Sunday, 16 November 2008

Deptford Station redevelopment - is the beginning in sight?

The saga of the proposed redevelopment of Deptford Station has been grinding on for several years now, but the latest planning permission application is due to come before Lewisham's planning committee this Thursday.

This application covers the demolition of the existing station building and the construction of a new one, incorporating the top part of the listed carriage ramp, as well as the refurbishment of the platforms and canopies. Instead of entering the station from the high street, the intention is that passengers will enter the new building at the junction of the carriage ramp and the train line (the carriage ramp in question was built to enable horse-drawn carriages to access the platform level of the station, and is the only one remaining out of three that were built in London. It can be seen from the west end of the London-bound platform or through the security gates to the left of the station building at ground level).

Originally the station redevelopment was tied in with the proposed construction of a new 8-storey building next to the carriage ramp, by developer Cathedral Group, and (from what I understand from the documents) the last time an application was submitted, in 2005, the planning committee recommended that permission be granted subject to the two being formally linked. In effect, the council wanted to ensure that the station redevelopment and the refurbishment of the remainder of the carriage ramp and the station yard would happen at the same time. But it seems Cathedral Group wasn't having any of it, and as the document coyly puts it, this agreement 'was not entered into'.

As we know, Cathedral Group is (was?) intending to launch an arts and crafts market in the station yard, but this has yet to materialise. As for the Octavia Street development (intended to create live/work units which will make use of the arches under the carriage ramp and create a new public plaza) a separate planning application may be forthcoming next year.

Overall I think it would be a good thing to have a new residential building next to the carriage ramp although I am slightly perturbed by the proposed height of it, which does not scale well with any of the surrounding buildings. It would have been good to have both projects progressing at the same time, but I feel it is more important to try and get the station redevelopment going if the apartments are going to lag behind, which seems even more inevitable in the current economic climate.

The station badly needs improvement; it is grotty and unattractive, difficult to access even for those of us with full mobility (ever been late for your train?!) and as well as being depressing for users, it gives a very poor impression of Deptford to anyone passing through. No wonder only 175 people on average use it in the peak period of 8am to 9am - one of the facts in the application documents - although going on the usual state of trains at this time, I would suggest that this is pretty much capacity or perhaps above!

**Incidentally, plans for the redevelopment of the area around Giffin Street are also going to be considered at the same meeting. Of which more later.


Jake said...

Great news of course, except for not having a station to use in the interim!

Anonymous said...

Jake I believe that thanks to the fact that the new station building will be in a different location to the existing one, it should be perfectly possible to build it without closing the existing one. There will be disruption of course, and probably the occasional closure, but I don't think we will lose the use of the station for the interim.

SE8KER said...

I spoke to one of the architects a few years back and he did say the station would remain open. Mind you he went on to say it would be completed by 2006...

Patience of Deptford said...

Look forward to the market.

Or the station.

Or Convoys gallery & shops.

Or the Creekside Bars and Cafes.

Or any news!!