Three stabbings in Abbey Wood as planning rules flouted for years

The news  of a triple stabbing, and one death, at Lyndean industrial estate in Abbey Wood comes after years of problems at the site, which was known to the authorities. It’s located beside many existing homes as well as directly next to the new Cross Quarter development which is now almost complete, and for a couple of years I’ve received messages from people living nearby informing me of the multitude of problems with illegal use of the industrial units in a residential area. There can be hundreds of visitors to events with many clearly taking the piss, and almost nothing done to stop it time after time.

Dated March 2014. Abbey Wood spelt incorrectly on Greenwich Council's letter.
Dated March 2014. Abbey Wood spelt incorrectly on Greenwich Council’s letter, which sums it up.

Some things residents have to contend with are persistent, very loud noise and music throughout the week, all-night events till 5am, shouting, screaming and much rubbish (last time I walked past there were a huge number of discarded flyers littering the whole road advertising an event) and then there’s the ridiculous parking. A substantial number of attendees drive.

There’s large numbers of cars arriving for daytime events parking anywhere and everywhere, and also many driving to attend the night time events till 5am. Terrible parking all along the road is frequent with cars blocking the road and access for the few genuine businesses still trying to survive. There are reports of people often driving away at 5am clearly drunk but no action taken.

I’ve seen atrocious driving myself during the day on the road outside. Cars driving the wrong way on the right hand side towards a blind 90 degree bend, other near-misses from idiotic driving, cars weaving all over the road and some truly terrible and selfish parking that has to be seen to be believed. And no enforcement by the council or police whatsoever, it seems. The authorities appeared to be completely ineffective or unwilling to deal with it, as things got worse.

As I normally cover new buildings, public spaces and developments I thought it’s not my area to cover when contacted, and directed people to message Greenwich council, the police or local MP. But the whole sorry history of the site does cover the failure of the planning system locally.

Clearly advertised after years of ignoring decisions.
Clearly advertised after years of ignoring decisions.

This event should never have been held there. The authorities have known about all the problems and issues there for years. Search ‘Felixstowe Road’ on Greenwich’s planning website and there’s a litany of failed applications which were ignored. Last year a club night was held and they found the fire escape locked. This was about the only time the authorities attended on hundreds of occasions. It changed nothing.

Time and time again the owners and users just ignored everyone, and little ever happened as things got worse. Firstly, they opened up and operated churches and ‘community’ spaces without permission. This badly affected other businesses in the industrial estate and residents. Then when discovered they were told to apply for planning permission. This was rejected but they appealed. When that failed they simply carried on. Sometimes they change the planning permission use slightly and start all over again. Sometimes Greenwich council issued an enforcement notice but it achieved nothing and no serious action was taken by the police or council.

The operators carry on blatantly, advertising widely and making no attempt to hide what they are doing, or showing any concern for people living nearby. For religious folk many attending really don’t seem to care about others. The thing is, there’s tons of places to do this where you aren’t pissing off many people and hampering businesses. I personally don’t really care whether they get permission too much as long as they don’t treat people living there like shit. But the events and selfish behaviour seen is continual by many accounts. Yes, the area is dull but there’s suitable places to hire for day events and this is far from suitable for all-nighters.

If the council won then ignored like all previous decisions
If the council won then ignored like all previous decisions
Events listed this coming week at site
Events listed this coming week at site

Finally, Greenwich Council took the owners to the High Court just two weeks ago. This was welcome but it should never have taken so long. But look here at the ‘Christ Church Ministries’ page. Numerous events still going on (in addition to the all night parties) which can be seen on the left, despite the injunction. The one on Wednesday starts at 7pm. Another late, loud night?

This kind of thing is happening all over Greenwich borough, but the Abbey Wood example is particularly bad and very close to many homes. And some of these churches across the borough are spewing out odious homophobic messages which again the authorities seem to be ignoring, but that’s another point.

Who is mainly at fault for years without serious action, the owners/users doing what they like and ignoring residents – is it the council or police? I believe the council won their injunction but nothing changed, as seen, and another chaotic event was held with more misery for residents, and culminating in three stabbings. The strange police statements on the BBC and local news sites is that the event was ‘organised’. Hmmm. That doesn’t mean it was permitted. Every illegal event had to have been organised by someone. Just because it was organised does not mean it was legal, had permission, or not causing problems for many coming after numerous other similar, problematic events. It came two weeks after a High Court injunction against the very ‘organised’ events held there! If it was permitted after all that it is the strangest decision in a very long time.

The really sad thing is it took this event to probably bring some real action to occur, though even now I expect the owners to keep going and flout the ruling, like they always have. If they got away with it so long why change now? Feeble responses by the council and police have not worked. Maybe Sainsbury’s opening next door will actually be what brings about change. After all, the complaints of locals going back years were never truly acted upon to halt the problems.




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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.

6 thoughts on “Three stabbings in Abbey Wood as planning rules flouted for years

  • Is there an update on the hotel being built? Maybe these units will be knocked down if the hotel goes ahead!

  • No news on the hotel. I’m surprised proposals havn’t come in for it to become housing. The proposed building is far from good so it not being built as it stands wouldn’t be a big shame, It’s also surprising no one has proposed housing plans on the industrial estate.

  • From what I have read the event was licenced! Who applied for the license and who granted the license?

    • If true it’s one of the most bizarre decisions I can think of. Years of ignoring every single planning decision including enforcement notices served on them making a mockery of the planning system, continually causing problems locally in a large number of ways with persistent anti-social behaviour, the council finally (after possibly 11 years of breaches) going to the High Court, winning an injunction, and for someone to then give a license after all that for an all night event?!

  • I was quite shocked to read this post – and even more horrified that Greenwich have done nothing to stop it.

    We are reasonably close; but obviously not close enough to either hear the noise at an excessive level (we can hear some of it though) or be aware of the extent of what has been happening… Obviously Greenwich wouldn’t make us aware of the problem as we are the Bexley side of Harrow Manorway – not that Bexley tells us much about anything at all – apart from mentions of Crossrail, almost as if they are building it!

    I feel very sorry for the residents close by… We have ‘parties’ in our street now which seem in a similar vein. People often use our road as a walk through from Thamesmead and many groups of people, obviously on their way to church, pass by us. They don’t seem very Christian though! Many glare at us at our gate as we wait for them to pass so we can get the few feet to our car. They have even ploughed into our son who is visibly disabled and uses a stick.

    What a sad and distressing state of affairs for those who live closer to the disturbances.

  • Pingback: Abbey Wood Industrial Estate users still making a mockery of Greenwich Council? | fromthemurkydepths

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