Saturday, 20 November 2010

Popping up all over the place

With 'pop ups' trending all over the place, Deptford and surrounds is not immune.

Old favourite Cockpit Arts open studios takes place on 3-5 December - Friday (11am-9pm) entry is free, it's £3 on Saturday and Sunday (11am-6pm). Not wanting to miss out on the trend, they are hosting a pop up cafe (although to be fair they've had the pop up cafe at their open studios for years..!)

To coincide with this regular event and turn it into a Deptford-wide celebration, Deptford Art Map and the various galleries in the area have created 'Gifted - a weekend of art and design in Deptford'.

Among gallery openings and mulled wine/mince pies, Creekside Artists is also holding the Faircharm Fair - an art and craft weekend on 4 and 5 December. Its purpose is 'to raise the profile of visual arts and crafts in Deptford and to provide a networking opportunity for artists, as well as the chance to showcase and sell their work. Drawing activities and music will add to the fair’s festive atmosphere and (surprise surprise!) there will be a ‘pop-up cafe’ on site throughout the event.'

Christmas Fayre at the Bear (former Bear Cafe, 154 Deptford High Street). Every Saturday and Sunday between 27 November and Christmas, the Bear will be hosting gift stalls and a cafe. 10am till 5pm. I do hope they'll be resurrecting some of their glorious soups :-)

Further afield, crafter Miss Libby Rose has got a 'pop up shop' in the covered market in Greenwich from now till Christmas where you can learn to make your own gifts for Christmas. I'm not quite sure what the difference between a pop up shop and a market stall is, but here's the details of the classes.

'Tea and make' will be popping up on 27th November at 3 Lewisham Way (opposite Goldsmiths Uni) until 11 December. It's described as 'exclusive christmas shopping, tea drinking and making' and will be open Tues to Sat 10-6 except Thursday till 9, Sunday 12-4pm. The names of the makers are on the flyer, but you'll have to click to make it big enough to read.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Greenwich gyratory proposals update

West Greenwich CARA has published a report about the meeting on Monday which was very well attended - you can find the details here.

One main point which came out of the meeting was the fact that the decision on whether to move ahead with the plan will not be made next month - it could be March or later before any vote is taken.

Two-year anniversary!

It has just been brought to my notice that this month we are celebrating TWO YEARS since the plans to rebuild Deptford Station were given planning permission by the council.

Just thought I'd mention it.

Deptford christmas festival and lights switch-on

It's hard to contain my excitement as I savour the prospect of the Deptford christmas lights. I haven't looked lately but I guess they are still in place from last year, clamped to the lamp-posts along the High Street. Next time you go shopping you can squint up at them and imagine them glowing with coloured bulbs for a sneak peek of the excitement to come.

All sarcasm aside I am not by any means suggesting that the council should waste spend any more money on christmas decorations and certainly not on taking them down, storing them and then putting them back up every year. It's great that we have some lights and perhaps kids enjoy seeing them burst into life at the annual switch-on, but I'm relieved to see that there is a little more to the christmas festival than just the illuminations - because frankly that wouldn't be very exciting! 
Perhaps some of the local pubs will be serving mulled wine. Oh I just remembered, we don't have any local pubs left on the high street.
Saturday 11 December, 11am – 3.30pm
Deptford Christmas Festival at Giffin Square, Douglas Way, Margaret McMillan Park and Deptford Project
Festive activities are due to take place around Deptford all weekend.  Some of Saturday’s attractions include special market stalls, children’s activities, and walking and cycling-themed entertainment including rickshaw rides.  The Christmas lights will be switched on as the sun goes down.

Former British Legion, Childers St redevelopment plans

You could easily pass by the low brick building on the corner of Childers St and Abinger Grove without a second glance - and in fact I did so for some years before noticing the old Royal British Legion which proclaimed 'Pride of Deptford'!
As far as I know the Legion has been gone for some time, and the building is currently being used by one of Deptford's more unorthodox churches. Planning permission is being sought to redevelop the site by building a six-storey block of social rented/'affordable'/shared ownership housing with commercial space at ground level. The developer is proposing one one-bedroom flat, 14 two-bedroom flats and 7 three-bedroom flats in an attempt to address a shortage of larger social housing units in the area. Two of the units will be fully wheelchair accessible.

Only six car-parking spaces are proposed for the flats, along with at least one cycle parking space per flat in a secure area next to the car park. A number of renderings of the proposed building are available.

As all too usual, in my opinion, the developers have gone out of their way to avoid showing the height of the new building in direct comparison to the existing buildings nearby. The renderings in particular choose suitable angles that suggest that the new block blends seamlessly in with the four-storey maisonette opposite and the Victorian pub across the road from it. The rendering above shows the block as you approach from Evelyn Green, the one below shows the view along Abinger Grove as you approach from Evelyn Street. 

The rendering below, showing the building from further back on Abinger Grove, is probably the one that demonstrates most clearly how the building will relate to its immediate neighbours, but I was interested to see that the designers have tried to minimise its impact by showing it in a light blue so that it blends nicely with the sky.

According to the planning documents (find them here) the developer has already done a lot of work with Lewisham's planning department on the 'massing' of the building, and has made some changes to the original design to reduce its impact on its neighbours. I'm not sure they have really gone far enough.

Were the new block next to the other apartment developments further along Childers St it would be fine, but I can't help feeling it's still rather too high for its corner location. Perhaps it is being driven by the insistance that the building incorporates commercial space at the ground level.

It's also worth remembering that not only is it replacing a single storey building, it is also right next to the public area of Evelyn Green. Not the estate's most beautiful green space, it's true, but certainly valuable for those who live nearby. The documents propose that the developer might contribute funding to improve facilities in these public areas (now owned by Lewisham Homes) which would undoubtedly be welcome.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Greenwich gyratory proposals

You may remember the consultation almost a year ago about the plans to pedestrianise parts of Greenwich town centre. The benefits of making Greenwich town centre easier to navigate for pedestrians seemed to be outweighed by the intention to create a much larger gyratory which would affect bus routes and make certain journeys much longer for local motorists.

Not only does it seem that Greenwich Council and its transport advisers are out of step with the general trend to remove gyratories (New Cross is a perfect example of many in London which are being restored to their two-way road systems), but recent research by the council has also revealed that the gyratory would increase traffic levels on other streets such as Circus Street and Burney Street (although equally it would reduce traffic levels on other streets).

Many cyclists are concerned about the negative impact it will have on cycling in the area; higher traffic speeds and a reduction of freedom of movement for cyclists. Deptfordians who cycle from here to Greenwich also fear that Norman Road will become a huge barrier to travel.

The impact on bus routes has yet to be fully assessed, but it seems likely that routes such as the 199 from Lewisham to Surrey Quays would no longer be able to serve Greenwich Town Centre (one less option for public transport back from Greenwich to Deptford) and and many other routes would be extended/stops would be moved further away.

More details of the local opposition to the scheme is available on the website of West Greenwich CARA (Conservation Area Residents' Association) which is also having a meeting in the Prince of Greenwich pub in Royal Hill on Monday 15 November at 8pm.

Greenwich Council is intending to vote on the matter in December.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Gifted/Cockpit Arts open studios

The weekend of 3-5 December is a definite diary date for being in The 'Ford (not that I'm suggesting any other weekend isn't of course...!)

Cockpit Arts will be having its pre-christmas open studios weekend, and has linked up with many of the other galleries and studios in the area to promote this particular weekend under the 'Gifted' banner.

Most of the galleries and artist studios in the area will be open over the weekend, some with special events including artist talks, mulled wine, badge making and even a cocktail party.

Full details of the events are available at the Art Map website. Find out more about the Cockpit Arts open studios here.

Deptford Project

The Deptford Project (taster) from Umlaut Collective on Vimeo.

Local artists Umlaut Collective have made a short film about the latest redecoration of the Deptford Project carriage.

They also have some great photos on their website of the Union Cycle Works workshop in the arches.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Tesco Express Creek Road

It's a Tesco Express so you can pretty much guess what kind of stuff is on the shelves - plenty of ready meals and plenty of snacks, not such a great range of stuff for those who like to cook from scratch compared to what can be bought locally and much cheaper in Deptford High Street.

A few items worth pointing out are:

- it has a FREE cashpoint, which will no doubt prove a bit of a godsend for the local area. The only other cashpoints I know of in the environs are the ones that charge.

- it has the usual Tesco Express long opening hours which will give Costcutter a bit of a run for its money. I noticed this morning that there was already a bit of banner competition going on across Creek Road between the two stores.

- it is bigger than the Tesco Express on Deptford High Street.

Er, that's it!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Convoy's wharf planning application

In due course I hope to bring you my considered comments on the application, but once you've seen the number and extent of documents you'll understand that it's going to take me some time to fully digest.

In the meantime I know that quite a few of my followers are interested in this development, so I wanted to bring the documents to your attention for full scrutiny.

They are posted here on the Convoy's Wharf site. Happy reading!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Tidemill School bid for academy status - deadline for comments

November 15th is the final deadline for sending your comments about the school's proposal to seek academy status to Tidemill's board of governors.

The consultation document produced by the school, along with a form for comments is available to download here by clicking on the headline of the page. It is a balanced document which explains how things operate now, and what changes academy status could bring. I think it does a pretty good job in addressing some of the questions that have been raised without noticeable bias.

'Saying no' has also produced a document, which can be downloaded at the same page, which counters the main arguments generally put forward in support of academy status. 

Full details of how to submit your comments are on the website.