Greenwich retail park redevelopment back with planned shops and 1,251 homes

New plans have been submitted to build housing at a Greenwich retail park with new shops and 1,251 homes.

Like the previous proposal it covers the B&Q retail shed plus adjacent car park but NOT the Odeon cinema and Ikea.

Current view of site. This could become new High Street

London Square are behind the project which sees 1,251 new homes. One aspiration is to create a new High Street through the centre of the site in place of out-of-town retail units.

Car parking would remain at the demand of Ikea with new housing and shops located both in front and above. Total parking numbers will be 856 spaces.

New builds opposite Ikea

Affordable homes

The total number of homes has reduced from previously submitted plans, which in turn means the number of affordable homes to those on low incomes – and not those merely labelled as “affordable” – are also down. Not great when the number of households classified as homeless and in emergency and temporary housing has increased from below 500 to near 2,000 in just six years.

As is the norm, “affordable” housing is set at 35 per cent of the total and that is then split 70/30 split between London Affordable Rent and Intermediate (shared ownership usually). While people may want more, in the current system of Viability Reports this really is the most a site is likely to see without some pretty big changes made by central government – and neither main party shows much sign of that. So it’s a case of taking the best on offer of get nothing.

Proposed frontages opposite Ikea

When we see homeless households in Greenwich borough alone increase from around 500 in 2016 to 2,000 in 2024 while the general waiting list is above 20,000 aiming for something that isn’t possible will hurt many.

In this case that’s around 300 homes at the closest thing to social rent levels we get these days. that’s not to be sniffed at. And 900 other homes for those not in desperate need but still seeking their own home. And remember, the more new homes built the less existing family homes are sub-divided into houseshares ensuring remaining housing stock is suitable for families.

Design

Architects Assael are behind the design which has seen revisions since prior plans submitted. As well as a “High Street” areas of public space are dotted about and design changes now mean increased recessed balconies on certain buildings.

Doesn’t that block below look a bit like Thamesmead – and that’s not a dig. The white brick is designed to lessen impact on views from afar.

Public space

I’ve always been quite fond of those inset corner balconies seen at the iconic post-war estate.

Far better than those which are tacked-on.

Thamesmead block

Though even where some clip-ons do exist as the Greenwich proposal, as seen above, at least it’s not the usual scattergun approach so often seen recently across new-builds.

Other changes include “two levels of apartments along neighbourhood streets, height of building D1 lowered and form rationalised along A102 plus minor increases in building lengths to accommodate second staircases.”

Changes proposed

Buildings along the southern end of the site beside the A102 will see pitched roofs. Fortunately it’s not a sea of flat-roofed boxes as seen at so many other sites.

Retaining the car park means areas such as gardens will require lift access. That won’t help with the service chargers levied on residents.

Think of the service charges!

Greenwich roads

Peartree Way links site to east Greenwich and nearby railway station

One of the most contentious issues is the busy A102 running alongside – which will soon see another road’s worth of traffic feed onto it when Silvertown tunnel opens.

An acoustic screen is proposed but pollution concerns will remain.

Located beside A102

Traffic levels are not helped by Ikea which acts to draw in vehicles from across the Thames.

Street design focused upon vehicles exist to the other sides. Crossings are poor with no signals in places as seen below.

Big box retail approved in a changing world

The decision to approve Ikea’s giant retail box hampered potential future changes across the retail park site as the population has increased alongside housing need. That decision – which looked short-sited at the time – has proven to be so.

Most of the sustainability nods when it was approved were short lived. The rooftop garden is almost never open. The ecology garden unloved. Cycle parking located in a place out of site from most footfall which hardly helps disused thieves.

Road crossing near Ikea

As for how long Ikea remains who knows? They’ve closed some big-box stores such as Tottenham and made tentative steps towards leaving that model behind. The design makes an attempt to pre-empt that and resulting reduced need for parking with potential re-uses of the ground floor.

Cultural usage seems to be the main idea.

 

Masterplans

This site sits alongside plans for thousands of new homes nearby at both the Greenwich Peninsula and Charlton masterplan areas – though includes outdated numbers for said housing. The Charlton Riverside masterplan has been increased to potentially as high as 8,000 homes as has overall totals on Knight Dragon land to more than 17,000.

The application doesn’t really do enough to highlight poor walking and cycling routes to Westcombe Park station as well as other nearby areas such as Charlton shops and North Greenwich station.

Fancy a walk to the nearest station?

You may expect Greenwich planners to know about these issues and push hard on in prior meetings and when S106 and CIL funding is to be allocated, but it’s all-too common for them to allocate next to nothing from resultant income to improve pedestrian links in the area.

The application states improvements could be use “CIL and S106 receipts from the development could also help deliver this” but we tend to know what happens when it comes to allocating funds. The wider public realm and street improvements are all but ignored.

Crossing on route from proposed housing to Charlton shops

One positive is that removing the B&Q superstore allows increased permeability through the site towards Greenwich Millennium Village where hundreds more homes are now underway.

A crossing is proposed across the dual carriageway but it’ll require a fair bit more to integrate the site into its wider surroundings.

B&Q on right with GMV phases now underway

Decent but lacking

Given the constraints of the site and recent mistakes made the overall proposal seems to have done a decent job. There’s absolutely no way however that one solitary new road crossing is enough in terms of wider public realm improvements and lessening severance between various major housing developments, shops transport links and amenities across the area.

That should absolutely change by the time this comes to the Planning Board – but given their track record it’s perhaps overly optimistic to expect Greenwich to do so. It’ll probably be pass the buck time again despite their coffers seeing many millions in income.

Pedestrian path from station to proposed housing

Land control is split between TfL immediately around the flyover and Greenwich Council for the rest. Both are dismal. Both would need to work together to fund improvements. Greenwich however usually deny they have any power or funding and request TfL do all the heavy lifting.

That means nothing is done.

You can view the application here.

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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.

    21 thoughts on “Greenwich retail park redevelopment back with planned shops and 1,251 homes

    • Good article! Unfortunately don’t think this housing should go ahead, feel like they would be better off focusing on the plans for the rest of the peninsula, then if that’s all completed and more expensive high rise housing is needed go back to this site.

      Reply
    • We need all the housing we can get right now with population increases and demand rocketing. Wider Peninsula building has been extremely slow. 25 years after GMV begun and it’s not complete and Knight Dragon are also extremely slow. Morden Wharf isn’t starting anytime soon.

      This site isn’t solely expensive housing but provides 300 homes at the closest thing to council/social rent levels we get these days.

      We need all plots to advance to begun to provide supply so sorely needed. The2,000 household total in temporary/emergency housing (costing huge sums to taxpayers to boot) isn’t reducing otherwise let alone for many others.

      Reply
    • Not the worst proposal I’ve seen and should help link areas to the north across the peninsula with more established parts of Greenwich which is sorely needed, though I concur far more monies obtained via development income needs spending on improving streetscapes. It’s a disgrace how separate they are and it seems almost by design. The borough’s planners have certainly failed in this regard.

      London Square have new middle eastern owners and whether that expedites the process remains to be seen. Ideally we would see more social homes but 300 units certainly will help with the current predicament. I await the snoozeworthy complaints from those who love asphalt.

      Reply
    • I would personally leave IKEA, B&Q and the Cinema as they are now and bulld new shops with homes above on the opposite side of the Road
      I would also leave the road by IKEA as it is now for buses.
      Building a new road by the petrol station where parking can be allocated behind the new developments.

      Reply
      • The road through the site for buses will remain it appears.

        Reply
    • Whilst I understand the need for city housing, we do also need access to a variety of retail stores. We can’t demonise travel by car in London, and then remove all the urban stores, necessitating a long drive to reach alternatives (purchases at B&Q for example is often not suited to travel via public transport, even where it exists). There’s also the loss of retail jobs to consider. Why not incorporate retail space at ground or first level, and housing above?

      Reply
      • There is retail at ground floor level. Mixed use provides much needed new housing above commercial space. Jobs provided there and during building process and post completion. Many will work looking after buildings and public space as well as future shops. Far better use of land in inner London.

        Reply
    • I’m not sure how many are employed in a B&Q but I’d wager the total employment during construction then in future is a net increase.

      Think about it; hundreds during building then everyone involved in maintaining and upgrading 1,200-odd homes for decades. Plumbers, cleaners etc for many years. Then think of the thousands of residents visiting local shops and things like leisure centres boosting custom and jobs there. Overall it’s a win win for everyone isn’t it when looking long term

      Reply
    • If we can achieve 35 per cent affordable here at two-thirds LAR tenure that’s a result and the kind of thing many areas would dream of. Take it.

      Those who think we can get more should bear in mind that chancellor-to-be Rachel “Bank of England” Reeves shows next to no interest in social housing let alone funding it. Grasp this chance with both hands I say.

      Reply
      • You ate absolutely right in what you say Nimby. would be Labour Chancellor Rachel Reeves has no real interest in social housing. But then neither to do Labour Councils to be honest. When you see how many old social housing sites have been replaced with mainly part buy/part rent apartments. With vety few homes for social rent. Pricing people out ofthe Boroughs they were born and brought up in away from family and friends.
        So as long as social housing form part of the development as we need more homes at affordable rents.
        .

        Reply
    • “a new High Street through the centre of the site in place of out-of-town retail units”? With all the flats already built and more coming gradually, plus a college and offices nearby and numerous bus routes stopping just outside, they’re not really out-of-town units any more though agree that more needs doing about foot/bike access. Until my recent retirement I found B&Q useful to pop into at lunchtime either to buy smallish things or view larger stuff for delivery. B&Q will probably end up moving to a less accessible true out-of-town site.

      Reply
    • How does Ikea justify the need for 856 parking spaces? That’s more than the multi-storey carpark in Lewisham, which serves an entire high street, yet is due to be demolished.
      Instead, get rid of 50% of the carpark, and increase the amount of housing and green space. Both are more important and necessary than parking spaces.

      Reply
      • @Warnie: ‘How does Ikea justify the need for 856 parking spaces?’ Have you ever been to IKEA on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. If so, you wouldn’t ask.

        Reply
    • I was a bit dubious at first but having thought about this could be the catalyst for real change and an altered urban environment befitting the area. It needs knitting into its environs but is clearly better than what exists. Which is a sad remnant of the 1980s at best though oddly built post 2000.

      Yep I’d say get it approved ASAP and built. It will hopefully change the area into a thriving community rather than a car dominated space. It’ll take time but this gets the ball rolling.

      Reply
    • Does any of this mass building of flats everywhere actually do anything for the 2000 homeless households, or the 20,000+ people on the housing waiting lists that everyone always talks about on here? Or does it just bring in more outsiders from elsewhere and contribute nothing of any real use for those really needing it in Greenwich Borough?

      If 70% or so of every development is given away to young professional types who can pay the absurd renting costs involved, then what’s the point in saying we need more flats?

      Doesn’t help anyone who really needs a home.

      Reply
      • Yep as stated it provides 300 flats for those on the waiting list. They are social homes. Not approving instead sees zero homes for those in need.

        There is no real alternative right now – and neither main party looks like providing one so it’s take the best on offer or get nothing.

        Reply
      • The point you are missing here is that those young professional types that you seem to have disdain for already live somewhere. If you build somewhere new and swanky for them to move to, they leave behind an empty older property that needs to be let by the landlord to a new tenant. This has knock on consequences throughout the housing market as people shuffle around and find the right home for them.

        Taken to one illogical and unlikely extreme, flooding the housing market with an excess of new-build properties could engineer a crash in property prices and rents, helping everyone get the housing they need. This has happened in China, but it is quite unlikely to happen here due to planning controls, land-banking and political objections to new developments.

        On this basis alone, affordable housing targets (be they quotas for social/living rent or shared ownership) could be seen as an unnecessary drag on the profitability and therefore viability of new developments. What London’s housing market needs could be summed up as: More Homes. Any Homes. Anywhere. As many as possible. As soon as possible.

        Even if not a single one of them were “affordable”, rents and prices would become more affordable young people and families looking for a home (or at least stop getting less affordable). If politicians struck a grand bargain with developers: no affordability quotas, deliver us a million homes for full market rent or private sale in 5 years, and we’ll tax the sh*t out of empty properties and underdeveloped land, you could actually solve London’s housing problems quite quickly – and provide new jobs at a clip.

        Reply
        • Perhaps the 20,000 people in the borough waiting on the social housing list can move into the young professional’s old flats then. Problem solved.

          Reply
    • I think evety large development consisting several blocks of flats (apartments) should have one block set aside solely for social housing for those on the Council and housing association waiting list as part of the planning process. Highest Priority should go to those people who are born and bred and have lived in the Borough all their lives. They should not be forced to move away from family friends and work.
      We need mote housing for older and disabled people. Sadly Greenwich Council have significantly reduced the amount of sheltered accommodation in the Borough selling some of the sites to private developers. Just as they have replaced many old social housing sites with new homes thar are larger sold under part buy/part rent, for out right purchase or rent at market value which again is significantly higher than the rents they used to pay previously.

      Reply
    • @J Smith: you say ‘Car parking would remain at the demand of Ikea …’ BUT the first rendering shows flats standing on the current IKEA car park.

      Reply

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