The tree lined edge of the boatyard overlooking the Thames. A quiet and popular spot to relax. The stone is the Rotherhithe and Deptford Boundary Stone
The tree lined edge of the boatyard overlooking the Thames. A quiet and popular spot to relax. The stone is the Rotherhithe and Deptford Boundary Stone
Corner of the South Dock Boat Yard showing the typical three and four story buildings in the area and the nearest distance to the yard.
Corner of the South Dock Boat Yard showing the typical three and four story buildings in the area and the nearest distance to the yard.
The South Dock Boat Yard Gate. It is pretty much full at the moment.
The South Dock Boat Yard Gate. It is pretty much full at the moment.

Southwark Council held their “consultation” meeting on the 7th and 8th of October. In their wisdom they decided to have a maximum of twenty people in each 30 minute session. The first day sold out quickly so they introduced another day. It was all pretty pointless as by the time the officials had said their bit about housing needs and how the boat yard will be “improved” there was hardly any time for questions. Everything was very sketchy with some positively dodgy graphics distorting the development by removing tower blocks and bending the river. When I asked Bruce Glockling whether the development was going ahead as planned he said yes they would be building 213 flats wrapped round a “boatyard”. The consultation must be purely a formality. They are trying to tick the box after their disastrous first attempt when they forgot to tell anyone about it. They agreed at the meeting to call the “consultation” held on the 7th and 8th as their “First Consultation” but seemed to have forgotten what they said as their website is claiming they have held two “consultations”. In any case, they were a total waste of time. I doubt a single person was in favour of the development. The information was farcical and we are none the wiser.

The truth is they are trying to wrap two tower blocks up to twenty stories high plus a block of flats eight stories high around what is meant to be a working boat yard. I’ve never seen an industrial site surrounded by flats in this way. I do know of boatyards which have been closed down because neighbours have complained about the noise. In this case the proposed new inhabitants will have to endure toxic dust, poisonous fumes, plus noise if there is to be shot blasting, grinding, spray painting, welding, riveting and all the general carpentry and sanding noises. Everything will be amplified by the buildings so even neighbours over the road will have to endure higher noise levels. Boat yards need just a bit of space around them like any industrial process. Once the residents start to complain the Health and Safety officials will not tolerate toxic dusts, fumes and noise and the yard will be closed down. The yard works fine as it is and it could easily be developed to provide better facilities and more, much needed, proper jobs for the local residents.

Southwark Council are proposing building 213 flats probably housing 400-600 people (if the flats are actually lived in) with no thought whatsoever as to where people will work. As Southwark have gradually eradicated all the existing industrial buildings in the borough they must be presuming people travel outside the borough to work yet the roads are blocked, the tube is jammed, the busses hopeless during rush hour and even the very expensive river boats are now virtually full.

The River Thames needs South Dock Boat Yard so it is essential we act now to defeat this grossly over scaled and thoughtless development.

2 Responses

  1. Good luck! Must admit I’ve not had much luck with changing planning departments minds once they get to this stage. What are the local counsellors doing? After all, they are meant to represent your interests.

    Is there any way that funding could facilitate compatibility between the boat yard and housing? eg. could the developer be made by the council to pay for (say) sound proofing or extractor fans to reduce noise and dust? There usually is some scope for asking for these sort of improvements to facilities at this stage.

    1. Hi John, We are not giving up yet! I’m sure the developers will pay for soundproofing and fume extraction where it is feasible but the open part of the yard where most people prefer to work will still create dust and noise which will be greatly amplified by the massive blocks. There aren’t any tower blocks anywhere near this height on the south bank of the Thames between here and the centre of town. I just don’t think you can wrap a light industrial site with housing at such a close proximity. I never seen anything like it. It is just the council being greedy trying to milk the land for more than it can cope with. As for the local councillors, at this stage they don’t seem to have been much use. Others have been in contact with them but report a lack of interest. Maybe I should try.

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