FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Thamesmead

Thamesmead estate redevelopment gains approval: what it means

peabody-thamesmead-southmere-tavy

The green light was last night given for Peabody’s plan for mass-redevelopment of Thamesmead. Detailed plans for 525 homes were approved in this application, in the first stage of 3000 homes in two Housing Zones. Many thousands more will follow under current plans.

Of 525 homes, 290 are market sale, 168 social rent and 67 are intermediate.

EDIT: It’s not 168 for social rent looking at the addendum:social-rent-thamesmead:

Social rents are truly affordable. Changing it to “social rented or affordable” changes the game completely, as the definition of “affordable” is much broader and closer to market rents, which are unaffordable to many.

Overall it’s a great design. In comparison to the dreary grey tower proposed nearby in Abbey Wood, there’s a good mix of buildings and materials. Brick is the predominant material, in contrast to the concrete which dominated before.

The new square is beside the lake, much as Tavy Bridge was. Commercial units will face onto the area. Water features are extensively featured.

Library on left

Library on left

Car Parking

I was always a fan of Thamesmead on the whole, but it’s car-centric planning did lead to many issues. In place of an underground car park that existed at Tavy Bridge, these plans see a ground-level public square leading to the lake alongside water features. Previously a public square existed above the aforementioned car park, and was accessed by walkways.

There’s still car parking proposed of course. For 525 homes they plan –

“A total of 175 allocated parking spaces, 42 allocated blue badge parking spaces, 155 flexible on street parking spaces and 9 visitor parking spaces”

That gives a car parking level of 0.46 per home. The thinking is of course that Crossrail will lead to many not needing a car. Interesting to see how that plays out. Despite common perceptions, this area has never been cut off too badly. North Thamesmead is the spot with issues.

Trains

It’s a 10 minute walk to Abbey Wood station. Until London Bridge rebuilding work, Abbey Wood had 10 trains an hour in the peak and 8 off-peak (it still retains this off-peak) which reach London Bridge in as little as 23 minutes. Many places have it worse.

There’s an assumption when it comes to train passengers that 75% will use Crossrail and 25% existing Southeastern services (or London Overground by then). It claims only 1 extra person using each bus in the peaks and 3 per SE train, and 6 with Crossrail. Is that reasonable in a 525 home development?

Road upgrade

£10m will be spent on Harrow Manorway. This is the main access road for Abbey Wood station from Thamesmead and needs more capacity for buses. A welcome aspect is that dedicated bus lanes are mentioned. Hopefully this is for the entirety of the street to the station.

Harrow Manorway

Planning documents mention a landscaped central reservation. Maybe not too wise. They often become a rubbish ridden mess. Here’s Woolwich after about two months:

woolwich-rubbish-strewn-central-reservation_30327818366_o

It may not be immediately clear but the strip in the middle had numerous amounts of rubbish trapped in plants and foliage. It looked very messy in person and for those driving by. It’s not great beside a new flagship development. Safety rules prevent council staff from cleaning regularly.

Back to Thamesmead, and though the borough boundary runs along the middle of Harrow Manorway, under a 1973 agreement Greenwich “maintain” the road. That figures. The term maintain is generous when looking at it. The new roundabout by Sainsbury’s is usually a mess and the area is poor for pedestrians. The usual story – barriers, street clutter and lack of thought about pedestrian permeability and desire lines.

More buses

Planning documents show that consultation on extra buses to the Crossrail station is expected in January 2017.

Shared Space

“All routes propose a shared surface approach designed to prioritise pedestrian use and to facilitate and improve local cycling routes”

A potential issue is parking which is a major issue in the area. Proposing shared space in an area with such poor driving and parking may not be wise. Driving standards are atrocious. This area has some of the worst I’ve seen anywhere in the country.

New library

thamesmead-from-lake

One of the first things to be delivered is a new Bexley Council library, which is seen above with the sloping roof beside the lake. Greenwich Council are also planning to open a replacement Abbey Wood library five minutes away despite Bexley having long standing plans. About £250,000 is being spent by Greenwich Council on this. Given the area’s needs, this choice of where to spend such sums is curious.

Aside from detailed plans for the area covered above, which should see building commence in 2017, outline plans for 1000+ other homes stretching down to Abbey Wood station were also approved. Further details of these will become clear in coming months.

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2 Comments

  1. Steve Horsfield

    “Brick is the predominant material”
    Brick is a crap insulator, poor provider of thermal mass and not great at keeping water out. It is also labour intensive to deploy, weighty to transport and requires substantial embodied heat energy with concomitant emissions of greenhouses gases. Those considerations apart it is an excellent building material.

  2. Jan B

    The only thing I noticed from planning meeting was that Bexley council was more worried about passing all the public realm stuff onto Peabody at no costs to them. (THEY CAN’T DEAL NOW) 2nd no one quirried anything about Peabodys actual performance with their new estates elsewhere. Again not the glowing account Peabody gave. It seemed to me that councillors and council in awe of the mighty Peabody. The transport plan again is not intended for social housing, can not see white van man going to work on a bike! Lastly, I think plans are good but they not intended for social housing Tennants as you rightly pointed out.

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