Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Paynes & Borthwick wharf

I've been meaning to write about Paynes & Borthwick Wharf for some months now, ever since I was down in Twinkle Park at about 7am on a Saturday morning and was remarking on the almighty racket coming off the site as the builders hammered on, impervious to local residents.

As a few people have commented, the new buildings on the east of the site, which is right next to Twinkle Park at the bottom of Watergate Street, have grown quickly in recent months. The main tower can be easily picked out from the various high points I've visited in the last few days, including the top of the Seager Distillery Tower, Point Hill, and One Tree Hill in Greenwich Park. That being said, it is still massively overshadowed by the ugliness of Creekside Village and the bulk of New Capital Quay, and if the Convoys Wharf towers get built as proposed, it will be stumpy by comparison.

View from Twinkle Park

As far as their marketing material goes, United House and LaSalle Investment Management clearly believe that Deptford is still a hard sell, even for riverside developments next to 17th century listed buildings, so they have relocated it to West Greenwich, SE8.  

A press release says the development "will provide 257 high specification one, two and three bedroom apartments and 10 live/work units in a landscaped setting with views towards Canary Wharf, Greenwich and the City. The mixed-use regeneration scheme will also feature 38,000 sq ft of art gallery, restaurant, commercial and retail space and a total of 150 underground parking spaces. 

"Paynes & Borthwick will comprise 203 residential units for private sale and 44 affordable homes which will be managed by Hexagon Housing Association. The development will include a new residential tower rising to 16 storeys and the sympathetic conversion and sensitive restoration of the existing warehouse buildings which will retain their original facades. 

"The master plan for the project has been agreed by the Boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich to advance the regeneration of this area of London, which has been designated a Creative Enterprise Zone by the Government."

Naturally in their site rendering the developers have taken the liberty of including Twinkle Park, just to make it look greener and more attractive than it would do if it was just a load of buildings with green roofs. It's not an outright invention of course, but it does seem galling that they are using a lovely little green space which has been created by and is maintained by the community in order to sell private flats. Not least because the park is already becoming badly overshadowed by the high buildings. 

As developments go, it's not a bad effort. The owners were obliged to retain the facade of the old wharf building, on both sides of the structure, and although they've stuck the usual double-height glass box on the top, set back from the facade so that the planners will let it ride, it's not offensive by any stretch of the imagination.

The new-build blocks are relatively dense, but by dint of the site plan, the architects were prevented from creating anything as monstrous as the blocks on New Capital Quay, and they have actually included two relatively low-rise blocks between the new build and the renovated facades which should make the public plazas a little more attractive.

Two low rise blocks - view from the river

Twinkle Park on the right hand side, looking along the retained facade
With 150 parking spaces for just 250-odd apartments, the tiny roads that lead down to the site are likely to suffer both in terms of increased traffic movements and overspill parking. And although the developers are promising an art gallery, restaurant and commercial and retail space, whether this will be filled or will just stand empty for years is anyone's guess.

You only have to look at the sad, boarded-up ground floor of Wood Wharf, and the shenanigans over the Seager Distillery Tower art gallery to know that it's not going to be a straightforward transformation into the 'Creative Enterprise Zone' that is being touted.

View towards the river

View from the road, looking west


Alan Burkitt-Gray said...

I can't see from the pictures whether they've included a footpath/cycle path along the river. I thought, naively no doubt, that there was a sort of general idea that riverfront developments should include such a route as a way of getting the Thames Path really along the Thames.

Deptford Dame said...

@Alan I don't think there is, as it would be difficult, perhaps impossible to create an access at the west end of the site where the retained facade is right up against the steps at Watergate Street. Even if a riverfront access were created, cyclists and pedestrians would have to come back inland to bypass the Master Shipwrights House. Also at the east end the river frontage is blocked by the Ahoy Centre. However I assume from the renderings that the public will have access to the river through the centre of the development, even if they can't access it from the two ends. Or perhaps I'm being naive, I haven't been able to look at the documents in detail as they aren't on the planning portal.

Anonymous said...

The river front areas will be public with a small gate into The Watergate so it will be a really interesting route and will not spoil the stairs that go down to the ferry and the jetty. It will be wonderful to have the atmosphere of the watergate back when the bracing structure comes down in a few months time.
The big question on this development is what is to become of the gallery space- it really could be a huge draw for Deptford if something interesting goes in there.
What is the future of the Mastershipwrights House in all this? It has been very quiet lately- has it been sold to a developer too?

martinohsk said...

I would expect the new riverfront promenade will be open to the public through the centre of the development as well due to the presence of the gallery space,studios,cafes and restaurants. They would never be able to survive otherwise.

Apart from the effect of the extra traffic which anyway will ultimately be dwarfed by the Convoys Wharf traffic volumes), this seems a great addition to the area and, at least to my eyes, looks like one of the best new builds in SE London currently.

Michael said...

Ha ha, I remember telling a friend I lived in 'West Greenwich' in the 1980s, as a joke. I don't think these people are smiling :-)

martinohsk said...

@Michael That's a nice irony. I'm no historian but according to Wikipedia the area used to be referred to as West Greenwich in the 18th century. These things change and who knows with the will of the developers behind it the name may well return to common usage.

David Riddle said...

Sometime on from the original post, but I was only investigating the proposals for this site today. My concern would be mainly about where anyone is going to park if they are visiting the restaurant/retail/art gallery. It is clearly not going to be allowed in the underground car park for non-residents.

mr t w tait said...

the name on the river front says Paynes Paper Wharf I know that Paynes Wharf was never used for storing paper onlr general cargo when Palmers owned it , then it was a plant for seperating the white of eggs from the yellow. Another mistake by the developers.Mr T W Tait ex docker