Convoys Wharf developer Hutchison Whampoa has appointed architect Sir Terry Farrell's practice to review the contentious masterplan proposed for the former Royal Dockyard site in Deptford.
The current masterplan by Aedas which the developer submitted for outline planning permission to redevelop this historic site did not go down well with local people, the council's planning department, archaeologists and industrial historians, garden history experts, maritime heritage specialists, and MP Joan Ruddock to name but a few, as detailed on the Deptford Is.. blog.
Aside from retaining the Olympia Building (which is listed and hence protected) and creating a public area over the site of the former double dry dock next to the Master Shipwright's House, the Aedas proposals pay scant regard to the heritage of the site. And though the Olympia Building was to be retained, the masterplan saw it all but cut off from the river and hence denied any context in terms of its original purpose. Boats were built on these covered slipways (which remain just below ground inside the building) before being launched into the great basin for fitting out, and eventually to the river.
The site of Sayes Court Gardens, which was created by diarist John Evelyn and was widely renowned at the time, also remains unacknowledged in the original masterplan, as do almost all of the former dockyard structures which remain below ground in unconfirmed states of repair.
Apparently the consultation day on 24 March will be a 'listening exercise' at which Farrell's team will be invited to hear short presentations from some of the community groups such as Second Wave Youth Arts and Deptford Is.. and its associated projects Build the Lenox and Sayes Court Gardens.
Reassuringly Hutchison Whampoa has said it regards this event as the 'beginning' of the consultation process rather than the end of it - I trust this means that they now accept that previous consultation exercises have been rather shallow.
Apparently a more detailed agenda for the event, which has been set up in liaison with Joan Ruddock, will be sent out in due course.