In recent weeks the first occupants have begun moving into a new tower named Union Wharf on the banks of Deptford Creek.
When first proposed there was much criticism of the height though now its complete I’ve barely heard a whisper about it. A sign that it’s not as bad as feared?
Certainly there’s some positives to this new build. It opens up parts of the creek and creates a welcome public space.
From here we can see another stretch of creek-side path that has never opened to the public. It’s in front of a development seeing flammable cladding being replaced:
In fact more than one development with flammable ACM cladding being replaced can be seen. Turn to the left and New Capital Quay is covered in scaffolding. Walking around Greenwich at the moment sees similar at numerous sites.
Anyway, onto the tower itself. When it initially emerged from behind scaffolding I thought green tiles may have been dropped but they’re present and correct.
I was less concerned with the height of the tower than the massing. It’s a big boy with some girth which could have appeared lumpen and intrusive, though it doesn’t feel particularly overbearing to me. The expanse of the creek greatly helped.
It includes 249 flats in total with 22 floors in total.
Even tacked on balconies – a pet hate – didn’t really detract from a nice little stroll through the site along the creek.
This block is build-to-rent and far from affordable to many people, including many on decent wages. It’s £1,777 for a one-bed flat. They’re still advertising flats and one wonders how many are left unlet. A single person in a £35k job will struggle to afford that after tax, student loan repayments and the like. Around 75% of income would go towards rent. Have a partner and baby and want a 2 bed? That’s £2,058 a month.
Build to rent is not a viable mass-market proposition as things stand.
Affordability issues are not going away and those who see this sector as a solution to the housing crises note these high costs. It’s hardly much different moving out from Zone 2 towards the suburbs.
A taller tower is proposed next to this site on the Laban centre car park and former Lewisham Council debot. It’s had a bumpy ride through planning.
Just over the creek in Greenwich are plans for another taller tower. I wrote about that two weeks ago. Unlike most boxy high rises this shows a bit more design flair though it’s location directly beside a working aggregate wharf will inevitably cause issues.