Murky Depths

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Woolwich

Developer seeks to convert cycle and plant room to flats

Courtesy @Kleon

The developer behind a controversial new block in Woolwich directly next to the Town Hall has submitted plans to convert a cycle storage area and plant room to flats.

Last week this site looked at how all retail units have remained empty for over a year. While no application is yet in to convert shops, space to the rear is being sought for conversion.

Looking towards the site

Greenwich Council initially refused plans last year. One reason given was the small size of flats at 37 square metres. This is exactly the same size as proposed flats at Pocket Living sites. You may recall the authority wanted to sell three plots of public land to the company. Now they are pushing ahead with selling one site.

The Planning Inspectorate agreed with Greenwich Council that 37 square metres is too small for two people in a single one-bed flat. So where does that leave Pocket Living plans which are also supported by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who awarded further loans first issued under Boris Johnson?

This is from the appeal document which states 50 square metres should be the minimum size:



“On that basis, I share the Council’s concern that notwithstanding the notation given on the plans and the content of the appellant’s design and access statement, the size of units 1, 2, 3 and 5 in both appeals would not meet the minimum threshold of 50sqm in the LP and NDSS for a 1- bedroom, two person unit.

That shortfall would be considerable in relation to units 1, 2 and 3, which measure between 37.1sqm and 42sqm in each appeal”.

Other factors for initial refusal were single aspect units and a lack of outside space for each flat.

In this new application flat sizes are now increased from 37sqm to 68sqm.



In addition a parking bay for disabled residents in being removed. Cycle places are being moved to a spot in another part of the development.

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5 Comments

  1. PaulSuperUknown

    Mercenaries! Shame! Shame!

  2. CDT

    Surely if the proposed flats on this site are deemed to small at 37 square metres.. Then the Council will have to refuse planning permission on the proposed pocket living sites for exactly the same reason?. Perhaps they could be considered for a larger bedsits at local affordable rents on both this site and the proposed pocket living sites. Just a thought !!

    • fromthemurkydepths

      The inspectors reasoning behind refusal does seem to appear that 37 square metres is too small for two people. Maybe Pocket will try to state only one person and not couples would live in the flats – though unless they can prove only monks or nuns will move in I’m not sure how that will work.

      The refusal in Woolwich also looked at size in combination with light, aspects and outside space. Pocket may swing it by stating they’ll be communal areas or all units dual aspect. Even then it’ll still be right on the borderline of legality and hard to see how a council can justify that on public land in terms of healthy living standards.

  3. Jo

    I really struggle to find it hard how Greenwich Labour approved such a poor scheme with pocket living and are still pursuing it. Even if technically legal at 37 square metres it’s morally wrong.

    37 square metres is TINY. It’s bad for mental health. I’d expect an authority like a council to be at the forefront of government initiatives to improve mental health and wellbeing. Technically legal (though with many caveats which this scheme in Woolwich failed) doesn’t make it right.

    They never looked at all options on the table and since approval the goalposts have shifted to make it easier to adopt alternative ways to build themselves. So why the dogged determination to stick with it?

  4. EthicsGradient

    If you want an explanation of why Greenwich Council are so determined to push through and ‘stick with’ the Pocket Living deal, you only need look at their board of Directors…

    https://www.pocketliving.com/about/team

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