Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Charlton, Housing

A look at 330 new homes at Victoria Way in Charlton

Head uphill from a pretty sorry looking Woolwich Road in Charlton and you’ll soon see some new blocks appear. These flats from Fairview Homes on Victoria Way are part of a large 330-home development named Synergy.

Looking back towards Woolwich Road

Plans for this site were approved in January 2018 with 144 parking spaces on site. The site was formerly a factory, and the western half was developed earlier this decade.

Flats start to appear. Fewer bollards and more trees?

At the time TfL raised concerns about 144 more cars. Given Silvertown Tunnel is expected to bring 30 per cent more cars south of the river, and with TfL expecting some to exit onto local streets in Greenwich the additional traffic from flat occupiers was an issue – though ultimately ignored.

Sales office

The lowest blocks face Victoria Way and then rise heading west. I walked to the other edge of the plot to see the scale.

Western edge

Blocks rise up to 10 storeys. Given the prominent position up a hill, they can be seen from Charlton’s retail parks below:

Victoria Way blocks can be seen in background

The scale of the site can also be seen by peering through fencing surrounding the area:

Main passage through development

And by now you should know where I’m going with this. Public realm. Sorry, I know, but it’s so bleak in places around the site. Almost two years after approval and a Section 106 agreement has not been uploaded to Greenwich’s planning page. See here for yourself.

This is quite unusual compered to other authorities. Given that I often research stories by looking at various council’s planning pages it’s noticeable that Greenwich seem to not include them for some time, if at all. Other council’s often do. This matches discussion on S106 on agendas at planning meetings. Some London authorities formally list S106 on planning agendas. Greenwich do not.

Public realm heading to east Greenwich shops from site

And as I covered last week, millions of pounds in S106 and CIL receipts in Greenwich borough are lying unspent. At the end of 2018/19 it totalled £7.1 million unspent after allocations had been spent on Woolwich Crossrail and other commitments.

Only by looking at a specific S106 list hidden away in a council report do we see S106 income so far. It’s £347,538 for employment – which means GLLaB.



This site has also so far brought £747,000 in Community Infrastructure Levy payments to Greenwich Council according to a newly released list.

Not pleasant. Thousands spent on railings recently for no real reason. The high kerbs already exist

No word at all on where that will be spent.

There’s a lot of street clutter in the area but very few trees. Is there a geographic reason for that?

Bollards everywhere – customary weeds at base.

It’s all a bit drab along here.

No trees. Grotty bollards. Peeling paint on lamp post. Unloved. All a bit run down.

And this portrait shot shows the lack of greenery. Given the traffic problems now, let alone with more cars, will there be any spending on trees as part of income received?

This plot is outside the Charlton Masterplan area which was to have 5,000 to 7,500, but which already bumped up to 8,000 before a single home has started.


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I almost missed this on the side of a house alongside the site:

Gorgeous mural. Click to enlarge. It’s well worth a look

The architecture is bland. Some attempts at brickwork detailing on ground floor level are evident to alleviate the anonymity.

Work is completing on some buildings

I left the site by heading through the foot crossing along the Angerstein branch line. It’s a quick way for residents moving here to reach Westcombe Park station.

One of the last foot crossings left in London

New track has been laid since I last passed through. The crossing earned a last-minute reprieve – though Network Rail have not guaranteed it’s continued operation.

That would leave many new residents without a quick link and forced to use the Angerstein roundabout under the Blackwall approach flyover.

Development viewed from Westcombe Park station

The development should see its first residents in the first half of 2020 as buildings appear externally complete.

Whether we’ll see greenery or even paving slabs instead of tarmac  for paving remains to be seen.

Wide paving outside development. No sign of any work here so far

This shows the general area. Wide paving, Tarmac for paving. No trees. Not much of that £747,000 CIL could make this a place that is a least a little bit more appealing and healthier:

The development also raises the question of pressure upon Woolwich’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. It’s been at code black for a sizeable number of days recently. It’s the most severe level of alert and signifies significant pressure on services as this screengrab shows:

Click to enlarge

The hospital’s A&E saw its highest ever number of patients in one day earlier this month.

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8 Comments

  1. Mark Baynes

    There is a waterleak coming out of the tarmac since Thurs on path outside marketing office. Shoddy workmanship

  2. EthicGradient

    Vast tracts of faceless apartments are very effective at fracturing and disconnecting any sense of community. This is very much in line with the Neo-liberal agenda.
    We observe the same situation in the Peabody Trust developments near us in West Greenwich; hundreds of  apartments, not one distinguishing feature to the whole affair; any infrastructure or community assets edited out in each successive planning application and then forgotten. 

    Most councils in London seem to have become either toothless or complicit in the face of the financial power wielded by developers. The national government designed it this way in defunding them. Public space then becomes privatised; the property of corporations.

    “Only by looking at a specific S106 list hidden away in a council report do we see S106 income so far.”

    This part sounds like a digital equivalent of this from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

    “But the plans were on display…”
    “On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
    “That’s the display department.”
    “With a flashlight.”
    “Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
    “So had the stairs.”
    “But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
    “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

  3. Michael

    And despite all the money the Council receives from developers, rather than make use of it to sort out the big problems with public realm in many areas highlighted on this site, the leader of the Council instead chooses to call out the ‘critics’ and blame austerity. https://853.london/2019/12/18/greenwich-council-leader-hits-out-at-critics-of-public-realm-spending/ He should be ashamed of himself.

    • Ashley

      Agree Michael. A tool frequently used by Greenwich’s Council Leader.
      To dodge significant improvements to the Public Realm and pedestrian Safety.

      While GLLAB takes a proportion of this much needed funds.

      • EthicGradient

        It’s not a ‘tool’; it’s a widely acknowledged reality.

        The only negative impression I had from that video was the question of why the Conservative councillor was so unkempt and poorly dressed.

  4. EthicsGradient

    It has rather a lot to do with ‘nine years of government austerity’ though, as do many other appalling social deprivations being experienced in the country at large.

    There are no doubt other factors are at play here, but attempting to re-frame the very real effects of Neo-liberal economics as “blameless” is complete nonsense.

  5. EthicsGradient

    This is odd …

    “Michael’s” post above motivated me to suffer the tedium of watching that council meeting video.

    I can only think the ‘outrage’ reported on it is filtered through the viewpoint of one side of the argument; based on what I’d read I was expecting Thorpe to be a somehow belligerent or unreasonable character; yet there he seems quite reasonable and respectful to the other people in the meeting.

    I suggest people view it and make their own minds up; third-person narratives aren’t always trustworthy.

  6. ‘After nearly 10 years of decimation of public services, it’s very easy for people – bloggers – to jump on to this and say this money could be used on this. But if you think of the £1,400 per household taken away from us, it’s clear that Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy is never a substitute for proper funding of public services.’

    No, but it’s a start. Greenwich council will continue to dodge it’s responsibilities and will brook no criticism.

    Turning to the subject of trees, car owners are probably to blame for their lack. Bird lime and falling leaves are not compatible with expensive paintwork.

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