FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Woolwich

Tower development by Woolwich Tesco in for planning: 27-floors, 800+ homes, no social housing

Proposed view from Woolwich Arsenal station

Plans by Meyer Homes for a 27-storey tower on greenery in front of the Woolwich Tesco superstore have now been submitted.

The development comprises 804 flats in total: 206 flats in a tower along with three buildings between 9 and 16 storeys comprising 598 residential units to the rear of Tesco.

Height

The height of the tower will be what raises the attention of most. It’s 27-stories and located beside General Gordon Square.

There’s some questions to be asked about these height levels.

Greenwich Council commissioned a Masterplan (the Thomas Street SPD) covering the area a few years ago. In 2015/16 it recommended a height limit of around 15 storeys at this site. It has never been formally adopted.

If the 2015/16 Masterplan had been adopted it would have put the council on a solid legal foundation to refuse on the grounds of height. They did not do it.

The rear of the site has appears taller than in the masterplan.

Masterplans drawn up since, such as Charlton Riverside, were adopted by Greenwich Council months ago.

No social housing

It cannot be argued that a taller building to the front of Tesco and high density levels to the rear are bringing much in the way of so-called “affordable” housing let alone social housing.

It appears to be another scheme with no social rents and comes after Greenwich Council approved a 245-home scheme with zero social rented units in Abbey Wood and another in Woolwich with 300-homes and only 6% social rental units.

A viability assessment submitted has “affordable” flats at 20.2%. Within that total, 30% is Discounted Market Sale and 70% London Living Rent.

Discounted Market Sale homes are properties where the buyer only owns a set percentage of the home. These are 6% of the total homes. It is also known as Council Shared Equity.

The London Living Rent level is 14% of total homes. London Living rent is for “middle-income” residents according to the Mayor of London and GLA. It is generally at about 66% of market rent so above social rent levels of 33%-50%.

The amount of schemes drawn up to prop up land values is impressive to behold.

Tower design

In terms of the design there’s much to commend when it comes to the tower. But at this spot? I’m not so sure. It’ll overshadow many homes, block sunlight from General Gordon Square and could appear overbearing with no real set-back from the square.

The St Thomas SPD’s recommendation of 15-storeys would be better with a similar design.

If it was in other parts of Woolwich 27-storeys would work much better. The curved square -facing frontage would offer a nice contrast to some of the more boxy designs seen elsewhere. The flat-iron like massing works well and the grids helps reduce the appearance of height.

The warm red tone of the cladding is also a nice touch which references red brick buildings seen in the area.

The planning reference is 17/2812/F

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16 Comments

  1. James

    It would suit Plumstead near the tower that was built a few years ago next to the Station is would be better situated near it to form a cluster.

  2. Seonaid McCombe

    Royal arsenal is a lovely development because it isn’t too built up and has kept its historical features. To place a huge building right in the centre is a travesty and puts the development in a similar category to others, such as Canary Wharf, where it’s too built up and over crowded. Once one high rise goes up another will follow. It will obscure the views from other apartments, and reduce the light into properties. Many people will move if this building goes ahead.

  3. Gyan Tamang

    Royal Arsenal (Historical Sites) already on demolition’with further new 11floor building going up there at the Saturday market site.Darkness for all elderly people living that side of Bemtham House !

  4. Matt

    Can object to the council at bit.ly/2yzTqtQ

    Or direct to planning officer samantha.moreira@royalgreenwich.gov.uk

    No social housing in the tower, it blocks light, it’s very overbearing, it will increase congestion, destroy the green space currently there. It’s a terrible idea.

    • G

      Why does there have to be social housing?

      • anonymous201486

        This is Woolwich not Mayfair and there is a lot of people in the Borough currently on the housing waiting list. Councils should not be able to abdicate their responsibility towards social housing or allow developers to sidestep planning permission with the fictitious ‘non-viable’ argument. ‘Big developers’ make hundreds of millions in profit, so this argument does not stand up to scrutiny.

  5. Chris Nash

    It’s far too tall and looks like it was just plonked down on that scrap of land by the square without any consideration for whether it would look good there. It’ll overshadow the whole square.

  6. Ken

    The tower is a terrible idea. Very overbearing. Much better to keep and improve the green space already there in front of Tesco. I would imagine the folk who live the Tesco flats are very worried bu the fact that the tower will utterly spoil their views.

  7. G

    Looks awesome.

    I seen a load of campaigns against this. Maybe I am in the minority but the picture at the top looks cool.

    I hope something decent goes there anyway.

    • tonii

      I think they intended to make it slim so at least it doesnt block the view from tesco flat too much. It is quite narrow compare to the size and width of tesco so it shoukd be fine. It will also improve the area a bit in terms of demographic. We ( me and my friend ) just bought a flat in the area and we agree that woolwich has too much of poor people ( no offence ) and it can look very unattractive despite the nice building and area. Some sort of demographic shifting will help a lot with all these new developments. The area has that potential.

      • tony grossman

        ‘too much of poor people’ – what a disgusting comment. What an awful person you are – moving to an area and then complaining about the people who have lived there before you. Yes lets hope they are priced out as soon as possible and split up and moved away from their social and familial circles – sounds like a lovely idea.

  8. Neil

    That is fugly

  9. John Edwards

    Meyer Homes say the scheme offers the opportunity to provide much needed housing but then exclude any social housing from the scheme! Yes, 0% social rented housing ( out of a total of over 800 homes)! The needs of local residents must take priority over the profits of developers and speculators and we must do all we can to make sure there is a powerful local voice on this both at the planning application stage and afterwards. There will be a public meeting about this called by local residents at 6.30 pm on Monday 30 October in the Island Business Centre, 8-36 Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 ( opposite HSBC bank, just down from the Town Hall). Come along and spread the word.

    • anonymous201486

      @John Edwards: planning committees don’t seem to have the backbone to stand up to developers on the issue of social housing. The cynic in me thinks this is because local authorities want to change the local demographic into an upwardly mobile one and what better way to do so, than making it unaffordable for the less well off and the poor. Buyers are also increasingly desparate to gain a footing on the housing ladder, so will snap up these tacky developments in the outer zones because at least they are still in London.

  10. Candy Drummond

    Flatron Building springs to mind…this is NOT New York councillors/investors. So do one and leave our town historical, like it has always been since it was a garrison town back in Tudor times. We do not want eyesores and deathtrap contraptions destroying and polluting our spaces!

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