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.
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.
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
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.
If that’s recently changed let me know.
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.