In recent months I’ve been covering Greenwich’s plans for the future of the borough and highlighting how a key document – which arrived years late – is full of errors.
The Site Allocations Strategy covers future possible sites of housing, health facilities, schools, employment space and, well, just about everything to do with the fabric of towns. Unfortunately the Greenwich document was full of errors on who owns land, what land is used for and even what land was covered.
One example was labelling Abbey Wood telephone exchange (or Thamesmead as BT call it despite it being in Abbey Wood) as no longer in use by BT and used by Crossrail. The trouble is it is still in use by BT, and a new application appears to further cement that. Crossrail may have had a small area on a short term basis but that’s it.
For a building apparently not in use, the new planning application is odd given it states the need for a “container in the service yard area of Thamesmead Telephone Exchange. The container will house equipment and materials required to support the roll out of the Telecoms infrastructure in the area.
Bexley is Bonkers also spoke to engineers on site who said the exchange was very much still in use. Greenwich calling it a “former exchange” is wrong.
The Site Strategy document was “finished” three years late and sailed through a Greenwich Cabinet meeting without comment, despite apparently not being updated to any great degree since 2019 and filled with mistakes. It also didn’t cover many areas suitable for housing such as retail sheds and car parks. Without guidance, development in certain areas could either be held up or be inappropriate.
The whole saga revealed flaws with Greenwich departments and crucially, democratic scrutiny. Greenwich’s Labour cabinet had nothing to say about the flaws. I watched the entire meeting and not one member raised any issues.
If the Planning Department are struggling, Greenwich could increase the amount of Community Infrastructure Levy allocated to the department, They currently allocate below the maximum of five per cent. Documents filled with mistakes imply store up problems down the line. They can’t say they weren’t warned.
I took at look at the entire document in February this year, which can be seen here.