Murky Depths

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Greenwich

Have developers halted Greenwich Peninsula housing plans?

With tower blocks on Greenwich Peninsula beside the o2 and dangleway reaching completion one thing noticeable recently has been a lack of movement on many other sites in the hands of developer Knight Dragon where new homes are already approved.

Developer Knight Dragon own huge swaths of land across the Peninsula and sped up building after taking over plots from Quintain in 2013. after a decade of inaction. Towers and other new-builds went up in the south of the Peninsula near existing homes at Greenwich Millenium Village.

When that was mid-way through work started on Upper Riverside which is now seeing residents move into some blocks.

 

These towers are just north of the Cable Car.

If things were to follow that pattern other sites would now be starting. But despite approval almost three years ago there has been little movement on plots 18.02, 18.03 and 19.04 and 19.05. Back in 2016 some of those plots were expected to complete in 2019.

Clearly since approval was given back in 2016 property prices – especially new builds – have begun to sink in Greenwich borough as in much of London.

And this is a problem – especially when so much land is in the hands of one developer. If they bring up the drawbridge nothing is happening for possibly years to come. And as figures show – imminent Brexit or not – population increases are still extremely high.

Plot 19:04

Non-housing plots on the Peninsula are moving forward including the P5K running track, Design District and Magazine music venue – which itself is on land that was designated housing.

Taken October 2018

But there’s little sign of work beginning soon at the many, many vast housing plots still undeveloped.

Knight Dragon have put some new plans in for some plots but why? Existing approvals conform to density in outline plans. Designs were of good quality.

The image below shows plots with still-unbuilt areas approved even longer ago in 2015:

Only two of these towers have been built

Ultimately this brings us back to the flawed UK land and housing industry. Too many plots are in the sole hands of large developers and as soon as unsustainable double digit annual price rises halt so does building.

It took nearly 15 years for anything to happen after land was decontaminated before the Millennium until Knight Dragon took over. After constructing a couple of thousand homes (out of 15,000) will things grind to a halt again?

If that does happen it once again shows leaving so much house building in the hands of the private sector alone will not deliver much needed homes. And let’s not forget – it was the public purse which made this land suitable for building in the first place.

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5 Comments

  1. SG

    This has nothing to do with who owns the land or number of people. Its got more to do with income and availability of credit, economic uncertainty = less demand. Even if the site was in multiple ownership it would still face the same issue. The only thing that would keep it going is government subsidy e.g. even more Help to Buy type products, which do nothing for those that actually are in the greatest need.

    Delivery of new homes will slow down – cost of building in itself is up due to cost of labour and materials.

  2. CDT

    If the developer is not going to develop the plots for many more years. Then perhaps they could consider selling the plots on to other developers who will then build new homes. Or perhaps the Government could provide some funding so some of the undeveloped plots could be purchased for Council or Housing Association Housing at affordable rents for Borough residents.

    The problem is many people living in the Borough of Greenwich who work have modest incomes of around £30,00.00 full time and therefore cannot afford to raise the deposit or get the mortgage. This is happening to both single people and couples.

    We do need more social housing built in the Borough as the local population is still growing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future;

    Also if you are single person or a couple without children you are less likely to be allocated a council home/housing association home despite being born and bred in the Borough and living in the borough all your life. This is forcing people in to private rented accommodation which takes large chunks of their monthly incomes.

  3. CDT

    Sorry average wage figure should have shown £ 30,000. Although I know a lot of people working full time actually earn much less than this per annum. Making mortgages even less affordable for local residents.

  4. Scott Green

    I still feel that sometimes, the community as a whole is ill considered when these new developments are put in place. Like, where will people shop, where are the nice cafes, galleries, pubs, interesting places, doctors, schools, nurseries, plazas etc. etc.? Developers thinks that can just build, high density housing and that’s it. Well, maybe think about what people actually want in their local area. Hopefully the Design District will bring an interesting twist. But I still think that placing row after row of towers along the river bank, is ultimately, ill thought through. I hope as well that they do not just sit on the land and are encourage to do more with it somehow. And finally, you know what put the nail in the coffin for it all, I’ll give you a clue, it begins with B.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      Developers have contributed tens of millions. It’s that much hasn’t been spent by Greenwich Council. Some has mind, such as money towards new school which is expanding to 1,600 pupils. I agree there should be much more local shops and commercial space. Maybe the masterplans expected everyone to head to the O2 or east Greenwich (and as I’ve often said the many millions derived from developments could, and should, improve links to there.

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