We understand from Lewisham Council's planning department that they are still deeply concerned about the masterplan that is being put forward by Hutchison Whampoa for redevelopment of Convoys Wharf. The fact that they have shared this matter with us is reassuring, and we are happy to note that they are continuing to ask for significant improvements in the masterplan.
What's more, we have learned that Lewisham's mayor, Steve Bullock, intends to hold a public event 'to allow interested parties to present information on the history of the site and share their views on how this could inform and be reflected in proposals'. Joan Ruddock has also voiced a commitment to some kind of public meeting, and both the Mayor and Ms Ruddock have said separately that they will be working together to set something up. We will keep you updated on this as we find out more information.
The planning application will not be brought to committee before the end of the year, and council officers have highlighted three specific concerns which mean that the council is unable to support the current application.
At the heart of the issue, according to Lewisham's planners, is how the heritage assets of the site are reflected in the masterplan and from there will feed into the detailed proposals for the site. Despite repeated requests that the scheme designers demonstrate how the layout of the site responds to the heritage context, planning officers say they still have not seen or heard any convincing arguments in this regard. They say that the layout, massing and specific proposals being put forward are bland and anonymous, and are a long way from representing a sufficient response to the history of the site and its surroundings.
Thirdly the planners have highlighted that the wide parameters for which the developers are seeking approval are far too uncertain and unacceptable. At the very least, they say, the developers must specify how the floorspace will be distributed between the various buildings that are proposed, rather than simply being specified as a total for each 'parcel' of land.
Similar concerns are also being raised by other bodies (as we have seen in some of the objections printed elsewhere on the blog), including the GLA, English Heritage, and the Design Council.
Deptford is.. looks forward to working with Lewisham and other interested parties to present alternative proposals to a wider audience at a public event some time soon.