A plan of the proposed scheme, with the Ramac estate on the left and the new M&S on the right
Remember the Travelodge on Woolwich Road that was supposed to be open for the Olympics? That plan has since been scrapped, and now the owners of the Greenwich Shopping Park want to expand onto that site. Use Greenwich Council’s online planning search to find it – reference 14/2550/F.
Local resident Simon Hall has been writing to his neighbours to alert them to it. Here’s what he says…
I am concerned by some aspects of the planning application, particularly given that it was not clear from the Marks & Spencer application how high or how close to the road that store is now going to be! I am worried that we were going to have a similar height of development along the whole residential area of the road. As a result of my concerns I managed to secure, along with one of our local Councillors, a meeting with the developer of the site.
I am keen that you should also know the information I have been given so that you can, should you choose to, respond to the Council’s request for views. If the Council receive enough responses they will be able to discuss the application in public, and can either reject the application or impose conditions on the developer.
The planned restaurant
Key points of application
The application proposes the extension of the current “Greenwich Shopping Park” strip of shops down to Woolwich Road, with the largest of those units likely to be the new location of Matalan (when it moves from its temporary site next to the current Sainsbury’s to enable that site plus the current Sainsbury’s to become an Ikea if that passes the next stages of planning). There will then be a coffee shop by a new public square (probably a Starbucks), replacing the large willow tree with a “feature tree” and what could be an attractive artistic seating feature where coffee could be enjoyed outside.
The developer has suggested that this would be a nice small public space, and will provide a pedestrian entrance to their new development (car traffic for the development will be from Bugsby’s Way – as now, by Asda, not from our road). There is a further shop unit in this eastern part of the development, and they are talking to a cycle shop chain.
Between the other side of the public space and the current unsightly Asda pathway there is to be a Frankie & Benny’s restaurant. Probably not a bad addition to the local area.
As the Frankie & Benny’s is likely to be directly opposite to residential housing, I have spent some time assessing this aspect of the development. My key concern is that the facility will be positioned with its “front entrance” facing the public area/Starbucks, a glazed area facing the car park/Bugsby’s Way, and a very dull brick wall with some small shrubbery underneath facing the houses opposite. It should only be two storeys or so, but it is still a brick wall!
I think we should demand better, and would urge you to do so.
Sadly the developer has not included any improvements to the Asda path, which I am sure you will agree is an eyesore, in the application. This small strip of land is owned by the Ramac Company (that own the land around Ramac Way, and have stated that they have no plans to improve or redevelop their unsightly area of industrial/retail units). The former Travelodge application did have plans to resurface this path and provide lighting, and Ramac had agreed that that developer (who was the one currently building M&S) could do this.
The new developer is a different one, and is working for the company that owns the Greenwich Shopping Park and now own this land. I strongly urge you to suggest that the Council take action relating to the Asda path to ensure it is either incorporated properly into the development, it is improved, has better lighting, or some other solution you could suggest to them.
This may be the only chance for the next 20 years or so we get to make that area better, so please do include this in a response to the Council.
How the scheme will look from Woolwich Road (top) and the car park (bottom) – click to expand
Other issues to be considered
Traffic: whilst it is unlikely that traffic on our road will increase considerably, you may wish to remind the Council that they have agreed to work with Transport for London to downgrade the status of our road to a quieter residential street, still wilth buses, and direct through traffic along Bugsby’s Way (a dual carriageway).
It is always worth reminding the Council that they should remember this commitment.
Pedestrian crossing: as part of the Sainsbury’s/M&S development those of us that responded to the Council then managed to secure improvements to the zebra crossing located at the end of Victoria Way by Phipps House (new central island and Belisha Beacons). However, you may share my view that this crossing will remain dangerous until it is a proper lighted crossing – known as a pelican crossing, or indeed (as I have suggested to the Council in the past), as part of a new traffic light controlled junction at Victoria Way. Feel free to include this in your response if you agree, as this can be paid for by the developer as part of the development.
Public realm: when putting in new developments there is something that was called Section 106 and is now known as CILL (I have forgotten what that stands for). Essentially want this means is that developers are required to provide a certain amount of money – directly or indirectly – to benefit the local community. The Council are in charge of administering this. If we do not request for this to be spent locally, on our area, then this will be used for other parts of the borough. I am sure, like me, you’d like to see some money spent to make our local area look better – and look better for years to come. We can demand this in our response to the planning application.
Things we could ask for include improving pavements; improving the drainage and sewers; adding in trees/public benches; better street lighting; or any ideas you may think of – even additional investment in local schools.
How to respond – reminder
I care passionately about our local environment, and I simply couldn’t sit back and see us have something “done to us” without us being able to influence and improve what is being planned. I hope you agree that it is worth making a response.
The tone of my response is likely to be “yes I agree with this application, but only with conditions” and then outline some of the things I have suggested above.
One way to respond is via the internet – the planning portal is not working well, and I have had problems accessing it so you may wish to use another method.
I have asked for the deadline to be extended – it is currently 21 October (Tuesday). Given the fact that the planning portal has been down, I am sure they will extend this.
However, please do try to send a response as soon as possible.
You can email your response to firstname.lastname@example.org – but be sure to include the reference number of this planning application in the title of your email (14/2550/F).
Please copy in our local Peninsula ward councillors. They have been helpful already and one of their number met the developer with me. (See Charlton ward councillor details if you live south of the railway line.)
If you have serious concerns, you could also email our MP: email@example.com.