Wednesday 10 March 2010

Old Seager Distillery

I took these photographs last week and started doing some research into the planning process that the Seager Distillery project went through with the intention of writing a thorough and detailed explanation of why we have yet another tower block edging up against the borders of Deptford.

But it's a long and torturous story, and time is not on my side at the moment, so I will paraphrase with the hope that someone will comment and fill in the gaps.

This is the start of the 26-storey tower that forms the main building of the Distillery development by Galliard Homes, right next to Deptford Bridge station.

What you are seeing at the moment is about a quarter to a third of the full height. Next to the main tower will be a 9 storey block, next to that a 5 storey block and next to that a 3 storey building. On the other side will be a 5/6 storey building.

Please excuse the poor quality of the following images, I failed to find anything useful online; these are pictures of the pictures that are posted on the hoardings.

It started as a 27-storey block with a 17-storey block next to it as well as the other 5/6/2/3 storey blocks. A total of 261 private residential units, 116 'affordable' units, 11 live-work units, and 4,646sqm of commercial space, including a restaurant and art gallery. 62 car parking spaces, motorbike and cycle parking and a 'viewing gallery'.
In 2007 planning permission for the initial scheme was refused on 14 different grounds.
I paraphrase:

1. buildings too high for surroundings (streets, open land, listed buildings) and poor quality cladding would look shoddy
2. same buildings would have a detrimental impact on view from Point Hill
3. buildings would overshadow its neighbours
4. density of development too high, low standard of accommodation such as single aspect dwellings and rooms without windows
5. too many studio/single bed flats, not enough larger units
6. not fully accessible for wheelchairs
7. insufficient percentage of affordable housing
8. insufficient number of parking spaces for development, would impact on neighbouring streets
9. not permeable enough (ie creates a barrier to movement through the new development)
10. the proposed Section 106 Agreement (ie the contributions developers pay to improving amenities and transport links in the area) not generous enough

The four other grounds relate to its impact on the Ravensbourne River in terms of flooding and habitat conservation, and failure to meet guidelines for child play-space.

Pretty damning huh?

Luckily it didn't take much alteration in the layout to satisfy the authorities that some of the most serious of these items had been addressed. Admittedly Galliard Homes did submit about a dozen more applications relating to the scheme, but the changes to the building heights - specifically the main tower - were modest to say the least.

The new scheme is a "26-storey residential tower and 5/6 storey building fronting Brookmill Road, a 5 storey stepped building rising to 9 storeys adjacent to Broadway Fields, a 3 storey courtyard building, single storey roof extension on the Seager Building fronting Deptford Bridge....comprising 161 private residential units, 58 affordable homes, 10 live/work units and a total of 4,047 square metres of commercial floorspace, a restaurant and art gallery together with 108 basement and surface level car parking spaces, associated motor bike/scooter and bicycle spaces, a link bridge to the DLR Train Station and landscaping.

In November 2008 the new scheme was granted planning permission.

I know that Lewisham planners read this blog and that some of our councillors do too. If anyone wants to comment (anonymously if you wish) on how a 27 storey tower is overshadowing, detrimental to views and out of scale with its surroundings while a 26 storey tower is not, please feel free to do so.


neil said...

Would be really interested to hear too. I've newly moved to Deptford, but have a strong interest in urban planning. I think care really needs to be taken to make sure we're not re-building the shoddy estates of the 60s, but with a 'modern' look.

Anonymous said...

Ravensbourne Revenge

it was at precisely this site in the early eighteenth century that a flood caused the collapse of buildings around the Ravensbourne. Will the Ravensbourne rise again?

Is this a Macdonald Egan project? What was/is ex-Lewisham Mayor Dave Sullivan's relationship to McDonald Egan? I seem to remember that having been trounced by Bullock he became a consultant to property developers operating in the Borough of Lewisham

Unknown said...

It is astounding that there is so little car parking on this site. The council is going to have to get it's fingers out with proper residents parking, and proper enforcement.
The redevelopment around the station and Giffin Street is also going to cause a hell of a problem with parking.
Hoping that people are going to give up cars and use buses (yeach) just will not work.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I agree with Neil. The sprawling complex just across the way is already on the shabby side...not a big leap to imagine that 20 years from now this will be just another giant slummy tower block that is an eyesore for the locals. Why the need for such high-density housing? It really seems like the council is selling residents down the river. Not to mention that public transit is already overcrowded. My worry is about all of these other abominations scheduled to pop up in the next couple of years.

David said...

Tesco and the likes will be rubbing their hands with glee at another new-build development. One day in the near future there will be no independents on the High Street, Tanners Hill, or Deptford Broadway. The community feel of Deptford is slowly being washed away. Sad.

Squirrel said...

Galliard Homes have a stranglehold on the area. There are still not ANY views of plans easily viewable of their site on Greenwich High Road. This building is presently looming up in front of my office and I have NO IDEA how tall it will be. Galliard also have the Peninsular development.
40% of Galliard Homes is now owned by Jack Petchey, the time-share criminal who recently sold his foreign investments in order to take advantage of cheap property/land opportunities in the UK. He is lauded for his charitable work but he is just another fraudster, and must feel at home with the other crooks at Galliard. Some might say the same about Mr Sullivan.

Deptford Dame said...

@squirrel I have a post in the offing about the Greenwich High Road development and I agree that info is almost impossible to find, that's why it has taken me so long to write about it. Thanks for commenting, it has given me the impetus I need to finish that post. Check back soon.

SE8KER said...

I downloaded the supporting documents for this develoment from the Lewisham planning site a year or two ago. Amused/concerned by how transport issues were glibly glossed over (eg parking survey of local area found violations already common, so we might as well add to it, or words to that effect...).

skinnyvoice said...

I'm also watching this rising up in front of me. So 27 stories bad, 26 good? I too am very puzzled by this, it smacks of some sort of corr*ption somewhere down the line.

Ritchie said...

This is idiotic. Socially and physically it will have no relation the rest of Deptford. A case of a desperate council bending over backwards for a development, which is really an annex of Canary wharf.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it doesn't seem the planners are too concerned with the strain on services. The lack of parking was met with the view that buyers won't have cars, hard to believe. Also, the strain could well be felt on the train services possibly at Deptford but also at Greenwich - different borough ... The already busy, even though it is now 3 car, DLR will become busier as well I presume. It will be interesting to see the effect on the traffic particularly once OneSE8 is expanded again and the flats on Greenwich High Road are completed (different borough therefore has no impact ?!). It also seems to bear no relation to the surrounding buildings and there seems to be a hope that more homes implies more infrastructure to meet the demand.

Anonymous said...

@squirrel wrote "40% of Galliard Homes is now owned by Jack Petchey, the time-share criminal who recently sold his foreign investments in order to take advantage of cheap property/land opportunities in the UK. He is lauded for his charitable work but he is just another fraudster, and must feel at home with the other crooks at Galliard."

Not connected with this development, but we are having a lot of problems with Galliards and their associated companies. Stay away from them. I am surprised they are not on watchdog.

Anonymous said...

Dave Sullivan is now a director of a company that owns a holiday park in Devon. Another director is Nicholas Spysznyk who worked with DS in the late 90's. Some recruitment companies all folded without posting any accounts. Nicholas Spysznyk went on to be involved in another recruitment company that went under owing Inland Revenue over a million. I here the holiday site company is broke and owe about 2 million, but no work has been done. Has anyone looked into the dealings of these people ?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Would any of the companies that went bust owing loadsamoney be:
Public Sector Collaborations Scotland Ltd
Public Sector Managed Services Ltd
PPPL Realisations Limited
0r Public Sector Collaborations Recruitment Limited?

Anonymous said...

Try Pathway-Scotia Limited which owed 1.8M to inland revenue. They charged VAT and tax to clients, and folded. Dave Sullivan has had 26 companies - all dissolved. Latest is Hexham Place Ltd with Spysnyk.

The name of the game is borrow as much as you can using bent solicitors bankers and dodgy valuations, then fold.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Was the holiday village the one near Seaton?

I am doing background research for a client on Mr Spysznyk so any assistance would be helpful. If you wish to contact me please sent an e-mail to


Anonymous said...

Nick Spysznyk was made bankrupt after Pin Point Personnel. I think he worked with Michael Weetman from Morpeth, or Alan Findlay.

Anonymous said...

I also have been instructed to investigate Nick Spysznyk & Dave Sullivan.

Any information on these two "individuals" please feel free to post comments.

Anonymous said...

Ouse Valley Golf Club. Clean skin is James Hetherington.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god not another venture! Hexham Place Ltd and they have taken the reigns at Bedfordshire Golf Club! Given their track record they should have about another 6-8 months before anybody catches on to what they are up to. They will say development on the land, lodges or similar, rooms and probably a Spa and as much solar power you can shake a 3 Iron at! Go on lads prove me and history wrong and actually make this one work!

Anonymous said...

It is not meant to work. It is meant to fail. Nick Spysznyk, sorry Sypsnyk ( he cannot spell very well )will build up debt against the asset before dissapearing. Not before he's ruined the careers of some planning officials and councillors, and left the sucker investors sorting out the mess.
I don't think Sullivan is much better.

Anonymous said...

Sullivan and Spysznyk are a right pair! Beware, dont let them within 100miles of your land! Talk the Talk, but sadly cant walk the walk! 20th century con men.

Anonymous said...

i once did some work for him and he still owes me money,looks like i will never see that

Anonymous said...

^^^^ message to last post above^^^^
What kind of work did you give Sullivan? Anything to do with Land?