Planned tower near proposed Silvertown tunnel entrance

A decision by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling on the Silvertown tunnel is expected imminently. If approved, construction could begin in 2018/19 for completion in 2022. Numerous residential towers are being planned both north and south of the Thames close to planned tunnel portals.

Newham Council’s arms-length property developer Red Door Ventures are now consulting on a new tower with 261 homes near the planned northern portal.

Red Door Venture tower

There’s very little mention of the tunnel in consultation material. This image excludes it entirely:

The tower will be beside Siemen’s crystal building and in close proximity to two other large developments: the Hoola towers which recently finished and Pump House Tower which is nearing completion.

How many residents of these blocks are aware they’ll be beside a major tunnel and associated traffic and pollution? Not just from the tunnel itself but Silvertown Way which will see a large spike in traffic.

It also appears that the northern portal has numerous traffic lights close to the entrance and exit so traffic will not be free flowing out.

First traffic light immediately upon exiting

Head around the roundabout to meet traffic light number two:

No bus lane here.

And from the north heading south it’s the same story. Got to love TfL’s green light wonderland. This amount of traffic will never be the case. Two lights to get past.

Though Britain designs and builds infrastructure extremely slowly, it’s very optimistic to assume pollution levels will be much lower in five years even with the advent of hybrids and move away from diesels. Many, many cars will be idling in traffic.

South of the Thames

But it’s not only the northern tunnel entrance that will be surrounded by increased housing. Plans abound for sites at Greenwich Peninsula.

Recent consultation on further housing near the tunnel was undertaken in Greenwich, which was covered here. In fact, if the tunnel is built many hundreds fewer homes could be provided than would otherwise be the case.

Housing plans at Greenwich Peninsula with a tunnel
Housing plans without Silvertown tunnel

It’s not just pollution and congestion the tunnel promises in years ahead. Wide motorway-like roads sever areas and make pedestrian permeability extremely difficult.

But let’s look at an alternative scenario and assume the planned tolls do moderate traffic levels at the now-tolled Blackwall tunnel. What will happen to traffic? Many drivers in south London will head west to use the free Rotherhithe tunnel. This will gridlock Greenwich town centre.

It’s amazing that Greenwich Council’s senior leaders still support a scheme which could cripple the jewel in its crown. Not great for tourists is it?

If Trafalgar Road, central Greenwich and Creek Road do become gridlocked then that simply shifts the pollution and congestion issue beside another whole bunch of new housing now going up (along with the existing homes of course). Developments such as this:

22-storey tower rising on Creek Road

Greenwich Council seem to have been hoodwinked into agreeing to the tunnel as part of a package of crossings. As these have dropped away and become mere aspirations long in the distance they’ve stuck doggedly to this one scheme.

A scheme with no pedestrian or cyclist access. One where buses will be the only link, and good luck with them. Incredibly slow progress is likely as they meet traffic either side.

Some Greenwich councillors are against the scheme but are quiet about something that’ll have severe detrimental effects on the borough. Party discipline rules. Can’t be having dissent.

There’s councillors like Stephen Brain (Labour – Greenwich Peninsular) that have been quiet when asked by locals about this huge scheme on their doorstep.

The issue is what will be the electoral fallout for Labour in areas such as Greenwich Peninsular and West Greenwich. Not next year perhaps but the 2021 election. Construction could be well underway by then. Maybe some councillors will be more vocal by then, but it’ll be too late. The time for action would have passed.





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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    8 thoughts on “Planned tower near proposed Silvertown tunnel entrance

    • I’d like to know what progress has been made on the proposed Gallions Reach and Belvedere river crossings. Last year’s consultation was quite positive – but we’ve since had a change of mayor.

    • The towncentre area is always a mess traffic wise , and totally unnecessary.

      Everyone is forced in this funnel around the market holding everyone up. And then you often have market traders loading/unloading in the middle of the road at the same time. Talking about bad planning.

      Pedestrianization now!

    • Add an IKEA to the mix replacing the Old Sainsbury’s and you get total grid-lock.

      Well played everyone!!

    • I really hope Silvertown tunnel gets built soon.

    • Pingback: Newham Council submit plans for 261 flats by planned Silvertown Tunnel entrance – From The Murky Depths

    • Thank goodness they are building the new Silvertown tunnel at last! For too long we have relied on the Blackwall and Rotherhithe tunnels built originally for horse drawn freight traffic connecting the docks north and south of the Thames. Hardly anyone lived in these largely industrial and dock areas and there was little demand for people rather than freight to cross the river. It is appalling that the Blackwall tunnel will be made a toll tunnel. Upstream of Tower Bridge all crossings are free linking areas of some of the most expensive property in London. downstream of Tower Bridge we will only have a toll Blackwall tunnel and a toll Dartford Crossing, the latter being miles away on the ever congested M25. We need a free access Silvertown tunnel asap. I live in Newham near the northern portal Yes ,of course, the new tunnel will be congested during the working day/rush hours but the Blackwall and Rotherhithe tunnels can be congested at 11pm or even midnight I live in Newham near the north entrance of the tunnel.Traveling from east to south/south east London to visit friends and socialise, particularly after dark is only practical by car as public transport routes are indirect and travelling on them or even walking on the street can be scary and indeed dangerous with the high levels of street crime in the areas traversed. It was all very well opening up the redundant dock areas for housing development but no thought was given to providing the infrastructure needed when these former wastelands became residential areas. Didn’t the Docklands Development organisation think we would want to cross the Thames for leisure purposes?


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