Flint Glass Wharf: 500 Charlton Riverside homes planned next to Thames Barrier

Flint Glass Wharf render
How Komoto says the development will look at night

Hot on the heels of the Rockwell saga, the second major development proposal for the Charlton Riverside has come forward, with plans for up to 500 homes at Flint Glass Wharf, next to the Thames Barrier.

Developer Komoto Group had originally suggested a 25-storey tower for the site at Herringham Road, which is currently home to the Raceway go-kart track, Bunker 51 laser-tag centre, a church, and other firms.

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The land was formerly home to the Johnsen & Jorgensen glass works, which closed in 1981.

Now the scheme – the first on the riverfront itself – has been reduced in size to blocks of between seven and 10 storeys. It has been designed by Farrells, the architecture practice working on Deptford’s Convoys Wharf development.

Flint Glass Wharf
The two blocks closest to the Thames Barrier are Phase One, the rest is Phase Two

Phase one – two blocks close to the Barrier

Firstly, Komoto is applying for detailed planning permission for two blocks of seven and nine storeys containing eight studio flats (all private), 82 one-bedroom flats (ten at social rent, six at “intermediate”), 34 two-bedroom flats (two at social rent) and 22 three-bedroom homes nine at social rent, nine “intermediate”), as well as 482 square metres of flexible commercial and employment floorspace and 35 car parking spaces.

This is just 24.6% “affordable” housing – although if you count by rooms, which Komoto does, this rises to 31% “affordable” accommodation. Either way, this falls short of the 35% target for “affordable” housing – expect moves from Greenwich Council and City Hall to increase this.

Flint Glass Wharf
A view from Herringham Road

Phase two – further away from the Barrier

It is also applying for outline permission for up to another 354 homes – with a similar mix of private and “affordable” – and up to 1,300 square metres of flexible commercial and employment floorspace, along with up to 153 parking spaces. The blocks here will be between seven and 10 storeys high.

If this phase gets approval, Komoto will return to Greenwich Council at a later date to complete the details.

Flint Glass Wharf transport map
Transport connections emphasise the short cycle ride to North Greenwich

The low-ish number of car parking spaces is pretty standard for new London developments – but is striking for an area that is currently isolated, separated from the rest of Charlton by dirty industries on streets battered by heavy lorries. And while residents may be able to wake up and see the Docklands Light Railway purring through the Royal Docks across the Thames, they will have no way of reaching it.

Komoto says a new bus service will be provided along Herringham Road – and also emphasises the relatively short cycle distance to North Greenwich tube, a more palatable option on two wheels – or even two feet – than trying to get to Charlton station.

A barrier in front of the Barrier

Flint Glass Mill
From the Thames – the two blocks on the left are Phase One, with the Thames Barrier screened off from building A
Thames Barrier view
The view from the Thames Barrier site, showing the gabion wall

Another notable feature is that the development will be walled off on one side from the Thames Barrier compound because of security concerns – residents won’t be able to peer into the operations centre at the end of Westmoor Street.

The developer says: “The barrier is considered to be at a high risk of attack from terrorism, therefore it is of particular importance that the proposed scheme does not overlook its operations in any way.

“To respond to this we are proposing a full height gabion art wall which provides a visual narrative of the geological development of this part of the river Thames. The art wall also doubles up as a visual screen that prevents overlooking of the compound and control centre from the development.”

Flint Glass Wharf
A view from the Thames Path

Unlike the Rockwell scheme for 771 homes off Anchor & Hope Lane, the Flint Glass Wharf development has no immediate residential neighbours to annoy. And while Greenwich Council’s Charlton Riverside Masterplan envisages buildings of between three and six storeys, this particular site is deemed suitable for 10-storey blocks.

Charlton Riverside Masterplan
The Charlton Riverside Masterplan backs blocks of up to 10 storeys by the river

London mayor Sadiq Khan quashed Greenwich Council’s decision to refuse the Rockwell scheme, which featured nine and 10-storey blocks, last month, and will now rule on the development himself. (City Hall is now accepting public comments on the Rockwell scheme.)

Flint Glass Wharf
A view across the Thames (the Royal Wharf development in Silvertown now sits on the north bank)

Khan’s decision may well weaken Greenwich councillors’ appetite for a fight over Flint Glass Wharf – particularly if Komoto includes more “affordable” housing. Whatever their decision, what happens here will be just as important for the future of the riverside.

For full details, go to planning.royalgreenwich.gov.uk and look for application 18/0732/F (the design and access statements are most useful). Thanks to Toby for the invaluable tip-off.

(Updated 13 September to clarify the number of storeys in the Charlton Riverside masterplan.)

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