Peabody have replaced architects and planning firm Proctor & Matthews at their first large-scale Thamesmead development.
The move has drawn concerns in some areas given Proctor & Matthews have been involved in designs from the beginning alongside architectural practice Mechanoo.
The scheme they produced will see a new Civic Square as well as 525 homes, shops and a new library on the banks of Southmere lake.
A new design and build contract has instead gone towards Durkan alongside Fourpoint Architects. With the original architects and planning firm now removed there are concerns the award-winning design approved two and a half years ago may not follow the exact same template or include the requisite level of attention to detail.
Proctor and Matthews told the Architects Journal: “In order to meet the proposed push towards design quality it is crucial to create design continuity from concept to completion and at Proctor & Matthews Architects we are very keen to find ways to achieve this.”
Progress has so far been extremely slow not only at this site, which was already pretty much leveled when Peabody took over Gallions Housing Association five years ago, but at others across the area.
It’d be a kick in the teeth to make locals who have waited so long for much needed housing to then see a compromised and “value engineered” design. I will keep a close eye on any design adjustments submitted to Bexley Council.
A Housing Zone was announced over four years ago covering various sites. Since then many have seen no progress whatsoever, such as a plot beside the Thames near the Royal Arsenal Canal (or Broadwater Canal), while others are still on the drawing board.
Just about the only building almost completed since then has been 66 flats at The Reach near Belmarsh. Peabody were marketing that site as being in Greenwich and show pictures of Greenwich park under “local attractions” on their site. It’s about half an hour away on a good day. It’s pretty unethical from a private developer let alone a Housing Association.
They have also now decided to carry out some short to mid-term work on blocks they originally wanted to demolish as progress is so slow. See the towers now covered in scaffolding in the town.
Despite this glacial progress on current sites Peabody continue to announce other schemes including over 11,500 homes in north Thamesmead.
The company have been far better at announcing schemes than actually delivering. Will that change anytime soon?
Meanwhile their slick PR operation means endless good coverage in many media outlets. Some local politicians however appear to be increasingly concerned about the underlying reality.
I’m running an Easter appeal to help with the site. Info here. Many thanks to those who have helped.