Eltham Labour MP Clive Efford has today tweeted that Mecca Bingo have informed him they will not be closing their Eltham branch.
What’s odd though is that Savills have been running consultations into building 130 flats on site.
That final sentence is interesting. Is it irresponsible to report facts or to censor?Developers have been going through pre-application talks with Greenwich Council for months according to consultation letters sent out recently to stakeholders.
Are Mecca’s owner Rank simply tenants of the building, and if so their proclamations mean little assuming the landowner wishes to change use.
If Mecca’s owners Rank are the landowners it’s not impossible for a developer to draw up plans for a site they do not own but highly unlikely – and particularly going through the expense of hiring architects and planning consultants then running public consultation.
To add weight to the likelihood of Mecca closing. Greenwich Council’s new Site Allocations Strategy plans, which are finally proceeding after a two year delay and determines land use across the borough, proposes housing on site.
That same document proposes new development on Calderwood car park in Woolwich amongst a number of other sites.
UPDATE: It appears councillors have been sent letters from the landowner stating housing plans are proceeding. In which case Mecca and Rank are simply tenants.
This is a puzzling thing for him to tweet. Councillors received the following email from the developers just last week. There is a proposal from the owners of the site for demolition. https://t.co/sRwNLUCuuh pic.twitter.com/Xr3hamYS9x
— Cllr. Nigel Fletcher (@ElthamNigel) November 3, 2019
Perhaps they are on a long lease. Plans are due in soon.
Clive Efford in a follow up tweet stated anyone can call to find out from Rank.
They’re hardly going to release information on lease terms, length or break clauses nor negotiations between the developer and Mecca/Rank.
Of course this is happening during an election campaign now firing up so it should all be considered through that prism. What’s interesting is how some Labour supporters are on the attack already against housing plans.
It’s surprising (well, you may say not) just how many Labour members in Eltham tend to be NIMBIES despite the housing shortage and chronic lack of new homes.
On the other hand the Tories will want to run with this issue and likewise appeal to those against new homes. Similarly, they aren’t known for being keen advocates of housing let alone truly affordable housing.
Many will state they want to save a community asset. It is a meeting place for many in a characterful building, but it’s hard to escape the feeling both parties are seeking to appeal to conservative (with a small c) voters in the area.
One last thing to note; if Greenwich’s Site Allocation Strategy had suggested more housing and mixed-use schemes in other parts of the borough they’d be less pressure to build on the Mecca site. Charlton retail parks and large retail sheds across the borough are obvious sites.
As it is, under the latest London Plan GLA monitoring report for new homes being built the authority are far behind targets drawn up under Sadiq Khan. And those targets are being revised up. More on that in a post tomorrow.