CAMPAIGNERS say their plans for a new cruise liner terminal will bring jobs, prosperity and prestige to the area.

Convoys Opportunity unveiled its new charter for the former Convoys Wharf deep water moorings at Deptford on Monday.

Sailing past on Thames barge Lady Daphne, campaigners invoked the area's maritime history and were accompanied by Henry VIII, Lord Nelson and Cardinal Wolsey.

The protesters are calling on Lewisham Council to reject plans to build 3,500 new homes in three tower blocks up to 40 storeys high on the site.

Convoys Opportunity says the plans will double the immediate population, putting heavy strain on the infrastructure of schools, roads and services in the area.

Group chairman Bill Ellson points out currently some ships have to travel to Europe for repairs.

He said: "A vibrant, working River Thames needs to be safeguarded, rather than just provide the backdrop to luxury penthouses.

"A new cruise liner terminal with allied marine businesses will bring jobs, prosperity and prestige to Lewisham."

He compared the situation in Lewisham with Brooklyn in New York, which is benefiting from a new cruise-liner terminal being built there.

"We are in a race with New York for the Olympics in 2012.

"Let's not lose out in this equally important bid to win the cruise ship trade."

The historical characters were representing London's maritime heyday.

Henry VIII commissioned a deep water port on the Thames.

The Convoys Wharf plans proposed by site owner News International feature 10 acres of office space, restaurants and leisure facilities.

The proposal is still at the outline planning stage but could see the developers providing 35 per cent affordable housing and new schools and services in the area.

Lewisham Deputy Mayor Councillor Gavin Moore said: "Careful consideration will be given to the future use of Convoys Wharf to ensure any development has a positive impact on the borough.

"In principle the council would like to see a mixed-use proposal including employment space and housing, retail, leisure and community facilities.

"A decision will be reached by the council's strategic planning committee on May 26."