Tuesday 24 March 2009

Famous around the world

Thanks to Caroline for pointing me to this article about Deptford in the New York Times.

I can't believe the only shop they thought worthy of a mention on the high street was Goddard's!

And as for the photo....

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Ha'penny Hatch artists

It's worth taking a walk down to the Ha'penny Hatch footbridge not only for the view of the Creek and the chance to sneak up on a heron paddling in the shallow waters, but also to see the latest offerings in the arches. For too long these white-painted spaces have attracted nothing but ugly spray-painted tags and the scrawlings of illiterates.

It's a delight to see that they are now adorned by something worth of the graceful curve of the bricks and the inviting whiteness of the paint.

Panic on the streets of Deptford by Suffoca

Fuzon groan'd on the tree (inspired by William Blake's mythology) by Riccardo Attanasio (Matlakas)

And a second one by Matlakas, my personal favourite. The marine and nautical references are perfect for the location.

Monday 16 March 2009

New bike shop on Creek Road

The long-awaited opening of a new branch of Cycles UK in Deptford has been confirmed for Saturday 4 April.

The Dame first mentioned this way back in October; it has taken till now for the shop to finally start getting fitted out.

I'll be reporting back with a full review once it is open - cycle supplies/repairs being a central part of the Dame's commuting life - until then you can see what is happening by checking out the shop's blog.

Thursday 12 March 2009

An alternative view

Andrew Gilligan has written a column in praise of Deptford. If you are interested in what he thinks of our quaint little community, you can find it here.

Sunday 8 March 2009

Deptford redevelopment plans

I have been a little remiss about reporting back on the plans for the redevelopment of Giffin Street and surrounds that were shown at the exhibition at the end of January, but here they are now.

Firstly, a round-up of the current situation, to set the scene. Although the aerial photograph from the Lewisham Council masterplan is slightly out of date, it will give you an idea of things.

The two grey circles in the upper right side of the picture are the Wavelengths centre; the horizontal line at the top of the picture is the railway line, and the vertical line crossing it on the right is Deptford Church Street.

Missing off the picture is the new pool at Wavelengths, and the picture still shows the Women & Baby Health Centre (4) which has since been demolished (presumably housed elsewhere, perhaps in the new Waldron Health Centre?).

The numbers show:
1. Giffin Street car park
2. Frankham Street car park (currently closed)
3. Wavelengths
4. Mother & baby centre
5. Access point & council offices
6. Toilets (Which I had no idea even existed, but then I do live close enough to use my own!)
7. Giffin Business centre
8. Minzel Works (apparently an attractive building which is only used by market traders for storage at the moment)
9. Flats to be retained on Giffin and Frankham Streets
10. Tidemill School - pay attention to this one, it will be important
11a Giffin Square (the scrubby bit on the corner with lots of wonky paving stones and nasty street furniture)
11b Frankham Street open space
11c The grassy bit on the end of Reginald Road that looks like it would be good for allotments (my words, not Lewisham Council's!)

The changes that are proposed:

1. Wavelengths: with the new pool and changing facilities completed, the next stage will be the relocation of the library and the redevelopment of the existing library space into a new ground-level gym. This is some time away, given the fact that the library cannot move until part 4 is completed.

2a. Giffin Square: This is proposed to be refurbished into a market square and gathering place, including a café with external seating which will be located in the same building as the library and the relocated public toilets.

2b. The existing Job Centre will be relocated (no details of where it will be going) and the building will be redeveloped into new flats with room for a restaurant at ground level.

More details and FAQs here.

3. Tidemill School and 4. Deptford Lounge
This is where it gets quite exciting and interesting. The proposal is to transform a large car park and collection of dull modern buildings into a new home for Tidemill School, and an open access building for Deptford which will house the library, public rooms, toilets, a cafe and council facilities as well as some new artists studios. The intention is that parts of the school such as the halls, ball court, music and cookery rooms will be available for use by community groups out of school hours.

Giffin Square is in the foreground, the Deptford Lounge is the main building.
More information and FAQs here.

5a. Deptford Station.
Ah, Deptford Station indeed! Apparently all wrangling over planning permission, funding etc etc is now finished, and the project is truly moving on to the next stage. Money has been allocated, planning permission obtained, agreement reached over the main elements of the design, and Network Rail is due to start construction in due course, with the station planned for completion at the start of 2011. Good news for commuters - services will not be affected during the work.

5b and 5c relate to the transformation of the carriage ramp and the station forecourt. If you're not as jaded as hearing about this as I am, click here for more info and FAQs about this and the station.

6 a/b/c. Improvement and maintenance of existing council-owned housing on Giffin Street, Frankham Street and surrounds. I'm not sure what the current parking arrangements are for residents, but they should be aware that the council is intending to make it a controlled parking zone, which may have implications for them. FAQs here.

8a. New housing to be built on the site of the old Tidemill School by Quadrant Housing Association - with preference given to local residents and including family homes, not just one and two-bed flats presumably.

8b. Princess Louise Institute redevelopment on Hales Street, which is now completed.
FAQs on both these are here.

Two major items are missing, in my opinion. I realise they might not fit within the strict remit of the regeneration department, but I feel they are central to improving the environment for residents and visitors to Deptford town centre.

The first is the need to address the appalling traffic problems on the northern end of the High Street, which is a rat run for commuters and after about 6pm on weekdays turns into a grim scene of bad parking and aggressive driving. I'm not advocating closing it to traffic totally (except on Saturdays as it is already), and I recognise that many of the drivers who make it hellish in the evening are also customers for the local businesses. But how about one-way traffic and some bollards on the pavements to prevent people blocking them with badly-parked SUVs?

I understand that the plans for Giffin Square include integrating road traffic at the same level as pedestrians and minimising separation in order to reduce driving speeds - a tactic which has proved useful elsewhere. But I feel that something a bit more drastic should be considered by the highways department in order to try and make a more substantial improvement on the whole street.

Secondly is the omission of improvements to the market square in Douglas Way and the area outside the Albany. This badly needs a facelift, and it would be great if it could be redeveloped at the same time and in the same way as Giffin Square, to give the whole of the market area a feeling of continuity, and tie it together visually.