A proposal to build 431 homes on Greenwich Peninsula as part of a 17,000 masterplan looks set to be approved next week.
Like many plots and plans by landowner and developer Knight Dragon, previous approvals have been and gone with little happening. This plot – 19.05 – is no exception, with prior proposals for 281 homes never built.
Revised plans see an increase in total homes, increase the building’s mass and loses some of the elegance seen before. To increase unit totals from 281 to 431, the design and lost setbacks from each building (as seen above) with boxes in their place.
Recessed balconies have become tacked-on things and it all looks pretty cheap.
Greenwich Planners respond to the issue with balconies to state they are “in reference to the industrial metalwork of Greenwich’s past”. Try not to laugh.
They continue “This repeated form provides a unifying pattern across all four buildings and enables a consistent layout and stacking across each floor [consistently tacky?]
Using recessed balconies will result in a loss of floor area to below the standards [as Knight Dragon have to maximise income and couldn’t possibly reduce total flats while retaining space standards…] and will have an adverse impact on the overheating of these buildings.”
So all buildings with recessed balconies are subject to overheating? Better tell all the many developments now rising that have them. The previous plan did have protruding balconies in places, though corner treatment was far better.
In reality the new design is maximising income to the detriment of attractive design.
When it comes to transport, 40 car parking spaces are provided.
More than 650 cycle spaces are planned though TfL have raised concerns about the design:
“The applicant has identified that 654 cycle parking spaces will be provided as part of this Reserved Matter application, with complies with the minimum quantity standards identified within Policy T5 of the London Plan, but not with the quality standards required by the same policy (ie that cycle parking should meet London Cycle Design Standards (LCDS).”
Greenwich planners respond in the report stating: “The applicant has advised that designing the bike stores to the full LCDS standards would result in the loss of c. 25 car parking space” and references disabled parking.
However, TfL note that disabled parking is just four spaces out of 40.
“Only four are to be disabled person parking provision. The former London Plan (under which the outline was approved) required “adequate” parking for disabled persons.
No information has been provided to demonstrate that the proposed four spaces will be adequate.
Current policy requires disabled persons’ parking spaces for three per cent of all households from the outset, which equates to 13 spaces.”
Greenwich state four spaces is adequate but it will be monitored.
In effect Knight Dragon are pushing for very few disabled spaces and seek to contravene current cycling design guidance by including 36 general use parking spaces up for sale to the highest bidder. Greenwich appear to be supporting this which goes against their own reports on active travel.
TfL also state:
“The site is located within an inner London Opportunity Area, as such in line with current London Plan guidance the proposed development should be car-free with the exception of disabled person parking provision.
The site is within reasonable walking distance of North Greenwich Station and bus services and is in proximity to a range of services and amenities.”
Greenwich planners appear to have backed themselves into a corner by agreeing terms in 2015 they are now unable – or unwilling – to change when it comes to parking levels alongside those allocated to disabled blue badge holders.
There is also concern from residents noted in a report of extra parking in the wider area given poor levels of enforcement.
Greenwich Highways department also note: The site is well located in terms of pedestrian and cycle routes to public transport nodes in the area as well as local facilities” which is just not the case. It’s absolutely fine to north Greenwich but pretty dire to east Greenwich and reaching amenities there and services such as Southeastern trains at Westcombe Park station. Once again the Highways Department appear to show little understanding of this area and the severance between the Peninsula and east Greenwich.
This block is liable for the Community Infrastructure Levy according to the council’s report. This is because the masterplan was revised after CIL was adopted, though as Greenwich have such a low rate benefitting developers, income for community and better services will be far below was was – and is – possible.
Plans will be discussed next week. Whether or not Knight Dragon even build though if approved is a mystery. They blamed Brexit for not building in recent years despite government throwing the kitchen sink at increasing house prices in recent years, and the world is hardly stable now. There’s been plentiful excuses as to why Greenwich Peninsula has seen so little building for over 20 years. An adjacent plan at 19.04 has also lapsed after approval.
Giving so much land to one single developer here continues to look like a mistake.