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?