Thursday, April 16, 2015

How can we make Deptford a better place to live, work and play?



DNA is a small local group of people who have got together to create A Neighbourhood Plan for Deptford. The Neighbourhood Plan idea has grown out of the Localism Act and the DCLG (Dept of Communities and Local Government) funds the charity Locality to help and advise communities on how to create a plan and achieve other objectives – such as saving buildings or places as Assets of Community Value, or helping local campaigns and social action, or those who want to set up social enterprises. Have a look at the Locality website – it's hard to believe it's funded by this present government!

Locality are helping DNA (Deptford Neighbourhood Action) through the process of creating a plan, and the first thing they must do is identify a few things, such as: the area they want to cover, the existing organisations who can contribute, priorities for residents and businesses, and that (perhaps indefinable) thing, Deptford's identity. It's a huge task and they need your help and input! As the video shows, they simply can't do it without you.

Saturday 18th April, 3pm-5pm at The Albany
Locality will be there to explain how Neighbourhood Plans work and invite your ideas about what is important for Deptford. Everyone is welcome.
If you can't make it on Saturday afternoon, but want to contribute in the future or show your interest or support, you can register your interest here.
 
A Neighbourhood Plan, once complete, becomes a statutory document that the Council must take into consideration. DNA see it as an opportunity to give local people a voice and influence in Council decisions. As a lobby group, DNA will be able to access grants via Locality and start making some changes which you can have a say in.

Such a plan cannot block developments and it can't override any formally adopted strategic plans the local authority has in place. Even the Council itself overrides its own noble aims when faced with market forces or central government interference. A Neighbourhood Plan can't change everything, but it could change some things, and the Council will have to listen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fifty shades of grey: new developments will cause massive increase in road pollution

(Click to enlarge)

We have drawn a map of the up-and-coming new developments about to happen on Creekside, Deptford Church Street and locally which shows the routes their construction traffic will take in the not-too-distant future.

The map has been updated since last week when it was included in an objection made by Crossfields TRA to Lewisham Planners on the Kent Wharf application (see previous post). Kent Wharf goes before the Strategic Planning Committee on March 5th (end of next week), so please get your comments into Planning by then. You may wish to makes specific comments on the heights, the overshadowing, the canyonisation of Creekside and the paltry lack of affordable homes, as well as noting the lack of an overview of all the developments on the Creek that will impact on local infrastructure.

You can read the Crossfields TRA objection here. An oversight means it omits another large development which is now included in the map above: Lend Lease's 'The Wharves' on Evelyn Street, currently in 'consultation'. Go to www.thewharvesdeptford.com to find out more (also see The Deptford Dame). Drop-in exhibitions are being held on Sat 7th, 10th & 12th March – details here

All these developments intend to use Deptford Church Street to gain access to the M25 via the A2. No less than four will use our narrow and quiet back street, Creekside. These include Faircharm 'Creative Quarter', Kent Wharf, Greenwich Creekside East and Creekside Village East. See previous posts here (Faircharm) and here (both Creekside Easts).

The TRA objection was also sent to the Councillors on the Strategic Planning Committee and Sustainable Development Select Committee, who have consequently expressed an interest in hearing more from local residents on the issue of construction traffic pollution and its effects on the health and well being of those living, working and visiting in the neighbourhood. So please let the Councillors know what you think!

Lewisham Planning officers' agree there is going to be a huge problem, which is why they have been asking developers to use Deptford Creek wherever possible and requesting that they design their construction management plans with regard to the timing and approach of other developments. However, both the current live applications (Kent Wharf to LB Lewisham and Essential Living to LB Greenwich) do no such thing. We have yet to hear any fully justified reasons why Deptford Creek (or in the case of Convoys Wharf, the river) cannot be used. Objections from locals can help to strengthen the planning officers' requests, so please find the time to object before it's too late.

To recap: the Kent Wharf development will be 143 units with a 16 storey tower; Essential Living's Greenwich Creekside East is for 249 (two towers at 21 & 10 storeys); there will also be Creekside Village East by Kitewood (244 flats, two towers at 25 & 10 storeys); and already passed is Faircharm Creative Quarter (148 flats, a 12-storey tower + commercial space). In all the total affordable housing included across these four is a mere 20%.

The Faircharm development intends to utilise 180 HGV trips a day in and out of their site on Creekside. A similar useage (or higher) can be expected from the other sites. Deptford Church Street will be used by Thames Tunnel (who plan to partially close it), Convoys Wharf, Tidemill, and later on, three four other new developments.

Lewisham Cyclists have now been alerted and were surprised to learn just how many proposed developments will be using roads that the new 'Cycle Quietway' will have to traverse. The new cycle routes which TfL hopes to have up and running by late spring 2016 are aimed at encouraging less confident cyclists to get on their bikes more frequently...

Pollution is already at dangerous levels in the area, and can only get worse. The map below shows the results of our Citizen Science Air Pollution Study in February 2014 when we measured the Nitrogen Dioxide levels in the area and found them to be way above the European legal limit of 40μg/m3. Inevitably, the Kent Wharf application underestimates present levels and considers itself in isolation to any other development in its contribution to raising those levels – they'll be using "less than 200 HGVs" so no need to worry! But with four developments happening at the same time on Creekside the number may well reach around 600.

And that is just Creekside. The implications for the south of Deptford Church Street, Deptford Broadway and Blackheath Hill – where all this construction traffic will converge and where we recorded levels twice the European legal limit or higher – are too hideous to contemplate.

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Creekside East + Greenwich Creekside East

As we reported in December, there was an exhibition of Kitewood's plans for one of the plots behind the Laban on 10th and 12th January. These plans can also be viewed on their website.

Whilst there is a live application in for Kent Wharf (see previous post and put your objections in now!), it may be a couple of months before Kitewood's application for Creekside East hits the Lewisham planners' desks.

The main thing to note from the above visual (apart from the appalling height of the tower) is that it excludes the towers that will sit besides these buildings as part of the redevelopment of the third plot of the Creekside Village development – Essential Living's Greenwich Creekside East. That application is sitting with Greenwich Council but has not been 'validated' so is not yet available to view in detail is now available to view on the Greenwich Planning Portal (Ref: 14/3795/F). But we did a quick montage using an image from their website:

(click to enlarge)

Back to the Kitewood plans: there are two buildings: a 25-storey tower by the waterfront and a 10-storey block behind it. At 25%, the percentage of 'affordable' housing here is higher than what we've come to expect (ie 13% at Kent Wharf, 14% at Convoys Wharf). However, it will be housed in the smaller block that is hemmed in by three buildings: Essential Living's 10-storey 'Family Block' on the waterside, the existing Creekside Village buildings to the north, and the 24-storey tower to its south. They will have a south westerly view from the upper floors though.

(click to enlarge)

Creekside East has 224 flats: 111 x 1-bed, 84 x 2-bed, and 29 x 3-bed and a mix of sizes across the site. Lewisham's strategy for Creekside as a 'creative hub' means Kitewood have included "a number of affordable commercial spaces that would be perfect for start-up businesses or artists studios". We pointed out that the commercial spaces in Creekside Village West had never been let or sold and were told that Kitewood's spaces would be much smaller without the ridiculous ceiling heights.

There will also be underground parking – the same as in the existing Creekside Village (West). How they can manage this when Bellway Homes cannot offer such a facility at Kent Wharf is anyone's guess. Considering the congestion on surrounding roads, some might suggest there should be no parking here either.

The interesting thing to note from the above plan is the waterfront space between Kitewood's plot and that of Essential Living's, right on the borough boundary with Greenwich (a thin black line demarcates the boundary). We were surprised to learn this patch of land belongs to Lewisham Council, and no one appears to know what they plan to do with it. Originally (see below) this was going to be a theatre.

Design-wise, Kitewood have stuck with the original architects of Creekside Village, Squire & Partners. In 2011 the Deptford Dame described Creekside Village as a "leering lump of steel and glass", and it looks like we're to get more of the same. The young architect from Squire & Partners working on Kitewood's development was possibly just starting big school when these designs were first mooted. Back in 2010 we reported on Squire's plan for the entire site:

 
(click to enlarge)

The 2010 website for "The Creekside Village" is still live, and the embedded promotional video – made with the 2012 Olympics in mind – is available to view in all its glory, along with some animations. Oh how we laughed at the time! This was how Creekside East was to develop:


A similar view is available on  Essential Living's website and we've added to it an outline of Kitewood's 10-storey "affordable housing" block:

(click to enlarge)

All of the developers clustering in Creekside seem highly reluctant to show their buildings in relation to neighbouring proposals. That's a shame, because they could do a much better job of it than us – below, a Creekside East elevation visual on which we have crudely drawn in some other buildings:

(click to enlarge)

Update 22 Jan: The Dame has just discovered that Essential Living's Greenwich Creekside East application is now up for viewing on the Greenwich Planning website. She has already commented on their December exhibition and may have more to say once she has digested the plans.

Update 23 Jan:  A quick look at Essential Living's planning application and their Transport Assessment in particular:

They are not revealing full details on their Construction Traffic plans. They will be using the same route as Kent Wharf – off Copperas Street and onto Creekside then up Blackheath Hill to the A2 (because HGVs are not allowed in Greenwich town centre). They say: "At this stage the level of traffic that is likely to be generated during the construction of the proposed development is not known." We know that Faircharm will generate 80-90 HGV trips along Creekside and Bellway Homes claim they will only add 25 to this traffic. It is likely Greenwich Creekside East will generate at least the same as Faircharm. And Creekside East the same. Plus construction workers' vehicles.

So, with FOUR developments being built at the same time, there is a potential 275 HGV trips per day along Creekside over two years. Add to that the Thames Tunnel work on Deptford Church Street (140 vehicles a day of which 64 will be HGVs) and the construction traffic from Convoys Wharf which will also be using this route.

Apart from the lack of detail on Construction logistics, Essential Living's Transport Assessment is almost an exact replica of Kent Wharf's with regard to Parking and Public Transport. Both developments will be car-free – although Essential Living has an underground carpark with 13 disabled spaces (not all of which will be used) – and neither's residents will be eligible for "on-street parking permits in existing CPZs". Everyone will be cycling to work, naturally. Both use the same TfL figures and have conducted similar parking surveys to show how much on-street unrestricted parking will be available, despite their intention to market to "would-be suitors" that there is minimal parking.

Essential Living say statistics show that 65% of Greenwich residents do not have a car and have applied that rate to their development so that "there could be up to 90 vehicles associated with the proposed development. Based on parking provision of 13 spaces this could result in 77 vehicles parking off-site...It is evident from the on-street parking survey that only some of these vehicles could park on the surrounding highway network during the day [in fact, their survey shows daytime parking maxed out at 103%!] whilst the significant majority could park overnight".

Just as both applicants provide drawings which omit the other proposed developments, they also present these figures in complete isolation: each claim there is ample overnight on-street parking for their own residents without admitting these spaces will be shared by FOUR new developments.

As for Public Transport, how much more overcrowding can we stand? We're reminded of the Clapham Junction resident commuting into town, who gets the train to Tooting every morning (the opposite direction) so that from there he can actually get standing room on the Clapham Junction train back into town.

More soon...



Saturday, January 10, 2015

That Kent Wharf application in more detail…


We’ve had a look at the documents provided for application DC/14/89953 and have made a few notes. Go to the LewishamPlanning Portal and search for the application number or ‘Creekside’ (it’s the first one listed). Then click on Documents to find the ones referred to below. 

Email your comments to planning@lewisham.gov.uk with the application number DC/14/89953 in the subject heading, and include your name and address. Although the statutory 21 days has passed, comments will be accepted over the next month and up the time (tbc) the application goes before the Planning Committee. 


Compared to the monster nearby which is about to grow into an even larger carbuncle (Creekside Village East and Greenwich Creekside East) this could be viewed as a fairly benign development of a long derelict site, if it weren't for the height of the buildings and the very low percentage of affordable housing. Public access to the Creek where there was none before is welcomed, as are the ‘artist workspaces’ providing signs of life on the ground floors. 

 
Of the 143 residential units, only 18 are so-called ‘affordable’ (13%). These will be contained within a 6-storey building fronting Creekside. The heights of the buildings overall range from 6 to 16 storeys and the construction is planned to take 20 months.

The developer, Bellway Homes, was also asked to draw up an “indicative masterplan” of the adjacent Sun Wharf site (presently occupied by Jones on lease till 2022). That site could generate a further 242 ‘homes’ to add to the 148 about to be built at Faircharm.


Construction traffic on Creekside

We mention this first because it affects the most people over the next two years. In the Construction Logistic Plan (p.5), it states:
2.7  During the construction of the nearby Thames Tunnel, Deptford Church Street will be reduced to two-lane traffic with the existing cycle route, and potentially some bus services, diverted along Creekside. The Contractor will therefore ensure that any construction deliveries minimise impact to the operation of Creekside to ensure the free-flow of both vehicular and cycle traffic is retained at all times.
2.10  Drawing upon this experience and using the most efficient logistics available, Bellway Homes estimate that the development of Kent Wharf is likely to generate up to approximately 20 construction delivery vehicles per day during peak phases of the construction process.

2.14  The development of the Faircharm Creative Quarter (FCQ) is located immediately to the south of Sun Wharf and the construction phase is likely to generate some overlap with the construction of Kent Wharf. The London Borough of Lewisham has advised that Faircharm Creative Quarter is likely to generate up to 80 HGV deliveries during the construction phase. This in conjunction with Kent Wharf is likely to total around 95 HGVs throughout the day, which is unlikely to generate any material impact. span> (Er… so that's actually 25 HGVs, not only 20 as referred to in point 2.10)
2.15 Bellway Homes will investigate the potential to deliver construction material via the river, subject to phasing and tidal conditions.
However, hidden away in the Transport Assessment (not the Construction Logistic Plan) it is stated (p.57):
7.14  The Council are keen to investigate and promote the potential of Deptford Creek to be used for transporting materials as part of the construction phase.

7.15  Bellway Homes have since confirmed that due to the tidal nature of the river and presence of an ecological barrier located adjacent to the river wall, it will not be possible to transport construction materials by barge.
Because of the “sensitive bascule bridge on Creek Road” (2.8 Construction Logistic Plan) their lorries will be coming down Blackheath Hill and Deptford Church Street then hurtling down Creekside from the south end. Although it was a condition of the Faircharm planning application being granted that the developer conduct a feasibility study on using the Creek to transport materials, one can assume that the Faircharm developers, Workspace plc, have come to the same conclusion. Those dastardly tides!

[We have asked Planning for sight of the reports generated in Bellway Homes’ ‘investigations’ and the Faircharm’s feasibility study that prove beyond doubt the case for using the road and not the river.]

Building heights



Between July and September when public exhibitions were held at Laban, the height of the main tower increased from 12 to 16 storeys. The reasons for this are the usual ones. First of all it’s because it won’t be out of place since there are other tall buildings in the area:
“Emerging development seizes the opportunity to push the massing higher in key locations, in particular along the waterway and adjacent to key transport nodes (such as the Movement, Greenwich) and Distillery Crescent to the south at Deptford Bridge.” (p.18 Design & Access Statement)
"On the basis that the argument for height in this location was sound, it was felt that additional height on Block C was not only acceptable but appropriate, providing a transition between the consented Faircharm tower in the south (12 storeys) and the proposed development at Creekside Village east to the north (22 storeys). The increase in height from 12 to 16 storeys had no detrimental impact on views from the east and, along with the introduction of subtle modelling to the facade delivered a substantially more successful northern elevation to the tower.” (p.38 Design & Access Statement)
Then there is the usual old tosh about tall buildings serving as ‘markers’ – in this case, the Kent Wharf tower will serve to “denote the northern extent of the art quarter” on Creekside, and will create “a dialogue between the development…and St Paul’s Church” (and also give better views to its luxury home residents).

Positioning and height of Blocks D and E (5 and 6 storeys) on Creekside “have been determined by consideration of Finch House, the existing residential block…a five storey linear block which, with its substantial pitched roof, is equivalent to six storeys.” These blocks have apparently been particularly “assessed in terms of daylight/sunlight and over-shadowing…” (p.38 Design & Access Statement). See later in this post for more on the Sunlight/Daylight Report.

(click to enlarge)

Affordable housing

The affordable housing figure of 13% could only be referenced in the Planning Obligations Statement (aka Obligation Form). 8768sqm goes to ‘Market Housing’ (private) and 1225sqm to ‘Social Housing including shared ownership housing’. (A further 1375sqm goes to artists’ workspace.)

The breakdown of provision can be found in the Application Form. Private housing: 41x1-bed, 66x2-bed, 18x3-bed. ‘Intermediate’ housing (not ‘Social Housing’ then!): 4x1-bed, 13x2-bed, and only one 3-bed flat. (This compares to 18 private 3-bed flats).

So, less wealthy families raising two children beyond primary school age (when they might require separate bedrooms, especially if they are different genders) are not encouraged in this development.

Parking

Only 3 parking spaces are available for "affordable accessible" units (disabled occupants in the ‘intermediary’/’social housing’ units). If these are not taken up, they can be offered for purchase by other residents. There is no other parking provision. Like Faircharm, this is a ‘car-less development’ (or whatever the buzz word is). So where they gonna park?

Well, they can park on the street, can’t they! The Transport Assessment has a whole section on Parking. It estimates a demand for 0.481 spaces per dwelling, making it 69 vehicles requiring parking at night and on weekends (or rather 66 because there are 3 provided onsite). The ‘commercial’ spaces (artists) may generate a further 29 vehicles. There is also a 20% rise in car-use in Lewisham to take into account.

The consultants conducted a local survey on available restriction-free on-street parking during a couple of days in June 2014, covering a 200m and 400m radius. They concluded there was enough space to accommodate drivers from Kent Wharf, Faircharm and the potential new 2020s development at Sun Wharf. The figures in the Appendix are difficult to decipher, but it would appear they didn’t include Crossfields in their on-street parking survey. This is where many of the local workers and visitors park – so no wonder the survey found plenty of space elsewhere!

But all that is completely irrelevant, since Lewisham wants to introduce a CPZ on Creekside and other streets nearby and for the developer to contribute money to the implementation of such a proposal. And a condition of a CPZ will be that Kent Wharf residents and ‘commerical’ renters will be totally exempt from applying for a parking permit.

“Should the CPZ come forward,” says the Transport Assessment, “clearly parking impact would be nil…” Of course, they could always park on Crossfields – unless the residents finally drop their resistance to Residents Permits.

Transport

It goes without saying that public transport links to Kent Wharf are fantastic. But if one extrapolates the new population from the number of bedrooms (and treat a 1-bed flat as potentially sleeping x2, and so on with the larger flats), there could be up to 500 people moving in. That could make quite an impact on local routes – and it’s not looking good for South Eastern train users right now or in two years’ time (see 853’s latest post).

Never mind, they’ll all be cycling! Or at least half of them – the secure cycle storage provided at the site (a single space for 1- and 2-bed dwellings and two for 3-bed flats) is fairly generous. There’s no provision for the ‘artists’ though – apparently they will want to bring their cycles into their studios, (cos that’s what artists do).

The only other comment we have to make right now on Transport is the rather bizarre statistics on road accidents that have been compiled by TfL (p.105 of the Transport Assessment) in the 60 months leading up to April 2014. We can find no mention of the fatal death of TJ who was knocked off his bicycle by a hit-and-run driver on Deptford Church St at a legitimate crossing in March 2012. The omission renders these statistics a tad unreliable.

Creative workspace

We thought this bit about Artists’ Studio Space (p.59 Design & Access Statement) being beneficial to the Kent Wharf scheme was amusing:

• It ensures the ground floor spaces – unsuitable for residential use because of the risk of flooding – will be occupied and in use from the outset.

Design

We’re not going to comment on the design of the building. We like some of the materials proposed but wonder if they’ll actually be used when building starts. This was amusing though: 

“Despite the loss of existing industrial fabric on site, a key design principle at Kent Wharf has been to create the impression of a series of buildings that could have grown over a period of time rather than developed in one piece. This approach contrasts with that evident in Creekside Village which makes little reference to its surroundings, choosing to, not entirely successfully, reference the contemporary treatment of the Laban.”(p.46 Design & Access Statement)
Yeah, right, even though your buildings are going to completely loom over Laban in the same way as Creekside Village, they'll be nicer.


Indicative masterplan

So when Jones’s lease is up in 2022, the development of Sun Wharf will commence. At Lewisham’s request, outline plans have already been drawn up and are presented with this application. These will not be decided upon with this application, but, being that much closer, they will perhaps be more shocking to Crossfields residents than what is proposed at Creekside Village East.

Considering Bellway Homes describes Crossfields Estate as “a strong element of the area's physical character as well as the heart of the area's existing residential community" (p.11  Design & Access Statement), we wonder why it is necessary to propose yet another tower at Sun Wharf – only 14 storeys here, but oh, how easy it is to justify adding another 4 floors!

(click to enlarge)

These visuals show Cockpit Arts (and the area on the Creek behind their building) completely transformed:  
 
(click to enlarge)

What is mainly missing from this application is a townscape view that shows a dwarfed Crossfields alongside the above, with the new Faircharm and the entire Creekside Village development including Creekside Village East. The nearest to such a visual that we can find is this, but it doesn’t include Sun Wharf or Creekside Village East:


Daylight/Sunlight/Overshadowing

The Sunlight/Daylight Report concludes (like these reports always do) that “the proposal will have little effect on the neighbouring buildings”. Go to p.24 to view the ‘desk study’ renderings which show overshadowing occurring at various times of the day at key points in the year. There is no 3D modeling, so it’s difficult to work out the impact of the shadows on various heights – such as the five storey (oh sorry, six, with the roof) Finch House. You’ll just have to believe them when they say:
“Daylight levels to the neighbouring properties generally adhere with the intentions of the BRE guidance. There are minor deviations from the BRE targets in respect to localized rooms within Finch House however the retained levels remain good for an urban area…the proposal would not cause additional shading…to neighbouring amenity spaces and would have minimal transient effect to Deptford Creek…” (Conclusion, p.8)
Apparently, the windows affected in Finch House are just five on the ground floor, four on the first and two on the second – and residents here are deemed lucky to have faced a single storey industrial unit for the past 40 or more years and enjoyed “unusually high levels of existing sky visibility”. Yep, you Finch Housers have been spoilt! Luckily, Farrer House won’t be affected at all.

Sunrise is at 6am in March 2015. According to the report, this is the effect by 8am (click to enlarge):

By sunset at 6pm, Finch House will be overshadowing the new block opposite. But in midsummer when sunrise is about 4.43am, Finch Housers may not be leaping out of bed at 7am since their block will be in darkness:
  

Any shadowing on the Creek is merely ‘transient’. Although sunset is at 18.15 in mid-March, it’ll be dark on this bit of the Creek by 4pm. And although sunset isn’t till 21.21 in midsummer, the tower will overshadow the Creek in a narrow strip at 6pm. Oddly, by 7pm, the whole world will be in darkness (surely shome mistake?):


Meanwhile, the street and the Laban front lawn may suffer more than any of the others. At 10am in mid-March the street is dark, then the tower’s shadow fills much of the Laban lawn by midday:

But in the summer months when lots of people use the Laban’s outdoor ‘amenity space’, the renderings show there will only be a small shadow cast for a couple of hours in the early afternoon, with “the vast majority of the space receiving full sunlight during the course of the day”.

In Winter, however, it looks pretty grim. But, “our assessment shows shadows cast by the proposal but this is wholly in keeping with the existing context of shadows cast by lower properties such as Finch House. In mid-winter such shading extents are inevitable but are unlikely to significantly affect the use of any neighbouring amenity areas.” The students will be happy to walk to morning and lunchtime classes in the dark, since they won’t be doing any sun bathing, and anyway, the Sue Godfrey Nature Park is in shadow, so why not Laban as well?


Statement of Community Involvement  

This is the applicant's report on the feedback they have received so far. The Conclusion (p.14) states: 
“Residents provided a significant amount of positive feedback at the first public exhibition. Recurring comments relate to the viability and usefulness of the commercial units, the scheme’s tenure mix and the ecology surrounding the site.”

“There were some concerns about the revised height of the proposals following the second consultation. However, these comments were balanced against the majority of positive comments regarding the improved access to the creek, the need to redevelop this derelict site and the introduction of artists’ studios.”
On p.9 they note the number of times various issues are raised:

Positive comments about regeneration – 7
Commercial spaces and their viability – 5
Ecology – 3
Positive comments about the design – 3
Concerns about tenure and house prices – 3
Positive comments about public access – 2
Comments about the presentation of materials – 2
Height of the tower is too tall – 1
Height of the tower is not tall enough – 1
Make the development car free – 1

But fail to record issues raised that they have not chosen themselves:     
-    Moorings on the Creek (permanent or temporary)
-    Need for more affordable housing
-    Overshadowing of Laban and surrounds
-    Canyonisation of the Creek and the road, creating wind tunnels
-    Reduction in views for existing residents
-    No parking spaces resulting in even more on-street parking already at a shortage
-    Increase in construction traffic
-    Boring design

Appendix 6 shows mainly uncritical feedback from the first exhibition with 15 forms filled in. Appendix 7 shows 4 feedback forms after the second exhibition (at which more detailed plans emerged), the fourth of which states:

“The buildings looked fatter and the tower had got even taller. Don’t agree that the blocks should be any taller than Crossfields opposite – why should the gargantuan glass Creekside development set the precedent?...The general plan for this whole area with its rows of massive blocks linking roads and the Creek will create a series of canyons, blocking sunlight, reducing privacy and making wind tunnels in the winter.”

Appendix 8 has 11 letters and emails highly critical of the proposals shown in the second exhibition. These start on p41 and only two of these does not criticise the tower or general heights. Far from there being only 1 adverse comment on the height of the buildings, there are in fact 9. More comments, therefore, than on any other ‘issue’!

“…5 stories is simply too high for a waterfront development…" (Creekside resident)

“Tower is too high and too near Creekside – why so tall?? Relocate & reduce height. Your choice is not Deptford Creek= lightless canyon or Creekside = lightless canyon…I cannot see how putting x6 storeys across a narrow street from x5 storeys will not result in a drastic reduction to light, feeling of space and to views, even with top-storey set back….” (Crossfields resident)

“…Whilst the provision of artists’ studios is a great addition to the local community, the proposals include a 15/16 storey block, which is not. This would tower over the beautiful Laban building and dominate the area, my block of flats in particular, and is detrimental to the established character of the area. The argument that it would be a beacon to enable people travelling from the station or further is very poor indeed, and takes no account whatsoever of local considerations. The huge tower is deeply unwelcome in this traditionally low-rise area...” (Crossfields resident)

“…The Laban building already seems somewhat swamped / overshadowed by the residential development to its left side, and given it is an award winning building, any surrounding developments should not adversely impact on its occupation and presence…” (Trinity Laban user)

“The 12 story block is far too high… there should be no high rise section and all floors should end at 5 stories. We already have a monster new-build in Copperas St and on the other side of Deptford…” (Crossfields resident)

 “…the proposed height of the tall building at 12 storeys was too high for the area…” (Greenwich Society on the July exhibit)

“…Some concerns at the height of the development, particularly the six storeys on the Creekside frontage…also at the 12 storey height of the tower element…”(Greenwich Conservation Group on July exhibit)

16 storeys now, of course, as if 12 wasn’t enough. But that’s OK, because after all, “the argument for height in this location is sound”.


Update 24 Jan: The Deptford Dame has just posted about this development. Importantly, she reminds objectors to copy their comments to their local councillors and the strategic planning committee.


 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Kent Wharf Planning Application + other Creekside developments

As 'near neighbours' Crossfields residents have been invited to comment on this application (which we last mentioned in September). All should have received the formal letter from Lewisham Planning for application DC/14/89953.

Mixed use development at Kent Wharf and 24a Creekside SE8 comprising the construction of three buildings ranging from 6 to 16 storeys incorporating balconies and terraces comprising 1,375 sq.m of commercial floorspace (use classes B1/D1/D2), 143 residential units (Use Class C3) public and private amenity space, together with associated landscaping, refuse stores, 184 cycle spaces, 3 car parking spaces, associated highway works and plant.

The illustration above shows the development in isolation to the other FOUR new towers planned for this end of the Creek (see below).

According to the Lewisham Planning Portal, the application from Bellway Homes was received by Planning on November 26th. A trick often employed by developers is to submit an application at Christmas time when everyone is too busy to notice or do anything about it. So we get a letter from Planning on 19th December with a deadline to comment by 8th January.

Of these 20 days, three are bank holidays – so that's really only 17 days. But worse still, Planning has not put up ANY documents related to this application. We called the planning officer in charge of it this morning to find out when the drawings and detail would be added to the website, only to be told he is on annual leave. One of his colleagues said the documents were being scanned and would be available to view tomorrow.

So, that brings the time for commenting down to 14 days. The same thing happened two years ago with the Faircharm development. On that occasion Lewisham Planning decided to extend the deadline (see our Jan 2013 post) – they disliked this application so much and requested so many revisions that the deadline was eventually extended till May. Long before that, they had attempted to mitigate the worst aspects of Workspace's plans by designating the area a Conservation Zone. Ultimately, they passed the application, claiming to be 'at the mercy of market forces'.

However, they have already been working with Bellway Homes on various aspects of the Kent Wharf site, so they are probably fairly happy with the application. Apparently at Lewisham's request, earlier versions of the development have altered so that the 12 storey tower originally positioned on the Deptford Creek waterside has moved to the road side edge of the plot. Four more floors have been added, which is presumably a compromise for either more affordable housing units, or for more space to be given over to creative business units / artists studios (which were lost in the Faircharm proposals).

Finch House residents may certainly have something to say about the heights of the buildings; the rest of us may want to lobby for the Creek to be used for the transportation of construction materials, if nothing else. To view the application, keep checking the Planning Portal for DC/14/89953. Click the Documents tab to view any drawings and relevant details that might appear after today. It will be interesting to see if Bellway Homes have submitted any drawings which show their development as rather titchy and benign in relation to the others planned at Creekside Village...

Update 26 December: We received an email from the planning officer on Xmas eve stating that "the Council will be accepting comments after the normal 21 day consultation period for the proposals at Kent Wharf due to the Christmas period". The bad news is that there are now an extraordinary 81 documents associated with the application available to view on the planning portal!



Kent Wharf is not the only new development planned for this end of Creekside – just the only one that has reached application stage. Locals should also have received a flyer about Creekside Village East and the public exhibition being staged by Kitewood on Saturday 10th Jan (12–4pm) and Monday 12 Jan (2-4pm) at the Laban. www.creeksideeast.co.uk

As Kitewood's website / flyer states, this is in addition to separate proposals from Essential Living for Greenwich Creekside East. Apparently there was a public exhibition of their plans on 6th December but we were not informed about it – probably because, although it is practically on our doorstep, the development falls within Greenwich Council's remit. The exhibition boards can be viewed at www.greenwichcreeksideeast.co.uk and you are invited to let them know your views by emailing michaels@curtinandco.com (see the visual below).

Again, we are not shown a visual that shows all five towers of the three different developments all together – nor any view that includes the SIXTH tower a few blocks down (and much closer to Crossfields) that will be built at Faircharm.

The Deptford Dame has very recently posted about Greenwich Creekside East – essential reading on Essential Living's plans. And although all this stuff has been on the cards for some time, it is still rather shocking to contemplate the phenomenal changes that lie ahead! Crossfields is now a building site as MITIE proceed inexorably slowly with their 'Decent Homes' programme. It's unlikely to be finished before the end of summer 2015, by which time work may have finally begun at Faircharm. There is no escape! Merry Christmas!


Update Jan 25th 2015: See our detailed look at the Kent Wharf application to Lewisham Council here. Also see our notes on Creekside East and the live application to Greenwich Council for Greenwich Creekside East here.