Tuesday 20 September 2011

The Wharves gets planning permission

Lewisham council last week voted to approve a planning application for the redevelopment of the old scrapyards and industrial land bounded by Evelyn Street, Grove Street and Oxestalls Road down on the Pepys Estate.

The council's strategic planning committee granted outline planning permission for the whole site, and detailed planning permission for the first two phases, which are on the southern side of the site, covering plots 1-5 (shown in yellow and blue on this map). This link has the agenda for the meeting which includes a link to the committee report on the application.

The redevelopment of the site as a whole will offer "a maximum of 1,029,670m2 (gross external floor area) comprising up to 905 residential units (853,218m²) and 17,645m2 non-residential floorspace comprising A1 Shops, A2 Financial & Professional Services, A3 Restaurants & Caf├ęs, A4 Drinking Establishments, A5 Hot Food Takeaways, B1 Businesses, D1 Non-Residential Institutions and D2 Assembly & Leisure uses.
• Erection of buildings ranging in height from 4 to 18 storeys.
• An energy centre.
• Open space.
• New vehicular access into the site and parking (up to 1,127 cycle and 370 vehicle spaces) and associated works."

Phases one and two will create 591 residential units and 9,424m2 of commercial space on the site, as well as landscaping and public areas, car and cycle parking and the mysterious 'energy centre' which seems to be a combination of gas-fired combined heat and power generator, some photovoltaic cells and some ground source heat pumps.

The report contains a lot of detail about the application and the council's response to it, which I don't intend to go into here, although it does contain some interesting gems. For a start, the developer City & Provincial Properties does not actually even own all of this land - the 'phase three' area includes land the freehold to which is still owned separately, and although the developer has been trying to buy the land, it still has not been successful! The report explains that should all attempts to persuade the owner to sell the land be unsuccessful, the developer will ask the council to issue a compulsory purchase order.

Perhaps this just reveals my ignorance of the world of private development, but I find it really odd that a landowner may be forced to sell up for this kind of development. Naturally there's no indication of which bit of land it is, but it did set me wondering - is it the owner of the petrol station on Evelyn Street, presumably quite a lucrative spot, or the scrapyard on Grove Street (also presumably lucrative although an appallingly bad neighbour as I hear from those who live locally).

Also from the report you can also learn that Deptford Station is predicted to receive an extra 65 passengers 'out' (ie leaving the station) during the peak hour of 7.45-8.45 each day as a result of the development.

We can safely assume that about 60 of these will be heading into London, and given that there are about six trains an hour at this time of day, you can expect an extra 10 passengers on each train on average. Doesn't sound much really, but when you take into account the cumulative impact of the Wharves, Convoys, Creekside and of course the Cathedral development right next to the station, as well as all the new developments between here and Dartford, the system really starts to creak. Surrey Quays overground station will have an extra 124 passengers during the same period and the bus service will really suffer with an extra 134 passengers.

The site will have tall buildings - up to 18 storeys high - which is not going to endear it to its neighbours in terms of overshadowing, loss of privacy and the wind-tunnel effects that can be generated at ground level. In fact there are three locations on the site where the ground-level wind impact generated by the tall buildings will be 'unacceptable' for their intended use as entrance doors to buildings, and will need to have specific measures introduced to combat this. The towers are certainly tall, the report accepts, but apparently they are useful as markers for the development. (If anyone can offer a sensible explanation of this rather confusing justification, please do so in the comments.) The Convoys effect also comes into play here, with the council adding that since it was intending to (but didn't) grant permission to Convoys' 40, 32 and 26-storey towers in 2005, these towers fit into the scale of the intended but ungranted planning permission.

Likewise the report comments on the density of the development as follows: The density of the development is above London Plan guidelines. Given, however, the combination of on and off site open space in the area and the quality of internal and external environment that is created this is considered acceptable subject to the scheme implementing the relevant design features and impacts such as on education, health and public transport being mitigated through financial contributions or other planning obligations.

That means 'there's a lot of housing here but there are a few parks close by and besides it will all be ok if they give us the mitigation money we ask for'.

A water feature is planned to run through the centre of the development, along the line of the old Surrey Canal - although only the east-west part of the route.

One of the first parcels of land that will be developed will include a new 'bespoke and expanded facility for existing tenant Ascott Cab Company. The new facility includes a cab showroom which faces onto Evelyn Street on the western side of the development, a rendering for which is shown below.

Despite the intention to provide 370 parking spaces on the site (269 of these for residents, the rest for businesses and visitors) the development also proposes 36 motorbike spaces and 980 cycle parking spaces in secure buildings near the flats, along with 147 for the commercial space.

On the eastern side overlooking Pepys Park, the scheme retains the old pub, The Victoria, which will be restored although I couldn't find details of what it will be used for - hopefully as a pub!


shipwright's palace said...

Overall this looks like a good scheme. If the down drafts on 18 storeys are troublesome what are they going to be like on 48 at Convoys. Perhaps this is why the Great Basin is not being proposed as re-opened! Its very interesting that the developers here are setting a precedent of reopening the inland water body of the Surrey Canal, if this can be done here then there are are good chances that the Great Basin, contemporaneous with the Great Dock can also be reopened as a marker of Deptford's maritime past. A visit to St. Katherine's dock last weekend showed just how dynamic such a space could be and how much it would contribute to the setting and legibility of the listed Olympia Building. Overall I find the Deptford Wharves scheme attractive, though I don't see how compulsory purchase can operate where there is no national interest at stake such as a railway line.

max said...

This is one of the sites that had been identified as possible sites for a school back then when the Mayor challenged the public to come up with an option better than Ladywell Pool.

The Mayor went public saying that he wasn't prepared to try to aquire it (or better the fraction of this site that would be sufficient for a school) because he knew that developers were interested in it for housing.

An answer that really raises issues about their priorities.

That they were asked to issue a comulsory purchase order to help the developer aquire the site was known, but they now agreed to it is rather disconcerting.

And I think that if issued it could well be appealable, cpo's are supposed to be issued for important reasons of public interest, not private.

If the owners of the plots not yet in ownership of the developer don't want to sell it can just mean that the price offered is not right yet.
One does wonder what business has the Council to intervene in a private negotiation to keep land price down for developers?

Anonymous said...

I do think these schemes have underestimated how many people will use Deptford station. It's quick and more tolerable at the moment than the tube.
Another scheme (I think it may have been convoys) predicted low usage of the station, and said this was fine as Crossrail would lower numbers on the route by 2016. Crossrail wont open until 2019 now leaving somewhat of a gap.

Anonymous said...

you're so miserable and negative about everything. deptfords a shit hole so be thankful allthis development is happening, bringing skilled, intelligent home buyers into the area instead of the drunk, drugged scum everywhere.

Deptford dame said...

@anon how do you know your 'skilled, intelligent home buyers' are going to move into these properties and not just rent them out to 'drunk, drugged scum'? Or perhaps they will be bought by drunk, drugged home buyers and rented out to skilled, intelligent scum?

thecyclist said...

Anon... Crawl back into your bland sanitised hole! The people of Deptford care about their environment and are trying to prevent people like you turning the whole of London into one big Canary Wharf! Pause and look a little deeper before making idiotic comments.

J said...

I don't have anything against the designs etc but I don't understand what's happening about the infrastructure in the area.

for example, I use the wavelenghts pool regularly and at the peak times (i.e when not a school pool) it's pretty much full to bursting. Where are all these 1000's of extra residents going to exercise / swim?

Anonymous said...

And what's wrong with Canary Wharf? Compared to Deptford it's amazing!
I agree Deptford is a pile of crap with social housing scum, single mothers, benefit scrounders!
It's a visual eyesaw, a dumping ground for waste! Which needs to be cleaned up and regenerated and brought forward for the future!
I have lived not by choice in Deptford for over 60 years, bringing up 2 generations, and all I've seen is poverty, crime and not much hope.
These Developments to Deptford brings hope. Hope of a new beginning for Deptford. A change for the better. And be it rented tenants or home owners. The truth is the class of people, the mentality of those people who seek to be living in better spaces will care for what they have more then the scum of Deptford today!
P.s My daughter lives in Canary Whalf, brining up her own family. And I would not want her to move any closer to her mum until these new, bright, safe and forward thinking developments come in in and gives my grandchildren the right environment to thrive.