Revised Woolwich tower plan: TfL partner with Berkeley Homes
A new consultation on 500 homes at Armourers Court located above the eastern end of Woolwich Crossrail station has been launched.
Much like Crossrail, plans to build on this plot have been delayed despite TfL’s cash crunch. Planning permission was granted back in 2015 and due to commence in 2018. The station delay does not appear linked to the tower delay.
In 2018 TfL planned an entire build-to-rent development to create ongoing revenue helping to fund London’s transport – along the lines of models seen in other nations.
Then in 2019 TfL announced a partnership with Grainger, though it now appears to be ditched with Berkeley Homes taking their place.
This means a change from long-term, ongoing revenue to assist transport funding to a short term income boost.
Berkeley Homes taking on another plot in the area is not much of an incentive to get moving quickly at various plots. They are now part of a series stretching from near Waterfront leisure centre in the west to Thamesmead in the east, where they are in a joint venture with Peabody. That was announced three years ago. No planning application has yet been submitted let alone any building on the long-cleared site.
TfL have also proven to be extremely slow to build in Woolwich. Plots above and around Woolwich DLR station are still empty 12 years after a joint venture was announced with Oakmayne.
Between glacial movement by Peabody, TfL and Berkeley Homes in the area we begin to get a glimpse as to why the housing problems are so acute in London.
The Thamesmead plot has gone nowhere for 10 years and parts of the Arsenal site are the same.
For now its a temporary park so not all bad. At least it isn’t a fenced off wasteland as seen to the east.
By the time the Arsenal site does eventually complete, it could be 30-40 years after the MOD left.
Back to this latest consultation, and the total number of homes has increased at Armourers Court from 400 to over 500, as I covered in February this year.
Considering this is already public land, a target of 40 per cent “affordable” housing subject to grant funding is low.
One odd thing about this area is how tall buildings will be located along a wide stretch of Plumstead Road ranging from 20 to 25 floors, yet then suddenly stop with single storey industrial land and low-rise sheds directly next door. No stepped effect down from towers. Tower, tower, tower, shed. Single story structures look to remain despite their location directly beside a major new transport line.
This is due to Greenwich Council seeking to retain current industrial land usage (with no mixed use) in planning strategies dictating policy for the coming 20 years, despite ample space at the underused White Hart Triangle site to act as replacement. Doing so would free up a large tract of land for much needed housing a stone’s throw from Woolwich Elizabeth Line station.
If public transport orientated development is the aim – and less car ownership – a far better way to achieve that would be utilising land near a major new station for mid to high density housing.
Most companies could either locate to Thamesmead – such as a storage site for a car dealership – or become tenants in new mixed-use developments such as a childs play centre. Limiting the area to single storey shed is the same mistake made in 2012 in Charlton with retail sheds. It also means greater building on green spaces elsewhere – for example – to meet steep house building targets across the borough.
Buildings stepping down to mid-rise blocks lining Plumstead Road would open up the street, which is currently akin to a rural A-road dumped in inner London despite millions recently spent. The potential is there for many thousands of new homes.
We know plans are underway to remove the one-way system around the bus garage.
At Armourers Court the target is 2024 for first homes to complete. Click here to view plans and comment.