FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Woolwich

Berkeley Homes back with another attempt at Woolwich listed building site

After a deferral in November on plans to build 146 homes by Woolwich Crossrail station Berkeley Homes return with revised proposals.

This time around they are looking to include 12 “affordable homes” instead of none. This is still a very low number and brings forward 12 planned for later stages of development elsewhere.

building-11-2016-render

Refurbished Officers’ House with Crossrail station to right

As with previous November 2016 plans, the listed Officers’ House (Building 11) is to be retained and refurbished with commercial space at ground floor level and residential above. Berkeley had originally proposed demolishing this building.

A new addition is stuck on the rear of the building. This provide commercial units to three sides of the square:

building-11-rear-new-addition

The design of the main apartment block in Building 10 is pretty much the same. This has proved controversial due to its proximity to existing flats.

building-10-and-11

Another crucial issue was access to the area. Berkeley wanted vehicles to have access via Major Draper Street. After concerns this has been axed.

In addition, the “taxi rank will be reduced to a drop off / pick up facility with a restricted time usage”. This makes sense, as I foresaw the new square area becoming a car park. Even these revised proposals need to be strictly monitored, and who carries out enforcement here as well as the other side by the new Marks and Spencer will be important to stop cars parking up for long periods and clogging the congested road yet further

Greenwich Council have very few parking wardens and many drivers know it all too well. Many multi-million pound schemes have seen cars parking shortly after opening as enforcement is so minimal. The £6 million Woolwich Square program saw it, as did Cutty Sark Gardens. It’s common to see cars along Parry Place, opposite this proposed Woolwich site, badly parked throughout the day and peak times whilst blocking dropped kerbs.

A positive revision is that the pick up area has been made slightly smaller with a bigger amount of space given over to pedestrians.

Section 106 and Community Infrastructure funds

As is sadly typical with Greenwich Council, no money from this development going to the council is to be spent improving public realm or streetscapes outside the immediate site, such as the dilapidated condition of the Polthorne estate just two minutes walk away:

polthorne estate

£11.4 million came in last year as a result of new housing and commercial developments across the borough, and £45 million the past five years. Very, very little has gone to provide better streets, parks, public spaces and communal areas.

3 Comments

  1. Mike S

    Given in particular that a major traffic flows on Crossrail will be to and from Oxford St and Heathrow, a proper drop-off and taxi zone is really important. Making it work properly is far better than the ad-hoc mess around Woolwich, and the entire lack of legal arrangement for anything other than black cabs at North Greenwich.

    And Parry Place has one of the highest parking fine rates in the borough; I’ve never understood why parking is so bad!

  2. Wes C

    Hi Mike S,

    If you lived in the Arsenal, you would realise that it was quickly becoming an increasingly overcrowded metropolis with hundreds of flats, including an old age house being directly effected by the pollution caused from taxi’s idling. Pollution in the area is already one of the worst in London, thanks to an Airport on the other side of the Thames, and a taxi rank in one of the last remaining open squares of space is only going to make things worse.

    The problem here for us residents wasn’t actually the taxi rank to begin with, but the new high rise building being built on top of an existing Grade 2 listed building, building 10. This will inevitably create huge amounts of loss of light, and privacy issues for existing residents in ‘East Carriage House.’

    We fought the case for nearly a year, but have just lost to Berkeley homes.

    Cheers,

    Wes

    • Mike S

      I absolutely don’t disagree that a RANK under residential buildings is a bad idea. What I was trying to say that no official/legal arrangements at all is even worse – it hasn’t stopped things at North Greenwich and it won’t here. They should have been planned in, in a completely different place, to unravel the mess of illegal parking, conflicting bus, taxi and private movements and the jams they cause – possibly as part of the rework of the area between the two stations.

      Crossrail is part of the proposal to reduce “with luggage” traffic to Heathrow, it needs to be done properly at this end too.

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