The news is that Lewisham strategic planning committee last night resolved to approve the current application for the site by 7 votes to 2. They did so despite eloquent representations by William Richards, Julian Kingston and Bill Ellson. The two councillors who voted against were Darren Johnson (Green) and Matthew Huntbach (Lib-Dem).
Ken Livingstone now has 14 days in which to direct refusal of the proposal. It is unlikely he will do this. He has already indicated he will not oppose the scheme, even though breaches his own London Plan by eliminating most of the safeguarded wharf.
The ultimate guardian of the wharf's protected status is Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. His approval is required for any "reconfiguration" (to use the planners' euphemism). Given Prescott's recent support for a new publicly funded cruise liner terminal in Liverpool we are hopeful we can persuade him to "call in" the Convoys application. It will then be the subject of a public planning enquiry.
Meanwhile the sale of Convoys to a joint venture between two Hong Kong companies, Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa, is presumably going ahead, though it's not clear at what point the sale will be finalised. Both companies are owned by billionaire Li Ka-shing.
Last night's vote was not the end of the matter, just the end of the beginning.
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