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