Bird's Nest plans
The famous pub would be joined by 31 new homes

One of Deptford’s best-loved pubs could be rebuilt with 31 new homes if developers’ plans for the area succeed.

Artworks Creekside, which owns the land next door to The Bird’s Nest, says its plans will “reinstate the pub as a focal point in the community”.

The pub has been a live music favourite for decades and has been joined as a local landmark by a double-decker bus selling pizzas. The bus could be used as a “meanwhile pub” while the existing venue is being rebuilt, Artworks Deptford says in a new consultation.

“The pub has been a hub for music and art but has fallen on hard times and has been through a number of recent ownership changes,” it says.

“Due to the pub’s current condition, size, offering and context, this has resulted in a decrease in trade and it has been difficult to attract and maintain new and existing customers.”

The new pub would have a larger floor space, an improved stage and better acoustics, Artworks Creekside says, while its existing frontage would be kept.

“We have been working in conjunction with the existing landlord of the pub on the plans, who is also committed to ensuring that the pub retains its much- beloved character, and that its rich music heritage is preserved for current and future residents to enjoy.

The Bird's Nest
The pub has been a Deptford landmark for many years

However, the development of housing around the pub will lead to fears that potential new residents could complain about its live music nights and close them – and potentially the whole pub – down.

Artworks Creekside is promising “affordable” housing: a legal term that could mean anything from London Affordable Rent – about half market rents and available to people on the housing waiting list – to shared ownership and discounted sales for local residents. But it says the number and homes and tenure have not been decided. Commercial space would also be provided on the ground floor.

It is also promising “support (where appropriate)” to houseboat owners on Deptford Creek. It says their moorings would be upgraded and protected by the plans.

The company already owns land next door, part of which would be turned into a landscaped garden, as well as the Little Faith brewery on the other side of Creekside.

Once known as the Oxford Arms, the Bird’s Nest is the only pub left standing on Deptford Church Street, which has been a busy dual carriageway since the 1970s.

Across the road from the Bird’s Nest, a controversial development of 56 flats was approved for 1 Creekside – also facing Deptford Church Street – in March 2019. One of the conditions was that residents on lower floors would be warned not to open their windows.

That scheme was later taken over by Lewisham Council as part of its Building for Lewisham homebuilding scheme – its equivalent to Greenwich Builds across the creek.

On the other side of Deptford Church Street, work is well under way on new homes on the old Tidemill school site at Frankham Street, a development that led to uproar and protests because it involved destroying a garden on the site.

Being developed by Lewisham and the housing association Peabody, it will offer 209 homes when completed – half of which will be available to people on the borough’s waiting list, with the rest a mixture of private sale and shared ownership

The Bird’s Nest consultation is open at until 14 January.

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