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.


  1. A good question for John Miller is to ask whether he or any of his officers ever bothered to think that Lewisham Bridge school might have any historical merit or if they thought it was best to just knock it down and build something without any merit in it's place (English Heritage listed the building in the nick of time).

    Lewisham Council don't have a very good track record for saving the little heritage that is left in the borough.

  2. Were you there to ask the question, Anon? No, it's a question to ask in YOUR WARD.

    This was about NORTH DEPTFORD and I have to say it was the most incompetently run meeting I have ever been to. It was chaired by a complete and utter idiot, Cllr Sam Owalabi-Oluyole, whose love of the microphone was not matched by his talents in public speaking. His incompetence was usurped by the equally incompetent Cllr Crada who hijacked the agenda by insisting on a floor debate before the first presentation was finished.

    John Miller spoke about all the developments in the area, but these hardly got an airing since the main subject became Convoys Wharf thanks to the loud lobbying by People Before Profit. It is perhaps too late for a community voice on most of the developments he spoke about, but if Convoys Wharf was the main subject, it was left till an hour later to hear any positive contribution from a presentation that was scheduled to come after the Head of Planning's introduction.

    I don't care that the agenda was hijacked particularly except that it does help proceedings if people listen first before shouting about things that would've been answered if they'd listened first. Cllr Sam was hopeless as chair or else was being usurped by the assembly team staff member with the microphone who was doing her own chairing and running to the person whose hand up she'd spotted whilst Cllr Sam had spotted someone else.

    There were supposed to be Power Point presentations but the computer said no. That turned out to be a good thing when the second speaker finally came to talk about the alternative proposals, since he was forced to tell a story without visual aids. He told such a good story that he got a tremendous applause and gave the whole room some hope.

    Everyone could hear what he was saying, as they could John Miller. But Miller, being from the council, wasn't trusted (although he was congratulated by the more articulate floor speakers for his recent stand against the developers). No one could understand a word Cllr Sam said except maybe the three or four other Africans in the audience. How on earth did Evelyn Ward end up with three self-important Africans representing them? (Not that it's any different to the useless representation in New Cross Ward where two of the councillors are White British).

  3. I was there too. I am quite amazed at the patience of many who were there to see democracy in action (and network afterwards). I agree with Anon, it was the most appalling example and one can only hope there are better conducted meetings elsewhere if this is the only model of democracy we are offered by Lewisham.

    I particularly enjoyed the 'last word' by one of the women who had ruined the first part of the meeting. She shouted (along the lines of), "I'm sick of the references to Lewisham. Can we change the sign to say 'Welcome to Deptford'?"

  4. The meeting was just an exercise in pseudo-democracy. Go along, vent you're anger at a council official, and give yourself the impression that your voice is being heard. It isn't. John Miller's "presentation" was not only poorly put together (as to seem almost insulting), but desperately, desperately uninspiring.

    I honestly don't think Lewisham care what happens to the borough. As long as they maximise revenue on a short-term basis (and arguably perhaps, their pockets), it doesn't matter to them whether the borough has heritage, park space, vibrancy or anything remotely interesting. They'd fill Lewisham with high rises if they could.