The Co-operative and housing: Why aren’t they building?
The Co-operative have a long and proud history of providing housing across the UK. The old RACS built entire estates including Abbey Wood’s Bostall estate which comprised over 1,000 homes built between 1900 and 1914.
These days however, the modern Co-operative’s house building strategy leaves a lot to be desired. Of course, the days of the group building 1,000 home estates are long gone, but they do possess some underused sites.
One such site is at the Co-operative branch on McLeod Road at Abbey Wood’s Bostall estate – the very site of much building in the early 20th century.
Over six years ago an outline plan from the group was approved that would see 11 homes here. Nothing has happened since those 2013 plans.
If the co-op wanted to go further they could rebuild their own single-storey branch with new homes above. Two floors of flats above wouldn’t be out of place:
Another co-op site is a large car park directly beside New Eltham station; an ideal spot for housing. Alongside rail improvements it would be an ideal spot to accommodate new homes.
We could see greater public transport use by building here – and an alley way running parallel to the platform opened up.
Parts of the car park closest to the station entrance are often empty and used to dump rubbish. The car park is far larger than needed by a small convenience store. It could be halved and still accommodate shoppers visiting by car.
Land often exists beside co-op stores across the country due to former dairies, factories and food production. The plot behind Abbey Wood’s co-op was a dairy. The Abbey Wood estate also included factories producing jam. That was turned into housing by the London County Council after World War 2 – who also built 3,000 homes on Abbey Wood estate.
Most (all?) Labour councillors in Greenwich borough are part of the Co-operative’s political party. On ballot papers you will see them listed as Labour and Co-operative. Could they perhaps give the group a little shove and ask what they can do to assist speed up building? It would certainly be good PR for politicians and the co-op group.
Greenwich Council’s Cabinet Member for Air Quality and Transport is Denise Scott-McDonald (Labour and Co-operative – Greenwich Peninsula) who was recently elected to the Co-operative Members Council.
Given the Co-operative group’s non-profit status, perhaps a large number of affordable homes could be included on sites too. The lack of movement at sites for many years means a little wake-up call from local Labour councillors to exert pressure could ease the chronic housing problems now seen.
How about it Greenwich Labour and Co-operative politicians?
Go beyond Greenwich borough and there’s many other urban sites across the country ripe for building.