Wednesday 2 September 2015

Murky goings on in Creekside

It's coming up to three months since Deptford's Big Red Pizza bus abruptly closed its doors for 'refurbishment'. If you are waiting for it to reopen, I suggest you don't hold your breath.

Despite the fact that the service was occasionally shambolic and the toilets none too clean - not to mention the removal of my favourite chorizo and morcilla pizza from the menu a couple of years ago - I still enjoyed my visits and the pizzas were always worth the trip.

Its success was largely down to the staff, serving up consistently good food and being welcoming and helpful in accommodating whatever was thrown at them.

The closure was sudden and unplanned - not how 'refurbishment' usually happens - they even had to cancel bookings for Fathers Day which they'd been promoting only a day or two earlier.

Just a few days later came the sudden closure.

Since then the Twitter feed has been one a long string of increasingly-plaintive claims that there will be 'news' soon, and links to the website where you can sign up for their mailing list in order to be the first to hear about the 'exciting new developments'. I'm starting to wonder how long the person doing the feed can keep this up for.

What's more, if you have been past the Big Red recently, you'll be forgiven for thinking "what refurbishments?!" No sign of life, never mind refurbishments, within the ramshackle enclosure - if you don't count the rats of course.

So, what the fuck is going on?

Landowner John Cierach was the sole director of the operating company, Busbar Ltd, when it went into voluntary liquidation on 9 June. Staff were sent home without proper redundancy pay or compensation, some of them having worked there from the start. The winding up details say that the company owed £230k; according to the statement of affairs, some £78k of this was owed to Cierach himself, and some £85k to a company called Meredale (director J Cierach, secretary Mrs F Cierach) in lieu of rent.

Busbar Ltd also owed £30k to HMRC in income tax and £45k in VAT, as well as being in debt to EDF Energy to the tune of almost £10k. Not a happy state of affairs if you are planning to reopen a business any time soon. But a new company Bus2bar Ltd was registered in April (director Anthony John Mark Cierach) and maybe it is only a matter of time till the Big Red rises phoenix-like from the ashes. I don't know enough about corporate fraud or the insolvency laws to comment further, but there's a strong whiff of something dodgy going on if you ask me.

Cierach not only owns the business and the land on which the Big Red Pizza bus is parked (most of it at least, although I understand it does encroach over the Birds Nest's boundary), he also owns 2 Creekside (the big yard behind the Birds Nest pub) and 3 Creekside, site of the old Medina print works across the road. The latter is actually owned by a company called Grestar Ltd (directors Anthony John Mark Cierach and Fiona Cierach).

He has aspirations to develop all of this land, but his aspirations occasionally suffer from a lack of practicality - some might say they are even borderline delusional. Anyone want to buy a new flat under the DLR viaduct?

Maybe not even Cierach believes he will get permission for a large residential development at number 2, but his latest wheeze is that he is going to establish a Shoreditch boxpark market thingy on the land. All the paying tenants have moved elsewhere, and the yard that remains is a jumble of rubbish and discarded crap. If his ramshackle extensions and additions to the pizza bus are anything to go by, he is not known for his quality building work, so don't expect Deptford Boxpark to look anything like this.

For a start, there is a whole heap of shit still to be cleared out of the yard. Probably best to wait for that to happen first, before signing a lease on a new pop-up designer boutique container shop thingy.


Anonymous said...

Looks an ideal site for a boutique hotel :-)

Anonymous said...

lol that sounds so dodgy

Anonymous said...

Office units fors start up businesses. It's what everyone else is doing.

Unknown said...

I thought he owned the Birds Nest now? Or am I wrong.

I seem to remember the guy who runs the Lewisham Model Market and other pop up food/drink places muttering something about Deptford a while back, maybe it's that..

Deptford Dame said...

@unknown I was told that he tried to buy the Bird's Nest but did no succeed.

Anonymous said...

Cierach is a busted wigged out twit. He was and always will be in it for the money.
In feel so sorry for those that believed in his crap. The bus was good but his only interest
was to create a feel good vibe he could pitch at lewisham planning,.

Deptford Dame has him bang to rights.

Anonymous said...

Great posting. Bang on the money. Well done, DD.

Anonymous said...

Nice to read some researched facts instead of the wealth of rumours that have been flying about. Like you, I know little about fraud issues but it amazes me that the police are not involved. Left to his own devices it seems that Mr Cierach is indulging in standard developer behaviour by turning his properties into a health-hazard just prior to some, no doubt inappropriate, planning application, "that will make all these problems go away"
Hopefully, planner naievty is not so "sweetener" driven these days.
I hear that he's planning to evict the boaters too, more on the housing list is just what the borough needs !

Anonymous said...

Sorry to shatter your hopes for a cynical conspiracy ;-) The project is under new management! The clear out and surveying is taking a little while, because it was pretty chaotic. Number3 (the venue) Number 2 (the yard) and Big Red are under new management. Project aim: A combination of affordable commercial space for start-ups, hire space for events, Music, Art, Production, set building etc etc. Big Red to house pop-ups from street food businesses. Site wide, a general clean up and make good.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the new managers repeated illegal eviction attempts played a part in how "Chaotic" things are? Possibly attempting to barge into peoples homes with angle grinders then being sent away by the police isn't a good way to ingratiate themselves with a new community?

This new management team will be same ole' same ole'. They'll fuck over everyone who's here already and attempt to sell the soul of the area piecemeal to the highest bidder. Once the old ruffians have been cleared away and a steady stream of ridiculous Pop Up Eateries have brought the right amount of overpaid idiots to the area, the planning application for the inevitable block of flats will be handed to Lewisham Council, and yet another creative area will be turned into an eyesore tower of luxury apartments being exclusively advertised in Hong Kong. Fucking brilliant.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 6 sept.
So new management but not a new landowner? If x other companies owned by the same person in question are not bankrupt but the "management" part of one of them doesn't pay any bills, how is that not murky?

@Anon 7 sept.
You can sure deduce a lot from one half statement, that some change is coming to the neighbourhood. Eat less lemons!

Anonymous said...

This is the beginning of progress on deptford high street. Hopefully it will gentrify the street beyond poundland, betting shops and dodgy butchers. All for it as it will give confidence to better develoeprrs.

John said...

Dear anonymous at 20:14

Have you ever visited Deptford? Read the blog post. The site under discussion is NOT on Deptford High Street ...

Brockley Nick said...

It might be germane to the discussion to note that Fleischmob are confirmed to be taking over the site through to the end of the year. Sounds pretty cool. Details here:

Deptford Dame said...

Thanks Nick for that update, I did see the mention on Twitter. If it comes off it could provide a temporary fix. Does beg the question what happened to the refurbishment that they have been tweeting about for three months?

Anonymous said...

Deptford Dame are you ever happy with anything in Deptford? You moan a LOT are way too cynical and frankly sound a bit tired of it all. Just move or shut the fuck up you miserable twat.

Anonymous said...

Bit much, you don't have to read her blog.

Anonymous said...

Anon 20:35 Going by your rude and uncouth contribution one might suspect that you are one of the "new management" or maybe even Mr Cierach ?
Passing your yard behind the Big Red yesterday if the state of that is an example of your "improvements" then I don't think I will be eating at your establishment anytime in the near future.
More of Deptford being dumped on by the looks of it.

Anonymous said...

From what I've heard Its disgusting how Mr Cierach and his dodgy band of hired Shoreditch parasites has treated the Deptford community so far. I cant see it working. Deptford has a strong community and its charm comes from the authentic integral nature of the people. You can't just set up overpriced and seemingly out of place box park food markets and expect the beards to come flooding in from Shoreditch and the likes. They already have things like that in Shoreditch so why are they going to go to Deptford and risk getting there handbags robbed?

Lara said...

Husband and I are clearly out of the loop as we only found out the pizza bus was no more when we tried to go at Christmas.

Very disappointed it is no more! So few cheap and decent pizza places in the area. We never go to Bianco 43 because it is over-priced. And Pizza Express is just very average.

Miss you Pizza Bus.

Deptford Dame said...

@lara sorry to hear that. I miss their pizzas too. If I may be so bold as to suggest the following for you to try if you haven't already:
1. The Yellow House in Surrey Quays. Monster, glorious pizzas which are a few quid more expensive than the former bus, but well worth the outlay in my opinion. I am always tempted by other stuff on their menu but always come back to the pizzas as I love them.
2. The Prince of Greenwich on Royal Hill. A strange combo of pub, wine bar and pizzeria. Pizzas are cheap and cheerful here, a huge range of options all at £8 although they do stand well back when they throw the toppings on, as my mum would say.
3. Still to come - the revived Black Horse pub on Evelyn St. Opened last week and planning to get a pizza oven up and running soon. No telling what it will be like but at least it's an option.

Good luck with your pizza search!

Anonymous said...

When my neighbour and I objected via Lewisham Council to John Cierach's plans to develop his enterprises near to the Bird's Nest due to all night really loud music, he called round to our flats, left notes, said he'd called and would be back to discuss our objections - bit personalised pressurised considering we had gone through the official channels!