Founding principles

Aiming to foster a new community enhanced by the arts, Deptford Foundry in south London is its developer’s debut scheme, offering open-plan living and rich industrial history. Jack Wooler reports.

Set in the heart of south-east London, Deptford Foundry consists of 276 private homes, 40 affordable homes, and dedicated commercial space.

First-time developer Anthology London, which builds homes exclusively in the capital, is constructing eight buildings and one tower, made up of one, two and three bedroom properties. Each home will offer either a balcony or a terrace.

Based on the site of a former metal foundry on Arklow Road, opened in 1831 by engineer Josiah Stone, the design and architecture of the homes are intended to reflect the area’s industrial heritage.

The development is a full tenure mix of socially rented and open market homes. This is as well as dedicated commercial space which will offer a large array of uses, including creative artists’ space, offices and leisure facilities.

Anthology London has also partnered with Moat, who recently acquired 40 affordable homes at Deptford Foundry, in order to see through the completion of 28 affordable rent and 12 shared ownership apartments.

Deptford has competitive travel links, and with the night Tube coming to the area and New Cross station just 10 minutes away, it is likely to prove even more popular with commuters.

Site and planning

The brownfield site for Deptford Foundry was chosen due to its ideal location in the middle of the district and its interesting, rich heritage.

Approval was received in February 2016, following many months of planning and hard work. The company worked closely with the local residents of Deptford as well as Lewisham Council, hosting two public consultations during the planning period.

The green light was recently given from Lewisham Council for the 22 storey residential tower on the development, which will incorporate 58 new homes within it.

Ben Allen, project director for Anthology Deptford Foundry, said the history and location of the site provided the company with a “clear vision” for the development, providing “ongoing inspiration for the architectural design and branding.”

He explained further: “Deptford is a truly unique community, packed full of diversity and rich history, so we could not have asked for a better spot to launch our first development.

“Since beginning work on site, we have been lucky enough to engage with some of the wonderful local businesses and residents, who are a real credit to the neighbourhood and the area as a whole.”

The scheme is progressing quickly, with few issues, say the developers. The structural frame completion of the first phase of building was a recent success. Topping out the buildings which surround Eastern Square was another major milestone for the construction team, and was completed on time. This enabled the follow-on works to commence as scheduled, with facade works, windows and roofing to achieve water-tightness by January 2018, with the internal apartment fit out thereafter, keeping Anthology on track to release the first homes to customers in 2019.

The homes

Inside the development, the lounge and dining areas are combined in all the apartments, each offering a fluid, open-plan space. The high ceiling and full-height doors to the balconies continue this spacious feel.

Contemporary, handleless kitchens are tailored to the size of each apartment. Each comes with a composite stone top and splashbacks, and is fully equipped with modern Siemens appliances – an integrated oven, fridge-freezer and dishwasher. The one and a half bowl sink and the integrated recycling bins offer handy convenience for the residents.

Roomy bathrooms have large-format tiles with a natural-textured feature wall, in another nod to the Foundry’s industrial past. There is also a bespoke cabinet in each bathroom that provides both display and closed storage. Additional features include a composite stone vanity top, chrome furniture and LED downlights. Master bedrooms in the two and three bedroom homes include their own ensuite.

Full-height doors feature in all bedrooms, along with bespoke wardrobes, hanging rail and shelves providing plenty of storage space. In the two and three bed properties, the additional bedrooms have enough space for a double bed, as well as wardrobes.

Private decked balconies and terraces will offer views of the London skyline, along with the communally landscaped courtyards and gardens.

All the properties at Deptford Foundry are designed and built to the highest standards of energy efficiency, with fixtures and fittings being selected to ensure maximum efficiency in every home, which will cut living costs for homebuyers. White goods will be included as standard in every property, all selected with efficiency in mind.

Community

A sense of community has been present throughout the build, with Anthology working hard to include local businesses and schools from the surrounding area.

Deptford is one of London’s most diverse regions, and is renowned for its commitment to, and community involvement with, the arts. Each year, the area hosts the annual Deptford X contemporary arts festival, which has been running since 1998.

In keeping with this, arts organisation Second Floor Studio & Arts will occupy the development’s commercial space, offering 75 new purpose-built affordable studio spaces for artists in south east London. The 30,000 ft2 of affordable workspace on the ground and first floor at Deptford Foundry will provide creative employment space for up to 160 people. The studio provision will be used by a wide range of artists, craft makers and designers, whose practices include ceramics, fine art, painting, leatherwork, sculpture and textiles.

To help integrate the community, children from local school Childeric Primary were recently invited to the site to assemble and bury the first ever Anthology time capsule, a small piece of Deptford history which will remain part of the development forever.

Along with local park user group, Deptford Folk, and nearby school Sir Francis Drake, Anthology London is working to design a children’s play area that will be available at the development.

“We look forward to creating this space that will have been designed by local children for their own use, as well as Deptford Foundry residents,” said Ben Allen from Anthology London.

A step apart

In addition to a strong focus on community, Anthology London hopes to set itself apart from the competition in other ways, priding itself on what Allen calls the developer’s “unique approach to development.”

The business’ mantra is ‘Built From London.’ Allen believes the company lives up to the mantra, with it being “true of our homes, our ethos, and our whole approach – keeping the wonderful city of London at the heart of everything we do, in order to honour and pay tribute to the many diverse communities within it.”

Allen joined Anthology in May 2015, with 14 years experience in the construction and property industry. He described his experience so far: “Anthology was just a year old when I joined the business, and I was drawn to it due to its different approach to property development, where regeneration, community and customer experience are at the heart of its values.”

He adds: “I knew this would be the perfect fit for me, and I never looked back!”

The project director explained some of his colleagues roles’ in the development: “There have been many contributors to the Deptford Foundry project, including our talented and skilled architects, Rolfe Judd, who were able to bring our vision for the development to life.

“We are enjoying watching the development come together and start to mirror the image that we all thought up when first acquiring the land.”

He was also grateful to the “supply chain of specialist contractors, suppliers and consultants, who are working hard to deliver the homes on the development.”

The end result

The developer hopes that Deptford Foundry will appeal to a broad demographic. So far the property has attracted a wide range of people, as Ben Allen explains: “We have had interest from a variety of buyers, including first time buyers.”

He explains further: “Lissie, one of our customers who recently bought her one-bedroom apartment, is making the move to Deptford from Brixton.

“Young professionals Hamish and Ilona, on the other hand, are making the move to the city from the Surrey suburbs, and have purchased a three-bedroom home with us, as it was the perfect place for them to put down roots in the capital.”

Anthology will be offering interested buyers the option of using Help to Buy from February 2018. The company has reserved the Casting House building solely for those buyers interested in utilising the Government scheme. All homes however will be available using Help to Buy.

Construction on the scheme is currently at fever pitch, with completion expected in 2019, and the first building having topped out over the summer. The focus is now being shifted to completing construction on the smaller buildings, with the installation of the building envelopes and roofs underway.