The Mayor of London has given the green light to a £1bn high-rise riverside development in Deptford which will create 3,500 new homes.
Boris Johnson approved the Convoys Wharf scheme by Hong Kong developer Hutchinson Whampoa yesterday (March 31) after dramatically seizing power over the plans from Lewisham Council last year.
Deptford heritage campaigners claimed a “significant victory” after Mr Johnson stressed the Build the Lenox project – which would build a full size replica of a 17th century warship – should be included in the development.
They had feared the 16th Century old Royal Dockyard’s legacy would be bulldozed over and are pleased the mayor backed the ship which would be built near the foundations of diarist John Evelyn’s 17th Century manor house.
There will also be a £70m funding package for community services as well as 500 affordable homes but there is criticism the "real concerns" of the community have still not been fully met.
Director of Build the Lenox Julian Kingston told News Shopper: “The mayor has made it clear he expects a positive result with the ship. Obviously we are delighted, we are still reeling with shock.
“We are still keeping our fingers crossed because the devil is in the detail. But I think we are 99 per cent there.”
The 62-year-old boat builder, who lives in a boat in Deptford Creek, added: “I am really pleased because I think it will give the community in Deptford a fair chance to link something which is an utterly alien project being landed on their doorstep and be able to link the community with the project, rather than be horrified bystanders.”
Lewisham Deptford MP Dame Joan Ruddock said concerns remained about increased traffic on Evelyn Street and not being given enough space for a garden at Sayes Court but they would continue to push during the decade-long project.
She added: “I think it was a very good hearing.
“We didn’t get everything we wanted but we made some good gains.
“The most significant victory for us was on Build the Lenox.
“The developer agreed to build the Horticultural Institute at their own expense, so that is another victory.”
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock added: “I am disappointed that The Mayor of London did not see fit to make more significant alterations to the scheme to better address the real concerns of the local community.
“However, the Mayor’s supportive comments about the heritage projects proposed for this historic site were much more encouraging."
He says he welcomes an independent feasibility study into the use of the Olympia Warehouse and Wharf as locations to build the Lenox and achieve the "meaningful incorporation" of the Sayes Court Garden Project.
He added :“Lewisham Council will now work hard to secure the best possible legal agreement that ensures the enduring legacy this site deserves and harnesses the energy and enthusiasm built up for the Lenox and Sayes Court projects.”
E xecutive director and general manager of developer Hutchison Whampoa Properties, Europe, Edmond Ho said: “We are delighted that the Mayor has approved the Masterplan for Convoys Wharf and that work can begin on delivering this £1 billion world class development which will deliver 3,500 new homes and over 2000 new jobs.
“This decision will pave the way for an investment of over £70m into local amenities, through Section 106 commitments and the Community Infrastructure Levy, whilst providing over 500 affordable homes, all of which will directly benefit local people.
“We look forward to working with Lewisham and local community groups in the coming years to deliver this scheme for the benefit of local people and the local economy.”