FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Charlton

Charlton Masterplan for 7500 homes now available to view online

Plans for up to 7500 homes in Charlton are now online in draft form and responses to the draft have to be in by tomorrow. Then the formal consultation begins. I’ve had a quick look through and here’s a few things that stood out:

New Park

An expanded park by the Thames Barrier is planned, as seen above.

There’s talk of a “green bridge” from the planned new park to Maryon Park over the road. I’m a bit wary of this plan as it’ll eat up £12 million to install. A street crossing is costed at far less – half a million. That £11.5 million could achieve much elsewhere.

The inspiration appears to be the green bridge at Mile End. I’ve walked under that spot a number of times over the years and it seems a bit gloomy underneath. It’s not a pleasant space underneath on the very busy main street. And a bridge at Charlton would see people at street level have to ascend up the bridge to cross over. There’s a school directly beside the site – will pupils bother to climb up to then cross and climb down?

consultation-at-grade-crossing

At-grade crossing as seen here is £11.5 million less

Heights

Most buildings are planned to be between 3-6 storeys in height. This seems a little low given the vast expanse of the site and the huge need for homes. I can understand not wanting numerous 20-storey towers though given a population rising over a million people per decade that could be needed on huge sites with a blank slate such as this.

But crucially they also state that transport improvements will see that plan for 3-6 storeys change. This is mentioned in combination with the DLR or tube but it’s not hard to see how a revised Waterfront Transit would be used as an example of improved links to push for taller buildings:

consultation-gwt

Even if mid-rise forms are desired which still offer high density, having 5-8 floors would be better than 3-6. The masterplan mentions mid-rise housing in European cities such as Paris and Madrid as a desired models to follow:

charlton-mid-rise-paris-madrid

Both do follow a mid-rise model that works incredibly well all over Europe, from Milan and Seville to Copenhagen and Berlin. But 3-6 storeys in Madrid and Paris? Well 5-8 is more likely and that’s with higher ceiling heights. Here’s a typical inner-suburban Madrid street – note this isn’t in the city centre.

madrid

Streets

The document mentions using Government’s 2007 manual for streets to inform street design. There’s no mention of TfL’s recent 2016 Streetscape manual, but both are still leagues ahead of how Greenwich’s Highway’s Department currently operate. All very positive, but these guides rarely inform routine work when carried out. It’s no good only using guidelines for massive multi-million pound projects when day-to-day work is so poor and outdated.

Retail

Opening in 2017 with 454 car parking spaces

Opening in 2017 with 454 car parking spaces

This masterplan finally does what the 2012 should’ve done and provides mixed-use sites including residential across the site, including those current retail barns.

cconsultation-retail-barns

The five year delay in doing so allowed numerous retail sheds to be built or attain planning permission which exacerbated traffic issues and did nothing to help with housing shortages.

Makro is the only giant site which is listed as being altered even in the medium term:

consultations-delivery-stages

Anchor and Hope Lane is seen as a focal point for the site – a new High Street in effect. But the Sainsbury’s depot will remain thus impacting on the stretch to the river.

I’ll have a further look through and do a follow-up post of other things that stand up. You can read it yourself by clicking here (it’s at the bottom of the page). Comments can be emailed to charlton-masterplan@royalgreenwich.gov.uk

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11 Comments

  1. GavinM

    I like the green bridge idea because it such a pain having to stop at the traffic lights to cross on the way down to the Thames Barrier.

    I take your point though on the area underneath becoming darker, however, if it is done correctly and remains well light and includes access up to the bridge I think it would be ok.

    The advantage of a green bridge is that it allows the park to continue as one.

    • If at street level on Woolwich Road a bridge wouldn’t have much time advantage over waiting for the lights to change at a crossing as you’d have to walk up one side of the bridge and then down the other side. Even if on the park approaching the crossing then climbing stairs or an incline adds on time. Is that worth an extra £11.5 million? Perhaps if an exemplary design but I can’t see one for that cost. Planning gain to the tune of £11.5 million could then help improve crossings in the vicinity such as those under the Blackwall Approaches with better lighting like LEDs, painting, murals, easier and better crossings. They’re poorly designed and maintained as it is and I have little faith that areas under a green bridge wouldn’t be neglected soon after building.

      • GavinM

        I think the bridge would have to come from the park side beginning around the where the play areas are on the park side.

        Hmm, perhaps they Mayor can contribute some of the cash saved from the soon to be mothballed Garden Bridge.

        I take your point though and a foot and (bike) bridge over the Thames would be perhaps more beneficial to a larger portion of the local population and ease some pressure on the roads. We are heading for traffic gridlock around here in the next few years!

        Thanks for the continual updates on local developments, great work!

      • My gut feeling is that the bridge would be a waste of money and the money could be spent on something else. Of course, the bridge wont get built and the money wont be spent elsewhere.

  2. Matt

    I cannot see any mention of additional services to cope with the additional people that will be moving in. Has there been any type of review done to see if another hospital is required or schools put into place?

  3. Tim Jeffery

    To me the big issue is the loss of affordable ‘low grade’ workspace. London needs these area to survive as much as we need parks, schools and housing. This along with the failure to rate the real impact on an already failing infrastructure represents a major mistake in understanding of how places work.

  4. I hope to attend the meeting:
    Here are some of my immediate questions:

    1. 5000 – 7500 homes. What is this plan and artist renderings based on?
    2. 35% affordable housing. Whats is affordable and how will this figure be adhered to ?
    3. Additional 4000 jobs? From where/how? Are these permanent or during construction only?
    4. 5600 jobs and 350 business’s are affected by relocation? Will relocating firms lose local workers? i.e., will unemployment rise?
    5. Will train/bus capacities be sufficient for increased number of commuting workers.
    6. What expectation for increased traffic in area considering IKEA etc
    7. Are Local shops, chemist etc part of the plan?
    8. Has the impact on GP/hospital services considered? Will there be a surgery on site?
    9. Ditto on schools – what expectations are there regarding the number of school age children
    10. Does flood risk impact insurance and property resale values?
    11. What costs does developer pay to RBG and what are they intended for?
    12. Will there be a restriction on overseas investor buying properties and leaving them empty?
    13. Does the assessment for electricity usage represent and average or maximum?
    14. Has a community centre been considered?

  5. True Tim. The plan sees an increase in employment. I havn’t looked into it enough to see what type of employment and whether they are including jobs during construction. Most manufacturing jobs will be gone – that much seems clear. I think the expectation is they all shift to Thamesmead and Erith – but that is quite remote from inner London are means more lorries on congested streets.

    • Just to be clear: I am not against he idea of redevelopment. Housing is much needed. I want to see it done properly a after seeing so many failures in Greenwich.

  6. Lindsay

    Yes, affordable housing is required, we absolutely agree but it does not have to be high density or high rise here. Also with the problems we have in London (illustrated by the previous London riots), a lack of social cohesion in society and a breakdown in community, we need to build neighbourhoods not just apartments to live in. The quality of life of young people and future generations in apartments is not all that the Developers advertise and market it to be. We would be so much better off with a building policy directed outside London. Then we would actually be creating jobs and homes where there’s not overcrowding and traffic jams. Also where people have the space and time to interact with their neighbours. If we let them, it’s honestly only the Developers who profit from Charlton’s transformation to “Charlton Beijing.”

    In Greenwich Borough’s Core Strategy (present to 2028), one of the key strategic points refers to “..improve social interaction and sense of community.” There have been numerous studies of the extent to which high rise buildings (6+ storeys) inhibit social interaction. One famous study that covers this is “Life Between Buildings,” Gehl and Gemzoe, 1987, concluded that four storeys high in practice was the pivotal point at which starts the decline in social interaction. It’s not a mystery why communities fail and building too high is one of them.

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