Action for a Judicial Review of Convoys Wharf Planning Permission

by Voice4Deptford

Action for a Judicial Review of Convoys Wharf Planning Permission

by Voice4Deptford
Case Owner
Voice4Deptford is a coalition of community groups and other interested parties who are working for a better development at Convoys Wharf in Deptford, South London.
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Case Owner
Voice4Deptford is a coalition of community groups and other interested parties who are working for a better development at Convoys Wharf in Deptford, South London.
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This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: July 31, 2020

A "home away from home"

The Hong Kong press have been reporting the Lewisham's planning decision from 9th and 22nd June. The South China Morning Post points out how the decision coincides with the governments granting o…

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Voice4Deptford is a coalition of community groups and other interested parties who are working for a better development at Convoys Wharf in Deptford, South London. We have been active since 2016, arranging public meetings with the developers and working with elected representatives, planning officers, young people and youth workers and reaching out to community groups and other concerned individuals.

We are taking legal action to determine that the outline planning consent for a large development at Convoys Wharf in Deptford has timed out and is no longer valid. 

By backing our fundraiser you will enable us to have a Judicial Review and give Deptford a voice on Convoys Wharf.

Demonstrating that the outline planning consent has timed out means the developers will have to re-apply and come forward with a new, fairer masterplan which respects the site and includes the voice of Deptford people. We then have a chance of getting a development which meets the housing need, respects the historic site and is a place we can all be proud of.

Convoys Wharf, formerly the King’s yard and Deptford Royal Dockyard, is about to be lost forever to an exclusive, unaffordable and impractical, inequitable and unfair development.

The action we are taking is to get independent judgement on whether the outline permission for the development has timed out. There are two time limits for outline consent. 1. the time within which reserved matters are to be agreed and 2. the time within which to begin construction. We say that the way these limits have been applied in the outline permission is not correct and if applied correctly this would show the permission has timed out.

We are raising £2,000 initially. This will allow our legal team to do the research and written work. We will require a total of £45,000 to proceed all the way to Judicial Review.

Please donate now. Thank you.


Local communities, organisations such as English Heritage, and Lewisham Council have previously rejected the Hong Kong-based developer’s plans due to their: 

  • lack of respect for the site’s profound history and archeology
  • lack of genuinely affordable and social housing
  • shortage of green spaces
  • the burden on public transport, local amenities and schools 
  • lack of genuine consultation with local people

Despite this opposition, in 2015 the then Mayor of London approved the developer’s plans for a mixed development with 3,500 homes in outline, with some matters to be agreed (reserved matters) by Lewisham Council as the local planning authority. A number of conditions were set out in a Section 106 agreement. This included:

  • establishing a Cultural Strategy and Cultural Steering Group, 
  • the inclusion of two heritage projects, Build the Lennox and Sayes Court Garden
  • provision of affordable housing 
  • and more.

Since then, the developers have made next to no effort to engage with the local community, leaving Deptford without a say in its own future. 

The world has changed significantly since the granting of outline permission, increasingly in the last few months. What was unacceptable then is unlikely to be permitted now due to factors such as the housing crisis, the environmental crisis, changes in work practices with more working from home, inequality for the BAME community, the crisis in children and young people's physical and mental health and opposition to segregation by tenure.

Now, over five years later, the first reserved matters for the first phase of the development have been applied for and Lewisham Council, constrained by the outline permission, is being forced to agree to them against their better judgement and for construction of this outdated, unfair plan to begin.

However, we have one last chance to stop it and have Deptford’s voice heard.

Through our research we have discovered that, according to planning law, the developer’s window of opportunity has now closed and the planning permission granted in 2015 has expired. 

With your help, we can ask a legal team to challenge this unfair development on these grounds. If successful, we can then work together to rethink Convoys Wharf as a place that meets the needs of the whole community and highlights the heritage of the site.

Our initial target is £2,000. This will allow our barrister to begin proceeding towards Judicial Review.

By backing our fundraiser you can support us to have a Judicial Review and give Deptford a voice on Convoys Wharf.

To learn more about why the current plans are unfit for purpose or how else you can help, please visit 

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Update 15


July 31, 2020

A "home away from home"

The Hong Kong press have been reporting the Lewisham's planning decision from 9th and 22nd June. The South China Morning Post points out how the decision coincides with the governments granting of right to live and work in the UK to the nearly 3 million Hong Kong citizens eligible for a British National (Overseas) passport. Many Hong Kong citizens are now contemplating buying property in London and they believe that the Convoy's Wharf development would provide a 'home away from home'.

View of Hong Kong, where the developers are based

Deptford has always welcomed incomers from many parts of the world and no doubt will not make an exception for people from Hong Kong escaping the new conditions there. That is if they really do want a home in Deptford and not a bolthole which they will scarcely live in. They will feel at home in the small flats and in this dense development. 

At the same time any development at Deptford Royal Dockyard (known as Convoys Wharf) should be equally welcoming to 

  • families on the housing list who need decent sized homes, 
  • young people who want to leave home but stay in Deptford near to their family and friends
  • people already homeless or about to become homeless because of the current and coming economic crisis who need 'new start' homes

All must be genuinely affordable to buy or rent.

We've passed £14,000 in donations and are moving towards our £20,000 target. Thank you to all our backers for your donations and your comments. Please continue to back us in our bid to have a judicial review to show that the planning consent is no longer valid and pave the way to a new masterplan. Give here or share our Crowd Justice page link or do both: Remember to comment on what kind of development you want to see when you make your gift. Thank you. 

Update 14


July 29, 2020

Three things happened today in our action for a judicial review

1. Overnight we received a donation of £4,000 from an anonymous donor, whom we thank sincerely for their support. 

2. Crowd Justice have rolled over our campaign period for another 30 days so we can continue our efforts to raise the funding we need for a judicial review.

3. We've stretched our target to £20,000 which takes into account the minimum we need to raise to be confident enough to go forward, should the judge decide we can be heard in a judicial review. 

With your help, we are able to mount this campaign for a new masterplan at the Deptford Shipyard, where the archeology and heritage of the site is paid the respect it is due, which provides genuinely affordable homes for everyone who wants to live there and plenty of green space for health and where children can play.

Thank you for your backing. Continue to support us by donating or passing on the link to our Crowd Justice page  to friends and colleagues: However large or small the amount, everything helps.

When you donate, comment on what you would like to see in an improved masterplan.

This image is Deptford's crest. It shows Deptford's connection with the sea and shipbuilding. Back us and help to honour this connection.

Update 13


July 24, 2020

We've passed the £6,000 milestone

We thank all our backers and everyone who has helped to spread the word, bringing our funding over £6,000 . 

The next step in our campaign to be granted a judicial review to show that the development at Convoys Wharf is out of time is to raise £15,000 before the end of August. This means we will be prepared for when and if we are given approval to proceed to the judicial review. We will need to cover our barristers' fees and court fees in advance. In our step by step approach, we can only proceed as far as we have the funds.

You can help us achieve this. If you can give, please do. If not please ask three of your friends or colleagues to donate and send them the link to our Crowd Justice page: 

The Build the Lenox project aims to bring shipbuilding back to Deptford.

The Deptford Dockyard, opened in 1513 and was first used by Henry VIII to build his naval fleet. The HMS Lenox was commissioned under Charles II in 1678 as the first of 30 ships built during his reign to expand the Royal Navy into a leading force in Europe.

The Lenox project came about when developer Hutchison Whampoa (now Convoys Property Ltd), which owned the site of the former dockyard, put forward plans to redevelop the site, largely for luxury housing. There was (as there is now) a strong desire in the local community to see greater recognition of the heritage of the site, and the proposal to bring ship-building back to Deptford is one way of acknowledging the heritage of the site, while creating jobs, training and apprenticeships for the young people of the area.

Read the latest news here:

Update 12


July 22, 2020

Our claim for a judicial review is with the court

We have made our claim for a judicial review to the court. It will take around 6 weeks to be considered and for us to find out if the judge agrees we can go forward to the judicial review.

In the meantime we need to raise a further £15,000 to cover the cost of going forward.

This is what you can do to help:

The McMillan sisters, Margaret and Rachel were given the use of Sayes Court and its garden by a descendent of John Evelyn for their open air nursery school.

In 1908 Margaret and Rachel McMillan opened the country's first school clinic in Bow. This was followed by the Deptford Clinic in 1910 that served a number of schools in the area. The clinic provided dental help, surgical aid and lessons in breathing and posture. The sisters also established a Night Camp where slum children could wash and wear clean nightclothes. In 1911 Margaret McMillan published The Child and the State where she criticised the tendency of schools in working class areas to concentrate on preparing children for unskilled and monotonous jobs. Margaret argued that instead schools should be offering a broad and humane education.

In 1914 the sisters decided to start an Open-Air Nursery School & Training Centre in Deptford. Within a few weeks there were thirty children at the school ranging in age from eighteen months to seven years. Rachel, who was mainly responsible for the kindergarten, proudly pointed out that in the first six months there was only one case of illness and, because of precautions that she took, this case of measles did not spread to the other children.

Margaret said, in 1918, when it became statutory to have Nursery schools – preferably open air, that 'a garden grown humanity cannot be as the humanity of the grime and of the street. It will have spent its first cycle in a place where living things are taken care of so that at least they spring up into things of beauty and colour and perfume. Those who do all this culture work will be cultured. The little gardeners themselves, not the flowers or the vegetables or the trees, will be the glory of the garden.’

Read more here: 

Queen Mary visits Deptford in 1921 

Update 11


July 19, 2020

Nature makes a comeback at the King's Yard

Next time you pass Convoys Wharf, have a look at how nature is blossoming all over the site. The present masterplan has scarcely any green public space. Most green space is gated off in the residents' gardens. 

We've learned in the last months how important parks and green spaces are for our health. Imagine in the image below a public park which includes children's play spaces, solely for the children and not incidentally in the adult space.

The image shows how much has grown, looking towards the protected trees next to the Master Shipwright's Palace.

Our campaign is to prove that the present outline planning consent has timed out and to get a new masterplan that respects the site of the former Naval Yard, provides plenty of green space and builds genuinely affordable housing for all.

You can help. We would like to find people passionate enough about the King's Yard to donate larger amounts, £1,000 and more. If you are one of these people or know someone, please back us and give them the link to our Crowd Justice page. Here is the link: Thank you.

Of course, any donation is welcome.

Update 10


July 15, 2020

We've made it - we're ready for our next step

 Our legal team believe our case is strong enough to go forward and we have the funds we need. We have instructed them to lodge our appeal for a judicial review. Thank you to all our donors.

Now we need to prepare for step 3. We've increased our stretch target to cover likely barristers' fees and legal costs. You can continue to help by sharing our updates with friends and colleagues and sending them our Crowd  Justice link to donate:

The image below is what the outline planning consent permits. Thank you for helping us to get a better solution for the site. One that respects its historic importance and provides genuinely affordable housing for all.

Update 9


July 14, 2020

We're getting there - our aim of raising £1,000 in two days almost reached

Can we get to our target by this evening? There's not much further to go. Then we can instruct our legal team to go forward to the next stage.

Your help to increase the donations and share widely is much appreciated. Thank you.

Here is an arial view of the area which was Sayes Court where the foundations of the house remain underground in Convoys Wharf. The green park is Sayes Court Gardens, cultivated in the 17th century by John Evelyn.  One thing we want to see happening is the Sayes Court Garden project in that corner of Convoys Wharf.

Update 8


July 13, 2020

Two days to reach our next target

It's time to have our next payment to our legal team ready. We need to move towards our new stretch target of £7,000 and raise another £1,000 in the next two days. You can help by:

This is the jetty where the plan is to build a three storey marketing suite, to be converted into a restaurant. The original application promised a linear park with food outlets and access to the river. Under the reserved matters application given consent on 9th June, the jetty won't be accessible till many years later than anticipated.

What would you like to see happen on the jetty?

Update 7


July 10, 2020

It's time to be ready for the next step

Our legal team have asked us to be ready for the next step. This is the drafting of grounds, assistance with claim form and pre-action correspondence. For this we need to allow just under £3,000.

You can help us reach this target. Back us by donating up to £50, or more if you can - everything helps - or invite a friend to give to our campaign. Here is the link to donate:

Below is an artist's impression of what the development would look like from Greenwich. The large 48 storey tall building interferes with the protected view from Greenwich to St Paul's Cathedral. If you would like something better than this, please back our campaign. Thank you.

Update 6


July 7, 2020

Our legal team begin their work

With your help, we have been able to pay our barristers’ fees for the first step. They can now do the research and test how strong our case is to go forward for judicial review. We are expecting them to complete this and come back to us by the beginning of next week. We are taking a step by step approach, paying the barristers in advance. That way we do not commit ourselves without having the means to cover the costs. 

There is something you can do to help us to be ready for the next stage -

  • Email five of your friends asking them to pledge to our case and send them the link to our Crowd Justice page:  
  • Pledge again - you can pledge any number of times to support us in our campaign to challenge the outline planning consent and get a renewed masterplan that respects the heritage and provides genuinely affordable homes for all.

Thank you.

Below is an image of a painting of The 'Buckingham on the Stocks at Deptford' by John Cleveley. 

John Cleveley the Elder lived and worked at King’s Yard Row, near the Royal Dockyard (now called Convoys Wharf). Many of his paintings were of local scenes - mainly shipbuilding and ship launches - including the Buckingham on the stocks at Deptford. The 'Buckingham' was launched at Deptford in 1751, the year before this painting was made and so it is generally accepted that this is the vessel shown. This is all part the heritage of Deptford that we want to protect and celebrate. See more details here:

Update 5


July 5, 2020

Our thanks to NHS workers - give them homes they can afford

Today is the 72nd anniversary of the NHS. A nurse earns £25,000 a year. The majority of care workers are on zero hours contracts. One fifth of NHS staff are from the black, Asian and minority ethnic community. How many of them, or others who have supported us over the last months, can find a home on Convoys Wharf? Let's express our thanks by pushing for more genuinely affordable housing to buy or rent. 

Thanks to all our backers for bringing us over the £4,000 threshold. Please tell your friends about our campaign and ask them to donate.

Update 4


July 3, 2020

Where will the children play?

Thank you everyone for you support and comments. It's good to hear how strongly you feel about this development.

This image is the mural in Pepys Park with Convoys Wharf appearing over the wall. 

Despite its size, the plans for Convoys Wharf do not give enough play space for all the children and depend on them using the surrounding play areas, such as in Pepys Park. We need to have space in Convoys Wharf for all children to play and move safely around the development.

Update 3


July 2, 2020

From the Anchor to the River

Day 3 and we're at 25% of our stretch target.  Thank you to everyone who has donated and is sharing our campaign. How far can we stretch today?

This is the view towards convoys wharf from Deptford High Street. 

We want to keep the connection from the anchor to the river. The developers have been given the go ahead to build a huge luxury block of private flats blocking our direct access to the river. Help us in our attempt to overturn this consent.

Update 2


July 1, 2020

Day 2 and we've reached 16% - £3,515 - of our target

Thank you to everyone who has donated. Can we match yesterday's achievement? Let's keep the donations flowing. Please share as widely as you can, by email and social media.

The image shows the archeological dig by the Museum of London. This is the archeology to be buried under a massive development which does not respect the site or meet the present needs created by the housing crisis and the environmental crisis or value the international importance of this site.

Update 1


June 30, 2020

Initial target reached within hours of launch

We've reached our initial target of £2,000! This means our campaign is well underway. How quickly can we make it £15,000?

With £15,000 we have enough to go to the next stage of the Judicial Review process.

Thank you everyone who has donated so far.

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