Deptford Project master plan approved

We're grateful to Gema on the Deptford forum, for alerting us that BD Online is reporting the Deptford Project has been given the go-ahead.


The masterplan involves redeveloping the area between the Deptford Project cafe and Deptford Station, behind the high street and parallel with the railway arches. An eight story residential block and new market and new retail and workshop space are among the key features. The Victorian carriage ramp will be restored.

This is a big deal for Deptford and, while the neon pink styling of the main residential building will offend some (not BC, we should say), the overall effect of this project should be incredibly positive, complementing the exciting stuff that Deptford already offers.

BD says:

Cathedral and United House, which were first chosen to develop the scheme in 2006, are hoping to be on site later this year with completion pencilled in for the middle of 2014.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like a modern day concrete council block ... bleh!

NAT said...

You're missing the important bit.

It's pink.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - that's only part of it. Click on the links to see more.

max said...

A joke? A test for colour-blinds? a primary school art competition gone too far? A clever way to dispose of unwanted leftover of paint?
Where's Prince Charles when one needs him?

Earl said...

Last week permission to put a tall building that was going to be next to Dalston Kingsland station was thrown out by Hackney council after being approved by the planning department.

Like this, it was another glass and steel pile, out of keeping with the area and presumably with flats that no local can afford to buy. Does anyone know the percentage of affordable housing in this block?

This is going to be happening more and more now as developers snap up small plots of land near stations, it's happened in Brockley. And the only plan seems to be build up up up, these neighbourhods do not suit high rises buildings. But people seemingly accept them as the only option. When it comes to projects such as this Nick's colours are as true blue as they come. In Dalston the local blogs filled up with people organising petitions and over a 1000 objections were received by the council. Unfortunately the owner of this blogs attitude seems to be development above all else.

Anonymous said...

Earl - you are more than welcome to start your own blog.

Brockley Nick said...

@Earl

"Like this, it was another glass and steel pile, out of keeping with the area"

What is "in-keeping" in Deptford? The Deptford Lounge? The Albany? Addey and Stanhope School? The APT gallery / shed? Deptford, like all of London, is a mix of styles. "Out of keeping" isn't enough of an argument. What, specifically, is wrong with it, in your view?

"and presumably with flats that no local can afford to buy. Does anyone know the percentage of affordable housing in this block?"

Of course some existing Deptford residents will be able to afford homes there. Some new people will buy in to the area. You're focusing on the housing of course, I'm far more interested in the new commercial space and the regeneration of the ramp.

"This is going to be happening more and more now as developers snap up small plots of land near stations, it's happened in Brockley."

Yes. Good. We need to build homes. We want to protect greenfield space and prevent urban sprawl. We want to cut traffic congestion and make it easier to get around cities. The sensible solution is to build high density around existing stations. Why wouldn't you do that?

"And the only plan seems to be build up up up, these neighbourhods do not suit high rises buildings."

This development is eight stories, max. Relatively modest by zone 2 London standards. And yes, a growing city either needs to grow outwards (and fill in the gaps) or upwards.

"But people seemingly accept them as the only option."

Well, what's your alternative?

"When it comes to projects such as this Nick's colours are as true blue as they come."

When you say true blue, do you mean Tory? It was Ken Livingstone's London plan which prioritised high density development around stations. He was absolutely right. It's Tories who want to relax planning in the green belt and allow more urban sprawl.

"Unfortunately the owner of this blogs attitude seems to be development above all else."

No. People above all else. People need somewhere to live. People make cities great, exciting places to be. People bring prosperity, enterprise and creativity to the area in which they live. People support local shops and pubs.

Development is a means to an end. Sometimes it's the wrong means. In this case, I think the development is exciting.

Anonymous said...

In 30 years time they'll be knocking all these down in a regeneration project, similar to that which is going on in Elephant :-)

mp said...

"Looks like a modern day concrete council block ... bleh!"

In 30 years time they'll be knocking all these down in a regeneration project, similar to that which is going on in Elephant :-)


totally agree!

Gema said...

I really don't think it is that bad. I am interested to see how the rest of the regeneration in the area will sit with the design. Also, I travel from Deptford to Cannon Street every day, there are plenty of brightly coloured buildings going up at the minute - I guess it must be a recent trend (although the lime green one in Bermondsey is a little migraine inducing). There are other older blocks of flats just behind where this one is to be built - from memory I think they are 5 or 6 floors in height. I am much more concerned with the Convoys Wharf towers, the tallest touted to be 46 storeys, and various other glass tower blocks that have sprouted up all over Deptford.

mk said...

You have to agree though Nick, it's a by-the-numbers design that looks pretty awful. I'm not against development, but why on earth can't we make it look better? Even a mock Victorian/Georgian block would show a bit of class and possibly give off a whiff of history would it not?

Ian on the Hill said...

I certainly wouldn't knock the need for development and the improvement for Deptford that could follow from increased economic activity.
What I hate is that is that is so god-awful puke-invokingly ugly.

Not to worry, there's a new solution to the way...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17351164

Anonymous said...

Well I like it.

That is all

D said...

@mk - be careful, I seem to recall the last time I suggested something like that on here I was dragged out and placed in stocks on the village green (like the backward looking moron I am) until I agreed that concrete and glass boxes are beautiful.

Monkeyboy said...

But you'd have to be happy at punitive punishment using mock medieval apparatus? None of that vulgar water boarding or electrodes to the genitals so beloved of the new wave so called "torturers"

Ian on the Hill said...

I think I should also add, as it's a real hobby horse of mine, that that these vertiginous buildings are deeply anti-human. Almost a fifth of the population has serious problems over heights and an even greater amount are, at the very least, a little uncomfortable.

These stupid modern developments are for the designer's ego, the developers wallet and not at all for those who have to use them.

And - yes - I do have a special interest. As I'm height phobic it is (like those DLR stations)a building I'll never be able to access, and so is instantly disabling for people like me.

Mb said...

I'm terrified of heights, even small ladders cause me an issue. Never had an issue in a tall building so the fact tht 20% of people may have issues doesn't mean that 20% would feel excluded from tall buildings. In the same way, tube stations are not built around the needs of claustrophobic travelers. Of all the issues surrounding tall buildings, being phobic about using them is not a significant one surely?

kolp said...

This looks& feels a lot better than the Barratt blocks in Lewisham.

drakefell debaser said...

I'm amazed you manage to live on a hill, Ian on the Hill.

Ian on the Hill said...

@mb, it's not tall buildings I object to, it's that this building, like many others, is deliberately intended to heighten that sense of precariousness and fragility at a height. Seriously @mb, how do the DLR stations make you feel?

As for the underground argument, there's a hell of difference between unavoidable and 'don't give a toss'.

Mb said...

They really don't bother me. I'm not being deliberately obtuse I just don't think having a phobia abut heights necessarily translates to a phobia about using tall buildings. If 20% of the population had an issue with tall buildings im sure I'd have heard of that.

Earl said...

@brockley nick

Well I'd probably start with bringing the 100,000 empty properties in London alone, back into use. Either as rentals or through compulsory purchase and sale.

These multicoloured buildings will look as dated as a 60's tower block in years to come. If it is deemed necessary to build large blocks then why not be actually forward thinking and insist on then being super efficient and fitted with solar panels, heat exchange systems etc, obviously this cuts down the profit margins of the developers so they'd never do it. Essentially they are out of date in terms of current technology before they are built.

People may make cities great but that's not to say cramming as many as you can get into an area will. Why not build a skyscraper in Brockley if that's your attitude.

You are often forced to sign agreements not to have a car for two years when you move into these blocks, as they have been designed with no parking in mind. I believe this was the case with Jude House. What happens after 2 years? Just because they are by a station doesn't mean people won't want to own cars, and therefore clogging up local streets with parking, leading to calls for CPZ's etc.

For a lot of people regeneration of an area means chucking in a few Starbucks and a Pret, well I'm not interested in it.

The government need to invest more in other cities in the North, so that London isn't seen as the only places to go to for lots of people, so alleviating some of the pressures on the capital.

I don't really see the added value of having some million pound penthouses in the area. Neither did the people in Dalston, and they're a pretty forward thinking lot too.

Anonymous said...

Nick works for Barrett Homes so of course he's pro shonky development.

patrick1971 said...

"Does anyone know the percentage of affordable housing in this block?"

All of the flats will be affordable; if they weren't, they would remain unsold.

I agree with you completely that these blocks should all be forced to be environmentally friendly and be permanently forbidden from eligibility for a parking permit, though.

Mb said...

Earl, presumably they will have to meet the latest building regs in terms of efficiency. As would any development, affordable or otherwise. Even cheapo boxes on a dull estate are massively more efficient than a nice Victorian terrace. Not cutting edge but not leaking energy like a sieve. Adding windmills and solar panels won't make them cheaper to buy, it may make them cheaper to run. Perhaps planning regs and tax breaks should be altered to force developers hand? That is a different question.

Brockley Dogging Society said...

We're all against this monstrous carbuncle and as is the fashion now shall be forming a protest group to occupy the site. As our patron June Whitfield said in Carry on Girls, "we shall squat on this erection"!

Anonymous said...

London East has been destined to save the developers from bankruptcy... any little piece of land is being allowed a tall (cheap) building.

Time to move to the west.

Anonymous said...

They should call it 'Elephant & Chips'

I can smell the piss in the stairwells from here.

Anonymous said...

Move west? A devastating point that suffers from the inconvenience of being utter rubbish.

http://www.smartnewhomes.com/browse/development/United_Kingdom/South/South-East/Greater-London/London/London-W/page1.aspx

Brockley Nick said...

"Well I'd probably start with bringing the 100,000 empty properties in London alone, back into use. Either as rentals or through compulsory purchase and sale."

Agreed, although I'm sure it's not that easy, otherwise it would have been done.

"These multicoloured buildings will look as dated as a 60's tower block in years to come."

Maybe. Again, it's hard to tell how designs will age - no-one sets out to design a building that will age badly. This is a Rogers design and his buildings have a pretty good track record. You're focusing on the building in this photo, there are others, that look completely different.

"If it is deemed necessary to build large blocks then why not be actually forward thinking and insist on then being super efficient and fitted with solar panels, heat exchange systems etc,"

What are the sustainability specifications of these buildings please?

"People may make cities great but that's not to say cramming as many as you can get into an area will."

Agreed, I don't argue for mile high skyscrapers on every square inch of land. There is clearly a lot of middle ground - that is what we are talking about here. London - and South East London particularly - is low density compared with many other great cities like Paris, Barcelona, New York, etc. There is clearly a lot of scope to increase density without squashing people in in an inhumane way. This is an 8 story building. Hardly extreme.

"Why not build a skyscraper in Brockley if that's your attitude."

I am pretty consistent. I have been supportive of all of the high density developments around Brockley Station, very close to my house.

"What happens after 2 years? Just because they are by a station doesn't mean people won't want to own cars, and therefore clogging up local streets with parking, leading to calls for CPZ's etc."

What is the parking provision for this development please?

"For a lot of people regeneration of an area means chucking in a few Starbucks and a Pret, well I'm not interested in it."

That's not what I am interested in either, but that's just our personal point of view. Others feel differently. A bit of that sort of stuff wouldn't do any harm - nor is Deptford in any danger of becoming a standardised high street. This argument is a total red herring.

"The government need to invest more in other cities in the North, so that London isn't seen as the only places to go to for lots of people, so alleviating some of the pressures on the capital."

Well I think this is a fundamental misunderstanding of economic reality, but the geographic and demographic balance of the UK is a much bigger debate. Whichever of us is right on that one (me), we can't not build homes where they are needed now while we wait for the UK government to change every aspect of the UK's economy.

"I don't really see the added value of having some million pound penthouses in the area."

These are not homes for millionaires.

"Neither did the people in Dalston, and they're a pretty forward thinking lot too."

Well I guess I will have to take your word for that.

terrencetrentderby said...

it's the monstrosities that make airstrip 1 so interesting

the haters should all move to bath

Gema said...

According to the Council officer's report to the Planning Committee, the development will provide eight affordable units which falls below the provision of affordable housing target in the Council's local development framework. "The shortfall in affordable housing was considered to be acceptable taking into account the regeneration benefits of the scheme." More info - http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2012/march/permission-granted-for-deptford-project-mixed-use-scheme-in-south-east-london/

Tamsin said...

The council and developers are using the fear of recession as an excuse to duck out of the affordable housing quotas and what one would normally hope for from Section 106 agreements. The developers say "we can't afford it, if you force things on us as planning requirements we won't do the development at all" and the Council say "there, there, of course you can't, have anything you want - anything else we can do to keep you on board?"

patrick1971 said...

As I said above, ALL housing is affordable, otherwise no one would buy it. The question is, by whom is it affordable?

I would love a Starbucks. Sue me.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin -

I dare say developers do over-claim about their challenges, it's called negotiation.

But you seem to be saying there is NOT a problem financing home building projects at the moment? That it's all a big scam? That we can impose any set of demands on developers we like and it will still make sense for them?

If so, why has Lewisham Gateway been stuck in the doldrums so long? Why is Greenwich Peninsula moving at a glacial pace? Why haven't all the little developments with planning permission dotted around Brockley yet been built?

patrick1971 said...

As I said on another thread, one of the happy side effects of the financial crisis is that Lewisham Gateway hasn't been built yet. Anyone who still thinks it's a good idea should take a good look at Renaissance and imagine that spreading out all the way to the police station.

Something on a human scale for that area, please, that improves pedestrian access between the station and the high street and puts the needs of cars in fourth place, after pedestrians, cyclists and buses.

Nell said...

@patrick1971

Stop twatting about with semantics. Affordable in the definition that anyone who talks about affordable housing understands it. A £5 pound pint is expensive no matter who buys it.

And Starbucks is poison, I would sue you but the filth they serve there will probably finish you off first...

Anonymous said...

Back in 2008 when this proposal was first aired Cathedral refused to have anything to do with the carriage ramp, probably hoping Lewisham would back down.

The block of flats looks horrible.

Brockley Nick said...

@Nell - it's not just semantics. What Patrick is saying is let the market decide what housing to supply where.

The argument is that creating artificial standards to determine what is affordable and artificial quotas to determine how many units should be in each development distorts the market and ultimately reduces the volume of housing stock that gets built - ultimately leading to house prices rising.

It's an argument I have some sympathy with. Personally, I would only insist on "affordable" quotas in some areas that are in danger of becoming ghettos for the rich. I don't see why Lewisham needs quotas to discourage too many relatively affluent people moving in.

There's also an argument that "affordable homes" is also silly semantics, since even low cost housing is unaffordable to a significant proportion of the adult population.

patrick1971 said...

Thanks Nick. I'm not sure I would back a completely unregulated market solution though, but I am definitely making the point that "affordable" is a subjective concept. What on earth does "affordable housing" mean? Affordable to whom? If an "affordable" flat is priced at £50K, does that mean a flat at £51K is unaffordable?

Regulation at this end of the market is, in my opinion, done because it gives people a warm and fuzzy feeling ("we're helping 'the poor'" - another semantic nightmare) and also because it's easier to do than what is really done, which is to regulate at the top end so you can't have one man owning all of Kensington and Belgravia.

patrick1971 said...

"what is really needed", not "what is really done". I blame that fourth pint last night.

FrFintonStack said...

@BrockleyNick: "What Patrick is saying is let the market decide what housing to supply where."

But we don't have that situation and can't have it as long as we continue to have planning controls, green belts etc. which dictate what can and can't be built where.

I emphasise here that I am not advocating an end to planning law, which would be socially and environmentally disastrous. However, if the state intereferes with the market to artifically restrict the supply of a necessary commodity in a manner that reduces its availability and increases its price, it logically follows that it has an obligation to take steps to alleviate the negative social effects of that intervention (i.e. artifically-high property prices). To restrict land for housing supply without alternative provision amounts to a surreptitious tax on the poor (and increasingly the middle class.)

The claim that housing is intrinsically affordable because the market sets the price is a disingenious or at least misguided one: there is no free market in housing in any orthodox sense. The market price for housing is not mainly determined by what people can afford to pay from their own earning power: property is a heavily speculated-upon commodity, which attracts further speculation as previous speculation further pushes up prices. When the profits from speculation are used as deposits for borrowing for further speculation, it's inevitable that those who rely on their earning power will be pushed out of the market, and it's inevitable that the speculation cycle will continue as long as supply is now allowed to expand to meet demand. As a result, rapidly increasing numbers of people are forced to rent privately, at high prices and without any security of occupation, property they could never afford to buy (which will almost certainly be the case for most occupiers of these flats).

The problem is not really richer owner-occupiers forcing out poorer ones (though this definitely happens), and as long as we continue to behave as if it is, we obscure the real problem: that potential owner occupiers of most social groups are squeezed out by speculative investors underpinned by a system in which the state restricts market supply of a necessary commodity whilst refusing to supply it itself or regulate its use.

The argument about how affordable "affordable" property really is an interesting and important one, but it doesn't affect the core issue. Even in a borough like Lewisham, security of tenure, let alone home ownership, in the "open market" is a fantasy even for many supposedly middle-class professionals like myself.

FrFintonStack said...

The word "now" in p. 4, l. 13 should read "not".

Brockley Nick said...

@FFS - excellent post.

patrick1971 said...

"The claim that housing is intrinsically affordable because the market sets the price is a disingenious or at least misguided one"

I'm not saying that it's affordable because the market sets the price. I'm saying it's affordable because someone is buying it. That is a fact. The question, as I said, is to whom is it affordable? As with all other things, 'affordable' is more about the purchaser than the item purchased.

I completely agree with the rest of your post about the necessity to ameliorate the effects of planning laws, etc. I just don't think so-called "affordable housing" is the way to do it. Restrictions on multiple ownership is my favoured option.

Saul said...

Multiple ownership is indeed a scourge on the housing market. When I first moved to Brockley in the 90's I found out my landlord had 17 properties in the surrounding area. He lived in Barcelona most of the year round and only came back to buy another house. This was before the buy to let crazy of the last decade too.

Turns out he inherited a house used that as collateral on another one etc etc. Back then houses and flats were comparatively going for a song. I daren't think what he's worth now.

It's probably the laziest and easiest way to become a millionaire. I'll give you two houses, but after that they should drastically raise taxes incrementally on every 3rd, 4th etc property that you own.

FrFintonStack said...

"Restrictions on multiple ownership is my favoured option."

Do you mean people who have multiple properties for their own use, or landlords?

If the former, fine, I'm with you. But I doubt it will have an enormous impact, outside of places like Cornwall and the Scottish islands. Although a contributory factor, it's not the crux of the problem and I can't imagine it bringing down average house prices to a level where, say, someone on average wages will be able to take out a mortgage on one.

If you mean buy-to-let landlords, the trouble there is that you restrict the availability of privately-rented accommodation for those that will inevitably need it. Regardless of how low house prices are, or how good the supply of social housing is, there will always be people for whom the former is impossible and the latter inappropriate: people who earn a good salary but can't get a mortgage because they're on a short-term contract or because they've a poor credit history; people who need private lets because they're highly mobile and want housing on a short term basis; people on social housing waiting lists. Get rid of multiple housing ownership, you get rid of private landlords. Get rid of private landlords, exploitative money-grubbers they may be, you get rid of the only housing option, over-priced and insecure as it may be, for those people.

I agree that we need a measure that will reduce, but not eliminate, the number of privately-rented residences: the problem is finding a mechanism that ensures those freed-up will bought by people who could not otherwise afford to buy, without reducing too far availability for those that never will. Banning multiple-ownership will do more harm that good. So what about taxing the multiple properties held by landlords? But the cost will be passed onto the tenant, making them unaffordable for more people, and removing even the crappy last-choice housing option. Setting limits? Maybe, but that might just result in the properties ending up in the hands of *more* buy-to-let landlords with fewer properties each (and amateur landlords are often the worst), rather than potential owner-occupiers, barely denting values. I don't think there's an easy solution.

I also share your reservations regarding "affordable housing", but since neither a mass social housing programme nor any serious measure to break the power of land speculation is on the agenda, it's better than nothing. If it enables even some of the many people floating around median wage, who are ineligible for council housing but for whom ownership is a dream, to to afford secure housing within reasonable distance of work, family etc., it's better than the immediate alternative.

FrFintonStack said...

BTW, readers might find this interesting: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/rogers-blasted-by-ex-partner-over-housing-scheme/5028743.article (free but login required)

"Marco Goldschmied has launched a broadside against his former business partner Richard Rogers over his firm’s latest project in
a deprived area of south-east London."

[...]

In a letter to BD this week Goldschmied accuses his former partner of hypocrisy over the amount of affordable housing in the Deptford scheme. Planning documents show the £60 million scheme contains 6% affordable housing — none of which is included in the Rogers Stirk Harbour-designed element of the project."

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