Berkeley Homes are back with a new proposal for Kidbrooke housing blocks which will go before Greenwich Council’s Planning Board next week.
Previous plans were rejected in July this year. New plans see total homes in this phase unchanged at 1,306. Rejected plans sought an increase of 302 homes above previously agreed levels.
One reason for rejection was future pressure on trains from Kidbrooke station. Greenwich Council planners respond in the report to state “No objections have been raised to the train capacity figures by TfL or the Council’s Highways officer.”
The obvious response to that is TfL do not operate trains through Kidbrooke – and a Highways officer is not a rail expert. It is Network Rail and Southeastern who need to be in the loop.
It is Network Rail who draw up plans on future capacity through Route Strategies, and the most recent Kent Route Study foresaw limited increases in capacity on the line.
A new factor is that the Bakerloo Line extension by 2030 now appears unlikely two stops down the line at Lewisham which could have alleviated some pressure.
The applicant is looking at increases in passengers based solely upon the uplift in units in this specific latest stage of Kidbrooke Village (302 homes) rather than a cohesive approach looking at wider developments which is in the thousands.
The absence of close working with Southeastern and Network Rail in various planning applications is notable, with a silo-like approach often taken at each development – or phase of development.
According to the plan, “the increase in passengers as a result of this application negligibly decreases the current spare capacity within the AM Peak from 29.03% to
28.38%” when leaving Kidbrooke in the morning peak towards central London. But of course, even if correct, trains with reduced capacity then stop at Lewisham soon after with numerous new builds now underway around the station.
In the short term demand for rail is of course depressed, but these buildings will be around for far longer than the current situation. How will it be in a decade?
There will be 456 car parking spaces in this phase. The site is adjacent to an area projected to see the largest increase in congestion when Silvertown Tunnel is completed.
Another recently revealed project is a Greenwich Council housing development, as covered here:
Berkeley Homes are planning an incredibly slow build out rate – as of course there is no need for quick building in a housing crises – though even with a very slow 2028 completion timetable, rail service improvement beyond a modest number of new trains (which could well simply be replacing existing stock) are not confirmed.
Building heights have been revised in the new submission. The planning report states: “The maximum height of the tallest building in the scheme, Block F1, has been reduced by two storeys, from 17 to 15 storeys. The height of the part of the block fronting onto Cator Park has also been reduced from 14 storeys to 13 storeys.”
Another issue of contention has been to locate all “affordable” homes in one block and not incorporate tenure-blind development in this phase. This remains under revised plans, with the report stating: “The proposal to locate all 151 of the Affordable Rented units in Block J has not been amended.”
L&Q are due to provide the “affordable” housing element. Only 20 per cent is at London Affordable Rent levels. These are “52% higher than the average 2017/18
council rent and 32% higher than the average 2018 housing association rents. Service charges are extra.”
The planning application states the single tenure nature of Block J will make service charges collection and maintenance easier to achieve. It also contains larger units.
If approved, £302,000 will be allocated to GLLaB. Amounts to transport, public health, public realm and other areas are unspecified. Given traffic projections after 2025 and Silvertown Tunnel completion show Kidbrooke seeing some of the most severe impacts, no exact sum for sustainable travel is disappointing. Greenwich council do have power here, and cannot continue to always deflect to a financially hamstrung TfL.
A decision will be made on revised plans next week.
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