Monday, October 10, 2011

Deptford's Future: have your say...

Convoys Wharf Drop-In: Tuesday 11 October, 5-8pm, St Nick's Church

St Albans being launched at Deptford Dockyard in 1747. Painting by John Cleveley the Elder

If you want to attend the Drop-In on Tuesday here's some questions to ask Lewisham Planning and the representatives of Convoys Wharf s.a.r.l.

1. We are still unclear as to exactly what, apart from a new school, the Section 106 agreements are for the site.

2. What would happen, should the archaeological excavations which are currently ongoing, turn up something of importance? Surely a 46 floor tower block could not be built over such potential finds. If Lewisham grant this application without conditions in place, the developers could easily disregard the findings.

3. This is the last stage at which Lewisham can apply conditions to the development that ensure the very best results for the people of Deptford. Are you aware that this application is different from and, not as the developers suggest, an amendment to the previous 2005 application?

4. Are you aware that this site is now predominantly residential, and mainly luxury housing at full market price, when it was originally recommended in a report commissioned by Lewisham to be only 25% residential?

5. Why has the number of affordable housing units shrunk from 25% to 14%, when the London Plan asks for 35% to 50%?

6. Where are the employment opportunities except for in the short term? (Even the Olympics site has failed to employ more than 10% of local people). Where are the future alternatives to jobs in retail and catering?

7. Does Lewisham have a plan for a post-recession Deptford that isn't just creating a dormitory for jobs in the City or rental income for foreign investors? What does Lewisham want to see in Deptford? Don't we have enough residential developments already?

8. With so many different entities representing the developers (Hard Hat, BPTW, Aedas etc) is it possible to know who is giving the orders about the massive density of these proposals?

9. Why has there been so little public consultation?

10. Why is the history of the site given so little consideration with this application going in before the archaeological excavations have finished? Has Lewisham Council not realised the enormous potential of the site as of national (and international) significance in Britain's heritage? If they have, why have they not conveyed this more strongly to the developers, backed up by other important (and willing) authorities and national bodies?

11. Can you perhaps confirm that the application is being rushed through in order to avoid potential loss of revenue due to the possible application of the Boris tax (the mayor's Community Infrastructure Levy to pay for Crossrail)? Or is it a fact that nothing may actually be built for some years and means this is tax won't apply (if it ever comes into existence)?

12. The latest plans are ridiculous: Wind tunnels theatening river navigation as well as residents and visitors. Very tall buildings – not just three exceptionally tall towers – but most buildings blocking sunlight not only on the site but for all existing and surrounding housing.

13. Practically non-existent green space and reduced access to the river. Green areas showing on the application are in fact raised gardens above carparks. There is very little public space (green or otherwise) left in these new plans.

14. Parking for 2300 cars – really stupid, when one fire in a small town house on Deptford Broadway causes our local road networks to stop moving for three days!

15. No additional transport plans in place – and no chance of getting any if the recent experience of trying to get a station at the Surrey Canal Road development is anything to go by. Everyone will be getting the riverboat according to the developers. 3500 flats – a potential 6-9000 people plus all the workers coming in to support the site's commercial business. Is this not more than proof of how out of touch these developers are?

16. OUR HERITAGE: The building over of Deptford's history: John Evelyn's house and gardens, most of King Henry VIII's dockyard (more of which is appearing as the archaeology continues) leaving nothing really for Deptford citizens to engage in and be proud of? Despite the part Deptford played in this history, it plays second fiddle to Greenwich and is very little mentioned even though it is exceedingly well documented by Deptford residents John Evelyn and Samuel Pepys, and is more than deserving of a Heritage Status of its own.

17. This is "outline" planning permission that is being sought for a "masterplan". There are no drawings to approve, in fact the visuals provided in this application are extremely poor. This is because if it is passed, the layout of this site will be set in stone, but "parcels" of the site may be sold off to other developers to build what they like (up to an approved height and width).

At the Archaelogical walk around the site on Saturday 8th October, the man in charge of the Museum of London dig, Duncan Hawkins, showed  around 60 people where his team have been excavating. This is one of the original slipways.
Behind is the Olympia building, the only building above ground to have been preserved.

Below: inside the Olympia building; the excavations of the Great Storehouse: and a visitor holds apparently the only relic found on the site so far – a piece of Roman pottery. You can read a fuller report on the walk at Deptford Is...

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