Tuesday 1 April 2014

Mayor seals the deal for Deptford's high-density future

Very much as expected, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson yesterday granted approval for Hutchison Whampoa's ambitious plans to shoe-horn 3,500 new homes into the former royal dockyard site on the Deptford waterfront.

The entire hearing was filmed and if you have the stamina and love to see our great democracy* in action, you can watch it in its full three-hour-plus glory on the mayor's webcast site  but I wouldn't recommend it. Not sure if it's a Mac thing or my broadband or what, but the quality of picture I get is very poor.

Being a consummate politician, Boris makes a great play of listening carefully to all the objections (yes, even Dave Fleming!) and he does ask a lot of questions, but there are some quite obvious moments where he fails to pursue the investigation to its natural end, raising suspicions that it is mostly for show. He'd already decided, I think we all know that.

Even his 'decision' to incorporate two further conditions into the approval, purporting to support the community-led Lenox Project and Sayes Court Garden CIC, strike me as nothing more than a bit of good news with which to gloss over the approval of a development with tall towers, high density housing, appalling public transport connections and too many car parking spaces.

Architect Terry Farrell also attended the hearing - having not been seen since the famous 'build from the  ground-up' pledge on the first open day - and fresh from his unveiling of the Farrell Review which he worked on for the government. Conflict of interest? Can't think what you mean!

*I use the term ironically of course. One man with the power to make a decision which will irrevocably change the lives of many, and not in a good way.


vesper said...

Thank you for this Deptford Dame.

Here is what I put on my facebook page yesterday (https://www.facebook.com/roy.hobson.965)

"Jam lucis orto sidere"

Yesterday I attended the Convoys Wharf, Deptford representation hearing at City Hall. Mayor Boris Johnson presided over the hearing and he attempted to grab an area of the existing Sayes Court park from Lewisham Council, to relieve the developer Hutchison Whampoa from pressure exerted by the National Trust to make 1 hectare of the Convoys site available to the community group who require that as a minimum for the historically connected horticultural project that they wish to develop.

Mayor Johnson must also decide on what form the Build the Lenox project must take as Julian Kingston seems to be demanding a costly river connection to the Olympia Building for his flagship project.

Dame Joan Ruddock provided the heavyweight political opposition to Mayor Johnson's heavy ultra right wing stance, and I backed Joan to the hilt by giving her an update with regard to my individual Thames Gateway, City Challenge legal case development involving Deptford High Street Solicitor Macauley Smith & Co, who have been instrumental in helping me overturn MOPAC's attempts at burying the A Deo et Rege case for the defence against NF/BNP entry-ism into London's Sporting/Planning Arena 1991-2014.

I provided the Sir Terry Farrell of the RIBA London Architects Farrells with exactly the same information that I had given to Dame Joan, and I told him to "give it to his solicitor" after he had asked me "what to do with it"?

Anonymous said...

Glad to see something is being developed there. I actually am of the opinion this will be good for Deptford people and businesses.

Regarding the 'democracy' statement, at least Boris was voted for, and this way Londoners have had a say. Don't think it would be wise to always follow the local NIMBY's (the ones with the loudest mouth) who oppose anything being developed, leaving the dump the way it is.

I do of course appreciate the investigations on this site and agree with some of the concerns regarding this specific development. Let's hope the traffic issue will not be as bad as predicted!

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Lewisham council was also voted for but this group of elected representatives was overruled and taken over by one Tory (voted for by a low percentage of Londoners) with a pro-billionaire mentality, who called it in. I didn't hear of anyone saying the site should be left the way it is, just that the development needed to be done properly and reflecting local people's needs and views, not just those of a billionaire property tycoon. Your NIMBY argument is a red herring - we all care about our backyard and want things done properly. The loudest voices seem to be the developers here. This means it would be much better to have something other than yet more thousands of luxury flats as tenth homes for Hong Kong businessmen, along with a massive great tower that we all have to look at wherever we go to remind us of who has the real power.

vesper said...

Dame Joan Ruddock was, and has been returned as Lewisham Deptford's MP since she replaced the late, and much loved John Silkin MP for Deptford, and then Lewisham Deptford, who died in office.

Joan came to Deptford with the blessing of the late Labour Party leader Michael Foot, who spoke passionately on her behalf at a CND UNDERNEATH THE ARCHES meeting, that also involved Bruce Kent (who was still then a Monsignor).

Joan bravely challenged Mayor Boris Johnson in his own bear pit last Monday, and she walked away with an envelope in her handbag, that proved conclusively, that in the build-up to the Convoys Wharf, Deptford representation hearing at City Hall last Monday Stephen Greenhalgh Boris Johnson's Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, who heads MOPAC, tried to cover-up my individual Deptford orientated legal case for the defence against NF/BNP entry-ism into London's Sporting/Planning Arena 1991-2014.

My Deptford High Street Solicitor Macauley Smith & Co can confirm that the IPCC have backed my case and ordered an investigation the actions, or should I say non actions of Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe the Met Commissioner of Police under the heading CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE. I think that alone should be enough to totally discredit Mayor Boris Johnson's administration, but if it is not then perhaps the London Green Party could start an appeal against Boris Johnson's ultra greedy attempt to force Lewisham Council to hand over land from the existing Sayes Court park.


Adam said...

Very pleased that this has been given the greenlight. The area has been looking like a wasteland for years, and once re-developed will be excellent for Deptford and it's local businesses. Seems to me that some people just don't like change and progress.

Anonymous said...

Depends how you define "progress". If giant phallic 40-storey towers for rich overseas tycoons, no new public transport infrastructure, and almost no "affordable" housing are what you think of as progress then OK. Would much prefer something for local people like affordable homes and a more thoughtful building design that doesn't overwhelm everythign for miles, rather than yet more luxury ivory towers for the 1%.

Deptford Dame said...

@anon 13.26 the london-wide turnout for Boris's election was 38%, and of that 38%, just 44% gave Boris their first vote. By my calculations he was supported by little more than 16% of the London electorate. Very few of them were local voters - in the Greenwich & Lewisham constituency, the one which will be most heavily impacted by the development, he polled two thirds of what Ken Livingstone did.

I wouldn't give a shit if he was just buffooning around making people laugh but the position wields incredible power and influence.

Andrea said...

As much as I despise Boris Johnson, I don't think there is any case to be made for his election being undemocratic. Boris isn't responsible for voter apathy or the electoral system that allowed him to be elected.

Anonymous said...

Well said AP.

I walked through Deptford high street on the way home last night and it really is a complete sh*t hole.

vesper said...

@anon 3 April 2014 09:23 you obviously don't know Deptford High Street, or its people very well.

I visited my Solicitor Macauley Smith & Co in Deptford High Street on Monday 31st March 2014 before attending the Convoys Wharf, Deptford representation hearing at City Hall.

I gave Paul Macauley my Solicitor, and my QC Joanna Hardy latest details of my Deptford orientated legal case involving the IPCC, MOPAC, and the Met Commissioner of Police Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

I was given a number of business cards by Macauley Smith office staff which I then distributed strategically between the office in Deptford High Street and City Hall.

Once I arrived inside City Hall, Boris Johnson's security team tried to bully me when I was surveying the room on the 2nd floor where the hearing was to take place. After the front line security guard told me that "somebody tried to throw water over the old man recently" a reference to Mayor Johnson, I gave him a Macauley Smith business card in response to his obvious judgement of what somebody like me was capable of.

I also gave the card to a young pregnant black woman, who now works for MOPAC, but who used to be employed as Front of House Manager at the Albany 2002/3. She was accompanied by a retired judge in wheelchair who I also carded after we discussed my case which also involves Lord Chief Justice Goldring who is currently dealing with the Hillsborough Inquiry.

Others were carded too, and both Dame Joan Ruddock and Sir Terry Farrell were given the same case updates as Macauley Smith of Deptford High Street.

Anonymous said...

You can subdivide the count the way you want, (of course if you'd count enough candidates, everybody people's first choice would be their own grandmother) but in the end Boris had 51.5% of the vote opposed to 48.5%. I'm not here to defend his policies but that is more Londoners voting for him than for Lewisham.

Maybe I'm one of the people you guys despise since I live in one of the newer developments in Greenwich (and I'm even a foreigner as well, blimey!).

Just to let you know, we are not all millionaire investors, just normal people with normal jobs. Spending money in the local shops, and paying (a lot of) taxes so that other people can live in the (next to) free housing that is build because of these sort of developments.

I don't get why locals would need to have equal say in the development as the developers actually paying for it. Money has to come from somewhere! The rest of Deptford was all build by 'the people' (council estates) and look how pretty they are!
Compared to other countries, the UK has a huge amount of affordable housing. You can block new developments all you want, but they are the only ones providing for some relieve on the housing market. (plus the ones providing for money to build affordable housing)

Instead being negative upfront, be happy this is a desired area get some investment in, and hopefully that in its turn will also improve transport options in that area.

All the best,
(anon 13.26)

Anonymous said...


I never mentioned the people.

If the station wasn't closer to where I live I'd never go to Deptford. Unless of course I wanted some fried food, place a bet or visit a 99p store.

Without investments like Convoys Wharf Deptford will just get left to rot while the rest of London evolves and improves.

vesper said...

@anon 3 April 2014 10:34

Dame Joan Ruddock's idea of evolution and improvement , are very different from Mayor Boris Johnson's idea of evolution and improvement.

For me as a Deptford born man with a Deptford High Street Solicitor I would give Dame Joan 999 marks out of 1000, but the BEASTLY BORIS would only get 666.

Have you ever visited "the pearl in the heart of Deptford" aka St Paul's C of E Church in Deptford High Street?

Anonymous said...

Agree with..

Glad to see something is being developed there. I actually am of the opinion this will be good for Deptford people and businesses


Anonymous said...


No I haven't, but will be sure to check it out.

It just frustrates me because I believe Deptford has so much potential but it looks so run down and dirty. Walking home last night I was discusted by the amount of rubbish on the street, especially by the church on Crossfield / Coffey streets.

Ok Convoys Wharf isn't the most imaginative looking development but at least it'll bring investment to Deptford.

London is growing, and Deptford is fast becoming an attractive place to live. I can't understand why some people are so against change. Anything that has the potential to improve the state of Deptford, and the high street in particular gets the thumbs up from me.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 10.27
"The rest of Deptford was all build by 'the people' (council estates) and look how pretty they are!"
- OK, so thanks for the giant 40 storey glass and metal tower looming over the whole area, what an improvement, not. And so kind of you to let some of your wealth trickle down onto us riff-raff with our common ways and unsightly streets. We will stay out of sight when you leave your tower and hope to one day get a job polishing your Mercedes. Houses will now be really affordable thanks to your kindness. We're SO grateful.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11.00
I hear what you are saying but I don't think the way to improve Deptford, reduce litter etc is to build luxury towers for the elite few. Something a little more of a compromise would have been better and sustainable, with more connections to the community, rather than separating the rich from the poor. Eventually the poor (aka most people) will be priced out as Deptford becomes fashionable, but I guess the developers won't care about that.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 11.04

Again, I haven't mentioned the people once, and I haven't judged anyone so don't judge me. It doesn't matter where I live or what car I have, my point of view doesn't change.

Who wants a dirty street full of 99p stores, bookies and nasty takeaways?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 11.09

Separating the rich from the poor isn't the issue. The issue is that London needs more homes. Building towers is simply an economical way of fitting more flats into the same space.

I'm not sure that 'the elite few' is the right term. There will be 3,500 new flats, most of which I predict (who buy) to go to first time buyers looking to get onto the property ladder.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 11:04

Sad that you immediately interpret my view as elitist and presumptuous, and going on about 'those rich people'. So much for new people trying to fit in to a local society. I don't have a car by the way.

Of course you can debate about the look of different architecture, but you don't convince me you really like the look of this:



It seems to be less and less a discussion about how things can be improved but rather pure envy.

(anon 10:27)

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 11:44

Thank you.

Seems some people are just stuck in their ways and can't stand to see improvement.

Anon 11:18

vesper said...

@anon 3 April 2014 11:00 I was born in Deptford in 1956, and grew up at 179 Deptford Church Street surrounded by bomb sites, which then went on to become scrap metal yards, and rubbish dumps.

We have fought for decades to improve this environment using the classic architecture of St Paul's SE8 as the archetypal catalyst in an international architectural debate which has given birth to Millennium Quay, the Laban, the Deptford Lounge etc, etc.

You can have regeneration with a HEART N SOUL that is linked in continuity to the democratic past, and hopes and dreams for a better future, or you can have regeneration which is driven solely by greed and the desire for profit.

To describe Deptford as 'a complete sh*t hole' is to insult everybody who truly loves the place, and who like Dame Joan Ruddock has worked tirelessly to bring improvements that have led the way from inception for the whole Thames Gateway, City Challenge initiative.

These pictures show a neglected Convoys site, that was once owned by the odious Rupert Murdoch and the same News International PLC who hacked into Milly Dowlers phone :



True Deptford people want to get the right development incorporating our HEART N SOUL, and not the development forced down our throat by the abusers who have controlled the destiny of Convoys Wharf in the past.

As I said to the architect Sir Terry Farrell last Monday at City Hall, the most valuable thing that he & the RIBA can bring to Convoys Wharf is "JUSTICE", and both he and Dame Joan Ruddock now have full contemporary Deptford High Street details of Deptford's unique JUSTICE NOT VENGEANCE case that forms the real life drama backdrop to this http://londonist.com/2014/04/new-towers-in-deptford-and-city-road-approved.php

Ben said...

How many people actually bothered to vote for the mayor is irrelevant. If they don't decide to cast their ballot, I'm not sure they can then complain that only X% voted him into office.

LEE said...

"How many people actually bothered to vote for the mayor is irrelevant"

- No it's not! The issue is one man taking control of a massive developemnt that will affect a huge area and many, many people for generations to come. How can just one individual be responsible for all this and have so much power? One man took over this application from the local council, which represent the people of the area most affected. I doubt Boris has even been to Deptford or Lewisham more than once or twice in his life. And if a lot of people didn't bother to vote then maybe they didn't think any of the candidates were worth voting for - so even less reason that one of these undesirables should wield so much power over the whole area. For all its faults, at least the council is a group of elected representatives for the area concerned, not just one man with little knowledge of the place.

As for the 99p shop comment somewhere earlier, well sure it's a bit scruffy but at least at the moment basic groceries are cheap for the kind of people already here - those who won't be living in the luxury apartments. Once the gentrification of Deptford gets going it'll be a familiar pattern of rent hikes, posh restaurants and boutiques and anything affordable will be priced out.

vesper said...

@LEE well said, and when did Deptford people ever have a Tory MP or Councillor who went to Eton.

Boris Johnson removed Sir Ian Blair Tarique Ghaffur from the Met Police at a critical time.

He got rid of the MPA, and Stephen Greenhalgh his Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime tried to bury my own legal case 1991-2014.

vesper said...

I received this email today at 2.58 pm from Graham Clements, who was Mayor Boris Johnson's mouthpiece at City Hall on the 31st March 2014.It is clear to me that Mayor Johnson has completely failed to take the serious, contemporary Thames Gateway, City Challenge legal issues relating to London's regeneration (Erith to Deptford)into consideration. No wonder he exited the room so quickly to get away from me.

Dear Mr Hobson

Thank you for your email of 12 March 2014 (and subsequent emails of 18, 27 and 29 March 2014) making representations to the Mayor of London on the planning application at the Convoys Wharf site in Deptford.

Your representations, and those of Rt Hon Dame Joan Ruddock MP which you refer to, were brought to the attention of the Mayor when he came to consider this case. A summary of all the issues raised following local neighbourhood consultation was published within the GLA's Representation Hearing report (available to view here:

The Mayor fully considered issues associated with the heritage assets at and around the site (along with all other material planning issues associated with the case) at a public Representation Hearing on 31 March 2014, and decided to approve the application subject to planning conditions and conclusion of a section 106 legal agreement.

Work is now underway on the detailed drafting of the section 106 legal agreement that will accompany this decision. In due course the agreement, and the decision notice with planning conditions, will be published on the GLA website here: www.london.gov.uk/priorities/planning/public-hearings/convoys-wharf.

Yours sincerely

Graham Clements

Senior Strategic Planner | Development & Projects | Development, Enterprise & Environment
GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY | 4th Floor, City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA

NB I, Roy Hobson have today left an update with regard to my individual legal case involving the Mayor's Office here on Darren Johnson AM's facebook page https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10152407704289225&id=48877979224&stream_ref=10

On the 31st March 2014 after London Mayor Boris Johnson had disappeared Lewisham's Mayor Sir Steve Bullock said to me "keep on, keeping on". I will Steve, I will "UNDER ATTACK, WE FIGHT BACK".

Reluctant to give up said...

Does anyone know if this is the end of the fight or if there is any legal ground to contest BJ's decision??

vesper said...

@Reluctant to give up... after the Convoys Wharf, Deptford representation hearing at City Hall, Lewisham's Mayor Sir Steve Bullock told me to "keep on, keeping on", which is exactly what the Sayes Court Garden and Build the Lenox teams will continue to do with the backing of Dame Joan Ruddock MP.

As a qualified, sole principle in private practice, who has been involved with the Thames Gateway, City Challenge regeneration of Deptford, and London for 30 years, my individual challenge to Mayor Boris Johnson's City Hall came into perfect focus yesterday morning, when I received a letter from MOPAC's Jason Collins Professional Standards Team ref MOPAC/12/RH21 dated 8th April 2014.

Here is the letter to the IPCC that I fired off immediately by way of response :


Your ref No 2013/004376 : Police ref MOPAC/12/RH21

I enclose a copy of a letter dated 8th April 2014 from Jason Collins of MOPAC's Professional Standards Team, that I received today, the content of which is self explanatory.

To say that the Met Police and MOPAC are stonewalling is an understatement, but unlike the Met Police I don't shred files, and examination of my files reveal that quite simply Jason Collins is lying.

My case was referred to the Met Commissioner's Office by John Austin the former MP for Erith & Thamesmead as long ago as John's letter dated 23rd November 2004 (see enclosed). This matter then proceeded in due course to the Royal Courts of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, Administrative Court, between THE QUEEN on the application of Roy Hobson Claimant, and the IPCC Defendant, and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Interested Party. On the 28th February 2007 in Court No 1, the Honourable Mr Justice Goldring (now Lord Chief Justice Goldring dealing with the Hillsborough Inquiry) found in my favour against both the IPCC represented by Jeremy Johnson,and Sir Ian Blair the Met Commissioner represented by Jason Beer.

My arrest on the 30th October 2011 is directly connected to the above events, and reference is made to the full picture in my interview tape with PC Monahan that also included my Thames Gateway, City Challenge interactions with HRH The Prince of Wales during the course of my consultancy work and associated trials.

Please provide me with the necessary appeal form against this latest non-investigation.

I have provided you with everything you need to know in this letter with its associated enclosures to prove that the Met Police and MOPAC are dishonest and actively participating in a CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE 1991-2014.

Yours sincerely

ROY HOBSON CInstCES 1990 Grad Dipl QS 1981 aka "Vesper"