Regeneration project: Deptford
With thousands of new homes planned for Deptford, the Mayor’s Outer London Fund has given £1.5m, matched by £732,000 from the council, for a series of projects to prepare Deptford’s high street for the future. Despite being at the centre of Deptford’s vibrant music and arts scene, the high street is rundown with poor pavements and a market that’s not fulfilling its potential. The project links to work done between 2009-2012 that created pedestrian routes and new public spaces in north Lewisham. High street improvements are making the street more appealing and able to cope with more residents. A grants programme is encouraging people to set up market stalls, offering employment and training to young people.
A series of events, from food tours, cooking demonstrations, poetry days and a food fair, is bringing increasing numbers of visitors to Deptford. As the market is at the centre of Deptford life, many events are building upon the area’s reputation for food, using events to increase footfall. On the last Saturday of each month, ‘Deptford Culinary Tours’ explores the high street’s stalls and shops. New ingredients and specialist cooking knowledge are shared, before a cooking workshop and communal meal. The Giffin Square Food Fair gives shoppers a chance to taste food and drink from local chefs, bakers, and traders.
The shopping and market experience in Deptford is being made better by a series of high street improvements. A shared surface will make the market more accessible and reduce traffic flow. A new open space at the southern end of the high street is providing a new setting for themed market stalls and seasonal events. In addition, new lighting will make the whole area safer and more attractive at night. The market itself is also being boosted by new collapsible market stalls which reduce the need for storage space and give it a distinctive new appearance.
Six shops in Deptford were paired with local designers and artists to come up with light touch improvements to shop fronts and window displays. The pairings have been brokered by muf architecture/art, and renovations range from painted fascia signage, new shuttering, traditional fabric awnings and renovations to architectural features. Shops that are losing forecourt space as a result of footway realignment are being prioritised, with measures put into place to boost their trade. Extra funding is providing new forecourt display gondolas to allow more efficient and eye catching displays of goods outside shops.
In response to signs of decline in Deptford market and a lack of new stalls in recent years, Lewisham have set up a free training scheme to offer opportunities to get into market trading. Delivered by the town centre Renewal Manager, trainees have been given a grant towards starting up their business and a stall at a local market, and training on trading, legal requirements, brand development and business skills. Seventeen apprentices have benefited so far and are now trading at Catford or Deptford market, and monthly at Giffin Square Food Fair. Another scheme is helping existing market traders improve their digital marketing skills.
Part of the Outer London Fund investment in Deptford has gone towards the employment of a Renewal Manager to work with the council to deliver the market trainee scheme and local events. The appointed Renewal Manager has helped to set up the Deptford Society, a group of locals with a strong interest in Deptford who can support development after the funding has ended. The society and the Renewal Manager both have strong local knowledge and can act as an intelligent client for on-going development in Deptford.
Preparing for change
A number of feasibility studies are helping Lewisham Council make plans for the future of Deptford. A study to determine requirements for parking and loading has included an analysis of current parking behaviour. The report aims to anticipate future parking needs in Deptford given the large number of new homes planned. Another study is focusing on the under-used Hamilton Street cap park, experimenting with potential alternative uses including new homes or market storage. A further study is examining waste provision in Deptford, where currently there is no recycling.
Partners/client: LB Lewisham
Funding: Mayor of London £1.5m, LB Lewisham £732,000