The Phantom Misses The Enderby Wharf Proposals

A map of the area to be developed

Okay, so I’m back. It’ll take me a couple of days to work through the emails and messages that have arrived over the past three weeks – sorry if I missed your event.

Much has gone on over the past weeks but one thing I’m particularly sick about missing was the council’s hastily put together proposals for a Cruise Terminal at Enderby Wharf.  There’s precious little about it at the council website and, frankly, I’ll be amazed if many people at all got to the consultation, which was worthy of a Douglas Adams novel – if not actually in a locked filing cabinet, the next best thing – last Thursday and Friday only, at Christ Church’s forum.

Now, I know there’s not much time before 2012, which is when the world as we know it ends as far as the council (and for that matter the government) is concerned. I am also aware that this cruise terminal notion has been knocking around for yonks. But did the council really have these drawings in their back pockets just waiting for Chris Roberts to announce them?

The weird thing is that in principle, I don’t have much of an issue with the concept. The land’s not doing much as it stands, and at least not ALL of  it’s yet more sodding luxury flats (of course the obligatory hotel and ’residential’ is shoehorned in, but hopefully they’ll be reminded by someone at City Hall that this side of the river was designated as industrial). Who the hell is going to USE all these hotels after 2012 – I mean cruise passengers live on their liners…) 

But, staying on the positive, it’s actually something that is nominally to do with the river and, if the council is to believed, will create a ‘public realm’ (whatever that means, but it sounds grand) across 50% of the wharf – that’s more than we currently have even when the path is open (cough.)

Not having been at the consultation I couldn’t tell you what ‘skills academies’ are or whose kids will go in the creche, and neither do I know what will go in the ‘studio workspace’, but judging by Dazza’s experience, who did make the event, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you if I been able to go. He tells me that no one was interested in talking detail, merely big-picture, blue-sky generalities.

And that’s where I worry. The detail. The photos in this post are all by Dazza, from the ‘consultation’, and although he hasn’t actually said he left out pictures of what it will actually look like, I can’t believe that he wouldn’t have taken one if there had been anything for the public to see. There are currently 18 months to go until the magic 2012. What kind of jerry-built Nissen huts is the council proposing that could be built in that time?

I know that the architectural quality of stuff on the peninsula is variable at best, but I truly hope that whatever replaces the pictures in this historical photo will be of better quality and appearance than what is there now (I’d value expert opinions as to the historical and social importance of the buildings that are there at the moment. I know Enderby House is listed – but is there anything else we should be worrying about? We lost a couple of nice things at Lassell’s Wharf; I wouldn’t want that to happen again.)

Dazza told me that the PR guys told him there would be no problem at all with the impact of extra traffic, because everyone would use the bus or the new Clipper stop.

Existing road links

Now while I welcome a new Clipper stop (in truth that would be the only way to persuade wealthy cruise-liner tourists to go to central Greenwich at all – otherwise they’d just hop on the Jubilee Line to Bond Street) and I guess a nice new bus route (not actually proposed as far as I can see) might be good, but it’s pretty naive to think that there will be virutally no impact on traffic to the Blackwall Tunnel.

I don’t know what to make of this. It doesn’t help that I couldn’t get to the display, but from what Dazza tells me, I wouldn’t have been able to make anything of it if I had. The unseeming haste of it all bothers me. Does anyone have ANY more idea of what might be going on?


the attachments to this post:

A map of the area to be developed
Cruise A Map of area

cruise a historical picture
cruise a historical picture

Existing road links
cruise a existing road links

cruise a model
cruise a model


23 Comments to “The Phantom Misses The Enderby Wharf Proposals”

  1. Steve says:

    Harsh! It is these “sodding luxury flats” (filled with many hundreds of well-paid professionals, remember) that are our best hope of stopping all of Greenwich from becoming little more than a giant tourist trap full of tat shops. The centre may be all but lost but the neighbourhoods to the east and west are still active communities.

    As for this cruise scheme, while London deserves a major terminal and would be a principal stop on any cruise, Greenwich is already bursting at the seams with tourists. Do we really want more?

    Wouldn’t Docklands be a more suitable stop where visitors can choose whether to DLR to Greenwich or tube into the centre? There’s also considerable spare capacity in Docklands to feed and/or transport a sudden arrival of several hundred people.

  2. I think the issue might be a deep-water thing, Steve. I seem to remember that Endrby Wharf already has quite a deep bed there, and would require less digging out. Of course I could be wrong. I wasn’t at the consultation, so it’s all conjecture from me. I’d love to hear from anyone who made it to the event.

  3. I’m also not sure where in Docklands there’s any spare riverside space to build new stuff – it’s already got flats running all around the shoreline.

  4. Dear Phantom

    Struggling businesses in East Greenwich are all in favour. Our business rates forever go up but footfall invariably goes down…

    The opportunity to bring maritime industry back to the Peninsula with use by cruise liners in the summer and possibly the Navy over the winter is a decent plan that we are very excited about (and with any luck with can tap into some of the Section 106 developer’s contribution to help spruce East Greenwich up!)

    I thought this initial exhibition to brief the local community was a positive gesture. After all, the developers have not even submitted their planning application yet so there was no duty on them to exhibit at this stage. There will no doubt be more consultations in due course and I’m sure that anyone wanting specific details are welcome to contact the Planning Director of the Development: James Blakey at West Properties.

    GP – For your info, I understand that the exhibition also took place all day on the Wednesday but this was by invite only for groups such as the Port of London Authority, Alcatel, TfL and immediate neighbours to the site etc

  5. EnglishRose says:

    I can see the merits for local businesses but the traffic issue worries me. Cruise ship passengers by-and-large don’t ‘do’ public transport. They get off the ship and are hurded straight onto coaches to take them direct to the day’s destination. Can the Blackwall tunnel and surrounding areas really cope with the inevitable increase in traffic? Will central Greenwich really be able to accommodate dozens of coaches? I am not convinced…..

  6. Steve says:

    EnglishRose, am now thinking the cruise companies will rent river cruisers to take their passengers direct into the centre.

    A gentle cruise past Greenwich, Docklands and Wapping to the gates of the Tower or the shadows of Parliament will be a far more attractive (and reliable!) way to transport several hundred to the main sights.

  7. Does anyone know what happened to the proposals to built this terminal at the Greenwich Reach (i.e. at the outlet of Deptford Creek, where the liners currently moor up)? This to me seems like a much better place for all concerned given that the passengers would alight closer to the centre, closer to the existing Clipper onward links, and is obviously already deep enough since they already moor there anyway.

    Regarding general local capacity, I’m more bothered about how the council appears to be approving development after development none of which is in keeping with the area, but I haven’t come across any significant plans for new schools, hospitals or road network changes to support the influx of residents, and the entire area already gets backed-up with traffic…

    End of moan

  8. Neil says:

    I wouldn’t have thought that – given the relatively low number of people that they carry – the effect on traffic would be anywhere near as noticeable as, say, a sell-out concert at the O2. I may be wrong.

  9. Dazza says:

    Whilst I was there I gathered from overheard conversations with other locals that the building would start (pending Planning Permission of course) in March next year. This would only be for the Terminal itself. Now call me a negative ninny if you wish, but would you like to arrive into Greenwich/London on a cruise ship to be met by your rep on a Building Site? And if you were, would you then like to walk through said site to get to your Transport? As for where the Coaches would be parked to collect passengers and whether the PR bod was serious about Rickshaws remains to be seen.
    All in all, I am am for regeneration and ‘new’ businesses but how are they going to be benefiting Greenwich? Surely their ‘Tourist Dollars’ would be going on the usual tourist traps, they won’t be stopping off at the local shops and amenities (what do you mean what amenities?) of East Greenwich will they?

  10. Dazza says:

    Neil,
    I agree that on any one occasion when a ship docks they would be a ‘fairly’ small number of people to transport out of the site, what about the ‘Guests’ at the Hotel and the other people trying to get out of the ‘Residential development’? and judging where the entrance/exit is (Just at the lights at the top of Tunnel Avenue/Blackwall Lane) how are these people going to ‘join’ the already heavy traffic?

  11. Dazza says:

    PS and I promise my last comment on this matter …..for today.
    Look what happened when they took a relative backwater area and turned it into a ‘leisure complex’(Dome/O2). They had to create a new station for the underground and a new Bus Station to cope with the projected numbers. Surely someone somewhere should be looking at the transport and logistics of this operation.

  12. Dazza says:

    pps (unrelated to topic above)

    WELCOME BACK PHANTOM!!!!!!!!

  13. TPlautus says:

    “Dazza told me that the PR guys told him there would be no problem at all with the impact of extra traffic, because everyone would use the bus or the new Clipper stop”

    would that be same overcrowded bus-stop that will serve the 700+ extra people living in the new Lovell’s Wharf and Christchurch Way flats? That’s gonna be quite a bus queue!

    The capacity of cruise liners can be over 2000 passengers and 1000 crew members. They will all want to embark and disembark at the same time. Hotels will be required for possibly hundreds of people joining and leaving the cruise at Greenwich.

    Although I’m generally in favour of having a cruise liner there, and opening up more of that site to the public, but the transport to and from the site needs to be addressed – possibly shuttle buses between there and the east end of the ORNC.

    It would help if something could be opened up between there and the Dome for buses and bicycles, thereby not adding to the traffic on Blackwall Lane etc., and helping to provide better public transport from central and East Greenwich to the Dome by extending Christchurch Way through to Morden Wharf Road / Tunnel Avenue

  14. Mike says:

    I managed to make it to the viewing of the proposals. I didn’t think that their hours were too onerous as they were open until 8pm.

    I was in the main impressed. Even though the development is pre-planning (developers are required to hold a public consultation prior to the submission of their proposals, but most developers do this immediately before submission so they do not have time to incorporate any feedback!).
    Detailed design is never carried out prior to planning as no developer would spend a large sum of money on a scheme that might be turned down.

    I spoke with one of the architects so there was not much spin, more vision for the site. Interesting points for me were:
    - Public access through the site very important. 5 access points into/out of the site. Wide riverside walk etc.
    - A range of materials to be used (brick in the SE corner where it abuts existing brick terraces, glass and modern cladding NW corner facing Canary Wharf)
    - Building shapes to be broken up so they don’t look like big boxes (a la Lovells Wharf).
    - The buildings are orientated so that none of the dwellings are stuck with 100% north facing windows (again, a la Lovells Wharf. Bet those apartments are cold and dark in the winter!).
    - Approx 100 cruise ships/year! Plus the RN in the off season.

    Other points, not in any particular order:

    - The location of the cruise terminal is determined by cost and environmental factors. Enderby Wharf is a natural scouring bank (the tide sweeps the slit away) and does not need dredging. Cost aside, that’s a good thing as lifting tons of contaminated mud and muck from around ex-industrial sites means you have to dump it somewhere. One for the NIMBYs out there to fight over! It’s much safer to leave it where it is and not disturb it.

    - Public transport access. New bus routes and lane up Banning St – Didn’t Boris axe that one? Ta muchly Boris. (access statement form a large part of a planning submission so until they put theirs in for approval, we won’t really know what they are planning).

    - Public transport is always a chicken and egg issue as regards demand and funding. Do you put new capacity in before the people move in and get everyone else to subsidise empty services, or do you over subscribe existing services until it can be justified to add services that pay for themselves (let’s face it, all public transport is subsidised anyway!)

    - Vehicle access via Blackwall Lane. Only a major problem in the morning rush hour. Lets face it. 8m people live in this city. Traffic is always going to be a problem at some point. That’s why having alternatives to the motor car is good. It’s a 10 minute walk to the tube from there, or across to the DLR (probably 15 minutes walk along the river), and the Thames Clipper of course – expensive but very efficient. Or you could try the train. Maybe 10 minutes to Maze Hill. And that might increase the number of viable shops at the end of East Greenwich by the old Hospital site?!

    - When cruise ships dock, it takes several hours to just get all the passengers off the ship. It’s not like 1000+ people all arrive at the same time.

    - My biggest concern is what it will look like in 20+ years time. Most developments look okay when they are new. Lets face it. The whole of the peninsular is going to be extensively developed over the next 20 years (the most impressive thing at the exhibit I thought was the very large model of the Isle of Dogs and Peninsular showing all the planned and proposed development. Big things are planned, literally! And the model really was very well made too!).

    I could go on…..

  15. TPlautus says:

    “- Public transport is always a chicken and egg issue as regards demand and funding.”

    those are not the only options. They could plan the thing jointly with TfL and LBG so that the right level of passenger/public transport is developed simultaneously.

    “(let’s face it, all public transport is subsidised anyway!)”

    I see no reason why the liner companies shouldn’t pay the bulk of this – it is of little use to locals.

    “- Vehicle access via Blackwall Lane. Only a major problem in the morning rush hour”

    It’s also a problem at weekends and frequently in the evening rush hour. And always when there’s an accident or break down in the tunnel.

    “That’s why having alternatives to the motor car is good.”

    Agreed – as much as possible should be off the existing roads.

    “It’s a 10 minute walk to the tube from there”

    Actually it’s a 20 minute walk from there for a fit person (eg me, who lives around the corner).

    Many cruise passengers will not be able to walk it at all, let alone in 20 minutes, and forcing them to negotiate the revolting flyover and tunnel approach will not leave them with a happy impression of London in general and Greenwich in particular.

    “or across to the DLR (probably 15 minutes walk along the river)”

    20 minutes for a fit person.

    “Or you could try the train. Maybe 10 minutes to Maze Hill. And that might increase the number of viable shops at the end of East Greenwich by the old Hospital site?!”

    I doubt that the passengers will be spending much time around there, frankly. I wouldn’t be happy to pay cruise prices for a holiday at the end of Blackwall Lane.

    “When cruise ships dock, it takes several hours to just get all the passengers off the ship. It’s not like 1000+ people all arrive at the same time”

    If public transport is to be used long queues will build up because there isn’t a constant stream of buses on tap for each liner’s arrival. I would expect the liner terminal itself to maintain a fleet of shuttle buses and lighters to take passengers quickly to the tube station and central Greenwich. It would be a great benefit to locals if we could make use of that.

    Incidentally, is the time it has taken to rebuild the pier at Cutty Sark any indicator of how long this liner terminal will take to build?

  16. Mike says:

    @TPlautus – I take many of your points, but most of my comments related to residents of the new developments and surrounds.

    Developing public transport usually requires massive investment upfront before any revenue can be taken, see Crossrail. Even increasing the number of ferries is expensive as the costs to run boats is high.

    Cruise terminals are not public transport. And this infrastructure is relatively cheap, no long underground tunnels and stations required….

    The architect I talked to noted that the pier would be built and operational (for Thames Clippers anyway) very early on in the development, ie 2011. Well before construction on the rest of the development would be near completion.

    Traffic through the tunnel is what is is. New bridges (if they were planned!) would only solve the problem in the short term as free roads just encourage more people to use cars. Keep the roads clogged and people use alternatives. And you can’t plan for extraneous events like accidents in a cost benefit analysis.

    Can’t comment on the timing. I walk it in 20 minutes from further up the road. Again, the walking to the tube was suggested for residents, not cruise passengers. If you’re inclined to take a cruise, I doubt you want to walk anywhere at your destination! Again, same goes for passengers using public transport. I doubt they would as cruise companies usually team up with tour companies (or are the same group anyway).

  17. Simon says:

    Glad you had a good holiday. I’m afraid you need to redirect your fire on this one though. You cannot criticise Greenwich Council over this event, quite simply because it wasn’t their event and it isn’t their project. It’s a big developer who wants to build a cruise liner terminal and they put on the exhibition. Any criticism about how it was publicised should be addressed direct to the developers West Properties. In due course, when the Council receives their planning application, they’ll be obliged to consult in the usual way. I’d urge everyone who has a view on these proposals – for or against – to make their views known then.

  18. Jack says:

    Putting a cruise liner terminal there might actually get the river path opened up at Lovell’s, and generally smartened up from Greenwich to the Dome, as they will surely want to make it a hub for locals to walk to / shop in as much as a place to dock boats, as well as to incentivise the passengers to take a nice stroll in either direction. That could only be a good thing.

  19. Can’t disagree with you there, Jack. I particularly like that there will be a new Clipper stop. My only real worry is that the haste with which the building would be built would make it cheap and nasty and look terrible after a few years. I call to the witness stand the London Cruise Terminal at Thurrock, which has aged so badly you won’t find a picture of it at all on their website.

  20. Jack says:

    I completely agree, but as I didn’t see the display or talk to the people behind it I’ve got no idea what it will look like. I would much rather that they take their time and build something interesting (and to be fair, Mike’s comments above make it sound like it won’t necessarily be a cookie cutter build), and although the dreaded 2012 has been mentioned I don’t know if that is an actual timetable or an assumption on every other project in the building site we currently live in.

    If the terminal is a well thought out project with a strong vision and a plan for local use as well as for tourists, and it’s not being rushed through just to meet some spurious date, then I’m in favour of it.

    Frankly the whole area is under construction these days anyway, so one more probably won’t be felt, and if it’s something that reconnects Greenwich to its maritime history (and also presents employment opportunities for locals) then it’s got to be a positive.

    Unless Greenwich Hospital are involved, of course :P

  21. 486 says:

    This project, along with the proposed cable car from North Greenwich to Royal Victoria Dock will breathe much needed life into this stretch of river, which let’s face it, is pretty much steryl.

  22. Pelton Pirate says:

    A few observations having read the GC blarb here:
    http://committees.greenwich.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=13095

    …and thoughts above.

    - call me a cynic, but 2012 and the cruise liner terminal is a big fat red herring, I’ll bet you a penny to a USD that it’s a nice, cheap ‘n quick way route one to getting the permissions in place to build a shedload of properties that would never have been allowed otherwise
    - construction traffic, and post construction traffic in the area will create problems for local residents, and thru traffic
    - the parking situation, particularly in respect of visitors to new dwellings hasn’t be properly catered for, and is seemingly ignored
    - the traders association must be smoking some good stuff if they think that all of a sudden a thousand American’s are going to suddenly trapse down Christchurch Way and start buying sarnies from Greggs, or having a pub lunch at Hardys. It’s simply not going to happen
    - speaking of smokers delight, any suggestion that tourists are going to take a merry stroll down the Thames to get to North Greenwich Jubilee line, or a 1km+ walk to Maze Hill or Cutty Sark DLR is absurd beyond belief – expect a large influx of taxis – meaning the Blackwall Tunnel will most certainly be affected, which means that the hinterland will be also… this area of London doesn’t need any further help to get clogged up at all times of day
    - from what I read the developer hasn’t really done their sums correctly on many of the traffic implications, or perhaps they’ve done a deliberate fudge which GC supports or frankly doesn’t give a toss about

    All that said, I suspect once the dust has settled and the trucks and piledrivers leave, it’ll be a worthwhile development, and contribute some £+’s to the area. If it bolsters property prices of *heritage* properties in the Conservation Area over the next 3-5 years, then that’s a positive.

    As a resident of Pelton Road though, I do fear that 2011/12 could start to be a noisy, dusty, dirty time for us all. The road’s a bad enough rat-run in the mornings as it is. Better invest in a refurb of my sash windows to double-glazed ones while I have time…

  23. si says:

    Why did you write “consultation” in scare quotes? The council specifies what it wants to see in terms of consultation and there are standards defined by the government, which from my reading of this the developer followed.

    If you were trying to imply that this wasn’t a “proper” consultation you’re wide of the mark, and if you think consultation means “people doing what I want with their money and their land just because I happen to live nearby” then you’re a dick.

    Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to finish my “sandwich” before taking a shit on the so-called toilet.