The Deptford Project masterplan

The Deptford Project from Deptford High Street
Reverse angle: The courtyard
Developers Cathedral Group have submitted their plans for a major development parallel to Deptford High Street and adjacent to Deptford Station, on land next to the Deptford Project cafe. The mixed use development is itself called the Deptford Project and has been masterplanned by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to include homes, shops and workshops.

The logic is obvious - Deptford's one stop from London Bridge, with a busy and potentially stunning high street (with shades of Shepherd Market, Exmouth Market and Portobello) and a buzzy cultural scene but relatively little high quality housing to cater for potential commuters.

The land is derelict, sitting right on top of a station that is being modernised and next to an interesting but neglected piece of London's industrial heritage.

This development would provide more than a hundred new flats and restore the ramp, while more of the railway arches would accommodate workshops and the space behind the high street would become a busy courtyard.

It does involve a relatively tall building that will undeniably be fairly prominent from many angles in Deptford. Some will find that inherently objectionable, but an interesting building peeping out from behind shops and houses in the middle of town should be fun. For those who live next door to it along Octavius Street and Rochdale Way however, there will be understandable concerns about light and parking.

Thanks to Crossfields and Deptford Dame for the story.


NAT said...

The High street section looks good and the connection of the railway arches with the Albanys square is neat.

The big building? They have to go somewhere I guess and as long aas they don't dwarf all around them...

This doesn't seem to.

Mb said...

I hope they find a way of integrating it properly. I've got a soft spot for the high street, it would be a shame if it stands apart socially.

Anonymous said...

How much more building can Lewisham Borough take,it seems every empty spot is being built on.the developers dont care,all there after is profit.

Brockley Nick said...

What should we do with empty / derelict plots? Leave them that way?

And what should we do with all the people who need homes?

Brockley Answer said...

...turn it into a nice park? Or a vegetarian's cafe?

Anonymous said...

1. Is it keeping the current building to the left of the church and altering it or building an entirely new one?

2. What will happen to the current Deptford Project (the train carriage cafe) ? It is a unique thing and should stay in Deptford.

3. This new scheme will get rid of a space that could be used more imaginatively for community events such as the Silent Cinema. The new scheme will make this impossible. The space is potentially too important for Deptford's regeneration just to be shops and flats.

4. It could have been a good space for another market space - different to the fruit and veg one - maybe a farmers market which would bring people to the area and to the shops nearby.

5. To call it derelict space is not entirely true as the arches are being used as work shops and the land is used for community events and the unique train cafe is there.

6. I would have liked to have seen maybe a local history museum and art gallery on the space to the left of the church. This would help bring people into the town.

7. The building to the right of the church is of a poor standard architecturally and should go. The space could then be used for something else.

On balance I think this is not imaginative or interesting enough for Deptford. It will not draw people into the town so I don't support this scheme.


Ian on the Hill said...

Not nice, but not disgusting either. Just banal.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it'd be nice if it were more of a continuation of Deptford, either architecturally or culturally (small museum / gallery space / community store). Although I haven't looked at the plans in depth, I'd be worried that it'd just feel like another small, pleasant but somewhat sterile and detached modernised bubble.

Reminds me of Quakers Friars in Bristol - an historic building right in the centre:

Which was incorporated into a new shopping centre:

(You can see it in the background of this picture)

It's not totally dreadful, would just be nice if it had a greater connection to Deptford and felt like a public space for those who live and visit there (maybe it will...)

Moira said...

I believe there's going to be a news arts centre opening soon called the Deptford Lounge. As described in the job spec for the centre's manager: "a new landmark building with educational, artistic and community facilities."

MalB said...

My views (fairly predictable, I would guess): the Ash-Sakel development looks interesting and could well (prehaps a few tweaks needed) go well on the Deptford scene. The RSHP tower-block is far too tall and far too long. It will overshadow its surroundings.

For me, that block would have done better on the Pepys Estate in the 1970s.

MalB said...


Anything which is hyped as a "landmark" new building, you can be assured will be a dreadful blot of the landscape.

"Landmark" in developer speak means "this is going to stand out like a sore-thumb because we want someething which yells out 'look what we have done' rather than something that fits into the existing urban landscape."

OK There are a few exceptions, but not many. And a few gain architectural admiration afterward, but again not many.

NAT said...

MalB and Moira, it exists, judge for yourselves.

The Deptford lounge is part of the Tidemill School/Library complex.

The big golden building.

Anonymous said...

Can they just keep building,theres complaints on overcrowding on trains now,what will it be like when all these developments are finished.

MalB said...


I have. I was there on Saturday, trying to put all the new developments proposed into context.

But rather than commenting on my views of the Deptford Lounge ("lounge" is such a 1980s non-U word in any case), I was commenting on what seems to be case when anything is called a "landmark". Landmarks, by definition, mark the land. Whether they mark it in a good or bad way is another matter.

For what it is worth, I think the Deptford Lounge (Lay-about? Sitting Room? Living Room?) is a box-like, unappealing, merit-less design totally out of sympathy with the area. Its one design advantage, it seems to me, is that it will be able to be sold to the Big Yellow Storage Company at some time. But you wouldn't be surprised at my views on this, now would you?

Anonymous said...

I live in Idonia Street. The area is already badly crowded by parked cars both weekdays and Saturdays in particular. Every weekend there are continual hooting contests and arguments, so much so that I now avoid the area when I drive.
The giant glass block will provide 20 parking spots for more than 120 households. The argument is that they will go up to London by train and not need a car at all. Pigs are more likely to fly!
Also there is no representations of the St Pauls Church in the designs, funny that, as the glass lump will dwarf the church.
This is going to look horrible!!!

NAT said...

@MalB. I don't really have any preconcieved idea of what your views might be until I read them.

The cladding will have to grow on me (or not, as the case may be)

The 'Lounge' building (with you there, strange choice of word, but I suppose it's meant to make the building seem more 'relaxed' and so, accessible), and particularly the main Library room is box like only in as much as boxes come in a great variety of shapes. This box has a number of planes.

You must surely have liked the schoolyard with its big colourful stairs, oak cladding and woodland.

What about the absorbtion of the two refurbished victorian houses on the West side into the fabric? I thought that pragmatic and respectful.

A library, leisure facility, (great ball court) school and apartments on the one site and each self contained. Perhaps not your cup of tea, but Big Yellow? hardly.

MalB said...


If the cladding grew on me, I would have it surgically removed very quickly.

Agree with your comments on the schoolyard with its big colourful stairs, oak cladding and woodland.

Still thinking about absorbtion of the two refurbished victorian houses.

My comments were more related to the impact as viewed from Deptford High Street.

I guess I look at the view of St Paul's Deptford from the High Street and then look at the view of the Deptford Lolling-about-room from the High Street and think that we have lost something terms of uplifting architecture along the way.

MalB said...

Anon 29/7 16:04 said

Can they just keep building,theres complaints on overcrowding on trains now,what will it be like when all these developments are finished.

This is hardly the start of it. There are three towers (one of which has aready gained planning permission) for New Cross/New Cross Gate (500 homes),Convoys Wharf (see separate topic) (3,500 homes), The Wharves, Deptford (905 homes), Cannon Wharf (750 homes), Marine Wharf (500), the Old Seager Distillery (219), the Creek Road developments (500) ... probably others I have missed.

Then on a larger north-Lewisham footprint there is the ghastly Renaissance in Loampit Vale (788 units) and, sometime in the future, the redevelopment of the Den with a projected 2,700 new units and others, such as the New Cross Gate Sainsbury Site (500 in one withdrawn application). Again, I am sure there are lots more.

The developers may have to contribute something to the infrastructure of the area - although some are arguing for no contributions on the grounds of the difficult economic environment - but it hardly ever seems to be pro-rata to impact that the new influx of people has. Certainly not in terms of new parks or leisure facilities (dare I say it, libraries) even if it might just about do it in terms of schooling. Transport invariably comes way down the list not least because of the cost and timescale.

As an example: there was a masterplan a few years back for the development of New Cross/New Cross Gate which never went forward although bits of it now re-emerge piecemeal by different developers with less joined-up thinking. A number of us complained at the time that the transport issues had not been thought out. Network Rail's response was effectively that they weren't prepared to discuss the issue until it was proved that there would be additional demand (which of course couldn't occur until after the development had taken place). If there was the additional demand, they would then consider planning upgrades, which could take 5 or more years to introduce! They would give no indication as to how commuters were meant to cope in the mean time.

NAT said...

St. Pauls is a gem and yes I don't know why the Deptford lounge building which in the interior plays down its own innovation has to be quite so egotistical from outside.

Brockley Nick said...

@Malcom - major developments tend to follow transport expansion (eg: Lewisham development followed DLR expansion), although I grant you that's not true of Convoys Wharf.

The New Cross development you give as an example would have followed the expansion of the East London Line, which I know you and Tamsin don't believe was of any benefit but still may have been used by some who disagreed.

MalB said...

Nick. That is true where there is green field development or huge brownfield developments as with Canary Wharf where development would not start without some new transport infrastructure. It is not true in already urbanised areas where there is already transport infrastructure albeit at near capacity, as my New Cross example was designed to show. Here, the developers tend to hope that the existing transport infrastructure will cope and the railway companies only shove in the additional resources to expand capacity once it has been shown not to cope.

The developments in Woolwich are another good example. Which came first, the new housing or the DLR extension?

Or the Thamesmead developments which are still short of any good rail infrastructure after the eastward extension of then the Fleet line was turned into the Jubillee line and turned north to Stradford.

You lot are luddites said...

Population increase will happen with or without new developments, and is more likely to be accomodated by overcrowding of social housing than in new developments occupied by single young professionals.
Lewishams population increase forecast is 41,200 between 2006 and 2016.
Also worth noting that Greater Londons population was 8,164,416 in 1951 and 7,172,036 in 2001, and still some way to go before returning to its peak.

Trumpet said...

Here be demons...

Brockley Nick said...

@Trumpet - please, I requested right at the start that everyone remain civil precisely because I feared the argument would becmoe personal and that is what happened. I don't care what was said in the past, I don't want this site being used for this purpose. Thanks.

I will delete the earlier post that offends you. Please let that be the end of it.

Trumpet said...

Nick, thanks. It's a great shame you could not have moved to display a bit less bias in your removals of posts and those you did allow. You should be aware of this as it may be an unconscious reaction by you which favours the few regular posters. However, I will acccept your point (well made) and move on. It would have been nice for the person who asked to be named to remain named. Can't understand the logic of your deleting it. But shush... egg on face.

On a more important note it is Brockley and its regeneration that interests me hugely.

Tamsin said...

@YLareL - interesting, but in 1951 there was a lot more local work - the Peak Freans factory that used to smell so wonderful when you were coming home hungry on the train from London Bridge (now housing) - the Coca Cola factory near Lewisham station (now retail employing a tithe of the people) - Pearce's signs, who made the first MacDonalds frontage in the UK (Goldsmiths student accomodation), etc. etc. And, of course, the Docks. All this in walking distance or a few stops on the tram.

@Nick. Didn't say that the expansion of the East London Line was of no benefit - I love the through trains and have used it to go beyond Shoreditch - just tried to balance the endless hype by pointing out that for those using NXG it did not provide much more than we already had.

patrick1971 said...

"Also worth noting that Greater Londons population was 8,164,416 in 1951 and 7,172,036 in 2001, and still some way to go before returning to its peak."

Interesting, as presumably there was much less housing stock in 1951 than there is now due to bombing. Looks like we'll be returning to the days of families of five, six, seven or more living in a single room.

Also an interesting point about much more work being local in 1951 and so putting less strain on the transport infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

Whingeing about the height is like re arranging the deckchairs. Let's face it: almost anything and everything will improve deptford and, as HRH Nick says, the high street really does have potential. It could be very sweet and "yuppified" in a short period, to the benefit of current local residents.

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