Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Greenwich

New Greenwich hotel likely to be approved this week

Former school and court site

Plans for a new hotel on the site of Greenwich’s former Magistrates Court look set to be approved tonight after planning officers recommended approval.

853 covered the plans here. I looked at the plans back in April. In total there will be 293 hotel rooms. The court closed in 2016 and initial plans for a hotel proposed demolishing existing buildings on site.

Initial plans dropped

So why another hotel? This spot near Deptford Bridge already has a number in the immediate area. Well, figures out this past week show tourism continuing to bring much money to the borough.

Refurbished school buildings alongside new builds next to court

A council report before Greenwich’s Cabinet this week shows the economic benefit of tourism to be £1.44 billion in 2018 compared to £1.39 billion in 2017.

Employment related to tourism totalled 16,096 in 2018 which is marginally up from 16,088 the year before. Average spend grew to £75.29 from £71.55. Figures come from the annual STEAM tourism economic activity report.



Hotels bring a greater amount to Greenwich Council compared to residential. Numbers per square metre under the Community Infrastructure Levy from a hotel brings £100 psm verses £70 psm for residential, though there is no New Homes Bonus cash of course from a hotel:

Very little is planned for the public realm from incoming money. Small changes such as kerb line alterations are about it. That will slightly aid tourists wheeling suitcases from Deptford Bridge DLR to the hotel yet it currently has no pedestrian crossing.

No pedestrian crossing here

There’s no guarantee or explicit mention from Greenwich Highways Department on a new crossing. Their comments state:

“Improvements to the pedestrian crossings including kerb alignment and surfacing on Greenwich High Road and Blackheath Road to be secured through s106 highways works.”


Further elaboration casts doubt on any signalised crossing despite it being recognised as an issue:

“The Transport Assessment identifies in paragraphs 4.5.1 – 4.5.4 that the
pedestrian environment around the junction of Blackheath Road and
Greenwich High Road requires improvement in the interest of road safety. It
states that “Currently concern is expressed regarding the pedestrian connection
between the Deptford Bridge DLR station and the site, particularly for pedestrians
crossing Greenwich High Road from west to east.” In order to improve this the
Transport Assessment proposes that “the north-west kerb line of the junction
would be built out to allow the radius to be tightened slightly to ensure that vehicles
slow down when turning left into Greenwich High Road and make an movement
obvious to a waiting pedestrian”.



A re-aligned kerb would help but still see tourists darting across with no green man crossing.

Highways sought to allow a taxi rank to be used by general traffic. Planning officers have not adopted that idea.

And that’s about it from Section 106 income for public realm. No exact numbers are mentioned – though they are for GLLaB.  That will receive £149,970.

Dated design at estate entrance off Norman Road

There is nothing for run-down estates in the area, from section 106 at least. Money from the Community Infrastructure Levy may well be – but as I covered last week Greenwich Council appear to lack any mechanism to spend sizeable money and invest in substantial projects, and so run the risk of having to return millions given from new developments.

In 2018/19 they received £3,143,365.39 and unspent funds from previous years rolled over totalled £4.3 million.

Courtesy Google. Estates in the midst of incoming wealth are left untouched

Out of £7.443 million, after automatic allocation to Woolwich Crossrail station the authority were left with £3,494,119.84. Three years after CIL was introduced, the single biggest spend on any project in the general pot was just £27,000. Much was unspent again.



All these figures are from council reports which I sifted through and covered last week.

 

1 Comment

  1. The ‘artist’s impression’ looks nice. I am not saying there is no room for improvement at the crossing points, but they are not particularly dangerous. Still, let’s see if Greenwich council is going to open the bulging s106 purse.

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