A black of flats containing 49 homes is to be built in Eltham after gaining approval this week.
Greenwich Council’s Planning Board approved the development near Eltham High Street. Click here to see a video with this site’s coverage starting at 1hr 37 mins in.
While it’s claimed to be 100 per cent “affordable”, 29 per cent is social housing, which will make a little dent in demand with homeless households doubling in three years to near 1,600 in Greenwich borough, and 23,000 on the council’s waiting list.
The applicant is Zenith Regeneration (Eltham) Ltd. The plot sits beside Sowerby Close Estate comprising three 10 storey residential blocks. This block will reach nine floor and includes set backs at upper levels.
For many years it was the existing vicarage building. The house was was vacated by Vicar at the start of 2020, with the diocese concluding it was surplus to requirements.
A report states “Larger family sized 3 bed units would form 18% of the proposal which, given the town centre location, is considered to be a satisfactory level”.
Labour Cllr John Fahy asked about air quality from the nearby petrol station. Officers stated levels were acceptable.
Conservative Cllr Nigel Flethcer stated the “design was appropriate in the location” and he welcomed a developer considering the public realm.
All councillors voted for the proposal.
Funding for health sees the biggest allocation from Section 106. The NHS requested “that the Council secures a contribution of £60,239 (21/22 figure) for expansion of health infrastructure in the Eltham area through the S106 agreement.” which was agreed.
Local group The Eltham Society supported proposals, stating “The redevelopment of this site for extra housing is supported as there is a recognised demand for new homes.”.
It’s refreshing to see a local group recognise the severe shortage of good quality homes and need for housing in areas near amenities and good transport links.
They had some reservations on design at upper floors which have been altered to provide lighter-coloured materials.
They request “Any work and additions on the grassed area at Sherard Road next to the Age Concern building should be minimal as an underground WW2 shelter may still survive here where several people were killed in an air attack”.
The South Greenwich Forum also welcomes housing but were disappointed in low levels of social housing given need.
Unlike a great deal of development covered on this site public realm is generally decent in the area, and even the Greenwich council estate next door isn’t too bad, with good quality bin stores and shin fencing which isn’t the cheapest they could find and so often seen in places like Abbey Wood.
In terms of transport it’s car-free except for disabled badge holders, with measures funded including:
- £20,000 contribution towards review of existing parking controls in the area
- Commitment for developer to establish a new, or contribute to an existing car-club, with residents of the development given 5 years free membership
- £20,000 for cycle lane improvements within the vicinity of the site. (however Greenwich have just scrapped plans for a cycle lane from Eltham to Greenwich park)
- £1,000 for cycle training consistent with the Council’s Cycling Strategy and SPD requirements.
- Commitment to update and rationalise car parking arrangements within the existing Sowerby Close car parks
Quite rarely GLLaB does not take more than health or transport, with total allocated at £49,000.
There’s a tiny amount of segregated cycle lane nearby but given it’s not part of any cohesive network and throws cyclists into busy junctions, it’s barely worth it. Plans to extend to Greenwich park have just been scrapped by the council.
So in a rare moment of agreement between councillors on all sides, local groups (and even this site!) all generally agreed it’s a good proposal and ideal for the location.
In future it also wouldn’t be a great surprise if the Nissan dealership became housing or mixed-use, with cars perhaps stored off-site. The location is excellent for homes given ample services on the doorstep, and if it did become housing one would expect any development to taper down from mid-rise blocks towards the nearby St John the Baptist church.