Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Deptford high street Anchor and the campaign to protect our heritage & locals sense of identity .

Ok , why has it gone? why have pictures of the Anchor started to go up in windows across Deptford and New Cross, why are street lamps asking. " Missing  the Anchor, have you seen it ?"  last nights Deptford Society meeting was dominated by the much loved Anchor and its removal from its position at the end of deptford high street linking New Cross road.
Council officials seem to be giving out mixed messages, one group say the Anchor was removed as part of the refurbishment of Deptford high street, whilst most support the other reason being given, was that the Anchor had become a meeting point for the local drinking community at all hours of the day and night, and that by removing the anchor from the high street you would end the drinking problem.
What ever the reason, Labour Lewisham have taken the anchor away and we are told it is in storage at Convoy wharf. What a Hong Kong investment company is doing storing an important part of local history instead of the Council is a further mystery, but the return of the anchor cannot come back soon enough,.
Present proposals are for the anchor to be placed at the roundabout as this would be difficult to access but easy to be seen as a landmark, and would put pressure on Labour Lewisham to at least have the anchor in an open place rarther than it vanish with time.
Other proposals are Griffen Square or in its original spot less the seating , however this story is moving fast, and possible the best site for it has come up due to a planning application.
Lewisham Council has a planning application to refurbish and plant tress etc at the front of Deptford Station, Deptford Society and others, and i think People Before Profit would also support this location as part of the landscaping of the station area to give a link to the high street to stop and raise awareness to the huge numbers of people using the station, many of which end up  by-passing the shops and local traders on the high street.
 Last year People Before Profit did a survey at the One se8 development as people set of for work each day to find out how many people shopped in Deptford, we were staggered to discover only 2% out of 1100 residents interviewed said they had ever been to Deptford high street even though it was only 300 yards away, People Before Profit have for years raised this issue with Lewisham, that new builds bringing in new people is not and presently does not translate into business for local traders.
It is therefore extremly important that Lewisham Council planning department look at using this planning oppertunity of placing the Anchor in such a major juction reflecting the areas heritage and idendity and in return we hope boosting the local economy. Sadly we hjave no PB4P councillors yet, but it is worth emailing Councillors and the Mayor and MP to raise the profile before this great oppertunity is missed.
Some people have suggested moving the railway carrage, presently occupied by squatters  to other areas around the high street but the cost on this seems huge whilst the place it presently sits has been promised and signed over to Lewisham Council for a welcome to Deptford Kiosk with a funding pot of £34.000, needless to say going by Labour Lewisham record on public funds, delays and lack of vision or control has lead to wide spread concern in the community that like the kiosk and the anchor, unless residents speak out , this money will go.
Follow on Twitter @Raywoolford
www.peoplebeforeprofit.org.uk

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