The Creekside Village development was originally intended to be about twice the size of what it is today. But while the completed section that towers over Creek Road is in Greenwich borough, the land of the remaining part of the development (Creekside Village East) straddled between Greenwich and Lewisham. In 2007 developer Ampurius Nu Homes Investments was granted permission for redevelopment of the land at the east end of the site in Greenwich, but the application for the Lewisham side has never been approved.
The developer went bust and the land was put on the market last year in four parcels; news is now in that purchaser Essential Living ('specialist developer of homes for the private rented sector') has bought the eastern parcel of land and intends to submit a new planning application for construction of a 17-storey tower next to the Creek.
The apartments will be 'investment grade quality' and other meaningless buzzwords: this bit lifted straight from the press release I don't doubt:
Built to investment grade quality, it will feature a host of on-site amenities, as part of Essential Living’s ambition to transform renting into a lifestyle choice, rather than a stopgap to ownership.
|View from Deptford Creek lifting bridge|
My previous unflattering remarks about Creekside Village have more than once prompted angry responses from residents, but I have no hesitation in repeating them. I feel this architecture has no place in this location (nor in fact do I think it is appropriate for residential buildings, although I realise that's an even more subjective point); its overbearing glass and steel facade totally dwarfs the streetscape on Creek Road and makes it an even more unpleasant place to walk along.
Yes, the development has some elements of public space - the mean little flower beds and water feature on Copperas Street, for example - but it serves its neighbours and community very badly in this respect and the height and mass of the blocks does nothing to break up the monotonous and windy environment to a more human scale.
|The 'canyonisation' of the Creek continues|
Despite the fact that there are many empty units at street level and on the first floor of the blocks, there are vague signs that this situation could improve in the near future. Conversations on Twitter last year suggested that a new deli and cafe would soon open in one of the shop units, although I haven't seen any further signs of this.
In the meantime a planning application was recently submitted to Greenwich Council to provide a space in the block on the corner of Creekside and Creek Road for the Galleon Theatre Company. You may recall that this small but thriving organisation was displaced in a rather unpleasant fashion from the Greenwich Playhouse in favour of backpacker accommodation last year.
Before you get all misty-eyed thinking it's a heart-warming tale of the Creekside Village developer offering to provide cultural space out of the goodness of its heart, let me just point out that this application is a result of the Section 106 agreement for the site development that originally included affordable cultural space (previously intended to be an extension for the Laban Centre). All that's happening here is the developer is attempting to fulfil its legal obligations, although hopefully we will see the benefit of it in due course.
|'Inspired by dance' apparently|
Unfortunately the news that the new landowner wants to build rental flats specifically for investors will do nothing to improve the community of the 'village'. Unless existing residents keep a close eye on the application, I suspect that Greenwich Council will simply wave it through as they have done in the past. The images I've posted are from the previous planning application - although a new application will be submitted, I suspect the architecture will remain 'inspired by dance' and it will be simply a case of redesigning the internal layout to incorporate the 'on-site amenities' which are essential for 'lifestyle choice'.
The original proposal did at least provide public access to the Creek, and I'll be trying to keep an eye on it to ensure that this is retained, although how pleasant it will be to sit at the base of a 17-storey sheer glass facade remains to be seen.