Thursday, April 11, 2013

Faircharm 'Creative Quarter' update

Planning application: DC/12/8200

Additional documents have been submitted to Lewisham Planning by developers Workspace plc and their architects since the not-very-public meeting held at Creekside Centre on February 12th chaired by Dame Joan Ruddock (see previous post).

There is still time to object to the application, and/or sign the petition. The petition has been handed in to Planning, but is still running. A recent deadline given for objections is April 17th "so that your views can be taken into account when the application is being considered", but as stated in previous posts, comments can be received up until some time in May.

Since the meeting in February, not much has changed:

• No hope that the developers would look at the idea of using the Creek to transport materials in and out of the site: there will still be 180 lorries a day using Creekside during the three year construction period. This is by far the most annoying aspect of this development for locals, and if you have passed by the present construction on Norman Road, you will know how loud and noisy construction can be. Residents living next to the construction work going on at Paynes & Borthwick Wharf (down on Watergate Street) have endured endless disruption, with work going on six days a week, construction workers parking anywhere they like, a misuse of local green amenities, and concrete mixing lorries queueing up in the street from 6am, waiting to get on site.

• The developers were asked to amend their figures on present traffic in Creekside since their study overestimated the number of vehicles using the road (290) in order to make the impact of their construction vehicles look minimal. It turned out their study had included cyclists! They still insist impact will be minimal, though worryingly their studies now show that the cumulative effect of all developments in the area will result in a 484% and 428% increase in traffic at the south and north ends of Creekside respectively by 2016. No evidence is provided as to which developments they are referring to, or how their own development might be identified within these figures.

• Lewisham Planners questioned the information about queue lengths at junctions and impact on surrounding roads, and they think the applicant has underestimated the number of trips that will be made by businesses. The information on peak travel at junctions was underestimated, as was the impact on rail and bus services. The info supplied on large construction vehicles accessing the site was deemed inadequate and there were no details on how construction workers' parking would be controlled. It was noted that the 180 trips a day for construction vehicles does not include construction staff trips.

• LBL also challenged how Workspace has arrived at the figure of 300 employees working at the proposed development. In answer, Workspace said this figure was based on the Homes & Communities Agency Employment Density Guide for B1 Office Use. They said that in reality it was more likely that the site would have 80-100 employees. (Thus they cannot say they are increasing employment in the area!). However, newly submitted documents still insist there will be 300+ employees.

• Some B2 use has been squeezed into the site at the Planner's request, but is still inadequate for the present tenants who need large spaces. In fact tenants have received NO CONTACT whatsoever since the public meeting on Feb 12th, with no attempts to find them alternative accommodation using the £500,000 Workspace claim to have put aside for this.

• Parking has not changed: the developer insists there will be enough roadside parking on Creekside (even though this only accounts for around 35 cars and is already fully occupied by other business users in Creekside) to make up for the paltry 28 parking spaces on site. 148 new flats = 246 new people + 300 employers/employees?

• Of course, there is no change to the number of affordable units (15%).

• They also still insist there will be minimal impact on sunlight to the surrounding buildings, and the submitted studies do indeed show little impact to Crossfields, but maximum impact on Creekside Centre and Deptford Creek (APT Studios are not shown). However, the studies do not show before 9am or after 5pm, and it is likely that there will be a huge impact on Crossfields before 9am in winter, when long shadows will be cast to the west.

Winter shadow study (page 22 of 'DC_12_82000_X-ADDENDUM_TO_D_A.pdf')

The petition garnered some views from local residents and business users:

"Very much want to stay on Creekside as a tenant. We run the world's largest photography project from here and if Faircharm closes we will be forced out of the borough."

"Workspace are capitalising on the developments taking place in the area with no consideration for the future of their tenants or their tenants businesses. Businesses here have worked hard to establish themselves; it’s critical now in particular, that all businesses can continue to develop without interruption. As with others here, TPG uses local resources and talent to support its operation – we have developed a network of support services from this area. If Workspace are successful in their application, the Faircharm redevelopment will be a dramatic loss to the local area and its employment. It’s not an acceptable route for this area when employment is tough to find and businesses need the support of their elected representatives to fight negative developments of this sort."

Page 15 of 'DC_12_82000_X-ADDENDUM_TO_D_A.pdf'

"If the workspace plans for the Faircharm Estate are allowed to proceed the quality of life for local residents will be seriously effected and will destroy a thriving balance between housing and work that benefits all by offering a viable alternative to the over-bearing mainstream."

"The proposed demolition (and building) work on the Faircharm will be intrusive, noisy, dusty and environmentally damaging. If the planned buildings were constructed it will compromise the security of, and access to, our site, largely exclude the local (Crossfields Estate) community, and merely create more under-sized flats in an area which is meant to offer employment opportunities."

Page 11 of 'DC_12_82000_X-ADDENDUM_TO_D_A.pdf'
"Residents should be compensated for the inconvenience and disturbance caused by three years of construction works."

"Redeveloping the site will force companies to move and take their workforce and clients with them away from Deptford. There is so much empty residential and commercial space around that increasing this instead of supporting creative industries does not make sense. People need places to make things, work together and build creative businesses and Faircharm has this."

"Traffic disruption on a quiet back road, i.e. Creekside. Dirt and dust from the building site. Loss of light when tower is built. Parking problems. Negative effect on businesses already established on Faircharm. Rats and vermin."

Page 4 of 'DC_12_82000_X-ADDENDUM_TO_D_A.pdf'
"Given the loss of industrial units in the area the last thing we need are more flats, the majority of which appear to be unoccupied as it is. Workshops and workplaces must balance the residential places in the area. Otherwise we are reduced to a dormitory suburb with high levels of commuting..."

"This development offers nothing to the community living and working on Creekside. The proposed buildings are architecturally ugly and obscenely expensive 'dormitories', with no sense of creating anything which, after years of disruption and mess, will enhance the area or build anything lasting for community use."

"In an area that has lost nearly all of its dedicated work/light-medium industrial/artist studio space to high-rise, high priced residential units, it would be absolutely criminal to allow this profit-led development to go ahead."

Page 19 of 'DC_12_82000_X-ADDENDUM_TO_D_A.pdf'

1 comment:

  1. Like all the developments round here it seems a lot goes on behind closed doors and protest against the important things seems almost in vain. It's good though that the local population put up some kind of fight and don't just lie down and get walked over. Even though that's what may happen in the end, at least there's a record of who did what to whom.