Deptford tower plan sees increase in flats

Greenwich Creekside East

Thanks to Daryl at 853 for alerting me to a planning application before the Greenwich planning board tonight for 249 flats by the Creek in Deptford – an increase of 45 from earlier plans. I havn’t had time to read all the documents, so this post covers some select elements, and the Deptford Dame site has written a fantastic overview here.

The 22-storey tower appears rather bulky and lacking much in the way of elegance. From some angles it appears pretty overwhelming. The developers are certainly trying to maximise massing of the tower with this one. The colour scheme will be interesting – I think this is one that will look better close-up, as the green sections appear to be glazed tiling.

Lewisham council side plan in background - more on that below
Lewisham council side plan in background – more on that below

Here’s a quick round up of some details I noticed when browsing the plans. Firstly, the developer is Essential Living. Their developments comprise solely of private rented units, and should mean more flats are actually occupied than those which include a high number of private sale units. That often means many sold off-plan in Asia and unoccupied.

Developers behind large-scale private rented schemes are far from widespread in the UK compared to some European nations and the US. With 249 flats the developer states there will be:

“800 people living there. The proposed development will provide 45 additional residential dwellings to the extant planning permission but will provide a reduction in commercial/creative and cultural uses from 2,907 square metres to 750 square metres.”

As usual, the developers are claiming it’s in Greenwich when it’s actually in Deptford, and state they it will ‘create new destination for Greenwich’. No it wont.  

Transport pressure

deptford creeksideAs for pressures on transport with 800 more residents, the relevant documents predictably states no impact on the Southeastern line or DLR. It also mistakenly claims the line goes to Ebbsfleet:

“National rail services provide connections to London Cannon Street, Slade Green, Dartford and Ebbsfleet International.”

It also bizarrely seems to assume that as many people would board a train away from central London in the morning peak as heading to London Bridge and the City.

“The impacts on the Rail services have been assessed in the morning peak period. There are approximately 12 services an hour during the morning and evening peaks serving Deptford Railway Station. As aforementioned it is estimated that the proposed site would result in an additional 102 rail passengers in the morning and evening peaks. Assuming all of these rail passengers travelled from Deptford and with an equal number of people travelling on each service there would be approximately 8.5 people per rail service in the morning and evening periods generated by the proposed site.”

“If it is assumed that there is a demand profile whereby twice as many people travel during the interquartile 30 minute period, approximately 11.3 people per service could be generated by the proposed site (assuming an equal number of people on the six services in the 30 minute period). It is considered that the proposed development would not have an adverse effect on the capacity of the rail services”

As I noted in my last post, Deptford station has seen passenger numbers quadruple in the last 9 years to 1.2m a year. This is up 11.7% on the year in the most recent figures of 2013/14. And this development is just one of a number in the area. Next door is a planned tower in Lewisham borough (more on that below) and Kent Wharf, along with more lining the Creek.

Southeastern sent a letter in June to the Greater London Authority stating overcrowding is a serious issue, and practically begging the Department for Transport to allow them extra stock and permitting increases in sidings needed before they can be transferred, which wouldn’t be before 2017 anyway. The letter states:

se letter

When it comes to additional trains, like pretty much everything on the railway network, government and the DfT make the decisions. Southeastern have to ask and hope. It would be nice if certain local politicians stopped constantly criticising Southeastern alone and started seriously asking the DfT what they will do. However, with cuts of a third of the transport department imminent will the department agree? Will those politicians also be asking why transport is in line for such huge cuts when passenger numbers and population numbers are rising so sharply? Southeastern are practically begging for more trains in their letter:

se letter 2

They also ask the GLA to assist them in pressuring the DfT. When it comes to the DLR, the entire Lewisham branch is seeing a huge amount of housing built alongside, and my post on Lewisham developments highlighted the numbers just there. There will come a time when serious upgrades will have to occur. It has exhausted the short term potential in terms of numbers of carriages when it went up to three a few years ago. Underground stations like Cutty Sark can only take two carriages as it is. Upgrading to four would require very expensive work. A possible Bakerloo extension to Lewisham would help but with typical UK lethargy, alongside transport and infrastructure investment aversion, means that the 1940s plan (!) is still at a very early stage with 2030 being mentioned as the earliest possible opening date. Is there any other developed city with such pressures that moves so slowly?

Lewisham Council opposition

deptford creekside eastAnother intriguing element to this development is Lewisham Council’s opposition. The borough boundary runs adjacent to the site, and another patch of land next door is due to see a tower, under ‘Creekside East’ plans. Lewisham have stated:

“The proposed development as a result of its layout and detailed design would fail to make a positive contribution to the public realm along Copperas Street.”

Whilst the plans on the Greenwich side do appear stumpy and inelegant, the Lewisham side proposal actually looks worse. The amusing renders try to make it almost transparent. That never happens. Look at the original stages of development in the render on the left, which line Creek Road. Hardly an accurate resemblance. Still, this opposition raises quite a few questions and it will be interesting to see if it has any real adverse effects on relations.

If approved tonight, completion is due by 2017. Essential Living have secured substantial financial backing from investors recently, so if approved I expect work will proceed quickly.

Running a site alone takes time and a fair bit of money. Adverts are far from enough to cover it and my living costs as a private renter.

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Many thanks

J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

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