Mayor calls in Convoys Wharf

The Mayor of London has called-in the £1 billion plan to redevelop Convoys Wharf in Deptford after the developer Hutchison Whampoa lost patience with Lewisham Council over the protracted decision-making process. Building Design reports:

Hutchison Whampoa lost patience with the local authority, accusing it of making “unreasonable and unwarranted” demands and of pushing the scheme’s viability “to its limits”.

It wrote to the GLA in October, just a week after its executive director, Edmond Ho, sent a letter to the head of planning at Lewisham expressing his frustration.

“After more than five years, firstly with our previous masterplanners Aedas and then with Farrells, we simply cannot comprehend how you can now choose to prolong the decision process further,” Ho said. “We fail to see any justification for such a major strategic project suffering further unnecessary delay.”

This week Johnson, whose design advisers include Terry Farrell himself, agreed to take over as planning authority for the 3,500-home scheme which will see three towers built on the site of Henry VIII’s naval dockyard and Sayes Court, the home of 17th-century diarist and gardener John Evelyn.

He praised Lewisham’s recent record on housing but said: “In this particular case the planning history over the long term and particularly over the past year or so indicate that the breakdown in relationship between the council and the applicant is such that I am not satisfied that you will be able to reach a timely planning determination in respect of the current planning application for this important site.”

Opponents of the scheme are right to criticise its lack of respect for the site's history and the worryingly poor transport access to the site, but this saga has dragged on for an inordinate amount of time - meanwhile, lack of housing supply in London pushes prices higher and higher.