Friday, December 23, 2011

West meats East for the feast

In the high street, the Halal butchers next to Sharon's Grocery are selling braces of pheasant and partridge. Meanwhile regulars queue for their free range Bronze turkeys and assorted cuts at the ever-popular Wellbeloved on Tanner's Hill.

(Apologies to vegan & vegetarian readers).

Skipping on the garbage

A skip appeared outside Holden House today. No explanation... A chat with the caretakers later confirmed it's an overflow strategy for the holidays, gifted by Lewisham Council. Rules are: no fridges.

According to Lewisham's website collection days over the festive period will be "one or two days later".

Hence the skip.

So when the recycling bins are full, please bring your cardboard & wrapping paper and recycling stuff to the skip. Please do not put your food stuff rubbish in this skip.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Betfred refused again!

Good tidings! On 16th December, Lewisham Planning again turned down Betfred's application – this time for a "Variation of allow all A2 uses, including a betting office".

Reasons for the refusal were given as: "The proposed variation of Condition (1) to allow use of the premises for unrestricted A2: Financial and Professional Services including the use as a betting shop, would be likely to give rise to anti-social behaviour and disturbance including a risk of an increase in crime detrimental to the maintenance of a safe and accessible environment for local residents and users of the town centre where crime and disorder or fear of crime does not undermine quality of life or community cohesion..." See the application here.

Thanks to everyone who took the trouble to object.

Meanwhile, betting shops were mentioned in The Portas Review – An independent review into the future of our high streets published on 13th December (see p.29):

13. Put betting shops into a separate ‘Use Class’ of their own

I also believe that the influx of betting shops, often in more deprived areas, is blighting our high streets. Circumventing legislation which prohibits the number of betting machines in a single bookmakers, I understand many are now simply opening another unit just doors down. This has led to a proliferation of betting shops often in low-income areas. 

Currently, betting shops are oddly and inappropriately in my opinion classed as financial and professional services. Having betting shops in their own class would mean that we can more easily keep check on the number of betting shops on our high streets.

Hopefully the government will take note – and do the same with Pawnbrokers while they're at it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yet another hotel...

A browse of Greenwich Council's planning pages (to see what might be happening on Creek Road) brought up this application from Telford Homes, who are applying for a change of use from B1 Office to C1 Hotel.

Their proposal is for a capsule hotel of 109 rooms over three floors of Block B in the new Creekside Village.

The blurb goes, "The main element comprises pre-constructed hotel rooms which can be delivered to site in flat pack form and assembled quickly and easily within an existing building. The rooms require no external light source and can be formed in rows with connecting corridors and service runs being the only other significant element of site work."

Most of the rooms will provide accommodation for up to two people with a proportion of the rooms being designed to mobility standards. Unlike conventional hotels, this proposal will involve no ancillary uses – no restaurant or bar areas, lounge or conferencing facilities. There will be a small reception facility and a cafe serving continental breakfasts, coffee and pre-packed snacks – so there will be no need for a catering kitchen (or extraction systems, for local people).

This is a "stylish Micro Boutique room which will deliver the ultimate sleeping and in-room entertainment experience. The room ambience should be white/minimal/modern with a high level of comfort, mood lighting, climate control and the seamless integration of communications and entertainment media."

There are no proposed alterations to the glazed facade of the Creekside Village building, and where rooms butt up against windows, the internal face will have opaque window film.

The application promises that a private company will deal with waste which is expected to be recyclable plastics, cardboard, newspapers, tins and food tubs. However, each of the 109 rooms will have ensuite bathrooms and there are no documents supplied that refer to water supply and sewage displosal!

It all reminds us of the latest episode of Charlie Brooker's three-part series of satirical dramas, Black Mirror, ("15 Million Merits", screened on Channel 4 last Sunday) – a dystopian vision of a future powered by people on exercise bikes, where homes are simply small rooms made up of walls of screens and the only chance to escape is by going on a reality TV show. People have become TV-addled drones living their lives vicariously through a videogame avatar. Welcome to Greenwich!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Convoys Wharf update: Evelyn Assembly 14 December

Head of Planning at Lewisham, John Miller, will be at the Evelyn Assembly this Wednesday to talk about "regeneration" in Deptford. He will provide a presentation which shows the various schemes, environmental improvements and works in Deptford High Street.

Wednesday 14 December 
7pm – 8.30pm
2000 Community Action Centre
199-201 Grove Street

In addition, he'll be showing Hutchison Whampoa's proposed plans to build 3500 homes (only 15% of which will be affordable), and provide parking for 2300 cars (with no coherent transport policy) on the Convoys Wharf site. Local campaign group Deptford Is... will then present their alternative proposals which they would like to see form part of a heritage-led masterplan that recognises Deptford's unique and historical significance.

They would like to see the restoration of the original features of both King Henry VIII's Royal Dockyard and of John Evelyn's Sayes Court manor house and gardens. The illustration below shows how the present proposals plan to build over these.

To remind you of the site in question here's a map of the area.

Consultation #3: Crossfields and Thames Tunnel

A reminder that Lewisham Planning Service have organised a meeting for Crossfield residents to HAVE YOUR SAY on the Thames Water proposals to situate a construction site on the green on Deptford Church Street.

Tuesday 13 December, 7pm
Salvation Army Hall, Mary Ann Gardens SE8 3DP

The council wants to know what residents and businesses in the area think – our views will be reflected in the Council's official response to Thames Water. All residents received a letter from Lewisham about this in the middle of November, but if you have mislaid the letter or cannot make the meeting, there are a number of other ways to respond:

Email or write to:
Planning Policy, Planning Service, London Borough of Lewisham, Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London SE6 4RU.

The Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart campaign have also prepared a very useful crib sheet for those wishing to object, which also gives a bit of background information. Download it here.

You can also let Thames Water know your views at – this link will take you to their page detailing the proposals for Deptford Church Street. See also this page on the Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart website.

Consultation #2: Faircharm Trading Estate redevelopment

Despite leaflets in every door and posters in stairwells, only an estimated 40 people attended the Drop-In organised especially for Crossfields Estate by Workspace last Wednesday to view the latest plans to redevelop the Faircharm Estate. Perhaps 3.30-7.30pm was not particularly convenient for most?

The above visuals were kindly provided by Karakusevic Carson, the architects tasked with drawing up a plan for Workspace who want to knock down the present buildings and construct four new buildings that will house both business and residential units. There would be a decrease in the former use and a massive increase in the latter. Three of the buildings will be residential from the first floor up, including a 13/14 storey tower in the south east of the site, next to the Creek.

It was claimed that 30% of the housing would be affordable and that there would be parking for 60 cars. The new buildings fronting onto Creekside will be much taller than the present buildings – two floors higher than Crossfields, one-to-two floors higher than the APT building, and half the height of Creekside Village. The proposed tower would be almost three times as tall as Crossfields.

A questionnaire accompanied the exhibition. Here are the questions for local residents:

1. Do you live locally / on the Crossfields Estate?
2. Is there anything you would like to see improved on (the) Creekside?
3. Do you have any comments on the existing buildings at (the) Faircharm?
4. Do you think more access to the Creek would be beneficial?
5. Would you come to a cafe/pub on the Faircharm?
6. Would Creekside & Deptford benefit from other evening venues?
7. We have designed the buildings to be mainly built in high quality brick with large windows. The architectural feel is both elegant and robust, is this an approach you support?
8. We are proposing a mix of both commercial, arts space and residential space. Is this something you feel is appropriate for Deptford?
9. Most of the buildings are 5-7 storeys in height, and are a similar scale to the Crossfields buildings. Do you think this is the right approach?
10. A taller building is required on the site to achieve a viable proposal. A 12-13 storey building is proposed to be located on the Creek edge, do you think this is the correct place? (please see the model)

So, there is a promise that we shall have more access to the Creek, and that we might welcome the addition of new cafes and bars, since it is claimed there will be no barriers to entering the development. However, considering the present security arrangements, one suspects that access to the Creek may well be restricted to the daytime, since the newly housed businesses (and possibly the new residents) may not welcome the local oiks wandering around their premises at night time. Drawings show potential cafes, bars and galleries situated inside the site, but it is also suggested these public spaces are actually placed on the main road, opposite Holden and Wilshaw Houses.

That idea – along with the height of the buildings fronting the development – will greatly impact those residents in Wilshaw and Holden who face onto Creekside. It was suggested there may be the possibility of securing mitigating Section 106 agreements that could benefit Crossfields directly, such as key-fob operated bollards at our entrances (to stop businesses and new residents using our parking spaces). Perhaps you have other suggestions – a resident has already suggested we have a fully equipped laundry, another has asked for a state-of-the-art community space that could house activities other than meetings.

Workspace hope to submit to Lewisham's Planning Department in February and say they will hold another consultation in January. Their plans are not entirely popular with the present business tenants, and Lewisham's Conservation Team are presently consulting over designating the area a Creekside Conservation Zone which would call for the buildings to remain as they are (see previous post where you can download the full proposal).

Click on the elevation drawing below to get an idea of heights and massing.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bats and Bugs!

Nicolas Pond from Nature Conservation Lewisham wrote to the blog last week looking for people interested in getting some free ecological training next year.  Having watched a bat feeding over Creekside before nightfall this summer and not knowing what species it was, maybe this course could have helped me identify it.  Here is his email and poster with his contact details:

Dear Crosswhatfields,

I'm writing to see if you can help me advertise some free training on your blog
I'm seeking keen naturalists who wish to be recipients of free ecological training that will commence next spring/summer 2012.
The principle intention is to train naturalists in survey techniques so that the Borough can encourage a trained body of volunteers to collect ecological species data and generate more complete records of protected species for the Borough and its environs.
Could you kindly host the attached poster on your blog and disseminate to your members and via any other networks as you see fit, many thanks

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Deptford Soil at Utrophia

10th–24th December (Wed, Fri & Sat)

Deptford Soil is an exhibition of work by local artists who have an affiliation with the McMillan Herb Garden, a non-profit making organisation who run creative workshops for young people in Deptford. Events to accompany the exhibition as follows:

Saturday 10th December, 7pm
Home Grown Film Night
Featuring local films and live soundtrack from Rabbit 

Sunday 11th December, 5-7pm
8 or 9 drummers from the south east London music underground will be playing throughout the Utrophia space so that the sound moves across and through the space.

Wednesday 14th December, 6-9pm
Music from The Missing Puddings and The Conformists

Saturday 24th December, 12-4pm
End of the Road – music tbc

Utrophia Project Space
120 Deptford High Street 

More info at

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Consultation #1: Creekside Conservation Area

Crossfields residents may by now have received a document briefly outlining the proposal for the Creekside Conservation Area with an accompanying questionnaire. A larger and more detailed Appraisal document is available to download here, and if you didn't get the letter and questionnaire or have mistakenly lined the budgie cage with it, you can find it again here.

You can also take part in the consultation by going online at Lewisham's website here, or go straight to the online questionnaire here. Deadline for comments is 27th January 2012.

Before the deadline, the council intend to hold a public consultation event in the new year.
Saturday 7 January 
Creekside Discovery Centre

Ideally, there will be someone from Lewisham Homes present at this event to explain the implications to Crossfields residents.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Recycling Revolution!

June wrote to us to make us flag up Lewisham's new recycling changes. It's all in Lewisham Life we told her, but she thinks you don't read it (and we said you don't read us either)...but here goes:

As well as everything before, you can NOW RECYCLE: 



- PLASTIC BAGS including SUPERMARKET CARRIER BAGS and PLASTIC SACKS...YAY! (about time, since you keep forgetting to take your own bag and the check-out staff keep loading them up and Deptford market and shop traders aren't happy unless they've given away a blue bag)

In addition you can also now add TELEPHONE DIRECTORIES, AEROSOL CANS (make sure they're empty), TAKEAWAY CONTAINERS (rinse first)...

Apparently we can also recycle our shoes, clothing, linen and curtains, but we're not sure if that'll go in our recycling bins...we may fall victim to the usual Lewisham "One Size Fits All unless you're posh with a garden" syndrome...Let's hope we are suitably catered for in due course with quite a few more recycling bins to take all this extra stuff that we're having to cart downstairs.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Creekside Consultations

Crossfields residents are invited to take part in two consultations very shortly. Firstly, we are invited this coming Wednesday to view the plans for a redeveloped Faircharm Estate. Secondly, Lewisham Council will be seeking our views on their plan to designate Creekside a Conservation Area.

WorkSpace who run Faircharm Trading Estate hope to submit a planning application for the redevelopment of the site in 2012. Their architects have developed plans "that are going to deliver an exciting mixed use development that will retain the unique nature of the area whilst delivering new residential and workspace accommodation."

This Drop In session is intended to give locals an opportunity to view the updated designs. Of particular interest to Crossfields residents will be the heights of the new buildings and how the work will be phased – there is likely to be serious disruption whilst building work takes place, should planning permission be granted. However...


Lewisham Council notified the businesses on Faircharm Estate last week that it is commencing a public consultation on a proposal to designate the Creekside area – including the Faircharm Estate and Crossfields Estate – as a conservation area.

Lewisham's Enterprise Development Manager Paul Hadfield says the council's planning policy is to protect local employment locations such as Faircharm for employment uses in order to support the local economy. This is likely to affect Workspace's plans to redevelop Faircharm as a mixed use site (that will include yet more luxury flats overlooking the Creek, as well as employment space). It may also affect other developers' plans for the Lewisham side of the Creek.

The Council is of the opinion that Creekside is a place of architectural and historic merit, and its buildings and spaces should be enhanced and protected. It wants to know what local businesses think of the area and its buildings and intends to consult on its proposal between 5 December and 16 January 2012.

Crosswhatfields has been assured by Lewisham's Conservation Officer Regina Jaszinski that Crossfields residents shall also be receiving letters next week informing us of the consultation, and hopefully we shall find out what it will mean for the estate to become part of a Conservation Area.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Laundry thief

This jocular but angry sign went up at the foot of Holden's stairs this week.

It serves as a warning to the rest of us that there is someone going round in the middle of the night stealing laundry off washing lines. According to a resident in Castell, it's not a new thing and has been happening with regularity over the past four years. The theft usually takes place in the wee hours, and the last time we heard about it happening, the thief even emptied someone's recycling bag to carry off their stolen load (leaving rubbish all over the stairs)...

So don't leave your best stuff out to dry overnight!

Friday, December 2, 2011

GIFTED weekend on Creekside and beyond

This weekend sees a confusing array of local venues opening to showcase arts and crafts, offering the chance to shop for unique Christmas presents for friends and family. Mulled wine, mince pies (and a price cap on some work) are available at some venues. It is also SLAM Friday tonight, so some venues are open this evening. We have tried to make sense of all the different details for you here.

Unfortunately, Blogger has been on the blink all day, so this post may be too late to alert you to this evening's activities.

On Creekside…

COCKPIT ARTS designers open their studios to sell fashion accessories, jewellery and homeware.  Unfortunately there is a £3 charge to get in but entry is free all day today (until 9pm).
18-22 Creekside. Open Fri 11am-9pm (FREE), Sat & Sun 11am-6pm (£3).

FAIRCHARM CHRISTMAS FAIR has over 40 stallholders selling furnishings, fine art, fashion and jewellery. There is also a pop-up exhibition, and CREEKSIDE ARTISTS are opening 20 working studios. There will be live music at 4-5pm on both days.
Block A, 8-12 Creekside. Free entrance and parking. Sat & Sun 12-6pm

ARTHUB GALLERY is showing affordable (All work no more than £250).  
Private view tonight 4-9pm.
5-9 Creekside. Free. Exhibition runs 3-4 & 10-11 December 12-6pm

APT GALLERY also has a salon-hung show of studio members' work (everything from £20 to £500). Private view tonight 5–8pm.
6 Creekside. Free. Sat & Sun 10am-6pm 

Stepping out of Creekside…

Gifted@ARCH has some bargain deals on art materials and recent paintings by selected artists on display.
17 Resolution Way SE8 4NT. Sat & Sun 10-5pm

Art & Design Weekend @ BEARSPACE is showing over 200 prints and design objects by leading emerging artists as part of Print & Design Now.  
Private view tonight 6-8.30pm.
152 Deptford High St SE8 3PQ. Fri 10-8.30pm, Sat  & Sun 10am-6pm. (Exhibition runs till 16 Dec).

ArtDog Gallery@THE DUKE is showing three artists' work.
125 Creek Road SE8 3BU. Open 12-10pm.

Shop@NUMBER 82 will have artists gifts and special editions.  
Private view tonight 5-7pm.
82 Tanners Hill SE8 4PN. Fri 5-7pm, Sat 10-6pm.

Other venues…

Art exhibitions at Lewisham Arthouse, The Agency, Stephen Lawrence Gallery, cueB, The Old Police Station, Trinity – check the South London Art Map for details. There is a Private View and "after-party" at the Old Police Station tonight till midnight.

Pay What You Like guided tour...

South London Art Map is running a guided tour on Saturday 3rd at 2pm (tour lasts two hours). Attendees will also receive half price entry to Cockpit Arts. Pay what you can (suggested donation £5). Meet at Bearspace, 152 Deptford High St SE8 3PQ.