Tuesday, October 22, 2013

World Monuments Fund puts Deptford Dockyard and Sayes Court Garden on their "Watch List"

Local campaigners Deptford Is... were excited to be part of this BBC London News report which went out on Friday and Saturday last weekend. It was available on iPlayer afterwards for only a very short period, so lots of people took to recording the iPlayer output (which accounts for the buffering in this recording)...

The publicity centred around the announcement last week that the World Monuments Fund had included Deptford Dockyard and Sayes Court Garden on their list of places to watch, which also includes Venice and Syria among other places around the world which they consider are under threat.

In this case, the threat comes from Chinese developers Hutchison Whampoa, who want to build 3,500 flats on what is now known as Convoys Wharf. 3,000 of those flats will be luxury apartments sold off-plan to overseas investors. Their latest application is presently with Lewisham Council, to be decided early next year.

Dr Jonathan Foyle (CEO of WMF-Britain) said: "2013 is Deptford’s 500th anniversary, and today the site awaits residential redevelopment. Yet Deptford’s most imminent threat comes from the failure of existing proposals to fully acknowledge and respect the heritage assets that the site has to offer. Incorporating the extensive archaeology and combining this with unique public spaces has the potential to strengthen Deptford’s local identity whilst securing this lost piece of the Thames jigsaw. It would also improve awareness of the little-known existence and overlooked history of the dockyard and gardens on a national stage."

The campaigners were particularly pleased at how the news team reported the story, but we noticed a a couple of inaccuracies that could have misled the viewer. The BBC team said there would be 3,000 "homes", rather than "3,000 luxury homes plus 500 at 80% of market rent". This gave the impression that the problem with London's housing shortage would be helped if building went ahead, which is certainly not the case.

And as we have pointed out before on this blog, Hutchison's present masterplan is misrepresented by this image, which was used in the broadcast:

In fact, the site will not be as "green" as this. Nearly all these areas will be private gardens above carparks, so most of the site will be private, as follows:

Still, at least they got most other details right, unlike some local newspapers, and the Deptford Is... team must be congratulated for their work in raising the profile of the incredible history of the site which led to the World Monuments Fund's listing.

We wonder how the Chinese would feel if Barratts went over to China and built a massive private luxury development on the Great Wall of China?

1 comment:

  1. That last map is truly alarming. What little public space there is in this proposal will be swamped by the 10,000 new residents. Makes a mockery of the architects claim of opening up the site to the people of Deptford.