Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Inadequate Response from WWM Architects

Well after two weeks and 4 ignored emails I had to phone Stephen Witherford (one of the "W"s at WWM Architects)  regarding his terse response to my report of the Estate Walkabout regarding plans to build a cycle/foot path destroying the Garden by the Railway Arches  (see this post)

I was told he was in a meeting until two and that he would call me some time after that.

No call came but I did receive an email...

My mail to him first:


I have consistently been told that the proposals regarding the cycle/foot path are in the very early stages and nothing is set in stone as yet. Is this indeed the case?

Your statement seems to imply that no change has happened in your position as a result of suggestions which Arthur brought back from the Walkabout?

Could you acknowledge whether routes more considerate of the wishes of the residents of the Crossfield Estate will or will not, be considered at all?

Can you tell us what suggestions have made that you have considered?

Is the position in this email likely to change when Arthur returns from his holiday?

As I tried to explain to Arthur surely a scheme that preserves a much loved community resource would look better on your web site than one that destroys one! Why not make this a triumph for community involvement and design compromise for the benefit of the community?

I am glad you are in support of replacing the garden with a suitable replacement on the estate. Though hopefully this will not be necessary.  I appreciate your position re funding of course. What I really meant was to ensure that it would be included in any plans that did destroy the garden. I am also given a glimmer of hope by the phrase "should this be required".

Of course I do not see aggression in yr stance. You have your rationales and reason for the position that you take of course. As I said to Arthur and Richa I am all for co-operation and compromise...and hope that you are too.

I could explain to you how significant this garden has been to me personally in helping restore my mental and physical health after various long standing illness. I'm sure you would acknowledge the great benefits of gardening such as this.

I am very proud of the huge amount of time and effort I have put into this garden, bringing a corner of the estate previousley used for drug injecting and as a toilet back into cultivation. Making it a safer place where people want to be, and a place where children can  play I would love to be able to continue with my 5 year plan for its improvement into an important resource that we are planning on developing for the wider good of the community.

I mention all this because I'm sure the human aspects of the decisions that you make might sometimes become a little abstract and distant to you.

Perhaps you could return the favour by placing a fair record of my position on YOUR web site!

Maybe you would be interested in coming to visit the Estate to discuss alternative plans and explain WMM's  position personally to the Tenants and Residents Association?

Thank you very much for your time and consideration in this matter. Hope to hear from you soon.

John Rhodes.

And his reply...

Dear John
I am sorry that I missed your call earlier today, I was out at a meeting.
Apologies for not responding to your request regarding your invitation to attend the TRA meeting on Thursday. I am unable to attend the meeting because I shall be away on holiday from Thursday.
The last couple of weeks leading up to this break have been particularly pressured as I am currently covering for other staff in the office who are on holiday at the moment. This will unfortunately be the case throughout the summer as this is a small practice.
If the Deptford project can secure funding and is able to progress, I hope to have the opportunity to meet with you and other residents, to discuss in more detail your proposals for the open spaces on the estate.
Best regards
Witherford Watson Mann Architects 
1 Coate Street

London E2 9AG
Which I consider to be a shockingly inadequate response.

It does not address any of the concerns I raised and does nothing to allay my fears that they are treating this as something that will inevitably happen.

Should I be surprised that I'm treated in a way that I feel is dismissive and deliberately ignores the central thrust of my questions? I'm certainly very dissapointed and wonder if this is how WMM intend to continue? 

But as my Mum always says "You can't make things go away by ignoring them!
I shall hold fire until after the TRA meeting on Thursday to see what suggestions are made there...

I shall certainly have a list of questions that WWM will HAVE to answer :O)


  1. I suggest you approach whoever has commissioned the architects - you might get a more appropriate response rather than the 'I'm not being paid to answer these kind of questions' response that you seem to be in receipt of.

  2. Good Suggestion. We are already in touch with Richa at Design for London who are behind this. I have asked her already for her response but she is away on holiday at the moment.

    I will have to find out who it is going to at Lewisham next... Anyone any ideas who I should speak to there?

  3. That's the trouble, John. Everyone is away at the moment, or covering for someone away...what do you mean 'at Lewisham next'...