Thursday 27 August 2015

Hotel plans for Deptford High Street.

In eight years of delving into the annals of planning proposals in order to write this blog I've read some ludicrous proposals, but I have to say that this one pretty much takes the biscuit.

It's been rumoured for several years now that the owner of this unattractive block of flats next to Deptford station had plans to convert it into a hotel, but as yet there is nothing in the planning system. With a 'public exhibition' now in the offing in early September, it seems that the scheme could be moving forward.

The flyer says that the owner of the site, Masstrade, wants to redevelop the site and build 'a high quality design hotel, including ground floor lobby with active uses and an improved community space for Our Lady of the Assumption Church'.

It would be hard to make this already-pitiful building look attractive, but the photographer and poster designer seem to have conspired to grime it up as much as possible, presumably so that we all agree it would be a blessing if it were rapidly flattened. I'm not necessarily arguing against that; my soul seems to die a little every time my eyes are forced to alight on its cheap and badly-proportioned exterior, and it adds little aesthetic value to the streetscape.

But turn the flyer over and take a look at the 'high quality design hotel' that is being proposed. I wonder if Masstrade got the 'architect' from the previous post to do a bit of moonlighting for them?

My untutored eyes are telling me that this is not a building, it is a stack of Ikea Billy bookcases. I am quite convinced that's what it's modelled on in any case. It most certainly is not 'high quality design', in fact it is close to making the existing structure look accomplished.

Whatever the quality of the building, I fail to see how change of use to a hotel will improve on the current use  - the upper levels currently provide six flats and there are two shop units at ground level, which with some investment could surely be lucrative for the owner, being right next to the station.

A hotel?

Fundamentally I cannot see any logic for building a hotel slap bang in the middle of Deptford High Street. A rash of new hotels sprang up several years back on Deptford Broadway and surrounds in anticipation of Olympic fever - the huge Travelodge, Premier Inn and Mercure brands moving in within spitting distance of one another. The 'boutique' hotel slated for the Distillery development failed to materialise, and it turned into Staycity apartments. I've often remarked how bleak the 'hotel reception' makes this stretch of the highway.

But according to the flyer for Deptford High St, there are many benefits. For a start 'hotels tend to draw more of their employees from the local area than other types of businesses', which is the first time I've heard this stated as fact. Perhaps those people renting the new flats in The Deptford Project need some zero-hours, minimum-wage work to cover the mortgage?

'Guests will use local shops, restaurants and services' it claims, which I very much doubt. Unlike the residents who actually live in the existing flats.

'The building will provide a new meeting hall for the catholic church next door'. Probably because the church owns the land at the back (and the freehold of the entire site) and it's the only way the developer can persuade them to let him build half a dozen extra storeys on top of it. Don't be fooled into thinking he's doing this out of the goodness of his heart, or a love for Deptford community.

'Providing active ground floor uses. Adding to the vitality and vibrancy of the local area'. Leaving aside the grammar, my only comment would be: 'in the same way as Stay City?'

'Contributing to regeneration'. By replacing one ugly building (which incidentally is only about 20 years old) by a newer one.

'Delivering accommodation. Meeting the need for quality overnight accommodation in the area.'

I thought it would be a great opportunity to test the statement that there is a need for quality accommodation in the area. Thursday night in August, just ahead of the bank holiday weekend. Nearly 10pm. Would I be able to find a room locally when according to the developer there's a dearth of quality accommodation....?

For two people wanting a double room tonight, the following are available:
Staycity apartments  (£72)
Mercure Greenwich (£107)
Novotel Greenwich (£110)
Ibis (£89)
De Vere Devonport House (£88)
Premier Inn on Greenwich South St (£115)

I rest my case, m'lud.

Want to find out more? (or count how many Billy bookcases it takes to build a hotel)
Public exhibitions at the Deptford Lounge Foyer on Saturday 5th September (10am to 2pm) and Monday 7th September (4pm to 8pm).


Anonymous said...

Premier Inn Deptford South Stree?

Deptford Pudding said...

Someone told me today the new Premier Inn in Lewisham may be demolished before it'd completed, something to do with company finances and lack of sufficient foundations. Don't know how true that is?

Anonymous said...

I think a hotel is a good idea. It should provide actual employment and if there's a bar then something to add to the high street in the evening adjacent to the antic place. Also I'll reserve judgement on the appearance but the existing building is awful and the artist impression looks quite cool in the image. Deptford high Street needs change!

Unknown said...

Those prices suggest that there IS demand - if there wasn't demand it would be much cheaper - the likes of Travelodge have rooms for around £30 or £40 when there is no demand but £100 plus when there is high demand. I imagine these other hotels listed follow the same principle... If I was looking for a room in Deptford/Greenwich I would be having to look further afield to find a cheaper hotel in this instance!

Anonymous said...

Seems unfair dame, we should be welcoming investment, it's not all about Greenwich, glad money is coming to deptford

Anonymous said...

Fuck off you prat.

Gill said...

A dearth is a shortage, but your comment seems to say there's lots of available accomodation

Deptford Dame said...

@Gill you're right, that sentence could have been better written - I was referring to the claim by the flyer of a dearth of accommodation. I've rewritten it now to clarify.

Deptford Dame said...

@anon 10.03 ha ha sorry those plans for Deptford's world domination took over my subconscious. I have amended it...

Deptford Dame said...

@unknown of course the chains offer cheaper rates but as far as London is concerned, they are always further afield in the unpopular locations like Stratford or the Royal Docks. Adding another hotel in Deptford won't change the rates on offer locally - the fact that all the local chains have places available at short notice and yet are still charging high rates is proof of this.

ian said...

How wonderful! Come on developers, why not come and take a gigantic dump on our High Street?

Anonymous said...

It seems an improvement on the existing so from that point of view to be welcomed. However, a far better design could be achieved.

Anonymous said...

Think you got your words in the wrong order Ian. Now worries - I've corrected them for you...

How wonderful! Come on developers, why not come and take away the other dumps on our High Street?

Anonymous said...

Deptford high street is still a shit tip. The redevelopment of a run down eyesore strikes me as positive change. It might not be award winning architecture (it's deptford high street!) and it looks a damned sight better than what is there already. Plus, it means investment for the area and economic stimulus. Would you rather another metro ASDA, a bookies or pound shop - or perhaps for the existing building to continue its shabby presence and decline?

Anonymous said...

I think the Dame wants deptford to remain a rubbish dump forever.

Anonymous said...

I agree with both comments above.

I live in Greenwich and my girlfriend and I decided to check out Deptford high street on the weekend. Yep...It's still a shit hole and I won't be going back any time soon.

Deptford NEEDS this investment. Not just that but the building that currently stands there is awful!

I can't understand why anyone would be against it!

Nemo said...

I think what people in Deptford are against is being fobbed off with second rate tasteless rubbish that does nothing to improve local identity or even celebrate the rich culture and heritage of the area. I agree with the Dame in that there is little that is challenging in the image other than its blandness. Large chains rob out an area with the profits going elsewhere. All this will do is give Greenwich tourists somewhere marginally cheaper to kip with a short bus ride back to the tourist tat on the other side of Deptford Creek.
Anon 09:23 you do Deptford a disservice, if by shit-hole you are referring to the bookies and loan sharks then you are only correct in that. Deptford has been dumped on by outsiders for generations now. Poorly served by a remote borough council it has been seen as somewhere to put any issues that are problematic. It has accommodated waves of incomers without appropriate investment yet these people now contribute to its richness culturally. One way and another it has been the subject of misguided social engineering and cleansing as is going on now. None of the surrounding speculative developments are affordable to local people and no social housing is part of that plan. "Investment Opportunities" are marketed in Hong Kong using the vibrant artists community here, artists who will be given their marching orders as soon as these flats are sold. If that's what you want for Deptford I'd really rather you stayed in Greenwich.

Anonymous said...

I do regret using that term, but it just frustrates me that people seem to be so against change in Deptford. You must be looking through rose tinted glasses. It might have a great community but the place just looks so sad and neglected.

Yeah we get it, Deptford has a rich cultural history, but whether you like it or not the developers are coming and they will build as little social housing as possible.

I’m not against all new developments, however the proposed new hotel in this article is a vast improvement over the ugly, graffiti covered building currently occupying the space.

If a 99p store gets taken out in the process…even better.

Rusty said...

Has there been any thought given to those who live in these flats.

The shortage of affordable accomodation in the area is becoming ever more acute. Many of these people have lived in the area for years.

Homes before hotels!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the majority of the above in that I love the history of Deptford and the high street, but any investment such as the proposed hotel can only be a good thing to lift what are otherwise horrendous environs. The station refurbished has made a huge difference as will the revitalised arches and the new flats but the vast majority of the high street is tragic. I'd welcome this sort of investment over the status quo without hesitation. Until it happens it will continue to be the reason I, as a Deptford resident, will favour Rotherhithe, Greenwich and the West End over Deptford High Street for amenities.

Anonymous said...

I stayed at Staycity Deptford bridge a couple of times and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and the service is great. Staycity Deptford Bridge is really doing well and does justice to the area.