Murky Depths

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Greenwich

Application to demolish Greenwich sheltered housing block

Courtesy Google. Former block

Plans have been submitted to demolish Sam Manners sheltered housing block in Greenwich.

The site would see new council homes built on site after demolition.

Any spending seems to have gone towards bollards – as per

While on the surface it is welcome to see much-needed council homes on site rather than sold off as seen at other sites across the borough, this is seeing vulnerable residents forced to move.

It does seem odd that Greenwich Council are often converting existing residential sites to new housing, yet sell many sites that do not contain housing – which could make a real difference with the housing crises. Sites such as Riverside House in Woolwich were sold to help fund the Woolwich Creative District. This is not helping create a large net increase in homes.

Riverside house on left. Site sold recently

The buyers of the site in Woolwich immediately submitted conversion plans under permitted right development. No affordable housing nor S106 or CIL payments are due via permitted rights. It’s looks like taxpayers will miss out beyond the sale price – which will be quickly swallowed up due to pressures on housing.

Another increased £2.6m overspend of the housing budget related to a lack of truly affordable homes was revealed last week.

Greenwich Council stopped letting homes at Sam Manners House in 2017. New sheltered housing has been constructed across the borough in recent years – though there are concerns over whether provision is sufficient.

Other sheltered housing units in Woolwich were recently demolished for a school. No mixed-use option was pursued on site to maximise land usage despite the prime town centre site and housing shortage. Other London boroughs such as Hackney are pursuing such plans

Existing homes

Let’s hope that basic maintenance occurs at the new housing. Next door to Sam Manners House are long-neglected council homes. The last time I passed they were in poor shape externally, and have been for as long as I can remember.

Greenwich Housing Department maintained

If that’s recently changed let me know.

Adjacent council homes

I hope it has. A resident contacted me to express frustration with seeking improvements from the authority. What’s even more galling for residents is seeing large housing developments built nearby bringing tens of millions through Section 106, the Community infrastructure Levy and New Homes Bonus, yet routine upkeep was not being undertaken on council estates.

 

7 Comments

  1. Ashley

    Shouldn’t we use S106/Community infrastructure levy funds on refurbishing our current housing stock?

    It’s shocking to see our existing housing stock being left in disrepair, the upkeep of council houses/Estates should be paramount. We should be doing our upmost to preserve what is left and to build more council housing.

    Also, Shouldn’t we spend these funds upgrading sites like the Old Riverside Building for our homelessness and those on the ever growing housing waiting list? But no Labour and their mismanagement would rather sell it off as well as other potential council owned sites.

  2. Jo

    So even when planning new homes they’re demolishing old ones? It’s like buying lots of existing homes at high cost instead of building new homes as they are doing alongside this. It gives little overall increase which is what we need. I bet they build small here too.

    It’s like they want to restrict building to push up prices. How many politicians have ever struggled and understand the difficulty of those at the bottom. Labour in Greenwich no longer seems to include or represent many of the poorest or working class.

  3. Graham

    The Labour controlled administration on Greenwich Council never seem to amaze me with their schemes.

    Riverside House which they already owned would have been a good site to turn in to Council Housing at affordable rents. But no this was sold to private developers along many other sites the council owned. Do they really want social housing at affordable rents I begin to wonder !!

    Greenwich council would rather spend 400K on a single privately sold home at market value to house just one family. A huge waste of council funds and more importantly Council Tax Payers money.

    I am even more concerned that they want to demolish a sheltered housing block which house vulnerable residents of the Borough at a time we see a lot more abuse of elderly and disabled people in our society with incidents on the increase. Sheltered Housing Schemes are supposed to be safe housing for our vulnerable residents.

    I also agree with Ashley points below 100%

    “Shouldn’t we use S106/Community infrastructure levy funds on refurbishing our current housing stock?

    It’s shocking to see our existing housing stock being left in disrepair, the upkeep of council houses/Estates should be paramount. We should be doing our upmost to preserve what is left and to build more council housing.

    Also, Shouldn’t we spend these funds upgrading sites like the Old Riverside Building for our homelessness and those on the ever growing housing waiting list? But no Labour and their mismanagement would rather sell it off as well as other potential council owned sites”.

    Councils also have a duty to protect the public purse (Funds) and this clearly is not happening with so much money lost and wasted by Greenwich Council and their off shoot companies. Including GLLAB, GPS, GSS and Parking Enforcement Companies.

    • Ashley

      I totally agree with you Graham. Councils do have a duty of care. Greenwich is failing miserably with their so called offshoot companies, with their bleak financial forecasts for GS Plus and GSS. In the red and not making a profit as I have seen in previous reports. It’s a complete utter shambles.

      Parking in the Borough is ludicrous, no strong leadership, or direction. Who awards contracts with no means of revenue.

      A borough wide strategy to combat illegal parking, obstruction and abandoned untaxed vehicles must happen, if you managed this process rigorously in the first place you wouldn’t have half the problems you see on the roads daily. A stronger presence is needed. If any other London Borough can do it why can’t Greenwich? Most of these councils contract out their parking services and receive significant revenues by well-established parking enforcement companies such as Apoca or NCP etc. to fund much needed investment for public safety, Public Realm upgrades and other traffic measures.

  4. CDT

    The problem with selling off sheltered accommodation blocks means we have a lot of vulnerable older residents living in larger family homes who would benefit from moving to a smaller property with the added security of sheltered accommodation. But unfortunately they cannot move as there is not enough sheltered accommodation or one bedroom flats available suitable for the elderly and disabled.

    More sheltered housing accommodation needs to be built for our elderly and disabled residents not less.

  5. Graham

    Totally agree with you CDT. This really concerns me that we will see more of our sheltered housing schemes suffer the same fate in the future, Fred Styles House on Fletching Road Charlton over looking Charlton Church Lane is to face the same fete. With new homes to be built on the site. These new homes must be for social housing at affordable rents with people taken from the waiting with local people born and bred in the Borough given priority along with vulnerable people.

    Many residents had been moved out and they had let the flats as temporary accommodation with tenants in the flats called Guardians and so called safeguarding the building.

    I really do like to see fairness but sadly this does not always happen in Greenwich,

  6. CDT

    I think is also of the upmost importance that there is allocation of homes on new developments at affordable rents for our ex Armed Forces Personnel, Greenwich is a Borough with a rich military history and Woolwich has been a Garrison Town for hundreds of years.

    We must never forget the contribution and sacrifice they have made to keep this County safe. So when their service in the armed forces comes to an end we must be there for them. This includes housing them in affordable homes around the Borough,

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