The Conservative candidate for Eltham in the upcoming election, Louie French, was part of Bexley Council’s Cabinet which approved building on the park earlier in 2019. Since covering this issue the Conservatives have resorted to calling news a “smear”.
When reporting facts is labelled a smear something is very wrong.
Bexley’s developer named BexleyCo are behind the plan which would see trees felled and part of the site becoming a car park. They state they cannot provide a single “affordable” home, let alone social homes, as it’s “not viable” despite land already being public with no buildings on site to demolish.
In the last year for which full data is available not a single affordable home was built in Bexley borough. One may expect private developers to push to avoid building, but a local authority too? Particularly one that is facing ever higher costs to the public purse from housing people in emergency accommodation due to a lack of homes.
Campaigners argue the current park is a much needed resource in an area of Erith containing many mid-rise blocks of flats. Riverside Gardens is located to the east, though this is a reasonable distance from many flats populated by families and there are plans for more high density housing in the immediate vicinity of Riverside Gardens.
A new block recently opened directly opposite and many other homes are planned in central Erith as part of the Bexley Growth Strategy.
There are persistent questions on a wider level about house building in Bexley borough. Why are park sites being built on when brownfield land a short distance away is not pushed for mixed-use development (it’s already a retail park) and so another retail shed is planned. One without any residential component at a time the borough claims it is trying to increase new homes.
A dispute has arisen on social media about the Erith park sale between Labour and Conservatives. The Tories have tried to hit back by stating Labour plan to build on green space in Greenwich borough in some areas. However, the Greenwich Council plan is for affordable homes, including the possibility of social homes, rather than entirely private.
As regular readers know, this site hardly avoids scrutiny of Greenwich Council and for the Tories to suggest such a thing and suggest “smears” is laughable. The fact remains Greenwich Council housing plans are nowhere near as advanced as those in Erith which have reached the stage of submission to the Planning Department, and the Labour candidate Clive Efford was not in Greenwich Council’s cabinet making decisions on local housing.
When any plans are submitted in Greenwich borough they will be covered as they always are.
Both candidates to be the next Eltham MP completely lack reference to housing – despite the current crises – on election leaflets seen by yours truly.
The petition can be seen here.
Click here to view housing plans for the park site and comment.