TfL are looking to build 515 homes above the eastern end of Woolwich Crossrail station in a joint partnership. This is an increase from previously agreed plans for 400 homes at Armourers Court.
TfL announced a partnership in April 2019 to build on the site after planning permission was first granted way back in 2014.
This is early days for a revised plan, with this latest submission a scoping opinion seeking feedback on early ideas, which include a 26-storey tower.
One very odd thing about this part of Woolwich is that a bunch of tall towers are either built or in planning in the area – Royal Arsenal and Spray Street to name but two – though heights won’t taper down to the east as is good practice, but immediately drop towards single storey industrial units located next door.
Placing single floor units here may have made sense when London’s housing crunch wasn’t so acute and the population rising by 1 million every decade. Oh, and a major £18 billion piece of rail infrastructure wasn’t on the doorstep.
Yet even now, in a recent consultation, Greenwich Council wanted to retain these single storey sheds in close proximity to Woolwich’s Elizabeth Line station. It’s a perfect site for new housing within mixed-use developments including light industry. Heavy industry could be located a mile west at Thamesmead industrial parks that still contain unused land around 15 years after the White Hart Triangle scheme was completed with private access road.
Some of the Woolwich units contain storage facilities. Put housing on top. Last time I wrote about this someone had a go and said there was a kids play area there. Yet there was no call for those facilities to be banished but incorporated into mixed-use schemes around new homes – which would help business.
A policy to block housing from sites so close to the town centre and a major new transport hub is pretty odd given what’s happening in London. It goes against guidelines of transport-oriented development to reduce car dependency. This isn’t to say industry should be eradicated but located in holistic developments where possible – and moved to unused sites down the road in Thamesmead where it isn’t.
If well planned it should mean no job losses and minimal disruption if business is compensated – and many extra homes built. And you never know, a couple of thousand homes may help fund an eastern station entrance benefiting Plumstead.