Voice 4 Deptford has responded to the consultation by Forty Shillings. They have asked for comments on Plots 12 and 21, Culture Strategy, Heritage and Meanwhile us. You can see their presentations here. Please send in your comments via the website.
Voice 4 Deptford Comments on Plot 12 Convoys Wharf Development Layout and design
It is over 6 years now since the Outline Planning Permission (OPP) and over 10 years has passed in design thinking. The whole scheme needs a fundamental refresh to address the new and urgent concerns and needs for things like:
• the green environment,
• climate change impacts like the use of concrete/steel as a building material,
• and the Covid-19 pandemic impact for better design standards – like passivhus – with more liveable built spaces, and less high density/rise.
The Plot 12 layout shows some initial improvement on that of Plot 8 (that was granted full planning permission in June 2020) to have much smaller blocks giving a more human scale and allowing more spatial ability to move around the buildings. Yet this is not enough to meet the requirements set out above.
There needs to be more information on the elevations, showing the height in relation to other build- ings and especially their effect on Prince Street, and the knock-on effect on New King Street & Watergate Street. It is good to see that some thought has been put into integration with a car free Prince Street and the John McVicar Youth Centre based there, meeting a long term aspiration of the local community.
It is not clear how with the three-storey public building and other blocks relate to the proposed car park podium. This needs further clarification.
Plot 12, together with Plot 15, which was recently given full planning permission in June 2020, are the only other plots that have any “affordable” housing in Phase 1 of the development – all the rest are proposed to be private apartments configured as highly dense and very tall. However the Plot 15 was granted at London Affordable Rent (as the ‘social’ housing ‘revised’ from the OPP as a majority at 52%) which is 40% higher than Lewisham council rents. The other 48% of housing in Plot 15 will still be shared ownership aimed at incomes of £40K and higher.
Purchase pricing for a 1-bed apartment is likely to start from £449,000 to £459,000 with a ‘premi- um’ for riverside London living.
Plot 12 (and Plot 15) ‘social’ rented housing provision needs to be ‘revised’, again, to be at the new Mayor of London’s ‘traditional council housing’ rental levels – to qualify for this funding support now in 2021 – and to go some way towards helping meet the Housing Waiting list crisis in Lewisham.
Otherwise, we will once again have housing being built in LB Lewisham that is not only ‘out of date’ in design concept and that is also is to be “unaffordable” for people on an average income, like bus drivers, nurses, police.
It is not made clear exactly which type of tenure goes where? Will it be mixed? Under no circum- stances should there be any ‘segregation’ by tenure or ‘poor doors’.
There appears to be some more regard being given for the very significant heritage of the overall site in Plot 12. However this can be articulated much more clearly in both the overall concept de- sign and in the details of materiality and in green space, other than planting a small number of ‘reg- imented’ trees. Much more creative thought needs to go into how it can be expressed.
This specific area of land was previously used in the 17th century by John Evelyn as an orchard of fruit trees, and there are other very significant historical precedents on the former Royal Deptford Dockyard that can be celebrated again in the 21st century
Simply using installations based on words to mark the history of the site shows a lack of imagina- tion. There are better ways to do this through the design and detail of the buildings and art works.
In addition, if it is absolutely necessary to demolish the existing warehouse building and its deliber- ated high exterior walling with its skilled brickwork, can you find a new and imaginative way to make re-use of the bricks on the plot and also the pattern already created by the different coloured bricks in the wall – echoing the art-deco early 20th century styling?
We have concern about what it will be like, as a ‘lived’ experience inside these new flats.
Will there be sufficient space for the new demand to ‘work at home’, cook proper meals, for chil- dren to play and do their homework?
With Covid-19 impacts people are now actively choosing to leave central London ‘flat dwellings’ to find much bigger homes with gardens and access to green space with natural grass and trees. Are you able to meet these needs to reach full potential occupation of these new apartments?
Children and Young People
It did look as if more space was to be given for the children.
However it turns out that once more only the under 5 year old will be given space to play and older children allowed to play on their bikes and scooters.
There must be a way of meeting the need for all children to play around their homes. Badly thought out spaces where children play can only store up problems for all in the future.
Where is the play space to the north that was mentioned?
Will children and young people, themselves, be involved in the design of all of the play areas?
Have ‘safe routes’ been worked out for children to go to school and other places they use to allow independent movement?
Will there be further and much more detailed consultation on Plot 12?
This will be necessary once ideas that we are suggesting have been worked through more.