Woolwich Tesco tower sees haircut as developer alters plan

Developer Meyer Homes have announced plans to reduce the height of their proposed tower in front of Tesco in Woolwich.

Previous plans for a 27-floor tower were rejected on appeal almost exactly one year ago and Meyer have now revealed altered designs. Gone is the design quality of the former tower, which while attractive was for many in simply the wrong location.

Rejected

If only the Arsenal site could have something this good with it’s flatiron-like form, good proportions and curved frontage.

Much to like

With reduced height comes utilitarian design. Unfortunately combining contextual design alongside high quality seems impossible for many developers.

Design changes

Back in November 2020 this site revealed that Meyer had submitted details of a 21-floor block to Greenwich Council. This would have been the middle block seen above. Now they are looking at 15 floors as seen to the right.

There are also changes to the rear of the site:

Rear of site

The blocks will be located on this expanse of land:

Land to rear of Tesco

While the front of the store always gained attention, blocks to the rear were far from impressive with limited daylight between utilitarian buildings.

Previous plan for sites in front and behind superstore

There are now changes in massing, with stepping down evident towards the site boundary.

Precedent

The current green space facing General Gordon Square has always been in line for development, with Greenwich Council approving outline plans from Tesco for a tower as far back as 2007:

Permission granted in 2007

Tesco then sold land to Meyer Homes, with the previous approval clearly a factor in that sale. It has now lapsed but a precedent set for building on site.

Since then Conservation Zone status has been adopted across much of Woolwich which the planning inspector referenced in their decision for refusal, stating: “the Woolwich Conservation Area has since been designated, and there is no disputing that this is an important new material consideration”.

Square with Churchill House aka Maritime House behind

This new block therefore won’t have an easy ride, but could now squeeze through given existing similar height blocks on the square.

Aside from previous approval for development on the land, the planning inspector stated it was still permissible with alterations given the ugliness of the existing superstore and flats.

Woolwich Tesco frontage alongside Woolwich Centre

That seems a little harsh to me. The front isn’t all that bad; rather it’s the side where the worst crimes are committed with drab, plasticky Trespa cladding bands.

Side of building

Meyer Homes also purchased land from Tesco at Dartford and Lewisham at the same time as purchasing plots in Woolwich. Dartford blocks are now well underway from Bellway Homes who took on land from Meyer, and in Lewisham work has begun in recent weeks.

Piling rig on site in Lewisham. Taken from passing DLR

In Lewisham approval was granted for a 34 floor tower on appeal, in a less contentious location near buildings of similar height, where it doesn’t also face onto a major civic space such as General Gordon Square in Woolwich.

Meyer Homes tower by Tesco superstore

You can view an online presentation this Thursday by signing up here.

Meyer Homes hope to submit plans in summer 2021. When they do I’ll be combing through documents to bring you in-depth views of just what is proposed.

 

 

 

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John Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

3 thoughts on “Woolwich Tesco tower sees haircut as developer alters plan

  • May 31, 2021 at 5:30 pm
    Permalink

    I do think the land behind Tesco’s is in need of regeneration.

    I actually like the design of the tower and think blocks of up to 15 floors is about right for health and safety reasons.

    Reply
  • June 1, 2021 at 10:36 pm
    Permalink

    This needs to proceed, that green in front of Tesco is very poorly maintained. Also I wish Tesco would employ some security to move on the addicts that sit at the entrances to the shop and car park.

    Reply
  • June 2, 2021 at 3:03 pm
    Permalink

    It’s a shame the far superior original design isn’t going ahead, that was a sleek statement that would have a positive impact. We’ve ended up with a compromised identikit block unfortunately.

    Reply

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