Monday, 12 December 2011

Creekside conservation area proposals

Creekside conservation area proposals: Lewisham Council has now made more information available online about its proposals to create a new conservation area covering Creekside and the Crossfields estate.

The character appraisal document is certainly worth a read if you have any interest in the history of Deptford, there's quite a lot of research gone into this and it explains some of the history of Deptford Creek and its many wharves, as well as the development of the Crossfields estate which is considered a fine example of London County Council's early social housing estates and marks the start of the redevelopment of inner city slum areas.

The council is holding a public consultation event next year at the Creekside Centre, on 7 January 2012 from 11am-3pm if you want to find out more about the implications this move would have for the area.

There's also an online survey with about four questions with yes/no answer options which are fine for those of you whose responses are cut and dried. If you want to contribute something a bit more useful there's also a box at the end for any other comments, or of course you can write direct to the planning conservation office, the contact details for which are on the council's website.

Naturally the creation of a conservation area should in theory offer protection against the loss of Creekside's unique character - although some commenters have already raised the issue of lack of enforcement on our other main conservation area, Deptford High Street.

On the High Street we are seeing a creeping erosion of the characteristics that make it worthy of protection, and enforcement by the council seems to be sorely lacking. Landlords are ripping out old windows and shopfronts with impunity, whacking in their replacement frames and solid security shutters without even bothering to wait for planning permission to be granted. And when planning applications are rejected, as in the case of Paddy Power's alterations to the former Deptford Arms, the council does not seem to be willing or able to enforce its own decisions.

With proposed changes afoot, such as Workspace's plans for the Faircharm Estate and rumours that Railtrack wants to replace our landmark lifting bridge (which no longer lifts but still acts as a landmark) it is unsurprising that the council is looking at ways to protect Creekside.

However the existence of the Creekside 'village' development and the fact that the other side of the Creek is in Greenwich borough does raise several questions such as: is it too little too late? and what (if any) implications would it have for plans by Greenwich to redevelop the other side of the Creek?

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