Plans to convert the Grade II-listed former Town Hall in Greenwich into flats and extend the building have been submitted.
This site covered consultation plans into the proposal last November.
One option mentioned was converting the viewing gallery into public use. The application states this could happen once a year. Open House weekend anyone?
The observation deck has been off limits to be public and long attracted interest. The application features photographs of the current condition:
The proposal also seeks to add a rooftop extension onto what is one of the jewels of the borough.
Plans have been revised since consultation with greater use of dark bronze cladding on the rooftop extension.
Here’s the revised view:
The building served as Greenwich Town Hall until the merging of Woolwich and Greenwich boroughs, when functions converged at Woolwich Town Hall.
“Its architectural style is modern, with clean streamlined lines. However, it used traditional brick facings, and as was common for such civic buildings, additional embellishments including carved reliefs, bronze fittings and marbled interiors”.
“The architect, Clifford Culpin, was chosen to design Meridian House. This is an an important historical connection because of his socialist connections.
“The building’s long civic role also associates it with a multitude of local dignitaries, and it was the setting for many locally important decisions.”
No truly affordable housing is proposed for the new proposal, which won’t help the homeless person sleeping rough on one part of the building on a recent visit.
Developer Riverlow claim 11 flats out of 73 will be “affordable”, but at discounts of 20-40 per cent to high market prices they will fail to be truly affordable to many, and far from social rent levels.
The number of homeless families housing in temporary accommodation by Greenwich Council has more than doubled since 2018 to over 1,600.
The developer will also avoid paying sizable sums to Greenwich Council via the Community Infrastructure Levy considering this is a prized Zone 2 location near excellent transport links and in a world heritage zone, as the council adopted an extremely low levy of £70 per square metre for residential development in 2015 – and never revised as promised in 2018.
It failed to set higher rates in the west to offset lower rates in east the Planning Inspector sought. Most boroughs have multiple rates to capture revenue in expensive areas, though Greenwich stated this would “confuse” developers.
Those 2015s decisions in the west of the borough in particular – which they could have altered as the 2015 CIL report from the Planning Inspector clearly states – ensured every single development in the area since 2015 has lost local people funding for services and seen Greenwich trail almost every other London Labour council annually for income from newbuilds.
Another building which has seen developers pay far less than possible for improved local services is a block now completing opposite the Borough Halls:
That block sits on former public land and housed Greenwich police station until sold by the Metropolitan Police in 2016.
There’s a number of other blocks in Greenwich which has seen potential revenue for services squandered to offset cuts.
The planning application for Meridian House can be viewed here.