Rockwell’s ‘Stalingrad’ plans for Charlton Riverside killed off after site sold for logistics hub

Anchor and Hope Lane
Rockwell had hoped for approval for its development here

Controversial plans for 771 homes off Anchor & Hope Lane have finally been scrapped after the site was sold to a company promising to revamp it as a logistics hub.

Rockwell’s proposal for the VIP Trading Estate was the first to come forward as part of plans to transform the Charlton riverside to provide up to 8,000 new homes. The scheme was fiercely opposed by residents of Atlas and Derrick Gardens, whose homes would have been in the shadow of the proposed blocks, as well as community groups, councillors and local MP Matt Pennycook.

Rockwell revised scheme
Rockwell’s proposals were rejected three times

The scheme was rejected by Greenwich councillors in 2018, with Sarah Merrill, the chair of planning at the time, saying it was “reminiscent of Stalingrad”. The decision was called in for scrutiny by Sadiq Khan, who rejected it himself. Rockwell then appealed to a planning inspector, but the scheme was rejected a third time.

Greenwich Council officers had originally recommended approving the 11-block development.

After Rockwell lost its appeal, the site was sold by its owner, the property investment company Zenprop, to another property company, Falconbrook. An industry website, React News, reported that Falconbrook had talked to Greenwich Council about building homes on the land.

Anchor & Hope Lane development site
The VIP Trading Estate will now become a logistics hub

But with industrial land now at a premium in London, a third investor, GLI, has snapped the site up – reportedly for £42 million. The site will focus on “last mile” and “last hour” deliveries, the company said.

GLI, which has already snapped up sites in Park Royal, Mitcham and Croydon as part of a push into London, said the revamped hub “will be highly energy efficient and redeveloped on a net zero carbon basis”,

The sale will be a setback to Greenwich and City Hall’s plans for new housing on the Charlton riverside, which have so far yielded just one new home – a flat at the Victoria pub, which is being redeveloped into a pizza outlet – after two other schemes were also refused.

The developer Aitch Group and the housing association Optivo are appealing against the refusal of their plans for new housing off Eastmoor Street, near the Thames Barrier, which together would have provided 255 homes, including 107 for affordable rent. Aitch has also submitted a new application for 149 homes on its site, with just 11 for affordable rent.


LIKE WHAT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION DOES? HELP US KEEP IT GOING

We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. And we’ll do the others better than anyone else. But it won’t survive without your help.

– Please tell us about your news and events – we reach people who stay away from social media groups
– Become a monthly supporter at presspatron.com/charltonchampion

‘Affordable’ housing slashed as Charlton Riverside developer tries to please councillors

Aitch render
Despite the bus, this is the view from Westmoor Street

Local people waiting for housing could lose out after a developer submitted a new plan for homes on the Charlton Riverside, just a few months after Greenwich councillors threw out their first scheme.

Last year, Aitch Group’s plans for 188 homes on land between Eastmoor Street and Westmoor Street, close to the Thames Barrier, along with shops, workspace and a new green space were thrown out by Labour and Conservative councillors who objected to its height. It comprised two blocks of five to nine storeys.

The Coopers Yard development would have included 40 homes for London Affordable Rent – available to people on Greenwich borough’s 23,000-strong housing waiting list – and 10 for shared ownership, making a total of 30 per cent “affordable” housing.

Aitch render
Aitch says its scheme mostly conforms with the masterplan

Aitch has now appealed against that decision, but has now returned with a new application to build 149 homes in blocks of up to eight storeys as well as retail and business space.

In the new scheme, just 11 homes would be for affordable rent, and four for shared ownership with the new application – making just 11 per cent “affordable” housing.

Aitch render
A view of the new proposals, looking towards Woolwich Road

Local lobby groups, including the Charlton Society and the Charlton Central Residents Association, were enraged by the original plans for buildings of up to nine storeys, believing this broke the terms of a masterplan they were closely involved in writing.

However, they are unlikely to be won over by the new plan, which is just one storey shorter.

Eastmoor Street
Eastmoor Street as it is now. The flats would overlook Barrier Gardens on the right

A four-year-old masterplan for the Charlton Riverside – which both Greenwich Council and City Hall have long earmarked for thousands of new homes – suggests a maximum height of ten storeys for buildings, with guidelines of three to five storeys in that particular area.

The situation is complicated by the Environment Agency objecting to ground-floor housing close to the Thames Barrier because of the risk of flooding – an objection which calls parts of the masterplan into question.

Similar concerns also led to a second scheme on a site next door, from the housing association Optivo, also being rejected, with councillors voting down 67 affordable-rent flats. Optivo has also launched an appeal.

Eastmoor Street
This site could be transformed if Aitch gets its way

Apart from the lower heights and lack of “affordable” housing, the revised Aitch scheme is largely the same as the one rejected last year, with a “green link” to Barrier Gardens between the two blocks of housing, and an eight-storey tower on the corner of Mirfield Street and Westmoor Street.

The entire area is currently industrial land at present. With the exception of a single flat behind the derelict Victoria pub, no proposals for the Charlton Riverside have been approved since the masterplan was approved in 2018. Plans for a second flat are awaiting a decision.

Read full details about the proposal: Design and access statement and planning statement

More details and comment: Greenwich Council planning website


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. And we’ll do the others better than anyone else. We can’t do it without your help.
– Please tell us about your news and events
– Become a monthly supporter at presspatron.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion

Faraday Works: Four per cent ‘affordable’ housing planned for Siemens factory site

37 Bowater Road
The listed block at 37 Bowater Road will have an extension placed on its roof

Revised plans for 374 homes on the site of the old Siemens factory on the Charlton-Woolwich border have been submitted – with only 15 flats available as “affordable” housing.

Developer U+I is behind the Faraday Works project to redevelop the former telecommunication works, which closed in 1968 and became an industrial estate three years later. It had originally planned to include 35 per cent “affordable” housing on the site – a catch-all term ranging from social rent to shared ownership.

But one of the buildings that was due to be demolished – 37 Bowater Road, a large block facing Barrier Gardens – has been listed by Historic England, a decision that has come at a heavy cost for the 23,000 households on Greenwich Council’s waiting list.

Now U+I says just 11 homes will be for social rent – this is more likely to be London Affordable Rent, about half of market rents and available to those on waiting lists – with only four for shared ownership; making a total of just four per cent “affordable” housing. If counted by rooms, the total rises to five per cent, as the rented and shared-ownership flats are two and three-bedroom homes.

Faraday Works render
U+I wants to turn Bowater Road into a walking and cycling area
Faraday Works
The site was a telecoms factory until 1968

The plans feature blocks of eight and ten storeys, retaining historic buildings like the currently-derelict wire factory to the north of the site, and turning Bowater Road into a pedestrian and cycle-friendly space. The saved 37 Bowater Road building will gain a roof extension and be turned into flats.

There will also be office, light industrial and community space. U+I has pointed to its Caxton Works development across the river in Canning Town, as well as the Old Vinyl Factory – the old EMI complex in Hayes, west London – as examples of what it wants to achieve.

U+I has built a similar development in Canning Town, Caxton Works

The extremely low levels of “affordable” housing are likely to make the scheme politically toxic unless funding can be found to include more subsidised housing in the development – with councillors forced to decide whether a showpiece development that will bring in employment and revitalise dilapidated historic buildings compensates for the lack of help in whittling down the waiting list.

Greenwich’s own planning policies call for 24.5 per cent of homes at London Affordable Rent, with a further 10.5 per cent of homes for shared ownership – making a total of 35 per cent “affordable” housing. In May, councillors backed the 801-home Woolwich Exchange scheme with just 19.7 per cent “affordable” housing – a proportion cut from 35 per cent to pay for the retention of Woolwich Public Market, which had also been due for demolition until Historic England stepped in to list it.

The resubmission of plans for Faraday Works is the latest step in the troubled plans to redevelop the Charlton Riverside – currently largely industrial land – into a thriving new neighbourhood with thousands of new homes. Greenwich Council’s own masterplan for the area calls for lower-rise, lower-density buildings compared with neighbouring sites on Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Arsenal.

37 Bowater Road
The 37 Bowater Road block would become flats

All three major redevelopment plans for the Charlton Riverside have been refused so far – proposals for 771 homes off Anchor and Hope Lane, with 10-storey blocks, were thrown out in 2019 and later rejected by both London mayor Sadiq Khan and a planning inspector.

But more recently two schemes closer to Faraday Works have also been rejected on height and density grounds: a nine-storey block on Eastmoor Street with 188 homes and a seven storey scheme for 67 affordable-rent flats on a plot next door.

The full, complex Faraday Works planning application can be seen on the Greenwich Council planning website, along with the separate application for listed building consent for 37 Bowater Road.

This story also appears on 853.


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. And we’ll do the others better than anyone else. We can’t do it without your help.
– Please tell us about your news and events
– Become a monthly supporter at presspatron.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion