Thursday, 15 January 2015

New riverside path finally on the horizon

On a morning pootle earlier this week I discovered that the riverside route from Wood Wharf through to New Crapital Quay is finally open! Yes, the much-misused cul-de-sac that used to serve as an impromptu rain shelter for fisherman, not to mention a venue for the misplaced youth of Greenwich, has finally achieved a more useful purpose. 

It's not much of a change at the moment, but does continue the traffic-free link a few hundred yards further towards Deptford. In due course there will be a new pub on the riverside as another stopping off point, but right now it's just a swathe of underwhelming public realm with more oddly-positioned seating (a view directly into someone's front room, anyone?).

From next Monday, of course, the route will continue still further with the opening of the new Deptford Creek swing bridge. The official opening takes place at 9am, for anyone who wants to attend and doesn't have a job to go to.


mickey dee said...

I have to laugh how these sort of things are 'launched' when most people are at work. Why not do it on a Saturday morning when the residents who will mostly use it (commuters etc) can go? Its the obvious stuff that bugs me!

Deptford Dame said...

Ha ha Mickey, when will you learn? It's not about you (the user) it's about them (the council officers, developers, councillors, mayor, etc - anyone who needs a jolly corporate photo for their next newsletter). I'm sure you'll see it on the front page of the next issue of Greenwich Time. Having said that, I am not sure I'd go along to witness the glad-handing in any case...

vesper said...

SOS SECURITY 999 for the 9am official opening of the bridge between SE8 -SE10 on Monday should be a Thames Gateway, City Challenge priority.

The Greenwich West Safer Neighbourhood Team will be holding a police drop-in surgery at the Hoy Kitchen today, 12-1pm. If you have any concerns or want to speak to the team about anything police related, just come along!

Here is a poem from my core work SONGS & DREAMS FOR SAD SISTER DEPTFORD

Anonymous said...

I heard that this is not the official opening, this is just the unofficial opening to get the thing open. The official proper one will be taking place in a few weeks.

vesper said...

@Anonymous 16 January 2015 at 12:30

Thanks for that, but I think I'll go anyway, just to check it out.

As it was the true 'A Deo et Rege' people of SE8 MATE, who set the whole regeneration process up for the Royal Borough of Greenwich at inception, it would be nice to be there at this highly symbolic completion.

I'm biased but I hope Charlie and not Boris gets the official gig.

Mickey Dee said...

Official versus Unofficial opening....pardon? Of a footbridge between a supermarket and an estate? Anyone got an envelope?!

vesper said...

@Micky Dee

Thirty years ago the uninspired light industrial planning brief for the old Deptford Power Station, and associated sites, lay uncared for, and gathering dust on the shelf of Greenwich Town Planning Department at John Humphreys House SE10.

True Deptford people involved HRH The Prince of Wales in an interactive debate, at the time his VISION OF BRITAIN book on architecture etc was in production. The Civic Trust appeared, both Greenwich & Lewisham Councils published their 'Turning the Tide' discussion document, that Jess Steel also used as the title for her book.

What followed grew into Thames Gateway, City Challenge, including the Peninsula.

I was once described as "the author of change" for the Deptford Power Station site by Roger Hepher FRICS, and for me and others who have been involved since inception,the new bridge between SE8 AND SE10 is the final piece of the infrastructure puzzle.

The bridge also represents much, much more than 'a footbridge between a supermarket and an estate'. New Capital Quay SE10 is linked to Millennium Quay SE8 MATE, which comprises a mixture of private, and social housing, plus The Ahoy Centre, the shops and St Nicholas the ancient Deptford Church where I was christened in 1956,where John Addey one of the founders of my old school Addey & Stanhope is buried.

It will be Addey & Stanhope's Founders Day on Thursday 5th March 2015, and this year we will be celebrating the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Stanhope School in 1715.

I'll gladly meet you face to face on site on Monday if you would like to discuss it further.

Kind regards

Roy Hobson aka "Vesper"

ROY HOBSON CInstCES1990, RICS1984 ,Grad Dipl QS 1981

mickey dee said...


Thats really interesting stuff, just googled imaged a picture of the old Deptford Power Station, what a giant. Wish I had a time machine sometimes.

OK, in that case, you are right. Its not just a footbridge between a supermarket and an estate (which in Ireland doesnt mean a social housing development like it does here, so apologies thats not what I meant).

I have not heard of that church before so I must combine a visit with a roast at the Dog & Bell :)

Anonymous said...

So, the bridge is open. Yay! unfortunately it appears that the people operating it are complete numpties. Just now I've seen the following: guys open swing bridge. Guys amble to creek road. Guys open creek road bridge. James prior boat passes through both bridges. Guys 'amble' (Defo no rushing) back to swing bridge and (hopefully) close it. Total time swing bridge open...around 25 minutes. This is SO unacceptable. Why should the public wait for 25 minutes?

The obvious solution is the following: open creek bridge. James prior boat comes through and waits whilst bridge guys amble to the swing bridge. Open swing bridge. Pass through. Close swing bridge. Swing bridge open for 2 mins. Ok this May inconvenience the James prior crew as they have to wait in between the bridges for a few minutes. But surely it's preferable for them to wait rather than the public?

It's nearly 28 minutes now and the swing bridge is only just going back into place. And my blood is boiling! Full sympathies for the people who are waiting to cross...hope they don't need a pee!

Jules said...

I recommend therapy before you have a seizure though as owner of a vessel that would need all three bridges open I too have issues over how fast the operatives may choose to walk. To reach the main river from my mooring I have to wait for the top of a spring tide to come afloat so as I move off the tide is already falling. I then have to hope that the guy sent up to open the Halfpenny hatch hasn't bumped into an old mate in Norman Rd (as happened previously) and that I'm not aground by the time he gets there. The same problem could occur at Creek Rd while I wait for him to stroll back as usually there's only one guy. I'm now quite relieved to hear that the new bridge is synchronised with Creek Rd as at least I will then be able to get out into deep water before the levels in the Creek threaten the safety of the ship. A ship which, incidentally, is 120yrs old and worth 200k.
It would have been good manners if Greenwich had consulted with boaters in Deptford at any time in the process which we requested on many occasions but I suppose the "Royal" title has gone to their heads.
One thing I think you should remember though is that the Creek is a "navigation" that right can only be removed by act of parliament. Priors keep 100's of truck movements off our roads. If I'm driving on Creek Rd I find myself willing the bridge to be opened giving the chance to kill the engine and chill out and watch the last example of real industry left in this area. If you're in that much of a hurry you could always use the Halfpenny Hatch.

Anonymous said...

@ Jules when you say "watch the last example of real industry left in this area"
I think you need to join the 21st century - the area is no longer an industrial area the same as Shad Thames is no longer an industrial area. Not saying bland yuppie flats and starbucks is better, but I think the 'deptford is industrial' boat sailed 30 years ago when the power station stopped functioning.

Creek Dweller said...

Hey Jules - where did your post go?

I enjoyed reading about how your £200,000 vessel deserves more rights than the rest of us tax payers living here now, and how you are justified and enjoy making us wait when the bridge goes up.

As anon says the boat has sailed...another nautical saying springs to mind... tide and time waits for no man.

Things move on and if people want to go pottering about on the river, try the Norfolk Broads and not the A200 artery into London!

Anonymous said...

Hi jules! lovely to hear from you. And lovely that you replied to my comment about the lack of joined up thinking with the bridge openings. Just a word of advice for you...recommending therapy is offensive. I was upset for the same reason you will be. Although I don't have a massive boat to worry about.

One thing you think 'I' should remember? Making assumptions much? You have no idea what I know. Just 'coz you has 'a pwetty costly boat in the cweek' doesn't mean you are more Important than anyone else. All residents near the creek are equal no??? (Clearly not in your view..)

You are clearly not very familiar with the creek area. Why would anyone go to the halfpenny hatch bridge if they're on the thames path? Number 1, unless they're local they won't find it, number 2 , it would take a long time to go there and then walk back to the thames! (Ooh lovely Norman road).

I'm all for Priors and keeping the industry. But we all know it's got a shelf life. Concrete dust and all that!

I was going to finish there but..,really, a £200,000 boat moored on the creek? You are having a laugh right???? And let's face it a dozen or so owners of boats do NOT trump the many tens of thousands of people who will use the creek bridges and may be inconvenienced with long waits. How many times do you actually sale your expensive boat? I'd guess once a year? Once every 2 years? I've overlooked the creek for 4 years now and have NEVER see a Boat movement except for the three Prior boats and a couple of dinghies.

We all want to see the creek alive with movement, and it can be, but it shouldn't be at the expense of closing the path for half an hour when joined up thinking and intelligence could mean closure for just a couple of minutes??????

Anonymous said...

You guys need to calm down, lol

I'm sure the million pound barge won't get destroyed in the 10 mins the guy takes to walk to other side, and also, as a pedestrian in a hurry what is stopping you from walking to the creek bridge: It was never a problem until this new bridge arrived? I find it hard to believe they they let that one open for 25 minutes as all traffic through the are passes by.

On topic, I like the bridge, think it's a great asset to the area!

I have another question, for Jules:
How does it work with mooring on the creek?
Can anyone buy a boat and place it wherever they want, or is there some authority you buy/rent a spot from? I saw some boats are even double or even tripe parked. Some seem to be abandoned years ago.

Deptford Dame said...

Getting back to the original topic, a very valid point was raised about the opening procedure. Why did Greenwich not specify a control system which would allow the footbridge to be opened from the control tower of the road bridge? I assume it would have cost more, but surely the council could have argued successfully for this on the grounds of minimising the inconvenience to users?

Another point is that I don't believe there are any moorings on the side of the creek between the two bridges, so there may be some navigational safety issues about requiring such large vessels to 'hang around' in the bit in between while the council staff saunter round to the other bridge.

I can certainly imagine how frustrating it must be for pedestrians heading to Greenwich station on their way to work.

Anonymous said...

There's no issue with the vessels sitting between the 2 bridges waiting. They often sit in the creek by the road bridge waiting for it to open.

Jeannette said...

As a pensioner who in the past has had to endure being on a boat waiting for a bridge to be lifted, in high winds and is not allowed to moor up, just how terrifying that is.

vesper said...

@Deptford Dame

I thoroughly enjoyed the opening event, and Tim and Meena of kindly took a photo of me titled 'First across the bridge from SE8', which they shared on my Roy Hobson facebook page, with the comment.. Good to meet you this morning! Tim & Meena.

Tim and Meena are both involved, with contemporary art practice, and the teaching of architecture at London South Bank University.

I shook hands with the Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Denise Hyland when we met at the centre of the bridge, and my loud, and proud "WELCOME TO DEPTFORD" comment brought smiles to a lot of knowing faces from SE8 MATE.

I then gave Cllr Matthew Pennycook, the Labour Party PPC for Greenwich, a hard copy of a fax sent to the Albany Deptford in September 2004, by Ben Bolgar, the Director of Architecture, at the Prince's Foundation (formerly HRH The Prince of Wales' Institute of Architecture), who have been involved with the planning development of the old Deptford Power Station and Creekside from inception.

David Knight, & Clare Taylor, the Engineers responsible for the bridge design, gave me their Flint Neill business card WWW, and Guy Forrester the architect for New Capital Quay, gave me a signed compliments slip from buj architects 22-24 Victoria Parade London SE10 9FR.

Anonymous said...

Vesper, who was the strange blonde lady shouting at you before the bridge opened? She seemed pretty irate! What happened??? God, I'm so nosy....

Jules said...

Oh dear ! I seem to have upset a lot of people. I'm sorry that wasn't the intention though from the resultant shit-storm there are a few points that need response.
Firstly the "therapy" I had in mind was something like a pint in the Dog & Bell perhaps I should have been more specific, though by the same token I doubt that the bridge operatives take kindly to being referred to as "numpties" they're just doing their job.
Re industry,I think the history of any area vastly important otherwise you never learn and I'm a firm believer that there is a place for modern sustainable industry in this area. Something has to provide employment for the vast numbers of in-comers after the property speculators have left.
I take the point about Priors but re-iterate the fact that they keep vast amounts of truck movements off the roads. It's worth considering that sand and gravel might not be what they carry in the future.
Now to answer the more personal stuff,as I don't hide behind "anonymous." I've lived on boats all my adult life so I'm well used to the inferences about tax so just to clear that up I pay council tax just like the rest of you. My running expenses are probably considerably more than most homes around here, particularly insurance so naturally I don't want the premium going up due to an incident caused by a bridge ! As to the £200,000 that would barely buy anything else here and that is an 'insurance' valuation. AND, I certainly do not see myself as superior in any way I just have a different lifestyle which I love.
You're absolutely right in that I rarely move my home though I have a smaller craft I take out quite often but all craft need maintenance and dry-docking so I am protective of that right of navigation. All the developers on the creek should be made by borough planners to use it for transport of demolition and construction materials, our roads are choked up enough already. There should be real permeability with the water-space rather than the bland rubbish spouted by developers. proper inter-tidal terracing, slipways for small craft, visitor and houseboat moorings, and maybe even barges as affordable studio space as nothing proposed on the land looks remotely affordable.
I think what depresses me most is how bland and "set in stone" our future is being made by property development in the area. I cannot imagine anyone in 50 years time fighting to protect even the "best" of what's being built now and it certainly won't have mellowed or changed.
To answer the last point, some of the craft in the creek "look abandoned" there are lots of issues here, some have had their access cut off by developers so even getting power tools on board is a challenge. Others are the living space for artists and students with bags of enthusiasm but little know-how or money but at least they're trying. there are a few that are just plain neglected -same in any community, but the biggest problem is lack of facilities. There are virtually no dry docking facilities on the main river, they've all had luxury housing built on them. The problem is so bad that for a time Thames Clippers were docking as far away as Lowestoft !
Anyway, hopefully that has taken some of the "Them and us" issues out of the discussion.

vesper said...

@Anonymous 21 January 2015 at 13:27

CQ (Capital Quay) are a relatively new company who have set up on Millennium Quay's Glaisher Street SE8, presumably to manage the letting, and sales of the new properties provided by Galliards in the New Capital Quay SE10 development.

I've spoken to the chap who works in there a few times, and on Monday I asked him if he could help me with a photocopy of the fax that Ben Bolgar, the Director of Architecture at the Prince's Foundation sent to me via the Albany Deptford in 2004, so that I could give it to Matthew Pennycook, as symbolic gesture of Unity when we met in the centre of the bridge, and also so that Matthew Pennycook could link up with Ben Bolgar, who has some great contacts going back to the Classic Architecture course that took place in Oxford, Rome and Villa Lante, and that had also taken me to St James's Palace, when I won a place on the course, for with my paper titled Deptford Temenos. I was trying to be creative, and put together a link that could be mutually beneficial for both SE8 and SE10.

Hard photocopy in hand, I was leaving the office when the lady told me to "shut up" because she was on the phone. I responded by saying to her that "we're trying to some business" for Deptford. I left the office, and the lady came out angrily telling that she was a director, and I had no right to talk to her like that i.e answer back. As she was walking back to the CQ office after giving me a telling off. I answered her back once again. This time she said nothing as I believe she realised that I was genuine, and not "just a thug".

I have a loud Deptford voice which once captained Blackheath Schools, and Kent U18s and sometimes it upsets people. I'm sorry if my loud voice disturbed the CQ lady director.

Anonymous said...

Cripes, she was very angry. She was practically chasing you! I thought you'd nearly run her over or something!

Glad it all blew over...

Anonymous said...

But Jules, I was really wondering, what do I have to do to get a mooring spot there. Or is nothing assigned and just come and go basis?

vesper said...

@ Anonymous 21 January 2015 at 18:33

I too, hope that is the end of the row with CQ's lady director, but in the past I've been fitted up after incidents like that, so I remain cautious, and my Deptford High Street Solicitor Macauley Smith & Co have been alerted to the latest Creekside developments, and I handed out their contact details to the team presenting the recent Creekside development exhibition in the Glass Room of the Laban Centre.

I passed the CQ business card, that was given to me on Monday by the other director, to Mr Bill Stone, the former Vice Chairman of the Larner Road Estate Residents Association in Erith, where a massive row involving Mayor Boris Johnson has erupted at the Erith end of London's Thames Gateway, City Challenge over the issues of greed driven land grab, and social cleansing.

The STAR LETTER from this week's Bexley News Shopper has further stimulated the debate

Today it reached the News Shopper's facebook page too

ChrisS said...

Thought you might like to know that the Royal borough have hijacked our Tudor Dockyard. In this week's Greenwich Time they report on the opening of the bridge and state "It has been built by Galliard Homes as part of their flagship New Capital Quay riverside development in Greenwich. Built on the site of King Henry VIII's original Tudor dockyard .... etc. I have contacted them to point out their error - it will be interesting to see if they print a correction!