Saturday 15 June 2013

Convoys Wharf planning application: an initial overview

Over the coming weeks the Deptford is.. team will be commenting on a number of aspects of the proposed redevelopment of Convoys Wharf, in order to stimulate debate and encourage local residents and interested bodies to submit their comments on the application to Lewisham Council.

This proposal is going to have a massive impact on Deptford and surrounds, and we want to try and reach as many people as we can, to make them aware of what is happening.

If you are interested in finding out how this development will affect you, we strongly recommend that you read as much of the application as you are able to, follow our blog posts and those of other local bloggers (see sidebar) and talk to your local councillors, your MP and the planning experts at Lewisham Council to get answers to any questions you may have, and listen to what other bodies are saying about the application - we will report those comments here as and when we receive them.

We also invite anyone who is reading the application and wants to raise issues or ask questions to do so in the comments below, or by emailing us directly (deptfordis@yahoo dot co dot uk).

We will try and address those issues we consider most fundamental, including massing and density of the development, transport links, heritage and cultural strategy, and environmental aspects as well as the developer's proposals for the protected wharf.

The official deadline for submitting comments to the planning department is 1 July 2013. However please remember you can submit comments right up until the date at which the application comes before the strategic planning committee. We recommend that you copy your comments to your local councillors and your MP. 

Application: the official description and finding the documents

The comprehensive redevelopment of Convoys Wharf to provide a mixed-use development of up to 419,100 square metres comprising: 
  • up to 321,000m2 residential floorspace (up to 3,500 units) (Use Class C3) 
  • up to 15,500m2 employment floorspace (Class B1/Live/Work units) including up to 2,200m2 for 3 no. potential energy centres wharf with associated vessel moorings and up to 32,200m2 of employment floorspace (Sui Generis & Class B2) 
  • up to 5,810m2 of retail and financial and professional services floorspace (Classes A1 & A2) 
  • up to 4,520m2 of restaurant/cafe and drinking establishment floorspace (Classes A3 & A4) 
  • up to 13,000m2 of community/non residential institution floorspace (Class D1) and assembly and leisure (Class D2) 
  • up to 27,070m2 of hotel floorspace (Class C1) 
  • river bus jetty and associated structures 
  • 1,840 car parking spaces together with vehicular access from New King Street and Grove Street retention and refurbishment of the Olympia Building and demolition of all remaining non-listed structures on site 
All matters reserved other than access and the siting and massing of three tall buildings. 

Should you wish to download the documents, you can find them on Lewisham Council's planning portal here (application number DC/13/83358).

However in its digital form, the application consists of almost 60 files, some numbering more than 500 pages and many of them 50MB or more in size. Downloading the whole lot from the planning website will cost you more than 1GB of your broadband data.

Deptford Lounge.
As part of the planning process, applicants are required to provide paper copies of these documents, and one set of the Convoys Wharf application is available at Deptford Lounge. Thanks to the efforts of some of our team, and the kind cooperation of the library staff, these documents are now on display next to the information desk for any member of the public to browse.

One of the more accessible documents as an easy starting point is the one considering the visual impact of the development - it's not easy to find as it is blandly named Environmental Statement Volume 2C.

We have extracted some of the views that locals will be familiar with. Not all of them have been provided as full visualisations; on some of them the finished outline of the buildings are just shown as a green line.

On those that have been provided as full visualisations, only the three tall buildings are shown in any level of detail; the lower buildings (from five storeys upwards to 20 storeys) are shown as white blocks which to some extent lessens the visual impact as seen on the rendering.

Do look closely; many people are more concerned about the impact of the 'lower' buildings on the streetscape and surrounding properties than the tall buildings. You can view higher quality images in the document linked above.

View from Island Gardens Park, opposite Greenwich

View across Pepys Park (photo of park taken during renovation work)

View from the bottom of Deptford High Street

View from Deptford Strand/Foreshore - the grey building in the foreground is also part of the development

View from Twinkle Park - buildings shown in green outline.

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  1. Is it politically incorrect to say that these pics look good? Better than the current eyesore at least. What a depressing drab rubbish dump it is at the moment. Sooner improved and developed the better.

  2. I don't believe your comment would be considered 'politically incorrect' but I would certainly question the naivety of assessing a development of this size by just looking at the pictures.

  3. Deptford resident6 July 2013 at 23:54

    the images are rubbish as is the quality of the architecture if it can be called architecture. the ascertain above that if the pictures were better than what is currently on the site then they are worth y of being built is equally rubbish. i wish people would actually think about what they are writing before doing so and decide to spare us from their feeble words.

  4. I believe current lack of housing being what it is, it is no bad thing that the site is being developed. BUT, and this is a big but, the main road access towards Greenwich and out of london is already gridlocked at times. I can't imagine how this might take any more traffic. This also has an affect on bus journeys, with unacceptable impact for existing residents. Buses are already full at times so are trains/overground/tube.

    My other concern is green space. With possibly thousands of people decanting on few parks on sunny days, can we seriously be expected to accept this? Where will children play and what noise will that generate?

    Furthermore, access to the waterfront in conjunction with an attractive building design is vital too. With all humanity being designed out, has the council considered the impact on crime, mental health and other social costs that will arise from it?

    Karen Stone
    Deptford Resident

  5. New homes, community facilities, bars, restaurants and shops, and a riverside once again accessible. These plans are far preferable to having a closed off site sitting there year after year. The sooner work commences the better.

    1. Gary, the site can have all those things (more affordable homes, for starters) without compromising the heritage of the site. These plans are hardly developed at all to take into account the effect on the surrounding environment, so if anyone's holding up development, it's the bloody developer.

  6. just look like the old convoys with new clading

  7. As long it dose not effect the dog & bell the best public house in Deptford