Greenwich’s Planning Board have blocked plans for a block of flats in Eltham at Orangery Lane behind the High Street. The proposed building wasn’t particularly tall nor near existing homes and was on a site surrounded by car parks.
Here’s the view from the lower rise element:
One reason given for refusal was a lack of car parking spaces. Is it beyond their wit to ensure a development whereby new residents use the many bus routes and high frequency rail route nearby?
That would of course ensure a good rail service, yet Greenwich Council and councillors have been pretty much silent after numerous threats to the rail services (and not the red herring that was all trains to Cannon Street). Have you heard much about higher fares than most of London, the low number of extra carriages planned by Network Rail etc? No.
Nothing like the campaign they put together for Bridge the Gap and Silvertown Tunnel.
And a no-car development would need to ensure residents don’t park nearby. And that means a functioning Parking Department. Yep, the same one with a skeleton staff that has lost £9 million in income over the past five years.
Another intriguing issue this raises is that many Councillors actively encourage population growth. They tweet against about things such as Government plans to limit migration. Fair enough, and I’m not going to get into that argument here, but if you support that population growth then you have to support increased housing and services, and not block mid-rise housing.
And regardless of migration, there’s a high birth rate in London and demographic changes meaning many more homes are needed. Private developers and Housing Associations in London are building less than half the numbers of new homes needed.
Do they think everyone can be accommodated in two story terraced homes? Of course they can’t.
So where do councillors stand? Blocking new homes on and around a big car park goes against those proclamations made elsewhere. The term NIMBY looms large. Some want increasing numbers of people but not near them.
Yes there’s issues of empty homes, ridiculous costs of rents and house prices but it seems clear that even if every home was social rent some would still block plans if higher than two or three floors. It’s not feasible with population growth like this, and not in a town centre around car parks: