Thursday, 13 April 2017

Temporary housing scheme proposed for Deptford

Lewisham Council has put forward a proposal to build 31 temporary homes on a disused playground in Deptford, using a similar scheme of modular construction to that which was trialled in Ladywell.

An update on the council's new homes programme, which is being presented at the council's housing select committee next week suggests that the Deptford scheme would build on the lessons learned from Place/Ladywell and could provide a mix of two and three-bed housing units for people in 'acute housing need' - i.e. currently housed by the council in temporary accommodation such as bed and breakfast. There are 1,800 'households' currently in this situation in Lewisham alone.


At this stage details are outline - a feasibility study has been completed and the next phase will require additional funding from the council so that officers can commission the full design and planning process. The council is hoping to apply for GLA innovation funding to pay for the construction, which is estimated at around £6.5 million. The scheme might also incorporate community and/or commercial space on the ground floor.


The proposal involves modular construction of housing using prefabricated units that are made off site and are designed to stack together. They can subsequently be dismantled and moved elsewhere if necessary, but according to the council report, the intention is to apply for planning permission for the site to be permanently used for temporary accommodation.


The site is currently occupied by a games court which was used by Deptford Green School when it was in its former location, just across the road. Since the school relocated and got new sports facilities, the court has not been maintained and is in a poor state. The gates are being left unlocked to prevent kids scaling the fence to get in. Whatever its condition, the loss of recreation space is something that needs addressing - the report suggests that improvements could be made to the games courts on Evelyn Green, which is very close by.


I went along to have a look at the site and was surprised to find three mature and exotic trees along the strip of land next to the court along Arklow Road. My eye was caught by the beautiful and dramatic flowers on this tree, which I found out via Twitter is a Sophora, probably a type of Kowhai - the Maori name for this species of native New Zealand tree. 

Alongside is a huge eucalyptus with incredibly pungent leaves and another rather less distinctive tree that also looks as if it might be an exotic species. I have no idea how these trees came to be planted on this piece of land - if anyone has any information, please leave a comment as I would love to know!

I note that some trees are shown on the rendering above, but as I know all too well this could just be 'indicative', so I'll be looking keenly at the details of the planning application to check that they are going to be retained.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

My understanding from the presentation at the Evelyn Assembly is that this block has a 60 year life span. The comparisons to the PLACE Ladywell scheme are confusing. This building will be around a long time and a bit more permanent than temporary although it will be used for the temporary housing of individuals on the housing list. Maybe this will be clarified. People need to be housed and "temporary" housing situations can last for years so it's good to have better conditions in purpose built accommodation.

The existing ballcourt on Evelyn Green is not in bad shape. I hope there are no plans to further pave the area. I think the idea that a recreational area the size of the former ball court can be offset by tarting up another similar space is not a fair payoff. Perhaps all of Evelyn green could be looked at and make the whole park a bit better for all activities. Maybe a children's play area.

The ground floor space needs to be planned in advance so it doesn't become another generic shop unit that stands idle.

Anonymous said...

I would happily see a thousand trees felled if it meant we could make progress on urgently needed social housing, especially for homeless families.

Anonymous said...

I went round Place as part of Open House last year. I was surprised to see how big the flats were, much bigger than private flats that are being built. I'm fully supportive of getting homeless people into decent accommodation but there are many who would never be able to afford to rent or buy a similar property in the private market.

Anonymous said...

With the amount of cars on the road polluting the air in this area, these 3 trees are a much needed necessity to the local community. The football court is used quite often and with the lack of green areas in New Cross, the community needs as much space as they can get to them out of the flats.
Please help protect the trees with emailing: planningtrees@lewisham.gov.uk and say you would like to protect the trees on Arklow Road with a tree preservation order.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it is worth protecting eucalyptus, they have short life spans and are difficult to manage as they get taller. better to take it down now, and replant something native.

Anonymous said...

Arklow road and Edward street are both heavily used by traffic, the more green the better.
The Eucalyptus tree is mature and in good health, also when traffic fumes die down it offers a wonderful smell. The new scheme should be set back to protect the existing tree line. I am sure the new residents would enjoy the view of nature out of the window to one closer to the exhaust pipes.

Anonymous said...

Great to see New Cross and Deptford coming up in the world! Ten years time this whole area will hopefully be like Hoxton / Shoreditch.

Anonymous said...

I visited the Arklow Road site yesterday with a friend.
Its sad to see the play area in such a terrible state.
With mounting pollution levels we needs our trees.
Every effort should be made to protect the 3 trees.
Please please write to the council as suggested on 21st April.