Sunday 28 August 2011

Deptford carriage ramp/St Paul's House/Octavius Street redevelopment

In a rather unseemly rush, a whole host of new planning applications flooded into Lewisham's planning department this month. One of these was Convoy's Wharf, of which more later.

The other major application was for the redevelopment of the land around Deptford Station - the so-called Deptford Project which includes St Paul's House on the High Street, the land behind it, the listed carriage ramp which leads up to the station platforms, and the tranche of land on the other side, which is on Octavius Street.

A planning application was submitted back in 2005 at the same time as the station redevelopment application, but never progressed any further. The latest proposal features some significant changes to the original.

For a start, I believe the original application related only to the carriage ramp refurbishment, public realm improvements and the nine-storey building on Octavius Street; the latest application includes St Paul's House on the High Street, which is to be redeveloped and extended. Two restaurant units are proposed at ground level, one at the front and one at the rear, with three 'town houses' in the new building at the back, and eight 'affordable' units above the high street restaurant unit.

Above a couple of aerials of the St Paul's House development; the eight-storey block for some reason is only shown in faint outline, but you can still get some idea of the enormous scale of the block.

Below is the view from behind (from the corner behind the Deptford Project cafe). Do click on the picture to make it bigger and you will see the architect has labelled the shop units 'Iceland', 'Jewellery' and rather snarkily, behind the tree, 'Betting shop' (where currently no betting shop exists. Thanks for the vote of confidence guys).

The previous plan was to convert the arches in the existing (listed) carriage ramp into 14 'live/work' units, and behind that, build a nine-storey block containing 101 apartments. The new plan has done away with the live/work units - instead the arches will now just be converted into 'workshops' - and the block has been reduced to eight storeys. Whether or not this involves a reduction in height (or just an increase in storey height) I cannot say but they have certainly shoe-horned in a few more apartments to whack up the return - 121 apartments of which 14 are studios, 37 are 1 bed and 70 are 2 bed. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger, and see the scale of the new buildings - particularly the Octavius Street block.

The number of parking spaces are minimised - 26 will be provided (in a 'stacking system' - whatever that means) for the coop housing next door to replace those which have been lost to the new building, as well as six wheelchair-accessible spaces, and one parking space for each of the three town houses. Presumably you can't sell a town house without a parking space, even one right next to a high street shopping area. It seems likely that with some 140 new apartments on the site, there will be increased pressure on parking along Idonia Street and surrounds; the developer is committed to contributing to the cost of investigating implementation of a controlled parking zone on these streets, which is unlikely to go down well with other local residents.

Two car club spaces will be installed - also on neighbouring streets - and 126 bike parking spaces provided on the site.

Planning documents are available here (planning application reference DC/11/78175) although so far I have been unable to find a design & access statement.

Sue has also posted about this over on Crosswhatfields blog and mentioned the 'community involvement' statement in the application. If you went to the 'consultation' you'll remember it involved sticky, coloured labels and could not really be viewed as any kind of scientific survey, although the developers seem to have got lots of bar charts and graphs out of the results. You might want to have a look and see what conclusions they have drawn about your views.

Comments on or objections to the planning application should be submitted to Mark Furlonger, Planning Service, 5th Floor Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London SE6 4RU, by fax to 020 8314 3127 or by email to Please print your name, do not sign it. You should also send a copy to your ward councillor(s).

Deadline for comments is 15 September 2011.


Anonymous said...

This really appalling. A giant glass block dwarfing Deptford. Note how the St Paul's Church is not shown in the plans...

I live in Idonia Street and I spent a lot of time at the consultation making it very plain the problems of parking in the immediate area. The proposal for 20 car parking spaces with a 120 1/2 bed flats is ridiculous.

Strangely nothing seems to have been recorded and the situation remains...

Anonymous said...

Looks nice to me - a welcome addition. Density may be a little high, but very good public transport link (practically on top of the station) so ideal for commute to Charing Cross/Cannon Street.

Brockley Nick said...

Interesting project, thanks for writing about it. Btw, a stacking system literally means they stack the cars one on top of another in a metal frame, to maximise use of floor space.

Anonymous said...

Although I can't see how anyone would possible need a car in Deptford with Deptford, New Cross, New Cross Gate and Deptford Bridge nearby.

It'll be nicer in my view to have an 8 floor building. That car park gets rubbish dumped on and those guys that come over during the weekend playing loud music selling BBQ food. Also that carriage ramp needs some work on it ASAP.

Anonymous said...

'Consultations' around planning projects are always a complete and utter sham and carried because it is an 'obligation' that is placed upon the Council. The Council then, if it needs to, manipulates the results to show what they want to in big print and hide what they need to in small print, so they can't be accused of being biased, which, of course they aren't . . .

That said, going to public meetings relating to these planning proposals are always good fun and worth the effort to get along to - classic examples of how sham consultations can turn into sham public meetings.

Anonymous said...

What do you think of the application Deptford Dame?

I think it shows an extraordinary lack of imagination.

This is a prime site for Deptfords regeneration. It needs something exciting and preferably something that will attract people into Deptford town.

I think a new bunch of shops and flats is a dull use of this space.

I think this space should be reserved for something more interesting such as a local history museum and gallery. Lewisham Borough has loads of history and could do with a local museum. This would be the ideal space for it.

Also what would happen to the train cafe? We want to keep that surely.

These plans should be stopped in my opinion. Far too dull for such a prime location.

James W

Gareth Gardner said...

Even in light grey, that eight storey block looks ominous and out of scale with the area.

The redevelopment of the remainder of the site looks pretty bland, a missed opportunity to create a magical new space in the heart of Deptford.

Although it's hard to tell from the visuals, the architecture of the town houses (and the giant block on the other side of the ramp) looks like it ticks all the boxes for generic early 21st housing developments. Is the architect still Richard Rogers?

Deptford Dame said...

@p as far as I can work it out, none of the new car parking spaces are for the 8-storey block, they are replacing some spaces allocated to another housing block - spaces which will be destroyed by construction of the new block.

@brockley nick that's what I suspected a 'stacking system' would be. Sounds rather inconvenient and expensive to maintain, it begs the question of who will be responsible for the maintenance, given that it's being built by the developer for an existing block which the developer does not own (unless I have misunderstood this).

@james w the train carriage cafe is intended to be relocated to the other end of the space - parallel to the railway line and much closer to the station entrance.

@gareth yes the architect for the main block is Roger Stirk Harbour & Partners. St Paul's House is by Ash Sakula Architects.

I tend to agree with James and Gareth that this proposal is a massively missed opportunity to create something really special for the centre of Deptford. For first-time visitors to Deptford the carriage ramp and public square will be the first thing they see as they leave the station. Being greeted by a huge block of flats overshadowing this public area (very limited direct sunlight since the buildings on each side will block much of it) will not really do many favours for first impressions.

Sue said...

Many thanks Dame, for the detail. Have we got a deadline yet for objections?

Anonymous said...

Who should we write to about this?

Sue said...

Love that you noticed Betting Shop on the renderings!

Deptford dame said...

@sue and @anon I have now added the details.