Friday 26 April 2013

Proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel - next part of the planning process

With Thames Water having now submitted the plans for its 'Supersewer' or Thames Tideway Tunnel to the Planning Inspectorate, members of the public and interested parties will be invited to make representations as part of the planning process.

You may remember that one of the preferred sites is the triangle of public land next to St Paul's Church, bounded by Coffey Street/Crossfields St and Deptford Church Street. The proposal is to dig a 17m diameter shaft here that will enable flow from the existing sewers to be intercepted and diverted into the new tunnel, so that it will no longer flow directly into the river.

If you're not sure how big 17m is, just pop along to Coffey Street and you'll see someone has helpfully marked it out using a small wicker fence.

In response to these plans, a pressure group Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart was set up (with a Facebook page here), and plans are afoot to establish a community garden on the Coffey Street site.

The group has raised concerns about the impact of the noise, dust, construction traffic and so on, on local residents and in particular on children in St Joseph's School, not to mention the loss of amenity during the construction process.

They are urging supporters to register with the Planning Inspectorate so that the strength of feeling by local residents can be fully expressed.

Their press release explains:
1) Everyone needs to register to the planning inspectorate. You can do this online or by phone and post. You must do this by 28th May 2013. If you are wanting to register by post you have to start the process in time to receive the form and send it back before 28th May 2013.

2) Please copy any MPs and politicians you think it would be useful to and ask them to register in our favour 

3) We must visit as many of the drop in centres as possible (sadly there is not one in Deptford) but we are fighting this. The details of this are outlined below 

4) Join our Facebook page at: I will be adding reminders of events and important campaign dates to this page. I will also try to email too of course! 

5) Watch out for a public meeting of our own that we are organising - this will be in the next two or three weeks. Fr Paul has kindly said that we can use the church.

People can register easily online at: or call the Inspectorate’s helpline: 0303 444 5000 for a printed registration form, which must be completed and returned by 28 May 2013.

Those who register will be entitled to provide evidence in writing to support their representation, to attend the Preliminary Meeting, to request an open floor hearing and to speak at other hearings where appropriate.

To help people understand how the process works, Planning Inspectorate staff will be holding drop-in events and presentations in the local area to answer questions and explain how to register and make a representation about the application.

Details of these meetings are available here however the closest to Deptford are in Tooley Street in London Bridge, or at City Hall.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Only nine?

The Wharf magazine has published a four-page spread (five if you count the cover) detailing 'Nine reasons why Deptford is staging a come-back'.

Yes, only nine. That flummoxed me a bit I'll admit. Not ten, or twelve, or five, but nine. What's more, none of them are related to Waitrose.

Please feel free to read it if you enjoy a bit of insubstantial fluff (one of the authors, after all, is the same individual who spent a night in the show flat at New Capital Quay and whose incisive article reported that it had lots of storage space and that the living area was 'flexible').

For those who would prefer to prise their kneecaps off with a spoon (but still have a nagging feeling they really need to know what these NINE reasons are) I shall explain:

1. Little Nan's Bar (probably the one thing mentioned in the article that truly counts as new).
2. Enclave Projects; the row of hard-to-let studios on the dark, cold, unattractive strip of Resolution Way. Now used for one-off events and temporary shows.
3. The Albany. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
4. Kids Love Ink. Times have changed folks. Gone are the days when the arrival of a tattoo shop (no matter how trendy) signalled that your street had finally hit rock bottom.
5. The Ahoy Centre. In Greenwich borough. (*Lights blue touch paper and retires*)
6. Deli X
7. Panda Panda
8. The Deptford Project
9. Big Red Pizzeria

So to recap: five eating and drinking places, a sailing charity, a tattoo parlour, some temporary events and a long-established theatre.

And in case you were in any danger of taking the whole thing too seriously (tell me you weren't?), I'll finish with this classic snippet.

Somehow we lost a century off our dockyard history.

Films, art and music (and a bit of food) in and around SE8

There's a whole host of cultural stuff kicking off in the next few weeks around Deptford - here's just a taster of what's on offer:

New Cross & Deptford free film festival
26 April - 5 May

There's an excellent line-up of free film showings in Deptford and New Cross venues ranging from an openair screening of Skyfall in Fordham Park to The House on Telegraph Hill which is very appropriately being shown at the Hill Station in Telegraph Hill.

The most unusual part of the festival looks like being the 'Light houses' which will be on show in the windows of certain houses in the roads around Telegraph Hill. A great excuse to peer into people's front rooms. Do take the map though, if you don't want to get into trouble with the neighbourhood watch.

There will be a rare screening of cult US underground 60s film,  Brand X  at Goldsmiths College Cinema on Monday 29 April, 7:30 pm (doors 7pm).  This film has been unavailable to the general public for over 40 years and isn’t currently available for general viewing.

Conceived and born between 1968 and early 1970, Brand X (Dir Wynn Chamberlain) uses simplistic television programming of that era as a frame to expose and ridicule the politics and taboos of the day.  Brand X is subversive in that it undermines and deconstructs broadcast TV so that your belief in its rationality is seriously challenged.

The film will be introduced by the director’s son, Sam Chamberlain, who will also be available to answer questions after the screening.

As well as showing some great films, the festival offers a fantastic excuse to get into some of the borough's more unusual venues, such as the former Deptford Town Hall, the King of Hearts Tattoo Parlour and the Sanford Housing Coop.

Most venues have limited capacity so tickets are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sound Tracks Festival
11 May

This music festival is based around the East London Line and features bands playing at venues near stops on the route, as well as acoustic performances on ELL trains from noon till 8pm.
Not strictly speaking free of charge - you need a wristband to access the venues and naturally you will have to pay for your ELL ticket to see the travelling bands.

Disappointingly the organisers seem to have focussed on the hip venues in Dalston, Hoxton and Peckham for the most part, with nothing around New Cross, although there are some acoustic bands performing at the wonderful Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe, and you can experience an 'audio-visual sensation inspired by the northern lights' at Canada Water Library.

Uzbekistan: cultural insights photography exhibition at the Stephen Lawrence Centre.
22 April - 19 June

An exhibition of pictures by amateur photographer Kurshid Raupov offers a view of Uzbekistan's rich heritage through the lives of ordinary people.
Unfortunately the exhibition is only open during weekday office hours.

Goldsmiths & Lewisham: shared histories
24 April - 3 May

The intertwined histories of Goldsmiths, University of London and its local community in Lewisham are to be explored in a special exhibition of works of art and historical artefacts across four sites in New Cross and Deptford.

The collaborative exhibition, organised by the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, in partnership with the Goldsmiths Art Collections and the Lewisham Local History Society, offers an insight into the area as a centre of creative work over the past century.

According to organiser Dr Jenny Doussan, Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths: "Such histories, produced by virtue of inhabiting the same space, are often forgotten, yet their presence remains in the sometimes invisible accumulation of objects that comprise our environs.

"The Shared Histories exhibition restores visibility to a few such histories, bringing the past into the present and connecting dislocated spaces."

Each of the four sites - Goldsmiths' New Academic Building and 310 New Cross Road, New Cross Learning, and The Albany in Deptford - will be linked by interactive technology 'We Curate' that allows collective browsing of objects across all four installations.
More information in the press release here.

Deptford Community Cookbook - live demonstrations on Saturdays

There will be live cooking demos of recipes from the Deptford Community Cookbook every Saturday on the market next to the Codfather fish shop from about 11am onwards. And live cooking demos samples!

Twitter account @deptfordmarket has more information (or alternatively follow @deptforddame for all your Deptford gossip and news!).

and finally (as they say)... classical music in a pub stylee

The Night Shift: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Amersham Arms
23 April

If you like classical music but hate the stuffy atmosphere of concert halls, this could well be for you. As the marketing blurb explains (in a somewhat flowery rhetoric): "The Night Shift returns to crush the rules of classical music like the fragile hearts of weeping Beliebers, for a night where audiences can drink, chat and clap when they want.

"With a programme also featuring classical A-Listers Handel and Purcell, it’s a rare opportunity to hear some of the world’s greatest composers played by top performers, in a relaxed pub atmosphere. Presented by James Redwood, the OAE players will also be improvising a new piece inspired by the music of the evening. There’ll even be a few drinking songs to finish the night off."

Saturday 20 April 2013

All change at Utrophia/The Job Centre

News that the high street's temporary art space Utrophia and adjoining shop Extra Bones have been given notice to quit from their location next to Poundland by the end of the month suggest that changes are in the offing.

When I broke the story in January that pubco Antic is planning to open a new pub in the former Job Centre, there was some debate about whether or not they would have to apply for change of use at the premises.

It turns out they do, and an application was submitted at around the same time for a change of use to a public house, along with a number of alterations to the building, the most significant being the creation of a roof terrace at the first floor level.

The planning application includes a rather faint line-drawing (above) and the standard elevation (below) which show little change to the look of the building aside from the addition of railings and a doorway at to give access to the roof terrace.

Considering that the building has residential properties at that level on both sides I would be surprised if this application has not attracted objections from the neighbours. Although Antic is proposing that outdoor areas will only be used up to 10pm (and they do police this same condition very strictly at the Royal Albert) I am not sure I would be happy with the loss of privacy and increase in noise that a new roof terrace would inevitably result in.

According to Lewisham's planning website (not so easy to use in its new format, I have to say) the target date for decision on this application is 30 April.

Sunday 14 April 2013

The saga of the Deptford Anchor

It seems that the powers that be waited until I was out of town for the weekend before digging out Deptford High Street's last remaining visible piece maritime history - perhaps fearing that I might chain myself to the anchor in an attempt to prevent its removal.

Clearly I am not the only one who is mourning its loss and fearing for its future - Crosswhatfields blog published a fitting tribute assessing the significance of its presence and the lack of other reminders of our dockyard heritage; I Love Deptford's Facebook page is a veritable stream of anguish voiced by all those who weren't aware of/hadn't taken any notice of the warning signs and public consultations; hell, even Brockley Central felt sufficiently moved to pronounce on the event - with what must surely be one of its most tenuous headline puns to date. 

At the site of the crime, flowers have been hung around the fences. Perhaps a vigil is planned?

In the meantime, if you have been following the story so far, you will know that Lewisham Council is 'working hard' to find a new position for the anchor.

It's a difficult one alright, there are so few options where there is the space and setting to do credit to such a potent symbol of our past.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Deptford (*ahem* Greenwich) Waitrose to open in June

If you haven't seen the immensely silly article in the Evening Standard's Homes & Property that we all had a good hoot at on Twitter and Facebook a couple of weeks ago, now might be a good time to do so. A health warning for anyone who recently had an operation, careful you don't split those stitches laughing.

You can marvel at the fact that Waitrose chose Deptford as a location for its new flagship store, and read the incredible first-hand comments from me and others, at least three of which have been lifted straight from this blog and other parts of the social media world. It looks as though someone actually spoke to Julia from Bearspace gallery, although I still wonder whether she knew what she was being interviewed for. You may also find yourself having a little giggle when you wonder what the Royal Borough of Greenwich thinks about having its new store relocated across the borough boundary.

My favourite bit of the article is "The company has concluded that Deptford will offer it “ABC1” customers of the sort it already serves in Belgravia, Bloomsbury, Marylebone and Canary Wharf, Blackheath and the prosperous end of Greenwich."

Oh my sides!

Of course it's nothing more than a puff piece for the latest housing developments in the area, namely Paynes & Borthwick, New Capital Quay, and the various Cathedral projects currently under construction or about to start.

In the meantime, thanks to a commenter on my previous post who prompted me to chase up, and confirm, the opening date of June 20th. Here's where I got the confirmation, and although jobs for the Greenwich store are not yet up there, if you are interested in applying you might want to dust off your CV.

Friday 5 April 2013

In a pikkle

On what seemed to be the coldest day of the year so far, two Saturdays ago, new food stall In a Pikkle had its debut on Deptford Market. According to its website, the firm is 'the UK's first artisan Barbadian food supplier'. Leaving aside what that claim actually means, and whether it is actually true, the food offering is definitely something a bit different to anything I've had before.

Considering the appalling weather, it wasn't the best day to be selling cold food - although I understand they also do fish cakes which is what I'll be trying next time! But the main offering is based on the Caribbean dish 'souse' which involves pickling meat and veg in lime juice, herbs and spices. It's usually made with pork and served in Barbados with black pudding and breadfruit.

The stall sells several versions, with chicken, fish, pork or shrimp as the main ingredients, as well as a veggie option with quinoa, lentils and something called freekeh which I had to Google. Prices are £5 for the shrimp option, a quid less for the others, and for that you also get a portion of spicy potato or green banana to go with it.

I tried the fish option, which was made with mackerel. Even on a cold day it warmed me up with a good level of spiciness from the Scotch bonnet chillies, crunch from the celery and cucumber, and the whole thing cut through with lime juice which went particularly well with the mackerel. There was quite a lot of juice left in the pot, and I found myself drinking up every drop it was so tasty.

I'm never going to love the name I'm afraid, the purist in me cringes every time I see those two ks next to each other, but I will probably manage to overlook it in favour of a tasty, healthy snack.

Deptford High Street work begins

With no sensible resolution yet of what will happen to the anchor at the south end of Deptford High Street - aside from the fact that it will 'go into storage' - work to remodel the south end of the street from Giffin St to Deptford Broadway has just begun.

Here's a reminder of what's planned, if you can't remember that far back, and here's the info on the council's website if you need more details.