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