Woolwich & Greenwich MP writes to oppose Morden Wharf development

Plans for 1,500 homes at Morden Wharf in Greenwich have been opposed by local MP Matt Pennycook.

An application was submitted last summer – covered here – for the site on the western side of Greenwich Peninsula beside already-approved towers in an area designated as suitable for tall buildings. He stated in a letter: “Four towers between 21 and 36 storeys would be inappropriate for this site and would have a detrimental impact on the existing character of the area and local heritage assets.”

These towers already approved at neighbouring site

There’s not really much else in the near vicinity except industry and the Blackwall Tunnel approach as things stand. The “character of the area” line does seem a little odd. What character aside from the river path?

Site in context. Roads and industry

The objection also comes despite Greenwich Council failing to meet their housing targets under the London Plan. In the latest monitoring report the borough only saw around half the required amount of new homes finished. If Greenwich are to meet targets high rise will be needed, and if not here then where?

Nearby bus garage

While Pennycook acknowledges tall buildings are appropriate in the area and conform to Greenwich planning policy, he still objects to Morden Wharf planned height. If he’s proposing the famous “London haircut” where tall buildings get cut in height down to stumpy blocks – albeit still tall – that will do little for aesthetics. A large number of towers around the same height merely presents a wall effect on the skyline. We can see below what is proposed does present a tapered peak rather than a wall.

Massing

Instead of pleasing variation in height, form and material tapering down from one peak a cut will likely result in a homogenous wall of similar height towers and no centrepiece or focal point.

We will end up with this in Woolwich where everything seems to top out at the same 20-23 floors.

He states there would be an “abrupt” rise in height if Morden Wharf is built, though the outline approval for towers at Enderby Place would plug that gap either in the form of already approved outline plans or revised future plans.

Buildings taper up to planned Enderby Place towers

In the image above two towers beside the already-built Enderby Wharf (blue blocks on the right) are those proposed towers at Enderby Place. It’s those that “abruptly” rise to a greater extent and not Morden Wharf.

Now I have some real reservations about Morden Wharf’s detailed design, but in terms of massing it would at least see variation rather than a long solid mass with chunky blocks and less open space at ground floor level.

Morden Wharf

There’s also what I regard as a poor argument about views from Greenwich Park. Is this really still a thing? All manner of towers are visible now from beside the observatory and General Wolfe statue – and the view is spectacular. A 1000 years of architecture and history is visible from one spot – and all the better for it. There’s dozens of tall buildings already visible in the view and many more approved blocks to join them – not least across the Peninsula.

Where there is perhaps valid concern is affordable housing and the location of affordable housing. Just 21 per cent of housing is “affordable”, and it’s positioned nearest the A102 approach. This is not raised in Pennycook’s letter.

There’s also concern over transport provision and services – which requires heavy lobbying for improvements alongside new housing.

The full letter is below:

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Woolwich & Greenwich MP writes to oppose Morden Wharf development

  • May 17, 2021 at 6:18 pm
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    We know that ‘affordable’ means nothing when it is 80% of the market value. This locks out most of the occupiers.

    Reply
  • May 17, 2021 at 9:58 pm
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    Seems there’s a lot of support for opposition to this. There’s a petition online which I signed myself. Whether you support or object to this, he’s very on it in terms of supporting the genuine concerns of his constituents, often ones that contradict decisions by RBG.

    Reply
  • May 18, 2021 at 3:33 am
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    The real scandal here is the failure of developers to meet the Social Housing percentage, again! Every new development being touted these days have the same problem: Not enough Social Housing, and/or TRULY Affordable Rentals! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

    Reply
  • May 18, 2021 at 5:47 am
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    In a Borough with a high amount of homeless people and an ever growing housing waiting list our MP’s and Councillors should be demanding that as part of any new development given planning permission that developers meet the social housing target at affordable rents that local people can actually afford on their salaries.

    If the social housing target is not met then new larger developments should not be given planning permission by the Council Planning Officers until the agreed target on social housing is met by the developers.

    Why cannot Developers build one block on larger new developments soley for social housing tenants. i know that is a big ask but it would help to meet the social housing target. Just a thought !!

    Reply
  • May 18, 2021 at 7:50 am
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    Agree. If you look back at the original article on this on this blog it seems that even the fake-affordable homes are sited in an fiscal-apartheid ‘poor block’.

    Reply
  • May 18, 2021 at 8:21 am
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    I agree Ballard you are not wrong.

    Reply
  • May 19, 2021 at 8:23 am
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    “Where there is perhaps valid concern is affordable housing and the location of affordable housing. Just 21 per cent of housing is “affordable”…”

    How can you raise this as a valid concern when nobody even knows what the definition of “affordable housing” is? In any case the root cause of the crisis is the government/Bank of England deliberately manipulating the monetary system to print money, floor interest rates and drive up asset prices. No amount of housing subsidy (whether real of illusory) will solve that problem. Proponents of “affordable housing” are PART OF THE PROBLEM as they help the government conceal the true nature of the issue.

    Reply
  • May 19, 2021 at 11:31 am
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    “ Proponents of “affordable housing” are PART OF THE PROBLEM as they help the government conceal the true nature of the issue.”

    = You think only the market should dictate whether people can afford a place to live? Zero regulation etc?

    If not, explain your point more.

    Faux-affordable housing is rather a scam indeed.

    Reply
  • May 19, 2021 at 4:52 pm
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    @CDT: local authorities are happy to be bought out of social housing targets.

    I actually spoke to a ward councillor on the doorstep a couple of years’ ago about planning and the refusal of permission for deveiopments without a social quotient. He told me that developers can appeal this on the grounds of political bias. The government has fixed the system so that big developer wins in most cases.

    Reply
  • May 19, 2021 at 5:46 pm
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    Interesting. Explains a lot.

    Reply

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