Thursday, July 12, 2007

Disappearing Deptford? (2): OneSE8

Following my recent post on the Distillery site in Deptford, Inspector Sands (who among other things runs the Charlton blog, All Quiet in the East Stand) commented that 'OneSE8 set the pace for this, I'm afraid - handy for the Canary Wharf so you can block out your neighbours'. So let's turn our attention to the OneSE8, St James Homes' new development alongside the railway line on the other side of the main road from Deptford Bridge station.

Once again there's a certain reticence in the official publicity about the location of this site. First of all the name is misleading - its actual postcode is SE13 not SE8. Presumably SE13 (Lewisham) has even less appeal than SE8 (Deptford). We'll let this pass, as it is clearly located in Deptford - or maybe not if the developers are to be believed. The home page of the official site doesn't mention the location, and the location page starts off as as follows: 'Commuting is a doddle. Greenwich is on your doorstep and just a stones throw from OneSE8, Deptford Bridge DLR provides a direct link to the Docklands, the City and the West End. Canary Wharf with its interchange to the Jubilee Line and rest of the tube network is just 12 minutes away'. So no mention of Deptford as such, other than the reference to Deptford Bridge station.

Elsewhere on the site Deptford does get a grudging look in... under the subheading 'Greenwich... in no time'. We are told that the site is 'Perfectly placed between Deptford, Greenwich and Blackheath' [not on the Deptford/Lewisham border].... Brimming with enthusiasm and bursting with potential, Deptford has a new lust for life – you can see it in the architecture, the gallery openings, new bars, restaurants and clubs'. Hmm, actually Deptford has always been lively and remains so in ways which prospective wealthy property investors might not find so amenable.
The most revealing insight into the thinking behind OneSE8 comes in the hilarious promotional video for 'The ultimate in urban chic lifestyle'. No Deptford reference here, instead the proximity to Canary Wharf is stressed and of course 'Greenwich is only a couple of minutes away'. Not that there's any need to go out all , with a gym, personal trainers, swimming pool and in-house bar and restaurant all on site, the latter able to 'deliver food and drink to your door' in case walking downstairs is too much.

Most bizarre is the cult-like conformity suggested: 'At one se8 it’s all about living life in a young and dynamic community' and true to form everybody in the video is white, affluent looking, skinny and aged 20-35. But wait, what's this - a black face? Funnily enough he is the concierge and he knows his place - ‘they’re there to make your life easier'. You couldn't make this up could you?

5 comments:

Andrew Brown said...

Greenwich and Blackheath more attractive to estate agents than Deptford or Lewisham...

Who'd have thunk it!

Stuart said...

I just...just don't understand it - why would you want to PAY to live in such a bland, sterile environment with such bland, sterile people? Safely sealed away from anything remotely interesting or challenging or potentially conflicting with your worldview?

The only good point? Come the revolution, at least we'll know where to find these bastards...

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Get the estate agent to take you round the place.
The 'swiming pool' is laughable. The look on her face when i cracked up was even better!

Pete said...

"The only good point? Come the revolution, at least we'll know where to find these bastards..."

A bit harsh but I can see your point.

It is very odd that someone would want to live in a development where there is no interaction with the outside world. But if you want to see what results from such a development I suggest a visit to Surrey Quays/Canada Water...

Paul said...

Interesting this - I found a paper written by some academic in Hull uni about gated communities. I read it because of the references to OneSE8 and Deptford... Seems that whilst the social housing section of the estate is being built (it's the law -cof-) the gates that were placed to discourage entry were removed...and a mini crime wave followed. So the concerned residents had a meeting and put the gates back; these people were involved with their local community enough to discuss it with local leaders? NOT A CHANCE.
So now they live thinking they are the eloi and we are the dirty morlocks. HG Wells reference there folks.
to be blunt, the places aren't up to much either ; the design is pretty much the bland norm for modern, designed flats: no storage space, the place can barely cater for two people living together, the walls are paper thin....exactly like the developments on Greenwich peninsula and in the Docklands. I call them work to live pens, because they are also damn expensive. Gilded cages for the 21st century.