Tear out flammable cladding to allow Deptford hotel to open, owner set to be told

Cavatina Point
Councillors can order cladding to be removed to allow a hotel to open

Dangerous cladding on a Deptford housing development could be removed as part of plans to build a windowless 123-room hotel on its lower floors.

Plans to convert the lower floors of Cavatina Point on Creek Road from commercial use to a hotel were halted a month ago after Greenwich councillors discovered that the block and its two neighbours were covered in flammable cladding.

Now planning officers are suggesting that the hotel should only be allowed to open if the cladding is removed – paving the way for the Zedwell hotel to be given approval at a meeting next Tuesday.

The situation is complicated by the hotel’s owner, Criterion Hospitality, owning the floors on a lease from the building’s owner – meaning the hotel and cladding are covered by separate planning applications.

While Criterion’s planning application is legally sound – and had been recommended for approval by Greenwich’s planning officers – a report to councillors admits that if the cladding remained in place, the council and councillors could, in “very limited circumstances”, face legal action if a fire broke out.

Cavatina Point
The Deptford building would be wrapped in images of Greenwich town centre, placed inside the building

Now planners recommend imposing a “Grampian condition” to ensure that the hotel can only open if the cladding is removed from Cavatina Point.

A Grampian condition is planning jargon for only allowing a development if a separate planning agreement is met. The Silvertown Tunnel has Grampian conditions surrounding banning flammable substances being stored close to its proposed southern entrance.

There are 24 developments in Greenwich borough with ACM cladding – the type used at Grenfell Tower. According to Greenwich Council, 14 have completed recladding works.

Cavatina Point and its neighbours, Atrium Heights and Vertex Tower, were built as the first phase of the Creekside Village development and opened in 2011, but the rest of the scheme – which spanned the borough boundary with Lewisham – was scrapped after its original developer went bust.

The lower floors of Cavatina Point were meant to be a hub for offices and shops, but were never occupied. Criterion now plans to open the floors as a hotel without windows “to create an atmosphere and environment for relaxation, escapism and rest”. The building would be wrapped in a display depicting Greenwich’s tourist attractions.

On the Greenwich side of the border, the Union Wharf towers replaced the next phase of Creekside Village; while Lewisham Council last year approved more towers on its portion of the abandoned scheme, next to the Laban dance centre.

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