Morris Walk and Maryon Road redevelopment – find out more

Morris Walk Estate
It’s been something we’ve completely missed at the Charlton Champion – the demolition and rebuilding of the two council estates at the eastern edge of Charlton, Morris Walk and Maryon Road, together with Woolwich’s Connaught Estate, under the slightly misleading banner of One Woolwich (the website which explained more about it has vanished from the internet).

If you live nearby and want to find out more, there’s a drop-in session this Wednesday evening at Greenwich Council’s offices in Woolwich. As the flyer says…

Regenerating Connaught, Morris Walk & Maryon Road/Grove Estates

The regeneration on the 3 estates has now commenced; Connaught Estate has been handed over to the developer Lovell and in November 2013 the re-housing of tenants and buy-backs of leaseholders on Morris Walk phase 1 commenced, with a temporary housing scheme in place prior to the properties being handed over.

The whole scheme will take over 13 years to deliver. The current indicative timescale for demolition & development of the estates is as follows:

– Connaught Estate: 2014 – 2022

– Morris Walk: 2019 – 2027

– 55 – 213 Maryon Road (odd numbers only) & 1-92 Maryon Grove : 2023 – 2026

To find out more about the scheme, the implications for you as a near neighbour of the scheme, and to ask questions of RBG, Lovell and Asra, we have scheduled a drop-in for:

Wednesday 8th of October at the Woolwich Centre, Wellington Street, Woolwich, SE18 6HQ, 7-9pm

If you live on the estates or nearby, it’d be good to hear your view on the plans.

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About Darryl

Journalist, SE Londoner.
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7 Responses to Morris Walk and Maryon Road redevelopment – find out more

  1. jjnse7 says:

    Its a shame this is such a short drop in session, I went to an open event at the community hall on Maryon Road that was run to socalise the project last year and came away with distinctly mixed feelings. I’d be facinated to hear what people learn from this event but here is what i took away from the last.

    The two Charlton estates impacted are hardly areas of great beauty and I doubt that the replacement schemes could actually damage the streetscape. From an architectural perspective the plans seemed sympathetic but, much as I applaud the planting of trees, it was hard to get a feel for what it would actually look like as most of the visualisations were of buildings largely obscured by watercolour trees in full leaf. The actual architects seem to have produced some high quality work in the past, some of their past mixed private and social schemes seem to be of a much higher quality than the big new development on the other side of Charlton that I have watched going up from the train so here’s hoping.

    The schemes have an overall 35% social housing across the three sites so are esentially private redevolopments, perhaps a benefit for local homeowners but I question how what must be an overall reduction in local social housing can really benefit the local community. Particuarly on the two charton sites there are also far more family houses that the current developments largely comprising flats. Thre is already pressure on primary school places in Charlton but it was hard to get any answers out out of the charming but seemingly unempowered representatives of Greenwich council. The only answer i could get was that they did expect more families to move in but had made no additional provision for nurseries/schools/doctors etc.

    The acutual funding and transactions surrounds the plans seem somwhat opaque. I asked the Lovells representatives to explain it but they suggested it was too complex to explain. In my experience a financial structure too complex explain is not a positive. After some protracted discussion it appears that Greenwich Council give Lovells the sites, Lovells clear,decontaminate (their words) the sites and build the homes and at the end hand back the 35% of the homes (by number not value i think) that are allocated for rent or part ownership. Apparently this is a fair deal, who knows,but its not clear who is taking the risk. Property values in Charton have increased quite astonishingly recently so the sites must already be worth a lot more, but what happens if the propery market crashes and the return on the 65% private homes is more marginal? I have a horrible feeling that somehow Lovells will take all the upside risk and the council all the down – maybe i’m just being cyical.

  2. Chris says:

    Not cynical jjnse7, almost certainly entirely realistic.

  3. Helen says:

    I attended this event last night and am glad I did. It was good to see Cllr Fahy, Cllr Barwick and Cllr Gardner (briefly) in attendance and there was a good show of staff involved in the project from RBG Housing department. There was additional representation from Lovell and ASRA.

    The Construction Project Manager from Lovell was extremely informative and spent a lot of time carefully explaining to me how Lovell are working on the Connaught site, describing traffic and vehicle management, demolition plant being used and measures being taken to mitigate noise and dust. A similar approach will be undertaken on the Morris Walk and Maryon Estates, which as a resident on Woodland Terrace I am particularly interested in. It is going to be noisy and no-one tried to pretend that it isn’t, but a decent level of thought has gone into planning for trying to reduce impact on neighbours. The construction process has signed up to being part of the Considerate Contractors Scheme. How this pans out in practice remains to be seen but at least it is being thought through with what appear to be good intentions.

    Other points of interest include:

    the timescale for the whole programme of works over the three sites will be entirely “driven by sales”, ie, if plots on Connaught sell faster than anticipated then works will speed up, so the indicative timescales provided are somewhat of a moveable feast

    private houses across all three sites are to be offered on sale to existing local residents prior to being put on the wider market. I’m not quite clear how this will work in practice as money in the bank is money in the bank and this is a programme “driven by sales” but it was good to hear that there is at least an aspiration to provide the opportunity for housing (albeit not largely social) for people who currently live in the area, especially families

    there does appear to have been a genuine attempt made to offer construction work and training opportunities to local people

    the whole development is subject to a Development Agreement between RBG and Lovell (and presumably ASRA?). Apparently this outlines in detail everything from planning conditions, design, operational detail and sales and lettings. I asked about how changes made to this agreement will be communicated to local people and if the outline agreement will be available for residents to see, which at present does not appear to be the case due to commercial confidence issues. I suggested that in the interests of transparency perhaps this document, and / or key aspects of it, could be made public in a redacted format – particularly any amendments made as a result of future viability assessments. This hung in the air a bit, and while I understand commercial sensitivities I think making an effort to communicate what can be made public might go a long way to providing more information to local people on the hows and whys of this whole programme. When quizzed about how socially responsible he thought the operational aspects of this agreement were the Lovell Project Manager described it as being “good for you (as a resident) but a nightmare for me (as someone who has stick to it)” which was heartening.

    This session was primarily aimed at providing more information about the details of what is happening operationally on Connaught, but it is intended that the overarching principles will be applied to the other sites and there was updated design and indicative timescale information available relating to the other sites.

    All the people I spoke to were open, friendly and very keen to talk and whatever the rights and wrongs may be of the scheme as a whole, particularly in relation to the % of social housing being made available, personally I came away with the strong impression that those involved on the ground are making a genuine attempt to communicate with those likely to be affected by the regeneration.

    On the downside, this event was woefully under-attended – I think maybe that four or five other people had turned up by the time I left at @ 8.45pm. In part this may well have been to do with location, although given its focus on Connaught, it made sense, but the Woolwich Centre at night is hardly a welcoming or easy building to try and get in to if you are not familiar with its layout. I am also completely baffled why there was nothing about this session in this week’s Greenwich Time or why is wasn’t promoted on the RBG Twitter account. It is clearly hard to engage people in something which is happening at some point in the future (especially on a wet and windy Wednesday evening) but it is a shame that there wasn’t more local interest given the efforts that had been undertaken to put the event on.

    I have been assured that further sessions relating to Morris Walk and Maryon will be held more locally and Councillor Fahy is keen to set up a local neighbourhood forum so that ongoing discussions can take place.

    There is much that makes me nervous about this whole scheme (especially its PPF nature and what has happened recently in other areas of London which have undertaken similar schemes), but at least an attempt is being made to answer questions and communicate information at a local level. The Housing Officer leading the project from RBG has responded promptly and politely to all my email requests and I can’t fault her approach towards me as a concerned resident.

    Notes from meetings with existing estate tenants and residents can be found on the RBG website here: http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/downloads/download/448/woolwich_estates_committee_minutes

    • Neil C says:

      Helen – many thanks for this detailed report.

      Interesting that the meeting wasn’t mentioned in Greenwich Time. If Greenwich Time isn’t going to publicise this kind of thing, then what is it for?

  4. fahy says:

    Lots of concerns remain about this project. Riverside Councillors are working closely with all residents to address the emerging issues that exist. A Coffee Morning to establish a Resident Forum will be held at the New Charlton Community Centre in Woodlands Terrace,on Saturday 1st of November from 10.30am. Spread the word.

  5. Tina says:

    Does anyone know if the current social residents will be rehoused on the redevelopment? And what about people who have bought their flats, what’s the likelihood they’ll be able to afford one on the redevelopment? Just curious, thanks.

  6. fahy says:

    Steps to transfer tenants to other properties in the Borough is underway. Leaseholders are in negotiations with the Council in respect of their properties.

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