MP criticises ‘bad practice’ at Fairview New Homes’ Synergy development on Victoria Way

Fairview Synergy development
The Synergy development is now poking into the sky above Charlton

Local MP Matt Pennycook has reacted angrily after the developer behind 330 new homes being built on Victoria Way shrugged off complaints about the impact of construction work on the site’s neighbours.

Fairview New Homes dismissed a series of issues raised by Pennycook on behalf of residents about dirt, idling construction vehicles and work taking place outside permitted hours.

Its senior site manager, Matthew Hook, said “we can only assume that the points raised are generally historical” and said that Greenwich Council was happy with the cracked state of the road outside the development site, which is being branded Synergy.

After effectively being told residents’ complaints were groundless, Pennycook has now said he will name the company in Parliament as an example of bad practice in the construction sector. He is also asking for residents with complaints to get in touch with him and the company.

Greenwich had threatened Fairview with an unlimited fine in December 2018 after complaints that contractors were working outside permitted hours. Hook claimed that the work was actually being carried out by a utility firm.

Fairview Synergy
Residents have had to put up with dust and construction lorries

Hook also said that the points had been addressed in a meeting with the council on 25 February, and that no further complaints had been made since.

“So to summarise, all of the concerns raised in your letter have already been discussed, reviewed and mitigated following a meeting between [Fairview] and [Greenwich Council] on the 25/02/19 and to date, since the meeting we have had no further complaints or correspondence from local residents or [Greenwich Council] or any other industry bodies such as the Considerate Constructors Scheme regarding the development on Victoria Way,” Hook wrote.

However, the residents’ complaints were made to Pennycook at a roving advice surgery on 30 March, more than a month after the meeting with the council, with the letter written on 14 May.

Pennycook has responded: “It is patently the case that local residents do have outstanding complaints about construction management on the site. Rather than seeking to dismiss these complaints as you did in your letter, a responsible developer would have engaged with the substance of each of them and given due consideration as to what more could be done to alleviate them.

“I intend to name [Fairview] on the floor of the House of Commons and use your letter as an example of bad practice in the sector as well as making additional direct representations to ministers at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.”

The source of residents’ gripes was clear on Thursday afternoon, with surfaces on the lower stretch of Victoria Way covered in dust from construction. While a site worker hosed down the entrance to the development, nothing was being done about dust and grime outside people’s homes. The wheels of a passing construction truck did not appear to have been washed.

Fairview Synergy site
Fairview has hosed down the road and pavement outside the site, but not outside people’s homes

An eight-strong committee of councillors approved the scheme, which includes two 10-storey blocks and 144 car parking spaces, by six votes to one in January 2018. Among the complaints from residents was a lack of consultation with neighbours about the scheme, and accusations of bullying tactics.

Fairview has not responded to a request for comment.

Cratus Communications, whose deputy chairman is former Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts, handled the consultation for the Victoria Way scheme. Last month, the company published a blog post on its website claiming it was “quietly revolutionising and abolishing the traditional view of ‘faceless’ developers sweeping into town and ‘doing what they like’”. “Communication with existing residents has to be managed carefully and with tact,” it added.

If you live close to the Victoria Way development and are affected by the dirt and grime from Fairview New Homes’ Synergy development, please email matthew.pennycook.mp[at]parliament.uk, and copy in matthew.hook[at]fairview.co.uk. Comments are also open below.


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Don’t Leave Me Now: Greenwich Carers Centre play explores dementia

Charlton House Stables is hosting a play about dementia

Greenwich Carers Centre, at Charlton House Stables, has been in touch about a performance happening on Thursday 23 May…

Don’t Leave Me Now explores the impact of young onset dementia on two very different families. Rachael Dixey cared for her partner with dementia for seven years. Cindy Toulman visited her husband in his care home every day for ten years.

Don’t Leave Me Now was inspired by these two real life stories. With authenticity, insight and humour, playwright, Brian Daniels weaves the strands of these stories together to create a documentary-style production highlighting the emotions, dilemmas and challenges experienced by people affected by dementia.

Don’t Leave Me Now was written by Brian Daniels, Artistic Director of New End Theatre Beyond. The playreadings will be performed by a cast of five professional actors and each performance will be followed by a discussion and audience Q & A with the actors, playwright and Rachael Dixey.

Rachael Dixey’s book, ‘Our Dementia Diary: Irene, Alzheimer’s and Me’ will be on sale and Rachael will be happy to sign copies.

There are two performances, at 3pm and 6.30pm. Greenwich Carers Centre is at The Stables, 76 Hornfair Road, SE7 7BD. Tickets are £5. Book on 020 8102 9654 or email info[at]greenwichcarerscentre.org.


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Council planners recommend plan for six houses on Pickwick beer garden

Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road
The Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road. Photo by Neil Clasper

Greenwich Council planning officers have recommended councillors approve plans to build houses behind the closed Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road – five months after refusing an application to knock down the pub.

Pure Let Greenwich Ltd, an East-Ham based developer, wants to knock down the pub’s function room and build six terraced homes – five 4-bed houses and one 3-bed house – in its place and into the beer garden. Eight car parking spaces would be provided.

The company had tried to knock down the pub itself, but was refused in December after 23 objections. Just four objections were received for the proposal to build behind the pub, known as the Roupell Arms until the 1970s.

A model of the plans, with the original scheme in the corner

A report by planning officers says: “The previous outline application was refused in part due to the demolition of the original public house and its redevelopment with a part 3, part 4 storey mixed use building. The current application would see the existing main public house retained and as such has overcome these previous reasons for refusal.

“On balance, there are no objections to the demolition of the ground floor rear extension. The extension does not form part of the main functions of the pub and is a later addition to the traditional built form. It has little architectural merit and is in a poor state of disrepair. Therefore the loss of the ground floor extension is not considered to have a detrimental impact upon the pub’s viability or role in the local community.”

Councillors on the Greenwich area planning committee will decide on the application next Tuesday.


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Charlton’s closed Antigallican pub on the market for £3.25m

The Antigallican
Up for sale: The Antigallican has been closed for over a year

The Antigallican pub on Woolwich Road is up for sale, nearly two years after councillors backed plans to build eight flats alongside it.

The auction house Allsop has set a guide price of £3,250,000 for the Victorian building.

Once a freehouse in the 1980s and 1990s which brewed its own beer, the pub – which had hotel accommodation above it – had fallen on hard times and had been designated as an away fans’ pub for Charlton Athletic matches. It closed its doors for the last time over a year ago.

In 2017 councillors approved plans to build a two-storey extension with eight flats, a gym and a retail unit, replacing the hotel rooms – with councillors told at the time that it was struggling to compete with low-cost hotels opening up in Woolwich. But last August, a new application was submitted for a three-storey extension to create a 60-room hotel.

It will go under the hammer at a auction of residential properties on Thursday 30 May at the InterContinental Hotel in Mayfair.


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Developer plans new homes on land behind Victoria Way gardens

The plot has been unused since Greenwich Council sold it in 2004

Five new homes could be built on land behind houses in Victoria Way if a developer gets permission from Greenwich Council, which sold the property at auction 15 years ago.

One 4-bedroom home, two 3-bedroom semi-detached homes and two 2-bedroom flats would be built on the land adjacent to Wellington Gardens, between Victoria Way and Wellington Mews.

Henry Browne, a Guernsey-based developer, bought the land behind sheltered accommodation on Victoria Way in 2004 when Greenwich Council sold it. Planning documents filed by the developer say it was described as “suitable for development”. No price is recorded with the Land Registry for the sale, but its records state the land was worth £750,000 in 2015.

The developer’s drawing of the planned homes

The developer says the land is covered in “thick bramble undergrowth”. “There are a number of self-sown sycamore trees, dying from sooty bark disease. There are many dead trees and fallen branches which could make the site unsafe if it could be penetrated,” planning documents state.

The new homes would be screened from Wellington Gardens by new trees, the developer says, with two trees on the site – protected by preservation orders going back to 1972 – kept. They would be next to a car repair yard and garage on Wellington Mews, an unmade road. Other schemes to build homes on Wellington Mews have been rejected over the years, the most recent being a scheme that was withdrawn in 2006.

A plan of the site with the car yard top left, Wellington Mews on the left and Wellington Gardens beneath, with the back garden of 111/113 Victoria Way on the right

The documents state that Greenwich Council planning officers stated the land was unsuitable for development in 2017 – despite the same council having sold it 13 years earlier. The developer responds “no reason is given… the site is surrounded by other residential developments”. It says “the five family homes would respect the scale and character of the area and the site”.

Documents, including the key design and access statement, can be seen by searching for reference 19/0755/F on Greenwich Council’s planning search, where you can leave responses to the application before 30 May.


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Hyde Housing to unveil fourth Charlton Riverside housing scheme

Maybank Wharf
Hyde bought Maybank Wharf last year

Housing association Hyde Group is to hold an exhibition next month on plans to build new homes on Charlton Riverside – the fourth scheme for the area to come forward in recent years.

Last month, The Charlton Champion reported how the recycling firm Westminster Waste was preparing to leave Maybank Wharf for Belvedere after 50 years of waste paper processing on the site.

Now Hyde is coming forward with plans to redevelop the land plus three other nearby plots stretching away from the Thames.

“We are proposing to redevelop this important site to deliver much-needed new homes of varying size, mix and tenure, including a minimum of 40% affordable housing,” Hyde says in a flyer distributed to residents. It does not elaborate on what “affordable” means.

“Our proposals also include the creation of new green space to improve access to the riverside, alongside commercial and retail space.”

The exhibition is at the Charlton side of Windrush Primary School on Thursday 9 May from 4.30pm to 8.00pm, and Saturday 11 May from 10am to 2pm. (Hopefully by then Hyde and its representatives K&A Consulting will have realised the school is not in “East Greenwich”, as claimed on the flyer.)

Residents who cannot make the exhibition but would like to know more are asked to email charltonriverside[at]kandaconsulting.co.uk or call 020 3900 3676.

The three other development schemes for the Charlton Riverside going through, or about to go through planning:

  • the Rockwell scheme for 771 homes at Anchor & Hope Lane was refused first by Greenwich Council last summer, then by the Mayor of London in January;
  • 500 homes are planned by developer Komoto at what it calls Flint Glass Wharf, the former Johnsen and Jorgensen glassworks which closed in 1981;
  • Another 500 new homes from developer U+I on the old Siemens cable factory site, a development it calls Faraday Works.

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    The Big Dig returns to Maryon Park Community Garden on Saturday

    Maryon Wilson Park community garden
    It’s the regular Big Dig day at Maryon Wilson Park community garden on Saturday

    The folk at Maryon Park Community Garden would like a word…

    Big Dig day celebrates the start of the growing season and encourages people to visit their local Capital Growth supported Community Garden.

    Maryon Park Community Garden, one of Capital Growth’s flagship gardens is taking part and have a drop-in open day on Saturday 27th April 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. Visitors are invited to see how Maryon Park Community Garden is developing.

    The Community Garden provides organic growing plots for local people, a Forest School space for primary schools, a garden meeting room and volunteer opportunities.

    On Saturday 27st April visitors can learn more about the Community Garden, enjoy tours and talks about the Garden and the historic Maryon Park, the location of the 1960’s film ‘Blow-Up’.

    There will be a plant and woodcraft sale, refreshments and the lunchtime pizza oven.

    At 2.00 pm Simon and Verity from COATS will run a free family Outdoor Art Workshop in the Forest School.

    “The Big Dig Day is about encouraging people and families to visit their local community garden. Whether you are an experienced gardener or new to gardening or just want to see how your local project is developing you will be welcome,” says community garden chair Tim Anderson.

    Maryon Park Community Garden is a not-for-profit voluntary project situated in the former council plant nursery in Maryon Park.

    To find out more about the Maryon Park Community Garden, visit its website.


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