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North Greenwich bus station demolition approved as 6,000 homes greenlighted

North Greenwich bus station

Plans to build nearly 6,000 homes, a transport interchange, school, 2000 parking spaces and a hotel in Greenwich Peninsula were approved by Greenwich Council’s Planning Board last night.

Despite Knight Dragon seeking to increase total housing numbers in tis application submitted in 2018, they’ve halted all building over recent years across the Peninsula. This latest approval is mostly only outline in nature and lacks detailed plans for most of the site. The developer recently scrapped plans for a major transport interchange after a blaze of PR.

Transport interchange in mixed-use project cancelled

The overall plan comprises:

  • Up to 5,813 residential dwellings
  • Up to 500 student or co-living room
  • Hotel up to 350 rooms;
  • Up to 13,200 sqm Class D comprising D2 (Sport and Recreation), Class
    D1 (health care facilities/nursery/creche);
  • Up to 4,200sqm D1 (education facilities)
  • Up to 8,000sqm Theatre

Alongside that is a minimum of 2000 parking spaces. That contradicts Greenwich Council’s continual green reports on healthier living, active travel and pollution – the latest of which was only revealed this week following others in recent years.

Statement in latest Greenwich report on lowering emissions

TfL stated “The proposed residential car parking exceeds London Plan and draft London Plan standards and must be reconsidered.

The parking for the O2 Arena significantly exceeds draft London Plan and London Plan standards and robust justification for this is required.”

The site will see more parking than many other major London music and sports venues. Wembley has 3,000 for a stadium, arena and outlet shopping park. The Valley down the road has far fewer parking spaces.

The capacity of most London sports stadiums  exceeds that of the o2 arena despite fewer parking places.

Masterplan area. Plots in yellow never progressed

There is relatively little money allocated for walking and cycling links in an agreement drawn up by Greenwich Council. A draft Section 106 agreement has “financial contribution of £1,236,823 towards road safety education, way finding signage, cycle training, retail development cycle training, and retail development way finding signage.”

So little more than signs in terms of physical environmental improvements. That’ll help encourage walking and access from new homes to shops, community facilities, transport and services in east Greenwich along here:

Street layout in area. The route from new homes to east Greenwich and Trafalgar Road

What good is cycle training if this is the local area?

Route to east Greenwich

GLLaB will see £15.8 million.

Pedestrian crossing point. Not good on a cycle either

The south of the Peninsula is still almost entirely vehicle dominated.

The map below highlights the short walk from a plot where homes approved last night (outlined in red) to the Greenwich Centre library and leisure centre. Many shops, bus routes and a rail station are in the vicinity. There is  almost no funding allocated to improve this stretch.

Public transport

Public transport will struggle with so many new homes and facilities coming to the Peninsula which raises the issue of investment in public transport infrastructure. A planning statement claims pressures on rail and the tube will be minimal. Concerns were brushed off at the meeting.

Even major housing plans now being submitted in the borough that could impact the Peninsula – such as 1,500 homes in Thamesmead due to be decided last week until deferred – allocate zero income from Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy towards a proposed Greenwich Waterfront Transit to North Greenwich. Greenwich Planners stated no funding from Berkeley Homes and Peabody was an acceptable deal. The plan was due to be approved last week but a decision was deferred.

West Thamesmead Gateway plans. No income will be allocated to Waterfront Transit which is due to pass the site towards the o2

That project also allocates far less money from Berkeley Homes and Peabody towards bus improvements than TfL requested – and plans for removing a gyratory appear to be scrapped. TfL sought £1.5 million yet a section 106 agreement states just a third of that would be given.

There has been an increase in funds for bus improvements in Greenwich from £12,050,000 in 2015 to £15,000,000 though that is insufficient for a Bus Transit system.

The expectation is many will drive to the o2 via Silvertown Tunnel when arriving from the north – and presumably the south – though how that works with existing congestion is a major question. Claims a bus gate will help ignore that buses extend beyond the Peninsula into congestion.

We know many roads south of the Thames throughout Greenwich borough will see an increase in congestion according to TfL’s own traffic projections:

Green (improvement) north of Thames. Red (more queues) south of Thames.

This traffic projection was drawn up before revised plans across the borough. One of the few green dots in Greenwich borough is at the northbound entrance of tunnels. How long that remains with increased development remains to be seen. The rest of the borough with forecasted increases in traffic will see greater increases.

Morden Wharf is outside Knight Dragon area

The latest changes take overall homes from 15,730 to 17,487. While most of the Peninsula is under developer Knight Dragon’s control, their plots do not extend to the periphery. Greenwich Millennium Village, Morden Wharf and Enderby Wharf will take housing numbers to around the 23,000 level. Nearby Charlton Riverside will see another 7,500-8,000.

Part of 8,000 homes coming to Charlton

On the topic of the Peninsula and parking, one proposed housing site beside the dangleway is now becoming a car park for a number of years. This is separate to 2,000 spaces in the approved plan from last night.

This development plan from 2017 now cancelled

Last night’s approval did include one detailed plot. This was a Knight Dragon site which saw approval and was then never built – in keeping with much of the overall peninsula over the past couple of years. It’s now to be taken on by a Housing Association with 476 homes. However despite a headline figure of 60 per cent “affordable”, half of that is shared ownership (mortgage plus rent and service charges) so actually only 30 per cent is affordable rent at London Affordable Rent levels.

On a bus to the Peninsula – site on left to see 476 homes

A previously proposed film/media studio is scrapped and will now be located within Barking and Dagenham. A theatre is now planned.

In conclusion more homes are badly needed and an increase in the new neighbourhood is no bad thing, though the problem of one developer holding huge swaths of land and building at a trickle has again been revealed. What confidence Knight Dragon will actually build now at any great rate?

Even the detailed plot approved last night should have been built by now – though a modest increase in affordable housing is welcome. However this is just a fraction of the overall site.

The ongoing lack of investment in public transport is a real issue and a bus interchange is little use without substantial increases in funding for services. Right now the only big change appears to be more roads, 2,000 parking spaces and increased congestion. Oh, and no better walking and cycling links to east Greenwich.

With another green report from Greenwich just this week we again see that action is vastly different from glossy leaflets and warm words. Links are still awful between the Peninsula and east Greenwich and that will not change. This site does not and will not operate in a silo though the authority appears to want it to.

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Parent in greenwich

    They couldn’t be bothered to improve that lethal area around the roundabout and flyover when the new school opened. Why bother now?

    The only reason there has been less fatalities than the flyover further east where work now ongoing is that it is less busy though that is changing fast with development.

    I’ve seen school kids almost hit by lorrys tearing down the road. The lack of well placed crossings makes running into the road almost necessary at the roundabout.

    Local politicians just ignore us when we raise it. As more people move more will ask WTF are they doing. Little is the answer.

  2. Lydia

    I’ve just moved to GMV’s latest phase. I’m amazed how badly the walk to Ikea and that area is from here. It’s as though no thought given at all that people may actually want to walk there.

    Massive roads, crossings that are dangerous and all round a recipe to just get in a car – on that note why can people park anywhere they want here in what we were told was car-free development?

    I’ve been reading this site since moving and the parking and street issues are really bad. Thanks for pointing it out. I’m dismayed the authorities do little.

    • Comment by post author

      fromthemurkydepths

      It’s pretty crap. Money was spent from Ikea which installed a couple of signalled crossings (though two arms of the roundabout still lack them) and a new bus lane.

      Even two years afterwards signage hadn’t been installed that was part of the deal. Ikea give money – Greenwich did little.

      Those measures are still more than most developments. I think because it was so contentious they made an exception from giving almost everything to GLLaB then defaulted back to doing little. The school opening saw next to nothing happen in adjacent streets.

      The ratio here of fifteen times income to GLLaB than measures for active travel says it all. Even a 75/25 split would help the local area to a large degree.

  3. Steven Norris

    With all the tower blocks going up in woolwich, thamesmead an Greenwich also houses being built, what about hospitals and health centres, as Qeen Elizabeth wont be able to cope, nor will Lewisham’ or Queen Mary’s Sidcup.

  4. CDT

    That would be ideal Murky if a new extension (Wing) could be built for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital if all else fails to save the Barracks and the Barracks and more of our heritage is sold off to private developers.

    At least a Hospital would benefit the whole community as existing Hospitals in South East London are already struggling to cope with an ever growing population in London. Patients are waiting months for referrals let a lone treatments.

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