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news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Life’s a beach – here comes the Peninsula Festival

with 15 comments

What’s all this about, then?

With backing from Greenwich Council, and hoping to attract some big name sponsors, there’s plans for a three-month-long festival each summer – for the next 15 years – on the Greenwich peninsula. From what I’ve seen, it’s a festival in the loosest sense, using various bits of land on the peninsula.

The most eye-catching idea is to build a beach at Delta Wharf – the land on the west of the peninsula immediately south of the Dome that currently looks a bit like a lunar landscape (not quite right – see update below) after the warehouses there were demolished a couple of years back.

Other plans include an “upmarket campsite” for 4,000 tourists (it can get windy up there, you know…), tall ships travelling between Woolwich and central London, and a live performance area. Beyond all that – it’s all a bit unclear. The aim is to attract up to 20,000 people each day.

The whole thing is meant to tie in with the Greenwich Festivals series that the council’s been pushing for the past couple of years as part of a policy of supporting big, headline-grabbing arts and entertainment events. Looking around the area now, it seems a bit far-fetched – particularly as that area’s as remote as it was pre-Dome, with heavy lorries thundering up and down the pothole-scarred last leg of Tunnel Avenue.

But remember there’ll be a cruise terminal a few hundred yards south of there next summer with housing and hotel developments to come; plus the huge hotel planned for the west side of the Dome site, just to the north, so the area is changing. Who knows, they might even re-open the whole riverside path within that 15 years.

Indeed, if you looked up the firm behind it on LinkedIn, you’d think it was under way already…

Curious. There’s talk of big corporate sponsors, which is interesting as I’m wondering where the money’s coming from at a time of cutbacks. I’m sure more will appear in a council newspaper near you soon, or you can sign up for updates on its website.

UPDATE 9:30PM: Here’s a couple of photos of Delta Wharf, the site of the proposed beach:

This is the land immediately to the south – which is what I had in mind with the “lunar landscape” comment – showing just how bad access is between here and the rest of Greenwich.

There’s a lot of work to be done…

Written by Darryl

20 February, 2011 at 12:45 pm

15 Responses

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  1. Having just come back from a walk past the remains of Delta Wharf, I find it hard to believe that this desolate industrial leftover will be ready for tourists in six months time.

    There was a lot of sand along the footpath, which I’m still trying to get off my trainers, but nothing along here screamed “beach” to me.

    I look forward to being proved wrong.

    diamond geezer

    20 February, 2011 at 2:23 pm

  2. I held back from publishing this because I wanted to dash up to get a photo of Delta Wharf, but that’ll have to wait. The state of the site makes this intriguing…

    Darryl

    20 February, 2011 at 2:47 pm

  3. I really recommend that everyone does their own research into this project and the company behind it. I have, and I doubt that it will ever happen.

    Indigo

    20 February, 2011 at 6:27 pm

  4. Why, Indigo?

    Darryl

    20 February, 2011 at 8:26 pm

  5. At least that section of riverside path is open now.

    Steve

    20 February, 2011 at 9:37 pm

  6. Maybe it will follow the example of ‘Lapland’ in the New Forest.

    Warren

    20 February, 2011 at 9:51 pm

  7. Why can’t they “develop” some riverine habitat instead? Do something environmentally friendly and innovative for bio-diversity? I am so sick of trophy buildings, trophy events, trophy trophy. It’s quite possible to convince developers to include eco-parks in their plans to give something back to the landscape.

    Lucy Neville

    21 February, 2011 at 9:27 am

  8. @Darryl “Why, Indigo?”

    OK, I would be happy to be proved wrong but I am not happy about people’s hopes being got up and then dashed: this is what I said to someone else who asked me why:

    * this isn’t 1998
    * there is no money
    * the Greenwich+Docklands Festival is a shadow of its former self
    * Greenwich Council has just withdrawn its £25,000/year grant to Blackheath Halls
    * VAT is 20 per cent
    * fuel duty is up
    * NI is up
    * food prices have hugely increased over the last two years and are still rising
    * all the Govt cuts really kick in in April (we really aint seen nothing yet)
    * Peninsula Festival Ltd was incorporated only last October
    * as the HCA’s budget has been cut by more than 50 per cent, and the Govt envisages a much reduced role for it, the HCA is probably going to have to sell its “parcels of land” on the Peninsula
    * Frank Dekker – http://www.frankdekker.com/ – is Dutch, he and his wife are both “retail consultants”, and his coordinator for “VIP 3D” business looks about 14 years old, and this appears to be his first job
    * the Registrant of the Peninsula Festivals Internet domain name is Orange Connections, a business & management consultancy incorporated just over a year ago, with an address on the Peninsula AND HAS YET TO FILE ANY ACCOUNTS.
    * everyone involved with this seems to have appeared out of thin air in the last 12 months.
    * if there was any prospect of success, the big players would take over and then – as the experience of the Dome demonstrated – no one in the Greenwich business community would get a look in on any of the supply contracts.

    In sum, no doubt Mr Dekker is very endearing (some have observed his likeness to the Dear Leader) but appears to have absolutely no “track record” in this sort of enterprise.

    Indigo

    21 February, 2011 at 10:40 am

  9. Just tried to contact Peninsula Festivals. my email to their address bounced back w. error message and when I rang their number the I go through to a switchboard at “Quartemains” where they alternately had no knowledge of “peninsula festivals”, or said “they may have moved on” !

    cock robin

    25 February, 2011 at 12:52 pm

  10. I think that you will find the root of the festival is based on the fact that the dutch have an enormous following for the olympics and they like camping. They probabably rang up Boris and said they wanted camping for 4000 close to the Olympic action in London then ended up speaking to Greenwich Council. The council have no doubt seen the is as a bigger opportunity and Mr Drekker (who is dutch and happens to have investment companies behind him) together with his festival experts and financiers is now going to invest hugely in the peninsula with the hope of making some profits out of it at some point. If it works it could be a win-win for all. I just hope that the commercial opportunity is not exclusively reserved for the big brands and due consideration is given to opportunites for local suppliers. Suggest we all go to the public meetings on the 9th March at Mitre Passage.

    Lorraine Turton

    26 February, 2011 at 12:32 pm

  11. Which public meetings, Lorraine, and when are they? That’s the first anybody’s said in, well, public…

    Darryl

    26 February, 2011 at 12:40 pm

  12. There’s an invite pdf on the festival website outlining the meeting times etc:

    http://www.peninsula-festival.com

    Lorraine Turton

    26 February, 2011 at 1:11 pm

  13. Ah-ha – thanks Lorraine.

    Darryl

    26 February, 2011 at 1:14 pm

  14. [...] of a new addition to the Greenwich Festival season, the Peninsula Festival, first surfaced on the 853 blog. It is the brainchild of entrepreneur Frank Dekker and is due to run on the peninsula for several [...]

  15. what a farce this will be, they want to bully people and take over Greenwich Yacht Club, with the promise of pilings and money, which they dont have, come clean frank, tell us what your really up to?

    solefish

    16 May, 2011 at 10:35 am


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