Greenwich Council’s Planning Board are tonight set to decide on a proposal to increase homes at Lombard Square development in Thamesmead from 1,750 to 1,913 homes.
Approval for 1,750 homes for the awkward site sandwiched between a prison, elevated sewer and gyratory was given back in late 2020.
Greenwich planners failed to allocate income to improve access to nearby Plumstead station at the time, then did the same again with another 333 homes approved just north.
The extra 163 homes now sought will ensure 2,246 new homes within close distance of Plumstead station, bus routes and Plumstead High Street lack safe and welcoming access on foot and bicycle.
The alternative for many will be to walk on narrow paving beside a three-lane gyratory.
The increase in homes “would be spread across Plots 1, 6 and 9, i.e. Plots with only outline consent. The majority of the new units are to be allocated at Plot 1 (87 units).”
Plot 1 sites within the gyratory near the bus garage entrance and entrance to McDonald’s drive-through.
TfL have previously stated car parking levels were excessive. There is a slight reduction, though with walking and cycling far from enticing it’s likely many will seek to drive.
Total numbers of “affordable” homes across the plot will remain at 40 per cent. That’s split 60 per cent rent and 40 per cent shared ownership.
Industrial floorspace is cut from 3,211sqm to 2,138 sqm. The report before councillors states “this amount was capped within Condition 16 of both applications which specifically states that this would be the maximum amount, and there is no condition in place to control the minimum amount.”
The application mentions “As before, it is also recommended that clear wayfinding signage be provided throughout the development to assist vehicular, cycle and pedestrian access is secured by condition”.
Existing signage looks like this:
We hear again about “the Plumstead Rail Station Public Realm Improvement Project (PRIP).” It’s been rumbling around for years now. The Plumstead Area Framework mentioned improvements more than 10 years ago and nothing has happened.
Well, a mural or two but that’s about it.
It’s still a gloomy old place and not one many will be happy to walk or cycle through.
The report states: “the proposal is not supported by an Active Travel Zone assessment, which is regrettable. As before, an Active Travel Zone assessment is to be secured by condition, to a scope agreed by TfL and the council with appropriate mitigation identified.”
That typifies how important conditions for pedestrians and cyclist are seen.
So maybe people will take the bus? TfL asked for £1.8 million. Greenwich and Berkeley/Peabody’s S106 2020 agreement went with £1 million.
The increase in homes has seen TfL ask for an extra £167,657. The developer has offered £85,000 which Greenwich agree with.
TfL also sought money for a future Rapid Bus Transit link. Greenwich do not agree. No funding is allocated.
Healthcare needs are put at £2,973,254. The report states local healthcare is under sizable pressure. It also notes that Community Infrastructure Levy income could help, but Greenwich have made such a mess with that funding stream for the past decade none is available.
Instead of nearly £3 million sought, Greenwich state a “total of £1,085,000 is to be secured for healthcare funding as part of the current application.
“Although this remains below the amount sought by the NHS it is considered a fair amount given the viability issues of the scheme and the amount previously agreed. Moreover, the HUDU financial contribution would not preclude additional funding being sought from the CIL contribution.”
Viability is used as a reason to limit funding across a wide range of areas. GLLaB though will see £325,000 while Plumstead Power Station will see £2.4 million.
The power station was originally supposed to become a home for small businesses and include a public market. That’s now all dropped to provide a home for a private company at public expense.
£5 million is to be used for industrial units nearby while industrial space here is reduced. it’s also quite odd given some other industrial units in the area have lay vacant for many years. Viability seemed far less of a concern here where money was able to be found.
So ultimately we have money going to things that have either radically changed in purpose losing some key elements or duplicating what already exists while not providing required funds for active travel, healthcare, education and public transport.