Final plans for new flats on the site of Greenwich police station have been submitted. The site faces onto both Royal Hill and Greenwich Town Hall.
In February I looked at revised plans under consultation. The final scheme now submitted doesn’t appear too different as expected but documents contain some interesting info.
A reduction in flats from 63 to 59 is apparent.
The “affordable” home total is 30% which is below Greenwich’s guidelines of 35%, which should be split 70% social/affordable rented and 30% intermediate housing. This fails that test, with half the planned “affordable” homes being shared ownership units and half being London affordable rent units.
Once again we have a publicly owned site sold to a developer who will only provide “affordable” housing after a 20% profit margin is gained. The state building directly would help save on ever increasing £25 billion annual housing costs the taxpayer pays out, not to mention benefit many buyers and renters. Short term income through selling land is a false economy for public finances.
In terms of income to the council, council employment agency GLLaB will see £59,000 and while some welcome news is apparent in terms of discussions to allocate some towards Memorial Park, this is not confirmed. Nothing is allocated to deprived estates or other streets in Greenwich.
As I covered yesterday, Greenwich Council are firmly at the bottom of the table when it comes to allocating income from new developments towards improving public space and better streets compared to other London Labour Councils with figures in the public domain. They may claim a climate emergency but on the ground they are generally not spending the money on encouraging walking and cycling through improved public space – and where they do take will income that could go towards housing, health or education.
As expected in the area it is a car-free development. Greenwich Council however will need to be aware of parking pressures. Will the 10 extra parking staff they’ve hired be enough? And will many cycle given so little investment in better streets? Maybe if heading west but if heading east? Not likely.
The police station closed in 2016 after approval was given from then Mayor Boris Johnson and his Deputy Mayor for Policing Stephen Greenhalgh. It’s interesting to note that when sold it was stated it was surplus to requirements, yet as the past week’s protests have shown a relatively small number of people can almost cripple the Met who had to call in officers from as far afield as Manchester.
Reduced custody space to hold those arrested appears to prevent action on a large scale. They seemed unable to arrest more than around 120 protesters a day given the time and space needed to hold and process people. If the 2011 riots happened again, or a larger protest, would they cope?
I’m running an appeal to help with the site. Info here. Many thanks to those who have helped.