings next to the site, but Cremer and Wilshaw residents will be affected by the building works, Cremer's south facing windows will lose their light and be overlooked, as will the allotments next to Cremer, and the top of Creekside will be impassable during construction.

View from the east – big gap doesn't help Frankham House behind it

As is the case with other monstrosities in the area, the design draws on "the rugged buildings of the industrial mills which remain around Deptford Creek". Actually there is only one mill building remaining  and that's Mumford's Mill on Greenwich High Road. It used to be much needed creative workspace before it was turned into flats, but it's good that the building was preserved for posterity. Yet God knows why dark satanic mills should continue to be referenced – it's hardly appropriate for the 21st century, but planning departments seem to encourage it, using historical precedent to justify developers' profiteering towers blocks, which now seem obliged to have a pitched roof on top.

The area in the 1940s (that's the Bird's Nest in the middle)

Illustration of Hope Wharf, currently going up in Greenwich High Road and overshadowing
Deptford Creek
Number One Creekside encroaching on Deptford Church Street

The north tower next to Cremer House appears to have seven storeys – two taller than Cremer – but we were told the design is still being worked on, and the strangely shaped roof spaces are likely to accommodate another two to three floors of (pent) housing. The southerly tower has nine storeys, with another two/three to be accommodated in the roof area – so potentially 12 storeys towering over the Bird's Nest and Frankham House. The owner of the Bird's Nest was reported as coming away from the consultation in tears. Apart from the nightmare of two to three years of building works, once built, sensitive new residents will most likely make sure this noisy pub is closed down.

Both the developer and Lewisham Planning obviously envisage this carbuncle as a signature building for Deptford Church Street. Coupled with the plans for Tidemill (six storeys to go up opposite this 12 storey tower), the streetscape here is going to change dramatically.

Strangely, the developer's architects also predict a completely new road environment, as they have drawn Deptford Church Street not as a dual carriageway, but as a two-lane road without a central reservation.

View from the north, showing the 5-storey Castell and Cremer Houses on the left

Oh, they said, that's because Lewisham have plans for the road.

Bluecroft had intended to submit a planning application this Autumn and hoped to commence work on the site in summer 2018. Nothing in planning yet, but if they're anything like other developers, they'll submit over Christmas and New Year when everyone's too busy to notice.


  1. It's not a Tfl road. It is Lewisham.

    1. Thanks Unkown. Should have checked facts. Will amend.

  2. What seriously ugly buildings. Stealing the light of Crossfields' residents. And what an atrocity to destroy yet more mature trees. What next?

  3. It's a damn ugly building, but What shocks me more is that at a time of chronic housing shortage....we still prime land being used as allotments???!!