Pocket Living have withdrawn contentious plans for new homes on a car park beside New Eltham railway station.
Local Cllr Lauren Dingsdale (Labour) announced the news stating:
“Whilst we desperately need more housing in the Borough, tiny over-priced apartments on a land the size of a postage stamp, was not the right use for the land.
“I am now going to try and engage with the Co-op on potential uses that would benefit the local community.”
The plan certainly had issues. For one, it seemed odd Pocket Living and the co op sought to locate planned homes close to existing two storey residences rather than closer to the main road.
Locating homes close to Footscray Road shops would also allow opening up and greater visibility of a somewhat off-putting path as seen below.
However, the basic principle of housing on part of a car park that is never more than half full at a site beside a station is sound. Transport-oriented development is the way forward to reduce car dependency. Regular trains run within a minute’s walk alongside buses to various towns.
Some opponents claimed parking would be an issue though that’s easy to solve. Do not permit residents to have parking permits via agreement when approved. Then ensure regular enforcement so cars parked locally have a permit. It’s already in a CPZ.
Given the borough’s homeless household population has rocketed from 655 to 1,611 in just five years – costing taxpayers huge sums and leaving many in poor quality emergency accommodation – the need for homes is pressing.
Given land is owned by the co-operative, one would hope a greater amount of affordable homes could be secured in any revised plans.
Pocket Living offer 80 per cent of market rates and class that as “affordable”.
In an ideal world we’d see a large amount of truly affordable social homes, but given constraints and the desperate need something is better than nothing.
New homes would also offer footfall to support local business.
If all we end up with now is yet more years of a half empty car park while ever more people are forced to live in expensive emergency housing, that’s a result that benefits no one and will cost many more.