Thursday 26 November 2009

Convoy's wharf public exhibition

Convoy's Wharf is probably the biggest housing and redevelopment scheme to hit Deptford since the construction of the Pepys and Evelyn estates. The developers are holding a public exhibition on 5 and 8 December on the site (see below).

In 2005 Lewisham Council’s Strategic Planning Committee granted outline planning permission for an application by News International to redevelop the site for 450,000 sq metres of floor space, including approximately 3,500 new homes, 73,000 sq metres of employment space and major new cultural, creative and community facilities.

Just read that again in context, thinking about Creekside Village, currently towering over Creek Road, which has 801 apartments. The new development will have approximately 3,500. Granted it will be over a larger area, but the towers are likely to be as high, if not higher, and there will be more of them.

The rather bland renderings that the developers are using show extensively landscaped streets, but the scale of the structures is still visible if you peer through the greenery.

Hutchinson Whampoa says its proposal will be 'broadly in line' with the previous submission. It includes the following data:
* Approximately 3,500 new homes
* 26,300 m2 of employment space
* 23,500 m2 of leisure space
* 14,400 m2 of new cultural and community space
* 6,300 m2 of retail space
* 4,600 m2 of restaurants and bars
* 2,318 car parking spaces

Read the last one carefully. Consider how all these cars will get to and from the site.

I guess the purpose of the exhibition is to inform rather than consult - not being familiar with planning law I don't know the legal status of 'outline' planning permission, what level of detail it covers, etc etc and don't have time right now to educate myself, although I intend to try and do so in the coming weeks. If you want to read the previous documents and the strategic planning committee's decision, the documents are online here.

The first opportunity to start asking questions and finding out more is the public exhibition.

Saturday 5 December 10am-4pm
Tuesday 8 December 2pm-8pm

The exhibition will be in Convoys Wharf Warehouse 7 - access via the main entrance, at the bottom of New King Street.

On 5 December there will also be walking tours of the site, starting at 12 and 2pm.

The press release from developer Hutchinson Whampoa reads as follows:
Hutchison Whampoa have announced plans to move forward with the regeneration of Convoys Wharf, a key site for regeneration in the London Borough of Lewisham. The plans will see this largely vacant and underused brownfield site in Deptford brought back to life.
Previously used by News International to import paper, Lewisham Council resolved to grant planning permission in 2005 for the regeneration of the site with a large mixed-use development, comprising new homes, employment space, and new community facilities.
Hutchison Whampoa, the new owners of the site, are now looking to move forward with amendments to the existing proposals for Convoys Wharf, bringing considerable investment to the Thames Gateway and opening up a major part of Deptford’s riverside to the local community and the wider public, thus generating significant employment and major benefits to the local community and economy.
It is intended that consultation with the local community will take place over the next few weeks, before any amendments to the existing application are submitted to Lewisham Council by early December 2009.
Raymond Chow, the Managing Director of the Property Group of Hutchison Whampoa, announcing the intention to move forward with the development of Convoys Wharf, said:
“This is a hugely exciting project for Lewisham and the wider Thames Gateway area. We are looking forward to working with Lewisham Council, the GLA, and the local community to understand their aspirations for Convoys Wharf and how we can create a fantastic new future for this historic London location.”

The website is here, and there is a feedback page if you can't make it to the exhibition.

Quite aside from the architecture, some things to consider are that this site occupies a large part of Deptford's riverfront. It is a great opportunity to give residents greater access to the river, to open up new vistas and green space, and to improve the Thames path for walkers and cyclists. It should not be just an opportunity to see how high you can stack your real estate and how many flats you can market as having a river view.

Transport is a major consideration and one which I know many locals are concerned about - not just how our overstretched rail line and DLR are going to cope with this increased population, but also the fact that the developers are intending to provide a huge number of car parking spaces.

The developers claim they will be creating 1000 jobs during construction and 2000 in the finished development. What kind of jobs will these be? Will HW be supporting any apprenticeship or training schemes so that locals will be able to compete for these jobs?

The site has one listed building, the Olympia Warehouse, which will be retained and redeveloped as a 'cultural and community hub'. Being the site of the first Royal Dockyard it also of immense historical importance.

The website for Convoy's Wharf includes a page showing the companies involved in the project, so you can see what kind of projects they regard as demonstrating their best practice.

Over the coming months I'll be following this closely and will report back regularly.


Unknown said...

I attended the exhibtion and tour last Saturday and was fascinated with what is planned. There was some heated debate about the design of the site and lack of sympathy to the shipyard heritage.
Personally, I really enjoyed exploring the hidden streets and warehouse and hearing about the planned new clipper pier. The plans are broadly similar to the original Richard Rodgers design but with a few tweaks. The Olympia warehouse will be preserved and the Thames path will be opened up for the first time. Did anyone else attend?

Deptford dame said...

hi Luke, I was there and have just posted my comments on the blog.