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.
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.”
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.
Secondly, on the next-door site – closer to the Barrier – developer Aitch Group wants to build 202 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)
Previous plans for student flats have also been refused.
Now the Gillingham-based Zaan Group – a Domino’s franchisee – wants to covert the pub into a takeaway and add a smaller extension instead. The pub is locally listed but has been unused for over 20 years, and has been damaged by fires.
“Given the poor structural condition retention of the building requires creative thought and use. This is an isolated building that does not relate to any existing use in the area. Therefore, new uses are required,” a submission from architects Cook Associates says.
“The A5 [takeaway] use will generate little footfall traffic as most orders will be by phone or online, for delivery by scooter and electric bike,” it adds.
“This proposal brings back into use a locally listed building that has fallen into a poor state of repair and which is rapidly becoming an eyesore. This scheme follows previous planning refusal for the site for student units and a larger extension containing more residential units than the single unit now proposed.
“The extension of the commercial ground floor area to A5 creates a viable and sustainable use which ensures that the original frontage and shell is restored and preserved which is the desire of the local authority. The alternative re-development option available to the applicant for this site remains to serve a Section 80 demolition notice on [Greenwich Council] to demolish the existing public house.”
The new plans have emerged as developers take forward schemes for flats on the sites behind – including the Beaumont Beds warehouse – as part of the major Charlton Riverside development scheme.