27 Jun

Truly amazing placemaking

Last week we attended the 3rd Annual Estates Gazette Marketing Summit in London. The event was fantastic and even though the Brexit results were looming, there was a positive feel from delegates.

Throughout the event various specialist in the property marketing sector took us through their experience and predictions for the future of property marketing, all extremely engaging and thought provoking. One speaker however had me engrossed for the 40 minutes he was up on stage speaking @uncommonmartyn (Hope you don’t mind the shout out!)

His talk began by saying he was ‘Not a property developer’, he also continued to say that the property sector was largely ‘lazy, dull, greedy and self-absorbed’. Quite an opener assuming that the majority of the audience work in the sector! What he followed with however showed how property development and placemaking with integrity at its heart can have outstanding results.

The development in discussion was The Deptford Project. It was the mastermind of property company U+I and whilst at U+I, Martyn made this project a reality.

‘The Deptford Project is a £47 million public private partnership with the London Borough of Lewisham located on a 2 acre site next to Deptford Railway Station. At the heart of the scheme is The Tinderbox, a colourful, new eight storey apartment building and the careful restoration of the historic carriage ramp, London’s oldest railway structure’

Deptford 2

The development began life in 2008 when U+I ‘shipped in a disused 1960s train carriage and made it into the coolest café in town’. This start to the project set the precedent for how it would evolve over the coming years.

Placemaking really was at the heart of the project and without the buy-in from local residents it would not have had the success it did. ‘Make Happy those Who are near and those who are far will come’. Whilst work was taking place local creative companies were invited to take space in the disused railway arches, word spread and they soon became a hive of activity. A pop up cinema was created by the local businesses which ran over the summer months, artists regularly updated the cafe exterior and at the peak of the project it saw the likes of Jamie Oliver visit the site only to re-visit and make it part of his Channel 4 series. If that isn’t great PR I don’t know what is!


The project has now been completed and space is available to rent to local independent businesses. It shows and proves how when such regeneration projects have a strong local tie-in they create their own traction and become a place of desire that will stand the test of time and carry on evolving.

So if you are ever in South East London I would recommend a visit to The Deptford Market Yard.


Inspiring. Original. Regeneration

Jenny Jones
Senior Account Manager