Tuesday, 25 November 2014

'Rise' marketing leaves Deptford unimpressed

'Rise' developer Cathedral Group seems to have waded into a shit storm in its cosy link up with overseas property investment company IP Global, which bought up all 120+ flats in the development being built next to Deptford Station and is currently flogging them off-plan to its overseas investors.

The property company's promotional video for the Deptford scheme - aka the Deptford Project - in which Martyn Evans, Creative Director of Cathedral Group explained how important the link-up was, because IP Global had such a good knowledge of the Asian market, was pulled from IP Global's You Tube account this morning after complaints from local residents*.

Until this morning IP Global had two films on its website - a 360 degree panorama of Deptford (which claims to have been made using 'drone technology' but looks more like they filmed it from the tower crane), and a promotional film with IP Global CEO Tim Murphy telling all that is great about investing in Deptford - now only the former remains. (See update below for a link to the film elsewhere)

(Believe me you didn't miss much in the latter, but you can probably get a good idea by reading IP Global's wincingly tired piece about Deptford that they published earlier this year when the deal was struck with Cathedral).

There has already been scrutiny of the marketing of these residential units, with Crosswhatfields blog pointing out last month that they were being pitched for more than half a million quid as buy to let investments.

Last week I came across the offending video, and tweeted about it with my comments:

The video was shared on various other places, including the Quay Point and Facebook's I Love Deptford group, where it caused mighty outrage and came to the attention of local resident Maria Livings.

She was so incensed she wrote to Cathedral Group CEO Richard Upton to complain about the company's crass marketing and make some very salient points about the housing issues that dominate our local area.

'The idea that this project is being sold to investors and that the coolness of artists is being touted as the reason why property prices are about to hurtle still further up is completely sickening. None of the interesting, creative people who have contributed to the vibrant culture of the area are able to afford to buy a home and their work spaces are being eliminated wholesale as developers buy up all the land to create yet more unaffordable housing. 

I am an artist/designer and have lived and worked in the area for over 30 years. Although I initially lived in a council flat on Pepys Estate I was able eventually to get a shared ownership home in which I still live. As a result of being part of this fascinating creative community I have become quite successful and have developed a thriving business. 

However, even though I am relatively well off there is no way I could afford to buy a home at today's prices. Where are the people who work in a coffee bar/Sainsbury's/school/garage in Deptford supposed to live? I don't suppose anyone at Cathedral knows or cares. 

You may live in a parallel Universe where moral and social considerations are not an issue and therefore have no interest in anything except making money. However you must know that public opposition to this tastelessly marketed development will be strong. You have made no friends amongst local people and ensured that the cool, friendly vibe that you are using to sell your development will be greatly diminished as a result of your poor grasp of the socio-economic realities of the area.'

The offending video was taken down this morning and Maria has been invited to meet with Cathedral Group to discuss her concerns. She is asking others to join her in writing to the council and meeting with Cathedral - details on the Facebook group.

Cathedral's strong presence in south east London, with developments such as The Mvmt (eugh) on Norman Road, and Morden Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula, not to mention their ongoing efforts to project a cuddly, fluffy not-like-every-other-property-developer image, presumably make them particularly sensitive to this kind of criticism.

Let's hope they aren't crass enough to try and exploit the meeting to their own advantage - the cynic in me suspects that they may see it as a good opportunity to get a well-respected local creative on their side, although something tells me Maria isn't the type to be taken in.

* Update: The film is still available for now on You Tube. If you enjoy watching a property developer salivating over the prospect of making shitloads of money, get there quick. But don't say I didn't warn you. 


Anonymous said...

I watched the video last week and actually thought it was quite good and positive for the area. I felt proud that the area I've grown up in is finally coming of age. It's a pity that those who shout loudest seem to get their way.

Anonymous said...

Troll? Not at all - I hold nothing but admiration for you Ms Dame...I'm an avid follower! It's just that when I watched the video it showed ALL of the benefits of living here - yes it touched on the art scene, but it also sang the praises of the vibrant market, the good transport links to London Bridge etc. I just think it's a pity that, when it covered so many plus points about what we have to offer it has been censored.

Deptford Dame said...

I think you're rather missing the point anon - it's not being used as a tourist information promo, or even as a pitch to get people to come and live here. If that was the case it might be excusable. The message of the film is very clearly that you can make shitloads of money through property investment in Deptford and you don't ever have to come here. The property prices (and no doubt the subsequent rentals) are well beyond the reach of your average Londoner, and having a whole block of buy-to-let does nothing to create a vibrant or long-term community spirit, especially under the short-term contracts that are common in the private rental market.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 10.07:"It's a pity that those who shout loudest seem to get their way." - nonsense! It's a true pity that those who have the most money and political influence always get their way, without the pesky unwashed getting a say at all. All that we can do is rely on people like bloggers raising the issue and, yes, shouting about it before it slips by in the mass of dodgy deals that are going through. This is not some argument about pressure groups, it's a real issue threatening London - overseas investors swallowing up London housing and letting it at extortionate rates to the wealthy, or letting it stand empty. This greatly exacerbates the housing problems ordinary people face and raises prices in the area still further. These homes hould be made availablke to those locally who need it - London is not an investment for wealthy speculators. The shouting may be unpleasant, but what else can people do? It's not half as unpleasant as watching your city get shafted yet again while a tiny minority add another pile of ill-gotten gold bars to their hoard.

Deptfordonian said...

It does bug me when I read Deptford residents want this, Deptford residents want that. It is not possible to speak for all Deptford residents so I do wish people would stop claiming to represent the views of all Deptford people. It is simply a view of a section of Deptford.

I don't disagree that many are unhappy, but this doesn't represent everyone's views who live and work in Deptford so please don't claim you have the voice of Deptford.

Admittedly I've 'only' lived here around 15 years, but I and others I know, positively welcome private investment into the area and acknowledge they will get a return on their investment to make this happen. I'm happy to live with this.

I also don't understand the argument that renters do nothing for the area to create a vibrant community spirit. Before I bought here I, like many, rented. Once more people see what the area has to offer (not just art), the more people will want to call it home and set down roots.

Anyway rant over...I just wanted to highlight that Deptford has a broad range of views so please can people not make sweeping judgements to claim they represent everyone.

A snippet I heard the other day that may be of interest...in addition to the Cafe Nero....we are also getting a large Costa Coffee on the High Street with outside seating...(and contrary to what people may think...I won't be swapping my Waiting Room coffee for it!)

Deptford Dame said...

'Deptford residents' is not claiming to be anything more than 'at least two people who live in Deptford'. Standard journalese. I leave comments open precisely so that others can respond.

My argument was not that renters do not contribute to an area, it was that buy to let investors whose only motive is profit will extract the highest rents they can, and the 6-month contracts that are the norm do nothing to encourage those renters to stay long-term in an area or 'invest' time and effort in a community.

My own experience of renting in the private sector for more than a decade in south east London was one of insecurity of tenure and constant worries about what next year's rent rise would be and whether my contract would be renewed every six months. Unfortunately this has only got worse in recent years and it's almost impossible to set down roots with any kind of certainty if you are renting.

Roy Tindle said...

Maria Livings makes a very important point that most others miss: this is happening throughout London, hence the problem. What happens when those who do the lowest paid jobs can no longer afford to even commute into London? Who will drive the buses or the trains, who will clean the offices, drive the delivery vans, repair electrical wiring and all the other jobs which are taken for granted?

The developers wont care, they will be long gone, but the incomers are going to have a big problem. The London Chamber of Commerce have made brief reference to this but it seems beyond Boris. It is also worth considering what happens when all of London's industrial land is converted to housing, taking a vast swath of essential goods and services with them.

Anonymous said...

"'ordinary', none-artistic people? WTF?

vesper said...

On the Saturday morning of London's Open House weekend, Dominic Dorin http://www.dominicdorin.com/ took a great photo of me shaking hands with Chris Langdon of Ardmore, who are the contractors for the Deptford Project, the developers for which are the Cathedral Group http://www.cathedralgroup.com/current-projects/the-deptford-project-2/ whose Head of Marketing, Penny Humphrey kindly gave me her business card on Deptford Town Square, as did Chris Langdon.

When I asked Cathedral's owner & Chief Executive Richard Upton for his card he looked down his nose at me, and said he didn't have one. I made Penny Humphrey laugh when I said "who cares he's not the Prince of Wales".

I recently attended THE HAWKSMOOR INTERNATIONAL OPEN LECTURE SERIES featuring Dan Walwin www.danwalwin.co.uk and FleaFollyArchitects www.fleafollyarchitects.com at the new Stephen Lawrence Gallery. The lectures brought together art and architecture as parts of the creative process, to which I added my own work, and that of the Civil Engineering Surveying profession when I gave 'Grimm City's Pascal of FleaFollyArchitects the October copy of CES magazine featuring the new President Ian Bush, and a Thames Gateway City Challenge legal update from me featuring the IPCC, Mayor Boris Johnson's MOPAC, the Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe and the Home Secretary. It's nearly 30 years since we called for the planning brief, for Deptford Power Station, and associated sites, to be changed from light industrial to HOUSING, HOUSING, HOUSING & A HOTEL, and Millennium Quay is now a reality.

Lewisham Deptford's Labour MP John Silkin backed our plans at inception, as did Frank Barber the Chairman of Governors at Addey & Stanhope School, and Father Diamond of Thomas Archer's (not Hawkmoor's) St Paul's C of E.

Addey & Stanhope School's Steve Pratt can confirm that Canon Diamond used my poetry to invite HRH the Prince of Wales to the opening of St Paul's Court, and we of course then became active participants in the associated VISION OF BRITAIN architecture debate involving Prince Charles, and his book of the same name:



Whatever you think of Prince Charles, it was his involvement with the real A Deo et Rege Deptford Project, involving St Paul's SE8 MATE, that raised the bar to the giddy architectural height that we have today with the Tory Starchitect Sir Terry of Farrells looking down on us from his proposed Convoys Wharf towers, and with The Labour Party's Starchitect Lord Rogers staking his claim on Deptford High Street too.

Next year it will be the 300th anniversary of the Stanhope half of Addey & Stanhope School. I think we should another send an invitation to HRH The Prince of Wales asking him to visit Deptford and join in the celebrations.


"Vesper" aka ROY HOBSON CInstCES1990, RICS 1984 (resigned 1989),Grad Dipl QS 1981.

Anonymous said...

when you've put your trumpet back in it's box, what point are you trying to make vesper?

Anonymous said...

The arrogance of the arty-farty is stifling; "We are cool, because artistic. You, ordinary low life, work harder and pay us a house!"
At least in the old days, great artists were ok with being poor.

vesper said...

@Anonymous my comment on the "'Rise' marketing leaves Deptford unimpressed" post by the wonderful Deptford Dame, was forwarded to Ann Potter the head teacher, and Harry Hart, the Chairman of Governors of Addey & Stanhope School as critical A Deo et Rege COMMUNITY UPDATE.

As well as providing information to the Deptford community, I hope that it clearly illustrates my contempt (more than unimpressed) for Cathedral's owner Richard Upton i.e When I asked Cathedral's owner & Chief Executive Richard Upton for his card he looked down his nose at me, and said he didn't have one. I made Penny Humphrey laugh when I said "who cares he's not the Prince of Wales".

I also believe, that it would be perfect timing for HRH The Prince of Wales to make another 'VISION OF BRITAIN' visit to Deptford in 2015.

Unknown said...

I hope every tenant claims maximum housing benefit, further pushing the whole rotten edifice that is the UK housing 'market' closer to the brink.

God help those fools that rent from overseas 'investors'. Priced out so having to rent at very high cost, waking up at 6am, paying extortionate transport fares to a job that hasn't given a payrise in 5 years, to come home late cookig your dinner in a tiny living room/kitchen open space pissing off the person watching TV (as its unimagineable to have decent sized kitchen AND living room in modern UK housing), before going to bed knackered to do it all again the next day. Maybe one day the majority of the young in the UK will see they're being fleeced massively.

Unknown said...

You think that that sounds a bit rubbish, but this wasn't intended as an open letter. I was trying to explain in my clumsy way to someone who seems to be trying to pander to those who are impressed by everything 'cool' and 'creative' that communities are made up of all kinds of people all of whom need homes, jobs etc. The idea of using artists as bait for overseas investors is cynical and actually ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

They've disabled the Facebook link to their fluff piece as well (in case you didn't know)

Anonymous said...

I live very close to this monstrosity, sold to us as being good for the neighbourhood but in fact just a monument to greed, an investment opportunity for rich people who live somewhere else. Nothing to do with us, except that it steals our space and skyline. Ugly, oversized, cynically marketed as something to do with art & creativity!

Anonymous said...

I will be one of the few (or perhaps only?) current Deptford resident living in Rise when it completes. Buying the property was an absolute nightmare, we had to go through a Hong Kong solicitor thanks to IPGlobal, most wouldn't easily navigate that process. In fact we only got it as I happened to enquire long before it was released to the UK market, at which point around 60% (or more?) of units had been sold as investment projects to overseas clients.

I think there is something dangerous happening to the London property market which in a basic way is wealthy investors buying up the housing stock, causing misery and friction when people are priced out, but there is a more subtle implication. Local people understand and care about the cultural/historic fabric of an area like Deptford. When investor landlords swing in from the other side of the world and have no knowledge or interest in this, developers are encouraged to care less too. So in a funny way Cathedrals preaching about SE8 as an artistic hub may be a good thing, although its most likely just a crass marketing technique to appeal to middle aged investors trying to find their inner banksy.

To stop lazy developments happening in the future, as a community we need to maintain a strong voice and lobby Lewisham, London Greater Authority Regeneration and Developers like Cathedral (and I can name a fair few that are a LOT worse) because there is potential for things to happen that make a much larger percentage of people happy. Everyone should be aware that Cathedral may have committed to ensuring locals are offered the commercial spaces first in Rise, unlike the resi units, which was only achieved through community action and dialogue.

Anonymous said...

NIMBYs out in force again here.

The hatred that the people of Deptford seemingly have for London's young people, to the extent they wish to deny them a home, is incredible.

Anonymous said...

The original video is online here:


Otherwise Vice have an edit:


Sophia said...

A message for the anonymous commenter who posted on 17th December 2014 about purchasing one of the flats - I would be really interested in hearing more about your experience for a research project I am doing on the Deptford Rise development as part of my degree.

If you happen to see this and are happy to talk to me, please drop me a message at sophialdoe@gmail.com.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing about "'Rise' marketing leaves Deptford unimpressed"............

Parker Buchanan - Houses for Rent in London

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