Thursday, June 16, 2011

Busy weekend on Creekside

Your chance to have your say* lots happening this weekend up our road, with open studios galore, exhibitions and film screenings, and free entry to all – including Cockpit Arts who have in the past dared to charge entry and put off many locals crossing the threshold...(see listings and links at bottom of post)

With Cockpit opening their doors (did I mention for free?) to celebrate their 25th birthday, other groupings have followed suit. Cockpit are open on Friday evening (6-9pm), as is RSVP London, who have taken over a large space on The Fair Charm (aka Faircharm Trading Estate) and will be open till 10pm on Friday, and on Saturday from 12-8pm.

This is billed as The Fair Charm Consultation Event & Exhibition* and the most relevant of RSVP's exhibitors will be Karakusevic Carson Architects who will be available to talk about their potential plans for the redevelopment of Faircharm. This is a *DO NOT MISS for Crossfields residents, but note that the RSVP programme also includes free cinema screenings (Run Fat Boy Run at 8pm on Friday, and Little Miss Sunshine at 6pm on Saturday) – both good films, but one may assume the 'consultation' ends when the films begin...?

Meanwhile, on Saturday and Sunday, Creekside Artists are opening their studios and are also repeating their Faircharm Fair – first aired last Christmas with all local artists and craftspeople interested in exhibiting and/or selling their work invited to take part by hiring a very reasonably priced stall in a specially hired space in Faircharm. Catch Crossfield's own Boro and their brilliant recycled furniture among others.

Still at Faircharm, Core Gallery has a curated show In The Current Climate and the gallery's associated studio spaces in Cor Blimey Arts will be open. Further up the road, ArtHub will also be opening their studios at 5-9 Creekside. Opposite, APT Gallery is showing the second part of the much acclaimed Creekside Open (see previous post). On the way there, the almost new Creekside Cafe will have a barbeque in addition to its normal menu – and rumour has it will be licensed – in its hidey hole at the front of Faircharm Trading Estate.

We mustn't call it that any more though – it's now The Fair Charm, since recent occupants Studio Raw gave the building a cosmetic facelift before they left. It's no co-incidence that small businesses cannot afford to stay in the building – there are very few small workspaces in a building originally built as a carburettor factory. The owners, Workspace, have long been considering how they can maximise their profitsperty and make it more attractive to creative businesses – the large cavernous spaces do not lend themselves easily to smaller day lit studios which are most in demand (though paying an insurance premium against terrorist attack as well as other additional costs hasn't made renting space in this building any easier). After a few years faffing around with the idea of tarting up the present buildings (at one point, a giant roof was envisaged), they have decided to knock it all down and start again.

This decision of course has a major impact on the businesses already occupying the three buildings on the estate, and also on the residents of Crossfields Estate (some of whom, it appears, got to hear of these plans before many of the businesses). 

*If you want to know what's going on across the road, this is your chance to find out and make sure your views are known. The appointed architects Karakusevic Carson recently came to say hello at a Crossfields TRA meeting. There was very little to see in the way of designs, so the meeting made its feelings known about parking and fears of new tower blocks (blocking both sun and views, as tower blocks do).

Since the plan is to build luxury homes on the site of the present carpark, and since many Faircharm employees/employers already use Crossfields estate to park in (Workspace charge for parking), it's a no brainer that the estate will become even more congested by local business parking and considerable additional residential parking if the Faircharm carpark turns into flats. A suggestion of a Residents Permit Scheme would acknowledge the estate has always been used by the public and that leaseholders have been paying for its maintenance for far too long. It's a marvellous little parking space for all sorts, visitors to the market, people who come up from Bexley to catch the train every day, staff at Lewisham College, all sorts...who ignore the Residents Only notices.

A suggestion for constructing underground parking for Faircharm was met with budgetary surprise, as though parking had never been considered. The defence was that Lewisham council has a strategy to discourage commuters from Kent (or neighbouring boroughs). Not sure what that is, but apparently if Lewisham says no, that's it. Perhaps selling off all the car parks to developers fulfills that particular strategy, as has been made patently clear in Deptford High Street and the Tidemill development.

The good news is that they plan to make the new Faircharm accessible to all so that locals can have more access to the Creek. The good/bad news is that potentially we'll have a "corner store" to serve the new flats in a new accessible road leading down to the Creek from the present entrance...(Tesco Riverline will surely have its objectors). Presumbably new entry systems on new buildings will replace the need for a gate and a security patrol that is presently keeping us out.

The bad news is that the architects are thinking of recreating the dark brick Victorian warehouse look that is typified by the converted Victorian wharf warehouses at London and Tower Bridge (aka "wharfside living"). There's a place for tall and dark, and it's not across the road in the form of buildings that were never there in the first place. Crossfields residents are already facing Colditz with the potential removal of all balcony gardens as it is (more on this soon).

The *really bad news is that some time in the next couple of years Faircharm will become a phased building site for quite some while to follow. Will they use the Creek, one wonders, to deliver building materials and avoid the use of Creekside? Also see the Deptford Dame's post.

Listings (addresses as given):

Cockpit Arts
Friday – Sunday 17-19 June (Fri 6-9pm, Sat & Sun 11am-6pm)
18-22 Creekside SE8 3DZ

RSVP London +
The Fair Charm Consultation Event & Exhibiton
Friday 17 June, 6-10pm, Free Cinema screening: Run Fat Boy Run 8pm
Saturday 18 June, 12-8pm, Free Cinema screening: Little Miss Sunshine 6pm
Building A, The Fair Charm, 8-12 Creekside SE8 2DX

Faircharm Fair and Creekside Artists Open Studios
Saturday & Sunday 18 & 19 June, 12-6pm
For Faircharm Fair, follow directions at Faircharm Estate
Creekside Artists, Unit A 110,112 & 114, Faircharm Trading Estate, Creekside SE8 3DX 

Core Gallery and Cor Blimey Arts Open Studios
Saturday & Sunday 18 & 19 June, 12-5pm (exhibition runs Fri-Sun)
Block C101, Faircharm Trading Estate, 8-12 Creekside SE8 3DX

Arthub Open Studios
Saturday & Sunday 18 & 19 June, 12-6pm (?)
5-9 Creekside SE8 4SA

APT Gallery - Creekside Open 2011 #2
Thursday – Sunday, 12-5pm till 26th June
6 Creekside SE8 4SA

1 comment:

  1. Well, Goodness Me! As A tenant of Faircharm for the last 12 years, It is only a couple of weeks ago that any tenant, or even the estate manager, has heard of these plans! The management at Workspace have kept their tenants totally ill-informed. My first news of this was via someone at A.P.T. On first enquiring, I was met with total denial. Then a former tenant rose to the fore as a prime mover in the liason between Workspace, the architects, and the local community. Again, the tenants at Faircharm were not officially informed whatsoever. We, as lease holders, consider we have been excremented upon from a very great height! We are also shocked and amazed that all the local residents and their dogs have been informed and consulted for their opinions, whilst the businesses that pay their rent, car parking charges, rubbish removal fees, and lets not forget business rates at Faircharm, have been coveniently ignored. Perhaps had these flourishing, unsupported businesses known sooner, they might have chosen to seek alternative accomodation earlier than might have been deemed 'convenient' for everyone but the tenants at Faircharm. We all know that there is precious little space left for small businesses in Deptford and it's surrounds. Faircharm stood out as a haven for those such as us. The idea that there was an organisation that, by it's name alone, suggested that it looked out for and supplied space to work in, was literally a comfort in what looks to be yet another modern development of cool, trendy high rise crap. As a person born and bred in Deptford, and having worked in Deptford for 25 years, I am so dissapointed, and very sad at our treatment.