Greenwich councillors have decided to defer a decision on whether to approve controversial plans for 771 new homes on an industrial estate at Anchor & Hope Lane until after next month’s council elections.
Developer Rockwell, which is acting for Channel Islands-based Leopard Guernsey Anchor Propco Ltd, plans to redevelop the industrial estate behind and next to Atlas Gardens and Derrick Gardens, including building five 10-storey blocks.
Planning offiers had recommended approval of the plans, which went before the council’s main planning committee this evening, on the grounds that it would kickstart other developments in the area.
But Charlton Together, an alliance of local groups, had called for the decision to be deferred so councillors could visit the site.
Greenwich West Labour councillor Mehboob Khan proposed the decision be deferred because he was “not comfortable taking this decision at this point in the municipal year” – a reference to the poll on 3 May.
A new planning committee will take a decision on the site after the election.
Council deputy leader Danny Thorpe was one of the councillors on the committee, despite having chaired “stakeholder forums” about the development. He backed the deferral, while planning vice-chair Ray Walker and Eltham North councillor Steve Offord were the only ones to abstain.
In total, 11 new buildings are planned, with space for retail and commercial use alongside Anchor & Hope Lane. 210 car parking spaces are planned.
Those were changed to the current proposals in January 2018 to fit more closely with the council’s Charlton Riverside Masterplan, and again in March to increase the level of “affordable” housing to 25% (17.7% for social rent, 7.2% at “intermediate”) – below the council’s target of 35%.
Charlton Together – which includes the Charlton Society, Charlton Central Residents’ Association, Derrick and Atlas Gardens Residents’ Association, SE7 Action Group, Charlton Parkside Community Hub and local churches, says Rockwell’s plans represent “a wholesale departure” from the council’s new masterplan for the riverside area.
Objectors say the buildings are too high and the development too dense – particularly when the masterplan says most buildings in the area should be between three and six storeys.
Greenwich MP Matt Pennycook had added his voice to the objections, writing to councillors on the planning board to emphasise that the proposal “falls short of the development proposal that is needed to ensure that the vision for Charlton Riverside as an exemplary urban district is realised”.