Deptford to see windowless hotel if plans approved: How to ensure commercial space dies

Plans to convert commercial space at a block of flats on Creek Road in Deptford into a 123-room windowless hotel could be approved next week when it comes before Greenwich Council’s Planning Board.

I covered plans when they were submitted in April 2020 which can be seen here.

Block viewed from Creek Road

Space for shops at the development never saw much in the way of occupation over the past decade due – in part – to some pretty basic fundamental design flaws.

Instead of placing commercial space at street level, they are placed higher up dividing paving space in half and presenting a long, blank façade:

Steps need climbing to reach shops

This is design 101 stuff. Passing footfall is limited if you make access harder. It also hampers those with mobility problems who have to climb stairs.

Watching people along the street and pretty much all passing foot traffic walks on the pavement and thus window shopping simply doesn’t have any chance to occur.

The split pavement also limits outside seating space for a café or restaurant.

Upper level footway

While paving isn’t that narrow, it does limit outside seating potential compared to one flat wide path.

A further issue is that diving paving space ensure space for a cycle lane (now installed) *and* bus lane (now removed) alongside a general traffic lane wasn’t possible. Of course doing that would hamper outside seating space, but either outside seating space or a bus and cycle lane is preferable to the dogs dinner that is street design outside this block.

I’m not 100 per cent sure, but it looks like it could possibly be as a result of car parking below the block and penny pinching. If so, instead of placing parking fully as basement level they’ve only included a shallow parking area hence commercial space access a metre above pavement level.

Long vacant. Steps needed to access unit at this point

If true, it was condemning unit to failure from day one unless rents were extremely cheap.

This isn’t the only space where developers not ensuring true basement parking presents a blank frontage. Woolwich’s new riverside tower blocks from Berkeley Homes does the same. You may think that a riverside area would be ideal for a café. Unfortunately car parking ensures that isn’t happening.

Black frontage facing river at river path level

At the Deptford block, TfL requested that general parking bays be converted to disabled use only. Greenwich council have rejected that suggestion.

TfL stated £75,000 from Section 106 payments was suitable as a contribution to Cycleway 4 works outside, which Greenwich have agreed to.

The Greenwich Society raised concerns over windowless rooms, to which Greenwich planners state: “The proposed hotel model, and access to natural light for guests are not material
considerations which form part of the assessment”.


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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.

5 thoughts on “Deptford to see windowless hotel if plans approved: How to ensure commercial space dies

  • I maintain that it is a waste of space having commercial premises in new builds. Local businesses cannot afford the huge rents and those that can, won’t attract enough users.

    As for the windowless hotel idea, I have no doubt that the Dickensian planning committee will nod it through.

  • This planning application for this windowless hotel should thrown out by Greenwich Counccil if the Council Planners have any sense. Hotel rooms needs windows for provide fresh air and ventalation in the rooms. Surely this must breach some health and safety law. To me this an another disaster waiting to happen.

    It would be interesting to know what the London Fire Brigade think of developments like this where no windows are installed.

    Does Deptford need another hotel? I think this space would be better used for affordable housing for rent.or even student accomodation. With windows added to all the rooms.

    The commercial premises does need to be at ground level to make them accisible for disabled people with mobility problems, Sight problems and people using wheelchairs wheelchairs or in buggies.

  • No windows no hotel should be the sensible and only answer to this planning application by the Greenwich Council’s Planning Committee next week. But we will wait and see !!

    Health and safety issues must be the top priority. Sadly I agree this could be a disaster waiting to happen if planning application granted for the windowless hotel next week.

  • “ … 123-room windowless hotel could be approved next week …”

    An American style privatised prison would be more apt. No windows needed. If it’s a localised equivalent of super-max facility for domestic terrorists, you wouldn’t even have to modify the room sizes from the proposed hotel plan.

  • I remember during construction this building was advertised as being ‘Inspired by Dance’ !?


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