Primary school could be built on Anchor and Hope Lane industrial estate

Google image of Anchorage Point
This site could host a new primary school (image: Google)

A 630-pupil primary school could be built on an industrial estate at the end of Anchor and Hope Lane – and could open as soon as September next year.

Councillors on Greenwich Council’s cabinet are due to rubber-stamp a decision next week to sell the Anchorage Point industrial estate so it can be used as a free school for the Harris academy trust.

A report to councillors says a new school is needed to meet demand in the north-west of the borough, with the Charlton riverside area due to see thousands of new homes in the coming years. The site is next door to where developer Rockwell had a 771-home scheme rejected by a planning inspector last year.

Councils are banned from building new schools themselves, and Harris Federation had permission granted by the government in 2017 to build a free school in the borough. Greenwich plans to transfer the Anchorage Point site to the new school.

“It is proposed that Harris Primary Free School will open on a phased basis with 90 places in the reception year in September 2022 (subject to a site being secured and planning permission being granted) but will eventually have 630 pupils in the reception year through to Year 6. There is also the potential for the school to offer early years education provision,” papers for next Wednesday’s cabinet meeting state.

The industrial estate opened in 1999 to accommodate businesses that were displaced when council land on the Greenwich Peninsula was taken over as part of the project to bring the Millennium Dome to the area. Tenants include Tavern Snacks, which makes crisps and nuts for the pub industry. The council says it will offer tenants new sites in the borough – a process which could start the long shift of much of Charlton’s industry to sites in the Plumstead and Thamesmead area.

Another tenant is Greenwich’s borough archive – facing its second eviction as little as three years after being turfed out of the Royal Arsenal in 2018 for the Woolwich Works creative district project. When the possibility of the site being disposed of emerged before Christmas, The Charlton Champion contacted the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust to find out its plans; it received no response.

Provision for a new road cutting through part of the site will be included in any deal to sell the land.

Councillors will decide whether to go ahead with the sale at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.


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What do you value by the river? Tell the council your views on Charlton’s riverside

Cory boatyard, Charlton
The Cory boatyard is an important part of the area’s heritage

What do you like down by the river? Greenwich Council is asking people for their views on what they value about the two new conservation areas on the Charlton riverside – helping protect the area’s heritage as developers eye up the industrial land for thousands of new homes.

Two conservation areas – Charlton Riverside, and Thames Barrier and Bowater Road – were created two years ago as part of plans to make sure the area’s history wasn’t completely wiped out when the construction companies moved in, as has happened in other riverside areas of London.

Now Greenwich is consulting on the details – area appraisals – to work out what is of value to the area and what isn’t.

Places like the old Cory barge works and the modern homes at Vaizey’s Wharf are cited as having a positive impact on the area – but the old Watercoombe House office block on Anchor and Hope Lane and the McDonald’s on Woolwich Church Street are seen as negatives.

The council has prepared two detailed documents which are worth a look if you’re interested in the area – even if you don’t want to respond to the consultation – as they are full of details about the history of the buildings and their uses.

After the consultation, proposals will go to councillors on planning committees before being considered by the council’s ruling cabinet.

To see the documents and take part in the consultation, visit the Greenwich Council website.

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Council wants to see public transport for Charlton Riverside arrive soon

Flint Glass Wharf
One of the planned development schemes: Flint Glass Wharf, next to the Thames Barrier

Greenwich Council says it is working with City Hall to bring new public transport to the Charlton Riverside sooner rather than later so new homes are not delayed.

A report to senior councillors says that developers are keen to start building in the area – but getting infrastructure in place is an issue.

Some 7,500 new homes are planned – although City Hall wants this bumped up to 8,000 as part of its new London plan. For comparison, there are currently 8,900 households in the SE7 postal area. However, nothing has been built so far, and a planning inspector threw out the first scheme – Rockwell’s controversial development off Anchor & Hope Lane – earlier this year.

In recent weeks, developers have applied for permission for two new housing schemes on Eastmoor Street, to add to the five major schemes that are already in the planning pipeline.

“In the medium term, [the council] is working closely with the Greater London Authority and TfL to bring forward public transport improvements in the early phases of delivery at Charlton Riverside,” the housing delivery action plan report says. The report has been prepared for a meeting of the council’s cabinet next week.

“There is significant developer/landowner interest in securing early permissions, and early public sector intervention/investment will ensure that the implementation of these permissions is not slowed down by infrastructure requirements.

“The issue in Charlton Riverside is mainly one of infrastructure coordination and timing of delivery, with development values across the area sufficient in the longer term to support delivery of necessary physical and social infrastructure.”

Burnt-out car on Eastmoor Street
The Charlton Riverside as it currently is

Those expecting dramatic improvements to the area’s public transport are likely to be disappointed, however – one of the major development schemes, Hyde Housing’s proposals for 1,350 homes by the Thames Barrier, suggests funding an extension of the 301 bus to Woolwich Crossrail station; nudging residents who live in zone 3 to take a train to work from zone 4. A new east-west road – essentially extending Bugsby’s Way – is planned, with councillors hoping in the long-term to see the Greenwich Waterfront Transit, a souped-up bus to North Greenwich, to run along the road.

The two recently-submitted plans are for plots, behind the old Victoria pub – itself the subject of plans for redevelopment.

Evelyn House
Evelyn House: Kite not included, presumably

Firstly, the housing association Optivo plans 67 flats – all for affordable rent (usually about half market rent) – on the site of the old Beaumont Beds warehouse, in a block of up to seven storeys tall, with seven parking spaces for wheelchair users. It is calling the development Evelyn House. Its red brick and rounded corners, the planning blurb says, are a nod to the Victoria up the road. It looks like the small cash and carry warehouse between the old pub and the new development is due to remain. (See the application and comment / read the design statement / search 20/2186/F on the council website< if these links don't work)

Aitch Group scheme
The Aitch Group development and Penhall Gardens

Secondly, on the next-door site – closer to the Barrier – developer Aitch Group wants to build 192 flats in blocks of up to ten storeys on land bounded by Eastmoor Street, Westmoor Street and Mirfield Street, currently in industrial use. 65 per cent of the homes will be private, 10 per cent for shared ownership, 25 per cent for affordable rent (as above). A public courtyard will be provided in the middle. Again, blue badge parking is provided only, although Greenwich Council told the developer “a car-free scheme cannot be supported until local infrastructure is improved” – a reflection of the issues described above. (See the application and comment / read the design statement / search 20/1924/F on the council website if these links don’t work)

The five other schemes planned are:


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