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Boris approves Farrells' £1bn Convoys Wharf scheme

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has approved Terry Farrells’ £1bn Convoys Wharf scheme in Deptford, south east London

Farrell’s masterplan for the 40 acre site, which was submitted for outline planning back in May last year, includes 3,500 new homes, shops, restaurants, and public space.

A plea from the scheme’s developer Hutchinson Whampoa resulted in the application being ‘called in’ by Johnson back in October, after Lewisham Council’s 16 week period to make a decision expired.

Johnson said: ‘We need to build thousands of new homes in the capital and proposals to do that at Convoys Wharf have stalled for far too long. I am pleased that we have been able to work on a scheme that will have enormous social and economic benefits for local people while preserving the heritage aspects of the site.’

The planning approval includes a section 106 agreement which requires City Hall planners to meet with Lewisham and Hutchison Whampoa to come up with an alternative scheme for Sayes Court Garden, and to build a community centre with a primary school at the centre of the site.

The developer has also been requested to fund a feasibility study into the building of a replica of the Lenox warship which was built on the site, looking into how it can be incorporated into the regeneration of the historic site.

The site in Deptford which has been derelict for the past 14 years is said to be one of the largest potential sites for new housing in the capital.

Previous story (AJ 31.10.13)

BoJo seizes planning control on Farrells’ £1bn Convoys Wharf scheme

Boris Johnson has taken over control of the planning process governing Terry Farrells’ £1bn Convoys Wharf scheme in Deptford, south east London

Farrells’ huge masterplan, which was submitted for outline planning back in May (see AJ 02.05.13) includes up to 3,500 homes, a new wharf, a hotel and three new towers and was being overseen by Lewisham Council’s planning department.  

But now, after a plea from the scheme’s developer, Hutchison Whampoa, the London Mayor has ‘called-in’ the scheme and become the defacto planning authority.

On the 17 October Hutchison Whampoa general manager, Edmond Ho, wrote to Johnson complaining of ‘unrealistic demands’ and urged him to intervene under article 7 of the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2008.

Ho wrote: ‘We have serious concerns that the Council, well beyond the expiry of the statutory determination period, and bearing in mind lengthy pre-application discussions, is still making further unrealistic demands and seeking changes to the masterplan, all at odds with the GLA’s views expressed in the July Stage 1 report, and all of which will seriously jeopardise the viability and deliverability of the development.

‘We believe that the approach taken by the Council now risks many further months of unnecessary delay and uncertainty (with the distinct possibility of decision making being delayed further by May 2014 local elections) and the resultant substantial delay in the creation of jobs, growth, the delivery of much needed housing in London and the wider regeneration benefits for the area.’

In response Johnson yesterday confirmed that he was taking responsibility for the scheme’s progress.

In a letter to the council’s planning department Johnson praised the borough’s record on housing, but wrote:  ‘…the breakdown in relationship between the Council and the applicant is such that I am not satisfied that you will be able to reach a timely planning determination in respect of the current planning application for this important site.’

Johnson’s bold decision has caused uproar in Lewisham Council, with council chief executive Barry Quirk blaming the developer for delays: ‘We believe that the outstanding issues are fully capable of being resolved and could be done so at a local level and it is unfortunate Hutchison Whampoa have consistently declined to engage with the council to resolve them,’ wrote Quirk in an earlier letter to Johnson.

 

Readers' comments (2)

  • It is admirable that Lewisham Council's lien on this scheme be removed. However for all the current governments statements that planning delays and red tape be removed, it is plain to see it has failed.
    Our counterparts in Europe and the elsewhere just get on with large schemes, and the results are there to be seen.
    That the site has laid dormant for 14 years, a stain in the area, just confirms this.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • It is admirable that Lewisham Council's lien on this scheme be removed. However for all the current governments statements that planning delays and red tape be removed, it is plain to see it has failed.
    Our counterparts in Europe and the elsewhere just get on with large schemes, and the results are there to be seen.
    That the site has laid dormant for 14 years, a stain in the area, just confirms this.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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