Wednesday 26 June 2013

Convoys Wharf transport #1: parking

The density of development proposed for Convoys Wharf will undoubtedly create significant demands on the local transport network, in terms of travel requirements, traffic and parking.

A total of 3,500 residential units is proposed, which translates to an estimated 9,697 new residents for the area. On top of this the site has 98,100 square metres of non-residential space which Hutchison Whampoa estimates will generate ‘up to 2,150 permanent jobs’ on the site.

The site is planned to be developed over ten years, during which time construction work will be under way on the site practically non-stop.

HW estimates that the site will employ 1,200 construction workers at its peak, which will presumably extend throughout most of the ten year period. As well as the traffic generated by residents and workers entering and leaving the site, the site transport requirements will also include deliveries to and from the businesses and other facilities on the site, service vehicles and deliveries of materials and removal of spoil from the construction work.

All of these demands will put heavy pressure on the local roads, parking facilities and public transport. 

A total of 1,540 residential parking spaces is proposed, along with 300 non-residential parking spaces.

The transport strategy submitted by the developer includes extensive arguments justifying the number of parking spaces in relation to the number of residential units. We believe it is more appropriate to provide fewer residential units so that the ratio is more suitable to the site.

The transport strategy states that the number of parking spaces that are being provided is well below what would be acceptable in terms of planning guidance for this number of residential units. This document seems to consider this fact a demonstration of the developer’s ‘green’ credentials.

However the presence of the remaining dockyard structures in situ limits the developer’s options on the site – no basement car parking is allowed - and all car parks are accommodated in podium parking at street level and above. In fact the developer has chosen to forego additional parking spaces in preference to using the building envelope for other, potentially more profitable uses, ie luxury housing. 

With restricted on-site parking and such a high density of occupancy, it is inevitable that parking will spill over on to the adjoining streets.

Prince Street next to the main entrance to the site
In anticipation of this, the developer has agreed to contribute to the cost of research into the possibility of controlled parking zones being introduced on roads around the site. It is not clear whether this will apply only to the roads in Lewisham borough, or whether it also extends to Greenwich borough, which also borders the site along Watergate Street and is likely to be similarly affected.

It is also worth noting that the survey on which the assumptions about parking supply and demand are based dates from 2009.

Blue roads were those included in the 2009 parking survey

Many of the residential blocks surrounding Convoys Wharf do not have their own car parks, so residents will most likely have to pay for parking permits whereas now they are able to park on the road for free. 

Parking spaces on New King Street will go
What's more, the developer proposes that the existing 65 on-road parking spaces on New King Street will be removed, to allow site access for construction traffic.

However the establishment of controlled parking zones will only kick in once residents move onto the site. We believe the parking overspill is likely to be just as bad – if not worse – during the construction phase when potentially 1,200 construction workers will be seeking parking spaces. This has been a major issue for residents during the redevelopment of the Paynes & Borthwick Wharf site, which is a relatively small development.

No measures are proposed to control parking by site workers during the construction phase. 

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Mayor of London pledges support for Lenox Project

The Lenox Project has gained support for its project from Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.

The Mayor pledged his support for the scheme in his answer to a written question from London Assembly member Darren Johnson.

The full text of the question and the Mayor's brief yet unambiguous answer is reproduced below.

Lenox Vision project, Deptford 
Question No: 1907 / 2013

Darren Johnson:
Will you give your support as Mayor to the proposal by the Lenox Vision project to build a replica 17th century warship, on the very site the original ship was constructed, as part of the Convoys Wharf redevelopment in Deptford? 

Written response from the Mayor:

We are delighted to note that not only does the Mayor support our vision for the Lenox Project, he also agrees that the replica should be built on the very site that the original ship was constructed - the Double Dry Dock.

St Albans floated out of the dry dock at Deptford by John Cleveley (copyright NMM)

We believe this would be a much more appropriate use of this part of the site than the park proposed by the developers.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Restored cannon on show at Twinkle Park summer festival

Kids and parents alike were fascinated by the restored Saker cannon on show at the Twinkle Park festival last weekend, right next to the Convoys Wharf site.

The cannon was brought to the festival by the Lenox Project as a way of raising awareness about the project and also giving local people a chance to find out about the Convoys Wharf redevelopment proposals and talk about the impact it will have on them.

The cannon, which is has been identified as a 'short' naval Saker of English manufacture, was believed to have been cast some time between 1620 and 1630, some 40 years before the Lenox was launched from Deptford Dockyard.

It was in a sorry state when it was first discovered by a scrap merchant clearing a riverside site in south east London, and has been lovingly restored by Lenox Project founder Julian Kingston.

Julian cleaned the corrosion off the shaft, removed the oversize cannon ball which was jammed into the end, and replaced the trunnions and button with replica pieces turned in wrought iron.

The replica wooden carriage was built using the dimensions of an original carriage in Windsor Castle, which carries a 'long' saker cannon; Julian built the carriage out of elm and used traditional smithing crafts to forge and shape the wrought iron rings and other components.

Kids were fascinated by the cannon and the story of its restoration, and it proved a talking point for visitors as well as a popular photo opportunity!

The Lenox Project is planning to take the cannon out to schools and youth groups to continue raising awareness. If you would like to know more, please contact

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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