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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.)

The Charlton Champion needs your support to provide news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
– Help us by telling us your stories
– Become a monthly patron at patreon.com/charltonchampion
– Donate directly to the site at paypal.me/charltonchampion
– Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

Battered Charlton Riverside streets costing Greenwich Council big, report reveals

Flytipping on Charlton Riverside
Flytipping is a big problem in the streets near the Thames Barrier (pic: Neil Clasper)

Greenwich Council has spent £17,000 in the past two years on patching up the battered roads near the Thames Barrier, a report to councillors has revealed.

The poor state of the industrial area at Charlton Riverside has been highlighted by a petition to council leader Danny Thorpe, which complains of fly-tipping, dirt, pavement parking, potholed roads and speeding lorries.

But while the council proposes taking action on bad parking, fly-tipping, abandoned vehicles and road repairs, it is pinning its hopes on the redevelopment of the area to secure long-term improvements.

The report will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s highways committee on Wednesday 5 September.

25 people signed the petition, which was handed to the council in July by Woolwich Riverside councillor John Fahy.

Dumped van, Charlton Riverside
Dumped vehicles are another issue in Charlton Riverside (Photo: Neil Clasper)

“[We are] disgusted with the poor conditions of the roads and pavements on Westmoor Street leading to New Lyndenburg Street and surrounding roads,” it says.

It complains of the pavement on Westmoor Street being blocked by parked and damaged cars, making them “totally unusable”, forcing pedestrians to walk in the road. “Can you imagine if somebody were to get killed because of this and Greenwich Council would be held responsible?”

“Multiple skip and rubble lorries carrying hazardous materials” create a “scary and dangerous environment” and “leave an enormous amount of dirt, rubble and mud”, it continues.

It also complains of poor driving and “multiple potholes”, demanding “sensible speed restrictions with penalties and fines issues for those who break the law”.

25 people signed the petition to the council (Photo: Neil Clasper)

The council report notes “the roads in question are often subject to fly-tipping and other illegal activity and there is a history of complex associated issues in the area. It also adds the streets are inspected every three months and that 79 repairs have been carried out in the past two years, costing £17,000.

It also concedes that parking enforcement “has not been regular in the recent past”, with the situation compounded by some markings having been worn away, making them unenforceable.

But the council will not cut the speed limit to 20mph in the area as it “is industrial, not residential”, adding that enforcement is a matter for the police.

The council says fly-tipping is removed within 48 hours (Photo: Neil Clasper)

The report the council will send a letter to businesses, review parking controls in the area before starting to enforce them, and have a one-off dedicated clean-up of the area as soon as pavement parking is cleared. The council will also target abandoned vehicles for removal, warning businesses they cannot use the pavements, and clear illegal advertisements.

In the long term, there will also be a planning review to ensure the businesses are doing what they say they are doing and have the right licences.

But the report adds: “In the longer term as part of the Charlton Masterplan parcels of land in this area are identified for residential development. Whilst this is a long term plan, gradual improvement as a result of development will be secured.”

Charlton riverside
Much of the area is due to see residential redevelopment in coming years (Photo: Neil Clasper)

Photos in this story taken by Neil Clasper on Sunday morning. See the agenda papers for more details of the petition and review.

The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
– Help us by telling us your stories
– Become a monthly patron at patreon.com/charltonchampion
– Donate directly to the site at paypal.me/charltonchampion
– Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

What’s happening to the derelict Victoria pub on Woolwich Road?

Out exploring the industrial land that is set to become Charlton Riverside (see the latest on that planning saga here) we took the opportunity to take some new photos of the decaying Victoria pub, which prompted a lot of questions on our Twitter and Facebook channels about its current status and future.

In short, we don’t know what’s happening with it (and would love to hear from anyone who does), but we do know:

  • It’s in a poor state. With a reputation for having been a pub with a lean, it now appears to be falling backwards down the hill. Added to that, much of the back of the building is missing, and it’s clearly not been watertight for a long time.
  • There is an outstanding planning application – reported by From The Murky Depths blog around this time last year – to restore the pub, turn it into a takeaway, and build new accommodation at the back. It’s not clear what is happening with this application at the moment.
  • Land Registry records show that the building is currently owned by a Jahangir Ghani, who bought it in July 2014 for £380,000. Unhelpfully, the owner’s address is given as the pub, though there’s clearly no one living there at the moment.
  • The building is included in Greenwich Council’s list of Buildings of Local Architectural or Historic Interest – the ‘local list’“Late Victorian public house with Edwardian tiled façade by Truman’s Brewery. Despite fire-damaged interiors the fine tiled façade of 1910 survives with several splendid features including the large spread eagle which holds up the corner above the name ‘The Victoria’ and Truman’s trademark eagle on the Eastmoor Street façade. Significant townscape value being the only remaining building marking former historic crossroads of Eastmoor Street 107 of 132 Woolwich Road which gives a sense of the now lost, formerly intimate streetscape of the area. Qualifies due to architectural interest as an evocative and sole-surviving example and environmental significance as a characterful, time-honoured local feature. Forms part of the Thames Barrier and Bowater Road Conservation Area” . It is important to note that a local listing does not offer the same protection as a national listing in planning terms; find out more about listed buildings in Greenwich here.

Do you know any more about the plans for the pub? Get in touch and tell us what’s going on! And we’d love to hear your memories of the pub when it was open in the comment section below.

The Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, CharltonThe Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, CharltonThe Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, Charlton

The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
– Help us by telling us your stories
– Buy Neil a coffee at ko-fi.com
– NEW! Become a monthly patron at patreon.com/charltonchampion
– NEW! Donate directly to the site at paypal.me/charltonchampion

Charlton Riverside: ‘Respect our masterplan’, MP Pennycook tells developer

Atlas Gardens
Residents in Atlas and Derrick Gardens say the new development would loom over their homes

Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook has told the developers behind controversial plans to build 771 homes off Anchor & Hope Lane that they should respect the masterplan developed for Charlton Riverside – and build more affordable housing.

Pennycook spoke out days after London mayor Sadiq Khan blocked Greenwich Council’s refusal of the scheme by developer Rockwell to build five 10-storey blocks and other buildings on land surrounding Atlas and Derrick Gardens.

The mayor, who has designated Charlton Riverside an “opportunity area” for development, will now decide whether or not the plan goes ahead.

Khan’s decision came with criticism of Greenwich Council for not allowing enough “affordable” housing in recent years – Rockwell’s scheme would have 32.4% “affordable” housing.

Residents in nearby Atlas and Derrick Gardens – built in the early 20th century for workers at the nearby Cory bargeworks – say the Rockwell development will loom over their homes and deny them natural light.

Local businesses have also voiced fears that they will have to move or close, saying the new development’s residents will not want them as neighbours.

Rockwell Charlton Riverside website
Rockwell had already started promoting the scheme when Greenwich rejected it

Pennycook said on his Facebook page that Rockwell needed to be making the blocks smaller and providing more “affordable’ homes.

He wrote: “I fully understand the pressure the Mayor is under to build more homes in London as the market falters, I’m deeply disappointed that City Hall have chosen not to back Greenwich Council and stand behind the local community’s very strong objections to the proposed scheme.

“I will of course look carefully at any modifications that the Mayor is able to secure over the coming weeks/months and I trust that there will be extensive consultation with local residents and community groups as well as with the developer.

“However, City Hall must appreciate that there is a very strong feeling locally that we not compromise on the vision set out in the 2017 Charlton Riverside masterplan.

“That is why it’s crucial that development across the entire Charlton Riverside opportunity area, including any modified proposals from Rockwell, respect the vision of an exemplary urban district set out in that masterplan document.

“For Rockwell’s site that means not only a higher level of affordable housing, and a modified dwelling mix, but also reductions in the proposed height of buildings. If that requires reductions in the total number of units then, in my view, that’s what needs to happen.”

Rockwell Charlton Riverside
Rockwell says its new scheme will look like this

While the Charlton Riverside masterplan does not rule out 10-storey blocks, it says they should be an exception, preferring to see buildings of between three and six storeys.

Rockwell’s plans for 32.4% of the units to be “affordable” housing – were inserted into the scheme at the last minute. Of those, 162 would be for London Affordable Rent – roughly £150/week for a one-bedroom flat – and aimed at those on low incomes, with the remaining available for shared ownership.

Khan’s letter to Greenwich Council announcing he was taking over the planning process said the Rockwell scheme “has potential to make an important contribution to housing and affordable housing supply”.

Pennycook’s intervention was greeted with scepticism by journalist Paul Wellman, who tracks London’s developers for Estates Gazette. “Want more affordable housing? Generally the compromise is more private and greater heights. The below scenario is hugely unachievable,” he tweeted.

An indication of what might happen emerged on Thursday, when Sadiq Khan approved a development in Brentford after blocking a rejection from Hounslow Council.

Hounslow had refused a scheme with 421 homes, including 40% “affordable”, citing the possible effect on nearby Kew Gardens. But Khan approved a revised scheme with 50% “affordable” housing and 441 homes.

Khan said: “This scheme shows how we can unlock the potential of an underused site to build more of the genuinely affordable homes Londoners so urgently need. I’m clear that to fix the capital’s housing crisis Government must play its part, but we can make a difference now by ensuring developments include more genuinely affordable housing.

“I am committed to using the full strength of my planning powers to get London building more affordable homes.

“This is another important step as we work towards my long-term strategic goal for 50 per cent of housing in all new developments across the city to be social rented and other genuinely affordable homes for Londoners.”

  • Pennycook also spoke out on proposed cuts to the 53 bus route, saying they would “punish my working-class constituents”.
  • The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
    – Help us by telling us your stories
    – Become a monthly patron at patreon.com/charltonchampion
    – Donate directly to the site at paypal.me/charltonchampion
    – Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

    Rockwell rises again: Sadiq Khan rejects Greenwich Council’s refusal of Charlton Riverside scheme

    Rockwell render
    Residents said the new blocks would loom over their homes and deny them natural light

    London mayor Sadiq Khan has blocked Greenwich Council’s refusal to allow a developer to build 771 homes at the end of Anchor & Hope Lane, meaning he will now decide whether or not it will go ahead, rather than local councillors.

    Developer Rockwell had planned to build on the VIP industrial estate behind Atlas and Derrick Gardens, with five 10-storey blocks, but its plans were thrown out by Greenwich Council’s planning board last month, with chair Sarah Merrill calling the proposal “reminiscent of Stalingrad”.

    All 11 councillors on Greenwich’s planning board voted to reject the scheme, the first to come forward at Charlton Riverside – designated an “opportunity area” by the mayor.

    But Khan has now opted to take over deciding what happens with the scheme himself – the first time a Greenwich Council planning decision has been called in by City Hall.

    Rockwell Charlton Riverside
    Rockwell says its new scheme will look like this

    In a letter sent to Greenwich Council and seen by this website, Khan says that the proposal will have a “significant impact on the implementation of the London Plan and the draft London Plan” – the mayoral blueprint for planning across the capital.

    City Hall has said that Khan’s draft London Plan aims to “get more affordable homes built, especially in areas served by strong infrastructure”.

    Rockwell’s plans are for 32.4% of the units to be “affordable” housing – an increase inserted at the last minute. Of those, 162 would be for London Affordable Rent – roughly £150/week for a one-bedroom flat – and aimed at those on low incomes, with the remaining available for shared ownership.

    The news will anger local residents who have battled against the proposals – particularly those who live in Atlas and Derrick Gardens, who say the Rockwell development will loom over their homes and deny them natural light. Local industries have also voiced concerns about whether they will be able to continue in business with a large residential development on their doorstep, and Squeeze singer Glenn Tilbrook has complained that his recording studio would be put in jeopardy by the plans.

    Khan’s call-in follows his backing of plans for the Silvertown Tunnel and expansion of London City Airport, the cancellation of extra trains for the Jubilee Line, the shelving of plans for Cycle Superhighway 4 to run through the area and planned cuts to bus services.

    It will also annoy Greenwich Labour councillors, who will be expected to campaign for Khan in 2020’s election – and who are well aware that the infrastructure in the area is anything but strong.

    But City Hall watchers have not been surprised. The possibility of a call-in was first mooted just days after the planning meeting in an article by Estates Gazette journalist Paul Wellman, followed by another one by former Guardian London writer Dave Hill, who is close to Khan’s team.

    Derrick Gardens
    The development site runs around Atlas and Derrick Gardens, built as workers’ cottages for the Cory boatyard

    The Charlton Champion understands a second scheme rejected by Greenwich councillors – for 272 homes near Abbey Wood station – has also been called in for the mayor to decide himself.

    What is a call-in?

    London mayors have the power to “call in” major developments after councils have made a decision, but it rarely happens. While it has never happened to Greenwich Council, two past developments on its borders have been called in.

    A call-in effectively means the planning process starts again, with the mayor’s officers taking over and a public hearing taking place at City Hall.

    Five years ago, Boris Johnson took over the decision-making for Convoys Wharf in Deptford from Lewisham Council after an appeal from the developer. Johnson approved outline plans for three towers of 26, 32 and 40 storeys but a detailed scheme has only recently emerged.

    More recently, Khan overturned Bromley Council’s approval of a new stadium for London’s oldest football club, Cray Wanderers, who play in the eighth tier of English football, and two four-storey blocks of flats at Flamingo Park, off the Sidcup by-pass.

    The mayor said he blocked it because it was on Green Belt land, even though the site is used for a waste transfer station and car parking. The club withdrew its plans and is hoping a new scheme, also backed by Bromley, will get approval from the mayor.

    Anchor & Hope Lane development site
    Part of the site as it is now, with low-rise Derrick and Atlas Gardens to the left

    Khan’s call-in adds another twist to the tale of the Rockwell proposals, which first emerged in 2016 with proposals for a 28-storey tower and 975 homes at the south end of the site close to Charlton station, with just 13% “affordable”.

    Negotiations with Greenwich Council finally produced a revised plan by the end of 2017, cutting the maximum height down to 10 storeys with 25% “affordable”. In July 2018 this was increased to 35% “affordable” when judged by number of rooms, or 32.4% when assessed by the number of units.

    But pressure from residents – who pointed out that the plans still did not fit the new masterplan for the riverside – led to councillors on the planning board deferring the scheme in April until after the following month’s council election.

    5pm update: Greenwich Council regeneration cabinet member Sizwe James says: “I am disappointed that the Mayor of London has called in the Eynsham Drive and Charlton Riverside planning applications, both of which were rejected by our Planning Board last month. This means that the Mayor of London, and not the local councillors elected by the people of Greenwich, will decide on these applications.

    “At the Planning Board, local residents spoke passionately about the issues they had with the proposed developments. The committee members listened to the residents and shared their concerns about the height of the buildings, the lack of homes for families, and the affordability of those homes.

    “After the planning applications were rejected, we hoped that the developers would come back to us with a new application that provided much needed affordable housing for families, in developments of an appropriate size and scale for Abbey Wood and Charlton.

    “Whilst I respect the rights of the Mayor of London to call in these planning applications, and understand the pressure he is under to get more homes built, we very much hope he will address the concerns of residents in the process.

    “I would urge him not to simply wave the applications through, but include us in discussions with the developers to secure a greater proportion of well designed, affordable family homes.

    “We also need to learn from the mistakes made in the 60s and 70s and create proper neighbourhoods, with walkable streets, places to work and spaces for children to play and socialise.

    “I hope that we can work together with the developers and the Mayor of London to do this.”


    The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
    – Help us by telling us your stories
    – Become a monthly patron at patreon.com/charltonchampion
    – Donate directly to the site at paypal.me/charltonchampion
    – Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

    Rockwell’s ‘Stalingrad’ Charlton Riverside development rejected by Greenwich councillors

    Rockwell Charlton Riverside website
    Rockwell has already started promoting the scheme

    Controversial plans to build 771 homes at the end of Anchor & Hope Lane were rejected by Greenwich councillors last night after Squeeze singer Glenn Tilbrook joined neighbours objecting to the scheme.

    Developer Rockwell had planned to build on the VIP industrial estate behind Atlas and Derrick Gardens, with five 10-storey blocks – with its website, seemingly assuming it would get the go-ahead, already branding it “the next riverside hotspot”.

    But councillors agreed with neighbours who said Rockwell’s scheme went against the recently-adopted Charlton Riverside masterplan, which sets out a vision for lower-rise developments aimed at families in Charlton to sit in between the towers of Greenwich Peninsula and Woolwich.

    Planning chair Sarah Merrill (Labour, Shooters Hill) said: “This application in no way resembles the spirit of the Charlton Riverside masterplan, in terms of height, massing and design. It’s reminiscent of Stalingrad.”

    All 11 councillors on Greenwich’s planning board voted to reject the scheme, to applause from the public.

    Squeeze frontman Tilbrook – who lives in Charlton – told councillors that he had tried to engage with Rockwell because he owns a studio adjacent to the development site, which is used as a base for the band’s tours. He said he feared losing access to the studios.

    “The replies I’ve had from them have not been sufficient,” he told councillors. “Access for me is important, Squeeze work from the studios, we rehearse there, we go in and out every weekend for festivals, sometimes late at night. This access is not guaranteed.”

    Tilbrook added that he feared that noise from the construction work would make the studio unusable, then new residents would complain about noise coming from the studio.

    “It feels like to Rockwell, I’m a bad smell they want to make go away. It feels like they want to drive a coach and horses through my life and my studio, and they want to drive a coach and horses through the Charlton masterplan.”

    A representative from the industrial wharves on the peninsula said that new residents at the Royal Wharf development in Silvertown, across the Thames from the proposed Rockwell scheme, had already started complaining about noise from ships loading and unloading goods.

    One resident, Joyce Sloman, said the area – “becoming the biggest shopping centre in south-east London” would be unable to cope with the traffic.

    While Woolwich Riverside councillor John Fahy told the committee the council had to act “in the best interests of the community – not hedge funds in Guernsey” – a reference to the development firm backing the scheme, Leopard Guernsey Anchor Propco. He said the council would “compromise itself” if it backed the scheme.

    Rockwell representatives said the scheme offered a “fantastic opportunity to kick-start the regeneration of this area”, saying it “has the makings of a destination, a real place in its own right”. It claimed it would generate over 200 jobs.

    But the firm – which has retained former Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts’ company Cratus Communications as lobbyists – arguably overreached itself by drafting in a teacher who wanted to set up a nursery school on the site, claiming she could not find another suitable site.

    Because of the length of the meeting – which also considered a major development in Abbey Wood and controversial plans to revoke the hazardous substances permission on the East Greenwich gasholder (both refused) – speakers were severely limited in time by chair Sarah Merrill, which angered residents, many of whom are still smarting from the way they were treated at the Fairview Victoria Way planning hearing in January.

    But they had little to fear as councillors lined up to put the boot into the scheme – despite council officers having recommended they back it.

    “We all want to see the area redeveloped and there is potential on the site, but this does not conform to the masterplan,” councillor Nigel Fletcher (Conservative, Eltham North) said. “Either we have a planning policy and we adhere to it, or we don’t.”

    “I have a concern about how this has been allowed to proceed to this point through discussions with officers and recommended for approval. I almost feel sorry for the applicant being led to believe this is something we might support.”

    Rockwell render
    Residents said the new blocks would loom over their homes and deny them natural light

    Local MP Matt Pennycook said on Thursday morning that the decision was “a clear signal to developers that the community will not accept proposals that do not honour the vision set out in the 2017 Charlton Riverside masterplan”.

    “I hope Rockwell now do what they should have done months ago: reconsider the height, massing and levels of affordable/family housing within the scheme and come back with a proposal that will ensure Charlton Riverside becomes the exemplary new urban district we all want it to be.”

    Monday’s meeting also saw refuse to withdraw permission to store hazardous substances at the Greenwich gasholder site, and a 17-storey tower block at Abbey Wood turned down.

    The full planning discussion was captured by The Charlton Champion‘s sister website 853the session starts two hours and five minutes in. Sound is weak in some points. You can also read tweets from the meeting.

    See past stories about the Rockwell scheme.

    The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
    – Help us by telling us your stories
    – Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com
    – Buy Neil a coffee at ko-fi.com
    – NEW! Become a monthly patron at patreon.com/charltonchampion
    – NEW! Donate directly to the site at paypal.me/charltonchampion

    ‘We’re fighting for our community’s survival’: Why the Rockwell Charlton Riverside row matters

    Rockwell Charlton Riverside scheme
    Rockwell’s new blocks would sit behind the small houses which make up Atlas and Derrick Gardens

    Controversial plans to build 10-storey blocks behind homes off Anchor & Hope Lane go to Greenwich Council’s main planning committee on Monday. Developer Rockwell plans to build 771 homes on land surrounding Atlas and Derrick Gardens – which, if approved, would be the first housing development in the Charlton Riverside regeneration scheme.

    Council planning officers are backing the scheme – but residents of Atlas and Derrick Gardens say the plans ignore a recently-finished masterplan that cost £850,000 and took five years to prepare. A petition has been set up to demand the council sticks to its plan.

    Derrick and Atlas Gardens Residents’ Association chair SELINA TALLETT says the people most affected by the scheme feel patronised and ignored – and Greenwich councillors need to defend their council’s own masterplan.

    At the river end of Anchor and Hope Lane, you’ll find Atlas and Derrick Gardens. It’s a community of 74 homes, a few houses with the rest being small flats. Our community is a blend of social and private tenants as well as homeowners. I’m a resident of Derrick Gardens – I have only ever lived in the borough of Greenwich.

    These homes are examples of model worker home properties and carry some historical significance, having been built by local shipping industrialist William H Cory for his employees and their families in 1908. Earlier this year, our homes were given conservation area status to reflect this history.

    However, our community is now fighting for its survival.

    As the only homes on the Charlton Riverside, we have peacefully lived for years with all industry around us – including what is now the VIP Trading Estate, which is behind Atlas and Derrick Gardens. But now the Mayor’s development plan identifies Charlton Riverside as an “opportunity area” for London.

    To capitalise on this, Rockwell Property – on behalf of Leopard Guernsey Anchor Propco – has bought the VIP Trading Estate and wants to build luxury “family homes” on the site.

    These ‘”family homes” would feature a collection of tower blocks, with most of the 771 properties exceeding £500,000. After nearly two years of discussions, the “affordable” housing provision has climbed from the initial offer of 8% to 25%, whilst the density has reduced from 975 to 771 homes.

    Derrick Gardens
    Atlas and Derrick Gardens are now part of a conservation area

    ‘We would lose all natural light’

    Rockwell’s proposed blocks of flats, with up to 10 storeys, would be just 18-20 metres behind our homes. We would completely lose all and any natural light.

    Yet Greenwich Council’s planning officers deem this an “acceptable” trade-off to “kick-start development in the area”.

    London needs new homes, but I and other Atlas and Derrick Gardens residents feel our quality of life should not be forfeited for financial gain and to meet local authority targets.

    Especially where there is established planning guidance in place which says that homes built within this area should be of low height and low density, and complementary to the heritage of the area while not having a negatively impact on existing neighbourhoods.

    Rockwell’s development has been designed without meeting key parts of local strategy, policy and the masterplan established specifically for the Charlton Riverside.

    For me, it’s beyond disappointing that Greenwich Council’s hard work in establishing this local guidance is being ridden roughshod over by a need to meet targets and a desire not to upset developers.

    The housing crisis has been a very easy loophole for developers to exploit: how many Londoners can afford luxury one/two-bedroom flats exceeding £500,000? Rockwell’s plans are disingenuous at best, mercenary and opportunistic at worst.

    We need new homes which meet all layers of planning policy, not just the bits which are convenient or release the most profit for developers, regardless of the consequences for others. Which is why Greenwich Council needs to hold the line.

    Rockwell Charlton Riverside
    Away from Atlas and Derrick Gardens, this is what Rockwell is promising…

    ‘Don’t be scared of refusing Rockwell’

    But nothing in this process has convinced us that housing Greenwich borough’s residents, especially the 17,000 on the waiting list, is actually a priority for either the developers or for the council.

    Greenwich planning officers are scared of what will happen if Rockwell’s application is rejected: paying for an appeal and a date with the Planning Inspectorate.

    But Greenwich Council should not fear an appeal. Rockwell knew the local policies in place when it purchased the land.

    It has already spent five years and £850,000 of existing residents’ money in developing a masterplan – not upholding this and not explaining in detail why planning officers are supporting Rockwell’s schemes calls for questions to be asked about whether public funds are being mismanaged. We support the petition urging councillors to stick to their masterplan.

    We have been disappointed with the lack of honest engagement from the council – including some of the very councillors we elected – with an apparent inability to see the wider issues that approving this application will create and exacerbate.

    Even though this proposal has loomed over us for two years, we only had a site visit a month ago, where it was clear that some who participated and would be deciding on the application did not even know our neighbourhood existed.

    Rockwell render
    …but residents say the new blocks would loom over their homes and deny them natural light

    ‘We demand better for Charlton Riverside’

    Charlton Riverside is already an identified opportunity area – development does not need to be kickstarted by inappropriate schemes by hook or by crook. It needs to have the right start to set the tone for the rest of the area.

    Many communities across London will be going through similar issues with development which is both inappropriate for their local community and does little to address the actual housing crisis.

    Our planning system needs to change and we need to see Greenwich at the forefront, listening to and engaging with us, using the policies developed with taxpayers’ support to benefit its residents, not for the financial benefit of developers – especially when those developers are aided by consultation organisations employing former council leaders.

    We hope that by raising awareness of our plight, we can urge both officers and councillors to reject this application, and demand better for our Charlton Riverside.

    The residents’ petition on the Charlton Riverside Masterplan can be found at change.org.

    Read previous Charlton Champion coverage of the Rockwell planning application here.

    The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
    – Help us by telling us your stories
    – NEW! Become a monthly patron at patreon.com/charltonchampion
    – NEW! Donate directly to the site at paypal.me/charltonchampion