Wednesday 31 August 2011

Convoys wharf planning application part I: what's your view?

Given the vast amount of information contained within the planning application for Convoys Wharf, I'm hoping to comment on some of the more salient points - building density, transport, heritage & archeology etc - over the coming weeks, other commitments permitting.

To kick off and give you an immediate feel for the in-your-face visual impact the proposed development will have on the landscape, a few of the renderings which can be found in a much larger document here.

Such renderings would have been extremely useful at the 'public consultation' so why weren't they shown? Take a look and see if you can guess the answer. (You can click on all the images to make them bigger).

The view from the Greenwich Observatory to St Paul's is what's known as a 'protected vista' in that no development is allowed to block it. On this rendering St Paul's is marked in red so that you can spot it among the towers that hem it in from both sides.

View from Millennium Quay:

View from Abinger Grove:

View from the Foreshore:

View from Greenwich pier:

View from Pepys Park:

View from the Royal Naval College, Greenwich:

View from Deptford High Street:

View from Pointer's Close (Isle of Dogs): this one is particularly worth clicking to take a closer look at. Note that it's not just the three towers which will have a visual impact on the local area - the surrounding blocks are also of a significant size. The existing tower block is shown on the right hand side, and gives a true idea of scale.

View from Plough Way:


Anonymous said...

it's odd how developers representations of what they would like to build still, even in the most extreme circumstances, allow their buildings to look acceptable. I think it's something to do with the wide-angle view. The reality is that those buildings are enormous. For example, when the Loampit Vale construction is finished I intend to take a picture to compare it to the developers soft sell brochures - should be interesting to compare.

Deptford Pudding said...

Thank you for those pictures, though seeing them has ruined my day. Surely this can't be allowed to happen?

I was in Woolwich a couple of days ago, visiting friends in the Royal Arsenal. When the Arsenal was in the planning stage similar promises and predictions were made to the ones being made now about Convoys Wharf, that it would benefit the town, and open up the river to the town etc. Sadly it has become a separated town, separated from Woolwich by a busy road, and surrounded by fences and hoardings. True you can walk along the river front, but no way has the Arsenal integrated with the town.

The same on the Isle of Dogs. My in-laws lived in Manchester Rd from before the LDDA began allowing the area to be developed willy-nilly.

One of the promises made by the developers was that access to the river would be opened up to local residents. My father in law was I remember was really excited about this, but once the blocks of flats were built gates were attached to the riverside walkways, and then they were padlocked forever.

If there is a concerted campaign we may prevent Convoys Wharf becoming a mini Dubai. Remember the local residents stopped the GLC knocking down Covent Gdn (though of course they later claimed all the credit for 'saving' it).

shipwright's palace said...

the posting is very helpful. interesting to see how the view from the Royal Naval College in Greenwich will be transparent............overall the scheme appears impermeable. As yet I still find there's no clear commitment to the glory that could be Sayes Court Garden (1653), neither to the splendour of the Great Tudor Basin (1517) nor the marvel of the 17th century mast pond (1650) Sunken gardens? Marinas? Where's the master planning imagination here? There are so many models of good practice both here and abroad. This just isn't quite good enough. It fails almost entirely to respond to the significance of the site and the potential for the sense of power of the place. Haven't these guys read any of English Heritage's output of the last ten years on heritage led regeneration. If it doesn't happen here that's a profound gesture of social exclusion.

Instead, there seems to be wholesale disregard for the majority of the dockyard structures. Whereas the docks, slip, basin and mast ponds could make for a far more interesting scheme. This is one of London's and certainly Lewisham's most historic sites, and one of the most important historic sites on the London Thames. Where's the legibility of the history? I can't see how these proposals satisfy English Heritage policy on maritime and naval structures just published in April this year nor PPS5 or even URB20.
read the EH document if you're intending to write to the planners in response to the proposals.

shipwright's palace said...

Of course, most of what is shown here is achievable if both Lewisham Planners and English Heritage settle for the lowest principle n response to the dockyard structures articulated in PPS5 which is "preservation in situ"...meaning let's build this lot on top. However the extensive piling required for these masses and towers is likely to destroy some of the dockyard structures.

Sue said...

OMG! As if the towers weren't bad enough, the buildings surrounding the towers are HUGE. Truly awful.

shipwright's palace said...

some resources to be aware of in in order to ensure that these statutory policies and guidelines are applied to Deptford

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting this info and my apologies for referring to an article that you'd already mentioned before! Shipwright's Palace is spot on about the lack of reference to the site's importance and potential for including it sympathetically, or making much more of its maritime heritage.

The previous proposals were knocked back by the GLA in February with concerns about heritage, infrastructure, access to transport, jobs and Convoys' safeguarded wharf status.

"With this wealth of historic maritime connections, some of them relating to the Royal Family and great explorers such as Drake and Raleigh, the site has great opportunity for the creation of a distinctive place/series of places. This should be brought out in a meaningful way at the detailed stages of any planning permission."

Not so far it seems.

shipwright's palace said...

Thanks, Goldcat. Wwhich document from the GLA are you quoting from? I'd like to read it in full. Also Deptford Pudding is spot on about 'linking Deptford to the river. The current proposals whilst they preserve the double dock in situ, that's it as far as the heritage goes. Look also at Millenium Quay, there was a wealth of opportunity there with the site of the British East India Company dockyard and th great Steam Navigation Comapny yard. But no. Nothing. other than a 'misplaced statue'. But what has been submitted is an outline application. If permission is given to build over the Henry VIII's Great Basin that will sever any opportunity to render a greater sense of legibility to the listed slipbuilding sheds. in fact building on the Great Basin harms both the listed sheds and even diminish the dry dock and severly diminish the chance to establish the "series of places demanded by the GLA. Tomorrow I'll post on what i think are three key heritage zones within the site. The GLA's aspirations for the site are not answered by the current proposals.

Unknown said...

The link I found is a response to the planning app submitted by Lewisham Council:
The report was based on the criteria in the previous London Plan, there is a new one out now so I don't know how differently an amended application will be treated. This is an opportunity for Lewisham to have a major historical site linking with Greenwich Maritime providing a story and sense of place for new and existing residents (and tourists) to relate to.

shipwright's palace said...

thanks for the link above goldcat. its an essential read for anyone thinking of responding directly to the planners and to the GLA.

John Shish said...

It is as well to remember that the odious Murdoch is still lurking in the wings on this one,much though Huchison Whampoa would have you believe otherwise. He has a large profit-share when residential "units" exceed a certain number. This is one reason why the developer is literally cramming the site with housing.
The other driver of the design becomes plain when you look at photos of the Hong-Kong waterfront,the site owner Mr Li Ka Ching's home,the similarities are sickening. Rather unfortunate name,Mr Li's, as I suspect there is a similar sound running through the minds of our Mayor,planning committee,and M.P. K-ching,K-ching,K-ching...all that lovely council tax to fritter and waste, and the bung and sweeteners we may never get to hear about.
The real sickener though ,bearing in mind his culture, is his complete lack of respect for the ancestors,in this case our ancestors whose marine technology opened up the world. The earliest Royal Dockyard lies recoverable under this site and our muddled toothless quangos (English Heritage) and narrow-minded academics (museum of London) are doing woefully little to protect historic features,many of which are re-usable.Is more "bung" involved here I ask myself?
Yet again the population of Deptford will be only expected to provide janitorial services,serve fast food and stay out of sight.
Where's the creativity,taste,pride,style and basic good design on a comprehensible scale,oh,and that rather unfashionable thing called civic pride Ah,too many egos in the way I fear.

Robin Tudge said...

I hope they build it all up, then it all falls into the river and makes a great big splash on which we can all surf to freedom.

Deptford Yard said...

Good Development is to the
Benefit of the Many Not Just
the Few .

A Revitalised Deptford Royal
Dockyard Site with a Ceremonial
Commission of HMS DEPTFORD
will Give Deptford People a
Place to take Pride In and a
Place to Learn Woodwork Skills
Not least in Shipbuilding

Also a Deptford Royal Dockyard
Site of Restored Historic
Buildings will make a Pleasant
Contrast to Canary Wharf .

Buildings in Human Dimensions
Not a Field of Skyscrapers

Deptford Navy Days where a Couple
of Royal Navy Ships could Pay a
Visit and with Reenactments would
also add to the Attraction

Joe V said...

Though they do look ugly and it will take a long time to build... if they are maintained well then I think it is a good idea.