Plan for 431 homes in Greenwich approved – as active travel ignored

Plans for 431 homes in Greenwich were approved at a planning meeting this week.

The proposal sees an uplift of housing on Plot 19.05 from 281 in the area masterplan to 431.

Plot 19.05

While a suitable site for high density housing, the plan did raise important questions which no councillor raised. One such issue is extremely poor pedestrian and cycling links to east Greenwich despite Greenwich Highways stating in an accompanying report that links were “good”.

Judge for yourself:

Link between Peninsula and East Greenwich

The council may have adopted a Carbon Neutral Plan in late 2021 with politicians from all sides lining up for photoshoots, but in practice neither council departments nor councillors enquired about improving pedestrian links from the Peninsula to east Greenwich.

Greenwich carbon report

No one raised the issue or questioned either the council’s Planning Officer or the developer.

Extract from Greenwich Council report. No sign planning strategy and investment is changing to ensure this will happen

Cllr Nigel Fletcher did ask about landscaping and the level of details in this plan and Cllr Gary Dillon also raised landscaping, while Cllr Olu Babatola asked about fire engine access.

Dragging feet for years

Developer Knight Dragon’s Head of Planning stated they sought to “start building as soon as possible”. Given glacial progress over the past five years we’ll see.

This site already had approval and it’s now expired.

2017 plan never built.

They mentioned building homes alongside L&Q. You can see info on 476 homes and that plot here. It’s another site where plans have long been in place with no movement.

Plot 18.02

The Knight Dragon representative talked of finalising a new Section 106 agreement at this moment. No councillor then asked about the  status of talks and future focus for investment, and if emphasis will be placed on improved active travel measures.

Pedestrian route from Greenwich Peninsula housing to east Greenwich long ignored

This application is also liable for Community Infrastructure Levy payments as it increases housing totals above masterplan levels. This wasn’t raised. Knight Dragon will be paying a low rate of £70 per square metre set by Greenwich council costing local people large sums in lost income.

The developer did mention walking routes to the river. That’s not really the issue with the Peninsula. It’s the severance from east Greenwich and Charlton and the impact upon healthy living and reducing car usage.

No one mentioned routes to east Greenwich shops, railway stations such as Westcombe Park and numerous amenities such as the Greenwich Centre leisure centre.

Walk from Peninsula under flyover towards east Greenwich. Much of this area is Greenwich borough controlled

The only Greenwich councillor to ask a question about transport was Cllr Sandra Bauer (Labour – Glyndon) who enquired about disabled parking spaces. TfL have criticised low levels proposed in this plot.

Knight Dragon’s representative said there had been “no demand”. She talked about a future strategy but gave no firm answer as to how to provide disabled spaces if needed.

Not good

TfL had raised concern noted within the application report that there were just four disabled parking spaces for 431 homes, while general parking spaces were higher than they would like given proximity to public transport and the total number impacts upon current design guidance for cycle spaces.

They stated: “Within the committee report it states that ensuring compliance with London Cycle Design Standards will result in the loss of 25 car parking spaces.

We simply don’t believe that to be true – we have seen no design which demonstrates this, and our own estimate would be in the order of 4 to 6 spaces.

Greenwich Peninsula public realm is dominated by vehicles in places

Even if 25 were to be removed, this would leave 15 spaces which is more than sufficient to meet the needs of disabled persons’ parking demand anticipated at this site.

Further, the site is in close proximity to North Greenwich Station for tube and bus services, and so a car-free lifestyle is a realistic option for residents of the proposed development including disabled residents.”

Greenwich responded with “It is acknowledged that the issues raised by TfL may impact disproportionately on certain users.

The Council is satisfied that a balance between cycle and vehicle parking has been struck.”

TfL also raised the issue of no parking for children’s cycles, alongside issues with disabled riders due to the design not following modern guidance.

No other councillor asked the council’s Planning Officer or Knight Dragon’s representative a question on this. It passed unanimously.

If you hoped to see improve active travel to discourage car usage between east Greenwich and the Peninsula mentioned or the issue of cycle parking brought up, you were not in luck.

Click here to view the meeting, which was wrapped up in all of half an hour.

 

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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.

6 thoughts on “Plan for 431 homes in Greenwich approved – as active travel ignored

  • March 19, 2022 at 11:01 am
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    Part of the problem is the Councillors we have today on the Council do it more of the money (expenses) Councillors get paid to these days. Unlike the Councillors of the past, like the late great Jim Gillman, John Austin-Wallker and previous Councillors who stood to represent their areas voluntarily because they really cared and genuinely wanted to help.

    This is why now days you never receive a reply to letters etc when you contact them. We only ever see them once every four years at election times the the same as the local MP’s.

    Reply
  • March 20, 2022 at 6:32 am
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    The new homes are very much welcomed as long as the developer starts building as soon as possible and does not leave the site empty and allow planning permission to lapse.

    Any properties for private rent need to be affordable for local residents.

    However, another important matter is we need to see is improvements to the infrastructure including drains sewage and public transport.

    We also need to see more amenities including shops, heath centres/GP surgeries, Hospitals, Schools,, Nurseries. Along with improvements to front line public services including health and social care and services for children the elderly disabled and vulnerable people.

    As the local population continues to grow putting pressure on existing services that are struggling to cope.

    Reply
  • March 20, 2022 at 9:34 am
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    I am always interested to see “affordable for local residents” or “affordable rent” being argued. The most important thing is that they are built and then occupied. Provided the buildings are occupied, then they are, ipso facto, affordable for the “local residents” living in them. Even if they’re £3,000 a month, the people paying it would be leaving behind an empty property somewhere that would need a replacement buyer/tenant. Of course it would be nice if people who already live in the area could move to them, but the most important thing is to increase the supply of homes overall.

    I think that we need punitive taxes levied on undeveloped, developable land and unoccupied residential property to disincentivise “land banking” and “high rise safety deposit boxes”, or at least provide the government with revenue so that they can cure the social ills that are caused by this type of greed.

    As for infrastructure like sewage and public transport, there are in fact two enormous ongoing schemes to upgrade these. Perhaps you have heard of Crossrail and Tideway? While Crossrail will not directly serve the area, it will reroute a significant proportion of passengers away from the Jubilee line through North Greenwich and the North Kent line through Westcombe Park, freeing up capacity for the new peninsula residents. The area is already well served by buses.

    Shops, doctors, schools and nurseries will open in due course, with or without government planning. Of course it will be easier and quicker with government planning, but the people who run these services are smart and will follow the money. Hospitals are an amenity that needs government planning, but I think you can safely say that the whole of London, even shabby old Greenwich, is well provided for by hospitals. We probably don’t need a new hospital next to the o2 when QE Woolwich, Lewisham, Guy’s, Newham and QM Orpington are all so close by

    Reply
  • March 22, 2022 at 5:58 am
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    @ Sam The people buying the flats ate mainly from outside the Borough or even buying from the board . A lot of properties are bought and then left empty as investments. So remain empty anyway.

    By affordable rents we mean rents which people can actually afford from their monthly salaries not everyone gets help from housing benefit or housing cost paid from Universal Credit.

    Housing cost are also capped at local housing allowance by the. Local Authority the property is in.

    As for amenities we have seen.major developments in the Borough for years now with no real new amenities or improvements to public realm or public transport infrastructure with money from developers, section 106 and CiL being diverted elsewhere including to GLLaB. .

    The Borough as grown in population and will continue to grow in the future as mote developments are completed. Thousands of more new homes in the planning.

    Existing services are struggling to.cope with increased demand as many of their staff will tell you. So we need new GP Surgeries, health centres, schools, nurseries, shops and long with improved public services including health and social care.

    Reply
  • March 23, 2022 at 4:29 pm
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    There is a shortage of GPs because of the government’s cap on the training programme, and shortages in other areas of the health service. There can be no expansion of services until the shortages are addressed.

    Reply
  • March 24, 2022 at 11:39 am
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    My GP Surgery is a GP training centre and we regularly have new trainee GP’s in the surgery.

    What we need the Boroughs Planning Department to consider as part of the wider Borough strategy when it comes to new developments and regeneration of existing areas is to identify sites around the Borough where new health care facilities can be located. Mixed use housing/commercial space can be a good way of achieving this.

    Reply

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