Some interesting stats were reported yesterday by Estates Gazette showing Greenwich borough had the second highest number of planning approvals for new homes in London in the first half of this year. 3450 homes were approved. Now, these figures are prone to spikes as large scale plans gain approval, such as estate renewals. But interestingly this period did not cover many of the big schemes, which either precede it (eg ‘One Woolwich‘) or plans up tonight.
Ideas of a cruise terminal on the west side of Greenwich Peninsula at Enderby Wharf have been rumbling around for years. Tonight sees the latest incarnation before Greenwich Council’s Planning Board. Earlier plans for a hotel have been altered and much more housing is now proposed. 477 homes to be precise, replacing March 2012 plans for 93 residential units and a 251 room hotel. Much controversy surrounds the pollution that large docked cruise liners will bring, with power for the ships coming from on-board engines whilst at dock, as opposed to on-shore generators. Pollution is hardly my forte, and this issue is already very well covered on 853 and the News Shopper.
This is the second phase of the wider Enderby Wharf scheme. It hasn’t had a great deal of coverage, but stage one has been progressing quickly and the first blocks are now pretty much complete:
The newest block at River Gardens is located on the left. This is the third of five planned blocks blocks in the development. The first two are far from great with poor quality attention to detail and an excessive amount of grey cladding. The orange block is a welcome splash of colour compared to it.
The construction schedule covering earlier phases of Enderby Wharf is here:
So, the increase in homes and population grows ever greater. Infrastructure lags behind. Many newcomers to these blocks now completing will probably use Maze Hill station for commuting and East Greenwich for shopping, but a fair few will no doubt want to head to north Greenwich for the attractions at the o2 and the tube. The same can be said of people moving into the new block on Blackwall Lane and the hotel now being built on Tunnel Avenue. But pedestrian and cycle connections are absolutely awful crossing under the Blackwall Tunnel approach road, as I reported here with many photos to prove it.
Some of the endless guardrail lining and other pedestrian obstacles lining the roads were actually installed after 2010. Pedestrians are forced on long detours as railings block crossing. If you’re disabled forget it. An alternative route between areas north and south of the dual carriageways is a footbridge to the north over Blackwall Approach, which is barely any better:
Who is actually going to use this to reach the o2? New residents, hotel guests and future cruise ship passengers? Nope. If they’re walking they’ll use the similarly rubbish, but slightly more obvious, crossing on Blackwall Lane, which is where Greenwich Council need to focus effort and resources to greatly improve the environment. Foresight is sorely lacking here. Both sides of the great Blackwall approach divide have exponential growth but scant evidence of improved links.
Charlton and the poor door
Also before planners tonight is the 71 flat block close to Charlton station. It was previously deferred as affordable housing was via a separate door. This has now changed. The height, at nine-storeys, was also questioned, but remains the same. I have little objection there though I have sympathy with calls for a slight reduction to six or seven-storeys. Calls for two-storey terraces are ludicrous on such a site. It’s very close to a station, and London needs to build densely by stations to reduce car use as the population rises sharply. The road it faces is pretty broad too, so better for accommodating taller buildings. London needs a huge increase in housing so density has to increase. What is objectionable is the meagre 19% ‘affordable’ housing level, and on a wider level that so much land has been wasted with retail sheds and car parks for miles around.
Other news round-up
Construction of towers over Woolwich Crossrail station are continuing nicely. The last tower has topped out at 20-storeys in height. The road junction beside, where Plumstead Road meets Burrage Road, will see comprehensive roadworks lasting from August until December. Lane closures will occur so expect long tailbacks. Well, even longer than already exist. At least when complete this stretch should match redeveloped sections to the west, where guardrail and clutter were ripped out, resulting in a far more attractive and pedestrian-friendly environment.
Over at Abbey Wood Crossrail station and two bridges will be installed in August. One is a pedestrian bridge on the western end of the platforms. The other is another pedestrian bridge at Bostall Manorway. Let’s hope it’s better than the horror show Crossrail inflicted on Church Manorway which looks like it should’ve gone to Belmarsh.