A flopped commercial development in Deptford could be converted into a hotel and covered in images of Greenwich town centre if councillors give plans the go-ahead next week.
The 12-storey Cavatina Point development on Creek Road was meant to be a hub for offices, shops and cafes when it opened in 2011. While the flats above are occupied, no businesses have moved in. Criterion Hospitality now wants to turn the lower floors into a hotel with 123 windowless rooms.
Permission was granted in 2012 to turn the floors into a hotel, but that lapsed three years later. Now Criterion says its new proposal – which includes 22 more rooms – would create 25 new jobs.
The hotel would be part of Criterion’s Zedwell brand, which blocks up its windows to “keep out the noise and [add] exceptional purified airflow, unrivalled acoustic insulation … to create an atmosphere and environment for relaxation, escapism and rest”.
Despite the building’s location in Deptford – it is adjacent to the award-winning Laban Centre and close to St Nicholas’ Church – the frontage will be covered in images of Greenwich town centre, including the Shepherd Gate Clock from the Old Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark.
This meets with the approval of Greenwich’s planning officers, who originally objected to a plain design. “The detailed design now depicts images related to the history of Maritime Greenwich, providing an appropriate response to the site’s location,” they said.
Greenwich Council officers are recommending that councillors approve the conversion at a meeting on Tuesday. Despite the proposal being a major change to a prominent building, the scheme is to be decided by a local planning committee rather than the main planning board. Some work has already been carried out in the building and “Zedwell Greenwich” is being advertised as “coming soon” on the chain’s website.
There were 18 objections to the application, including complaints from existing Cavatina Point residents about rooftop plant equipment causing noise and vibrations.
Another objection, from the Greenwich Society, says the external wrapping “is likely to look tawdry”. It adds: “The rooms are small and, together with the lack of windows and all but the most basic services, raises the question of what sort of destination Greenwich aspires to be.
“This is a very poor design, creating very unappealing accommodation.”
If approved, Criterion will have to pay £75,000 towards the building of Cycleway 4, the two-way cycle route which is nearing completion on Creek Road. The route is eventually meant to link Tower Bridge and Deptford Creek Bridge, and onto Greenwich town centre, Charlton and Woolwich.
The block is part of the Creekside Village development, which was originally intended to run up to Deptford Creek and span both sides of Copperas Street and the Lewisham/Greenwich borough boundary, which runs behind the block.
Lewisham approved the second phase, but the developer went into receivership. Eventually ownership of the land was split up, with the four blocks of the first phase the only parts of the development to be built.
Both boroughs later approved tall towers from other developers on the remaining two plots of land – Greenwich approved the 23 and 12-storey Union Wharf build-to-rent development, which was completed in 2019, and Lewisham approved 26 and 30-storey blocks last November.
Updated on 8 June to make clear that Criterion Hospitality does not own the building.
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