Friday 18 March 2016

Sun Wharf proposals

Proposals for the development of Sun Wharf were presented a couple of weeks ago at public events in Deptford. This is the site on Creekside that's currently occupied by a huge warehouse rented by Jones Hire, and the former VW garage; it is being proposed for 268 new homes, 'many of which will be delivered as affordable housing' according to the exhibition. No definition of 'many' either as a percentage or actual numbers was offered, so I don't recommend you read too much into that.

It's difficult to tell from the image above, the angle of which has as usual been chosen to minimise the visual impact of the buildings, but the tower in the front right corner of the site is being proposed as 16 storeys, with the other residential blocks seven or eight storeys high. By contrast, the adjacent blocks on Crossfields estate are five storeys maximum. The picture below gives a more honest impression, but no renderings of the impact at ground level have been provided. (You can click on the pictures to see bigger versions).

The plans that were on show also encompass the site currently occupied by Cockpit Arts; having assumed that it was only leased to them I was rather surprised to learn that Cockpit Arts owns the building and is selling up in exchange for a new home on the redeveloped site. 

I assume they will benefit in more ways than just getting a purpose-built home, but there is quite a lot of local concern about what will happen with the Love Over Gold mural that's on the side of the existing building, and which the developers don't seem to have given any thought to as yet.

Personally I'm rather fond of the existing building; aside from its pleasing proportions and plain facade, it has huge windows which must provide invaluable natural light for the occupants, and its position on Creekside makes it prominent and easily accessible.

Developer Bellway is proposing that Cockpit be relocated to a building in middle of the site, next to the railway viaduct. In the renderings it looks quite impressive, but let's not forget that this view is from the middle of the Creek, which is unlikely to be the position of observers. And if you look at the rendering of the proposals for the whole site, which is the first image in this post, you will see that the  Cockpit building is entirely hemmed in much higher blocks (their tops carefully cropped off the image above). 

Bellway has also ambitiously annexed the arches under the railway line as part of its plans. You've got to admire their cheek. I know that Network Rail tends to have a rather unsophisticated and unimaginative approach to use of its railway arches, with good design pretty low in its priorities when fitting them out for rental, but by the same token, they do seem to be quite protective of their domain. The developer admits that its plans to open up the arches for use and to provide improved access are as yet just pipe dreams, we will see how that progresses. 

The image above demonstrates the improved access to the site that will be provided if the arches are opened up - something that would be a welcome benefit to any redevelopment here as long as it is not gated. Creekside access, which the council has tried to ensure is built into all the redevelopments along this side of the water, should provide new public realm and walkways, and new views along the  Creek.

However the proposals shown at the exhibition were just for residential, commercial space and 'affordable' artists studios (presumably 'affordable' by the same definition as used for housing?), with no permanent employment space on offer. The loss of Jones Hire is going to be a real blow for the area, and I see nothing here to replace it. If Cockpit Arts sells up and allows itself to be absorbed into the development, lets hope it does not find itself at the mercy of the developer in future, with escalating maintenance charges that it has no control over, and the consequent financial impact on its tenants.


Anonymous said...

Also in the area, Lewisham's cabinet will next week approve the sale of some land just to the north for 'Creekside Village East'. Laban are also to sell their car park to Kitewood for an enlarged development. It will thus be bigger than the area highlighted here:

On the subject of Sun Wharf - have Jones definitely agreed to vacate?

jimmyx10 said...

10 years time it'll be windswept and depressing. Whatever that development's called by the river always looks miserable even on a sunny day and looking at the amenities fairly downmarket. I like the building too and the gravel company or has that disappeared since last year?
On the plus side living by open water is known to be unhealthy.
Why is an american estate agent posting here? Is there going to be a golf course in Greenwich Park?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the update on Sun Wharf? Is it going ahead?