Faraday Works: Siemens building stays and ‘affordable’ housing cut in new Charlton Riverside plans

37 Bowater Road
37 Bowater Road was listed by English Heritage last year – U+I wanted to demolish it (photo: Neil Clasper)

The developer behind plans for hundreds of new homes on a riverside factory site has launched a new consultation on its plans after abandoning plans to demolish a key building.

U+I is asking residents to comment on revised plans for Faraday Works – the old Siemens factory on the Charlton/Woolwich border – after 37 Bowater Road, which was due for demolition under its original proposal, was given a Grade II listing.

The former cable factory was given the listing in February 2020, shortly after an application for planning permission went in on the site. It is not known if any local campaign group pushed for English Heritage to take action on plans to demolish the site; no group announced the listing at the time.

Faraday Works
The long-derelict wire factory could become a hub for new businesses

But – as with the case of the covered market in Woolwich – keeping the listed building could come at a cost. Plans for 35 per cent “affordable” housing – which Greenwich Council demands in new developments – have been scaled back to “zero to 8 per cent”, with U+I and the council seeking funding to increase this amount.

Last month Greenwich councillors approved plans for the Woolwich covered market site that offered just under 20 per cent “affordable” homes but kept the market after it was listed: original plans were to demolish it and have 35 per cent “affordable” housing.

The original plans for Faraday Works included building 492 homes on the site, restoring the crumbling former wire workshop on Bowater Road as a centre for new businesses and building 13-storey blocks in other parts of the site.

Faraday Works render

Now its plans are for 380 homes and include building a roof extension on top of 37 Bowater Road to “reflect the engineering legacy of innovation … [this] has been supported by Historic England in early consultation”. New housing will be cut down to 10 storeys, while plans for the wire workshop and a light industrial site remain unchanged.

Galliard Homes, which recently bought the Leegate development at Lee Green, has pulled out of the project.

Faraday Works render

Richard Upton, the chief executive of U+I, said: “Shortly after submitting the application in late 2019, 37 Bowater Road was designated Grade II Listed by Historic England, the only building on site planned for replacement. As a result, U+I are bringing forward revised proposals for the site, that retain much of the ambition and ethos of the previous scheme, and centre the restoration of the historic buildings as a key piece of the Faraday Works story.

“We agree that Charlton Riverside needs to be truly unique and distinctive, with the site’s heritage being a key component of that identity. Our ambition is an exemplar heritage-led scheme, featuring new homes, retail and employment spaces, all wrapped in beautiful public realm. This will deliver space for 800 jobs and around 380 new homes.

“37 Bowater Road will be sensitively restored and adapted along with all of the other existing buildings on site. The building will feature commercial and light industrial uses on the ground floor, and residential above, where unusually high ceilings and large open floorplates will create stunning new heritage apartments.

Faraday Works render

“We also want to reflect some of the legacy of engineering innovation on this site through contemporary additions and extension. We are pleased that the key move of cantilevered roof extensions to 37 Bowater Road has been supported by Historic England and the Design Review Panel in early consultation.

“Over previous public consultations, and through extensive discussions with our neighbours, we’ve listened to and learned from their feedback, and we’re once again asking for input in order to create an exemplar London neighbourhood.”

Faraday Works render

Residents can visit faradayworks.com to find out more, while there will also be a chance to talk to the developers over Zoom on Thursday, with in-person tours of the site on 15 and 17 June.


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Faraday Works: Developer to host updated exhibition on Charlton Riverside development

The Faraday Building, soon to be demolished, if U+I gets permission (photo: Neil Clasper)

Developer U+I is hosting a new exhibition for its Faraday Works development, next to the Thames Barrier, on 11 and 13 July. The exhibition intends to update local residents on U+I’s revised plans following a similar exhibition in February.

The developer intends to build 500 homes ranging from 6 to 13 stories, with at least 35% of the homes to be “affordable”, with a priority for housing at social rent (usually half of market rents). The scheme is reusing buildings from the giant Siemens cable works, which closed in the late 1960s.

The Wire Workshop element of the scheme would create 460 jobs as a co-working hub for local businesses, and the scheme also plans to keep light industry on site, with the Telegraph Works building being extended to accommodate industry downstairs and homes above.

The Faraday Building at 37 Bowater Road will be demolished as part of the development, with U+I stating that it has “reviewed ways to achieve full retention… but it is not possible to achieve the same levels of benefits without the removal of the Faraday Building. The replacement will replicate the materials and façade as faithfully as possible.”

Artist’s impression of the restored Bowater Road (photo: U+I)

Feedback from the first exhibition, in February, included requests for retail and community space, and U+I now plans to include a shop on Bowater Road and discounted use of the Wire Workshops facilities for residents. It also proposes a new museum focusing on the history of the site.

If you would like to review the exhibition boards from February, they can be found on the Faraday Works website.

The dates and times for the exhibition, to be held at 25 Bowater Road, on the Westminster Industrial Estate, are as follows:

  • Thursday 11 July 2019, 8am to 10am
  • Thursday 11 July 2019, 4pm to 8pm
  • Saturday 13 July 2019, 12pm to 4pm


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Faraday Works: 13-storey blocks planned for Thames Barrier live/work development

18-32 Bowater Road
The former wire workshop would become a new hub for offices and industry (pic: Neil Clasper)

Developer U+I is planning blocks of up to 13 storeys and 500 new homes on the old Siemens cable factory site next to the Thames Barrier.

The Faraday Works project, on the Charlton-Woolwich border, promises 8,000 square metres of employment space, with 40% at discounted rents to keep businesses in the area.

U+I render
U+I’s vision for Bowater Road, with the wire workshop on the right

The scheme, the latest to come forward for the Charlton riverside, includes transforming a crumbling former wire workshop on Bowater Road – the street recently opened up as part of the Thames Path “missing link” – into an “exciting new co-working space promoting and helping young and emerging businesses in the area”.

But U+I has confirmed plans to demolish another heritage block, the 1911 Faraday building, which it plans to replace with a similarly-designed block – although 13 storeys high – containing new housing, with a courtyard garden in front of it. It says the building is in poor condition with damage to windows and concrete.

37 Bowater Road
U+I wants to demolish the Faraday Building and replace it with homes (photo: Neil Clasper)

The developer says it wants 35% of the homes to be “affordable”, with a priority for housing at social rent (usually half of market rents).

It says the Wire Workshop element of the scheme will create 460 jobs, and will be similar to The Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, west London, which was built out of the former EMI record-pressing plant.

U+I development
U+I plans to build up to 13 storeys on the site

The scheme also plans to keep light industry on site, with the Telegraph Works building extended to accommodate industry downstairs and homes above.

U+I revealed the scheme at a public consultation last week, and the exhibition boards can now been seen on its website, faradayworks.com, where it is also asking for public comments on its ideas.


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