A development on former public land is to to see design cut backs after a controversial history.
There’s an interesting history on this site. Greenwich Council proposed the sale of three areas of public land around five years ago despite a severe shortage of social homes in the borough – with Pocket Living set to sell the so-called “affordable” homes at 80 per cent market rate.
Since then the need for social housing has only grown stronger, with homeless households more than doubling from 740 in 2018 to 1,880 this year.
The council are now spending on £1.8 million on hotels alone each month, with many others placed n expensive temporary housing via private landlords.
Officers back in 2018 also failed to give councillors the option to use Meridian Home Start which offer rents at around 65 per cent market rates.
They went for the short term sale option which has meant long term costs as ever more now being spent on expensive housing given a lack of social homes.
Of three areas of public land proposed to be sold, two were withdrawn and Pocket Living chosen to build on one which they’re branding as Greenwich when it’s in Charlton.
It hasn’t gone well. Their contractor entered administration, and now they seek design cuts.
Aside from not offering a full list of land options when plans were drawn up, upon commencement of consultation people commenting – whether in favour or not – received emails stating they were in support.
Greenwich Council have said the latest changes are fine. The application states:
“We met with Victoria Geoghegan, Beth Lancaster and Jonathan Hartnett (from Greenwich Council) on Wednesday the 13th of September with Thomasin Renshaw, Alex Shillito and Theo Gloyens from Pocket Living to present minor design adjustments that will improve the viability of the development and move us closer to our aim of completing this development.
Following this meeting you sent an email dated 14 September 2023 which raised no concerns with the proposals and are happy with the approach to submit the changes through a non-material amendment.”
Alterations to save money include removing zig/zag brick detailing for ordinary brick course at the entrance.
Others include omitting precast plinths either side of windows.
When all is said and done we have former public land now not used for truly affordable housing and a compromised design. Top work.