Monday, 24 June 2013

Convoy Wharf Planning application deadline 1 July 2013. People Before Profits submission

Dear Planning Officers

Re:  Convoy Wharf Objection – Reference DC/13/83358

We wish to object to this development on the following grounds:


Whilst the developer states that this 13 year building project will take 13 years, they have not had talks with Lewisham College or any other building training project in Lewisham.  Deptford has 55 per cent youth unemployment and yet the developer has ignored our calls to start training local people with the skills the developer will need over the next 13 years, seeking to bring in cheap labour from outside the area.  Clearly, this would result in widespread community unrest and is in breach of Lewisham Council’s own Job Creation Policy.


This development, on closer inspection, will only produce 8 per cent affordable housing.  This is, once again, clearly in breach of Lewisham Council’s Housing Policy; we need affordable housing that reflects the fact that the average Lewisham wage is £24,400 per year and that the units reflect what the Council needs – not just dozens of studio apartments to meet a quota.

Housing Units are being marketed at a starting price of £300,000 for a studio.  By marketing these as ‘trophy flats’ across the globe, the wider Lewisham community is not likely to see any benefit whatsoever from this.  We consider that the Council should impose both a restriction on units sold abroad and restrict the number sold as buy-to-let investments in order to stop the local rental market from seeing mass rent increases and more local people being priced out of the Borough.


We believe the roof spaces should be used to generate low-cost green energy to benefit all local residents.  It seems odd that the developer has made a deal with Selchip to use the energy created by local residents’ waste to give low-cost energy for the super rich on this development.  This is demonstrably unfair and wrong.


This is a poorly served site with terrible access.  Evelyn Street is currently deadlocked most of the time and the scale of units could undermine the entire local business community whilst causing massive health issues due to poor air quality and the scale of works, which have not been taken into account.  Deptford Green School Oxstalls Road is totally unsuitable as main access for lorries.  The small road on which this primary school is situated is used constantly by parents and small children.  We have constantly put forward Dragoon Road as the safest access and, further, more effort should be put into using the river for material access rather than by road.

Business Space

We propose that all these commercial units should be used to launch a new Green Business Hub for new start-ups or to boost the link with the wider Artistic Community, which plays a huge part in the local economy.  Consideration should also be given to the development of a long term sustainable business community and not, as is presently obvious from the plans, more Tesco Metro.

Historical Importance and the River

More must be done to reflect the area’s marine and docks history, giving greater access to the river and for tourism.  We would support the idea of a link to Greenwich and the building of the Lennox as well as the idea of developing boat building repairs on site.  This is a £3 billion a year business and would hark back to the area’s water history whilst boosting local economy through the huge number of jobs it would generate.

We believe that this offshore developer is only paying lip service to Lewisham Council’s planning ideas for Deptford.  The present proposal will not generate a single local job unless this Council enforces it as part of planning consent.  The Council should not be fooled into thinking the developer will not be making any money if it builds Lewisham Council’s 35 per cent affordable homes quota – At almost every level this proposed project fails.

This is a development to make billions with absolutely the minimum community pay-back.


In brief these proposals are ill thought out.  Plans for the listed warehouse are for a community space as a possibility but would not be sustainable.  Who would cover the ongoing running costs for such a proposal?  This is just aimed at being seen to be offering something for the community when our proposal for Green Energy Hub or even centre for the building of the Lennox would be sustainable long term and generate real advantages to the whole community.

Size of Development:     Greenwich and Southwark are set to see population increase by 53,000 with Lewisham expecting an extra 42,000 householders.  However, Convoy Wharf only has Evelyn Street as the one road access which would lead to massive congestion should this number of units be built.  Building a smaller number and giving real living space makes more sense.  The proposed side road access to the site from Grove Street and Evelyn Street are totally unsuitable for a high volume of traffic.  The site fails to address the most basic requirements under both Government and EU Green Deal policy.  The site should, as we have suggested, be used to generate low cost energy for all residents in SE8 and SE14.

Health Risk Assessment:   The site is highly contaminated and yet the developer seems to have no clear proposal as to how the site will be cleared (and by whom) to ensure water contamination does not take place and, further, the asbestos and other toxic particles that would contaminate the air would impact on the health of local residents.  The site is in an area with an acute shortage of health care provision and school places.

The cultural strategy is flawed as at no level does this development reflect the area’s history and its proud boat-building history from the start of the docks in 1513.  The Lennox would make a real link to the past and the future whilst a Green Energy or Artistic Hub or even further boat building and repairs can be demonstrated as present and viable.

Community involvement has been very poor.   Whilst residents have been constantly approached, their views and concerns are consistently ignored and we have very real concerns that despite lobbying for 12 years to encourage the developer to work with local colleges to train up the labour force needed, nothing has been done to promote work for the local community and we fear that should this application go through the developer will then say ‘we had to bring in labour as not enough trained labour is available in Lewisham’.  This could even lead to the site seeing sheds and caravans being placed on site so that the work force can be claimed as local residents – similar to what happened on the Olympic site. 

This is a wonderful opportunity to create a model sustainable development that the world could copy and admire, leaving our Mayor with a true legacy.  What can be better than creating a development that ensures the whole community benefits?  Furthermore, our proposals would increase the demand for flats, thus boosting the profit the developers could make.

Ray Woolford, Barbara Raymond. Jack Eccles ,Yvonne Iles ,George Hallam , John Hamilton.
Nicola & Micah walters.

Lewisham & Greenwich People before Profit

Post a Comment