Housing development underway beside Grade II listed Greenwich building

Work on site at a future block of flats in Greenwich is now well underway with the demolition of the former Universal MOT centre.

Plans were submitted back in March 2019 for the block beside the Grade II listed Rothbury Hall.

The site sits on Blackwall Lane between Mauritius Street and Azof Street.

Rothbury Hall on right

Earlier this year I noticed a “Acquired by Hexagon” housing association sign appeared outside so went to take a few photos before it came down.

Site on Blackwall Lane beside listed building

The former MOT centre looked barely a decade old. Compared to most nondescript MOT and car repairs places, it did have some touches that wouldn’t be expected such as glazed blue brick.

Former MOT centre

Peering through the window showed the centre in temporary use to store props and art from Emergency Exit Arts.

Temporary use

In recent weeks the bulldozers got to work and it’s now completely down.

The site saw some evolution in design before submission given its proximity to the listed Rothbury Hall.

Rothbury Hall

A slight height reduction was undertaken.

Rothbury Hall was a “former Congregational mission, later the East Greenwich United Reformed Church and now anarts centre and workshops.” built between 1893-4 under the design of W T Hollands.

It’s not in the best shape, though still operates and can be hired.

Due to Greenwich Council’s extremely low Community Infrastructure Levy rates the site will bring £70,000 to Greenwich Council, as opposed to over £200,000 if higher rates were adopted in 2015 as a Viability Report at the time stated was possible.

Greenwich then failed to review rates in 2018 as promised, missing another chance to gain additional income local or services.

Area is entirely vehicle dominated

As for Section 106 income, none is set to substantially improve local streets which suffer from appalling public realm for pedestrians.

That ensures a dismal walk to North Greenwich tube station for forthcoming residents.

Lack of paving, crossings and numerous guardrail ensure vehicle primacy

In recent weeks I’ve covered two further sites that have just commenced in the area.

One is a number of blocks including a tower beside St Mary Magdalene school:

472 homes given green light

For those resident the same poor street design ensures reaching east Greenwich shops and amenities is also extremely poor.

Another new development is at Plot 19.05:

Plot 19.05

Work on Greenwich Millennium Village also continues:

New homes rising at GMV. Taken July 2022

Nothing is planned to improve vehicle-dominated roundabouts and streets located between multiple new developments.

Getting from A to B is often a torturous task with meandering walks way beyond natural crossing points necessary due to miles of guardrailing ensuring pedestrians are way behind in the pecking order.

No crossings and roads encourage high speeds. Pedestrians encouraged to take long detours to cross. Some will chance it.

The vast majority of the area’s road network is now under Greenwich council. The exception are the flyovers which are TfL.

All are extremely poor for those on foot or bicycle.

An enhanced CIL rate in 2015 (or 2018) could have gone a long way to help, as could S106 allocation by pooling income.

That has never been undertaken despite numerous Greenwich reports and strategies stating walking and cycling as a key aim.


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J 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.

    2 thoughts on “Housing development underway beside Grade II listed Greenwich building

    • What you on about? They’ve put in about eight bollards in Blackwall lane recently!

      That’s a decade’s worth of “improvements” for them.

      I mean, the illegal parking is still common and they achieve nothing but make the paving cluttered and the street an eyesore but what can you do?

      I hope new councillors are on this and asking questions. They seem more astute at least. Firstly Greenwich Council, gain more income from developers, second, utilise it in a wiser fashion than adding more street clutter (you want to be removing it to make better crossings) and thirdly stop blaming TfL alone when you control these streets and have powers to improve.

    • TfL do have a big say on signals and crossings, though given their street design guidance and practices across the rest of the capital I can’t see them objecting to well thought out proposals from Greenwich Council if they drew them up and offered to fund either in part or entirely.

      However given Greenwich practices it’s highly unlikely they even want to improve access for pedestrians (they probably want to retain free-flowing road layouts, paving obstacles and guardrails causing long detours) given they seem wedded to decades-old design which goes against TfL practice, let alone offering to fund anything.


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