Air quality worries as 1,200 homes by Thames Barrier recommended for approval

Hyde Herringham Quarter
The development would make use of a jetty on the Thames. The Tarmac plant at Riverside Wharf is on the left

Plans to turn the Charlton riverside into a residential district could take a giant step forward next week if councillors approve over 1,200 new homes on what is currently industrial land.

But some residents face living in homes where they will not be able to open their windows because of concerns over air quality from an asphalt plant next door.

The Port of London Authority and the operators of nearby wharves have submitted objections to the Herringham Quarter project, saying that residents’ complaints about air quality, noise and smell could threaten their businesses.

The land concerned (not the blocks) – Plots A and C could be finished by 2026. Plot B is the Tarmac plant. Detailed plans for plots D and E will follow

Hyde housing association is asking for detailed permission to build 718 homes along with commercial units at Herringham Road and New Lydenburg Street, close to the Thames Barrier, in blocks of up to 10 storeys. It also wants outline permission for a further 494 homes, which could follow in the future.

Councillors are due to make a decision on the scheme next Tuesday, at a meeting of Greenwich’s planning board, the committee that deals with the biggest developments in the borough.

The blocks would be up to 10 storeys high, with some to be built on the site of Maybanks Wharf, currently a recycling yard for Westminster Waste.
The Tarmac asphalt depot next door would remain in place. The first homes could be ready by 2026.

Hyde’s application is the biggest Charlton Riverside scheme to reach councillors since the notorious Rockwell scheme for land off Anchor and Hope Lane, which has now been abandoned after Greenwich Council, City Hall and the government all rejected proposals for 771 homes there. The site is now to be used as a “last mile” logistics depot.

So far just one home – a flat at the derelict Victoria pub, which is to be turned into a pizza takeaway – has been given approval out of a potential 8,000 new homes in the area.

The proposals have changed since the scheme was first unveiled in 2019, with “affordable” housing now making up 55 per cent of the total in the first phase of the scheme.

Hyde’s plans include 263 homes for London Affordable Rent, about half market rent and available to people on housing waiting lists, comprising 37 per cent of the total number of homes. Another 133 homes (18 per cent) will be for shared ownership, with the remainder going on private sale.

The second phase of the scheme will include more private housing, taking the “affordable” total down to 40 per cent across the project.

However, the quality of life for people who move into the homes has been questioned by the operators of Murphy’s, Angerstein and Riverside wharves, who say that complaining residents could put their noisy businesses at risk of closure.

Hyde’s vision of Herringham Road in the future

They also warn that the introduction of residents living so close to the trajectory of the chimney stack emissions will make it unlawful for Tarmac to operate the asphalt plant at Riverside Wharf under its current permit.

The Port of London Authority has also objected, saying that Riverside Wharf needs to be able to operate 24 hours a day because of tidal movements.

In response, the developer is proposing that people living in affected properties will have “sealed units with no openable windows which will be fitted with mechanical ventilation”.

Council planners say that this mitigation is “considered to be acceptable such that undesirable conflict with the uses at the wharves will be avoided”.

Herringham Quarter render
A view from the Thames, with the Tarmac plant on the left

Just 90 car parking spaces will be provided, with Hyde expected to pay for a new bus route to serve the site – expected to be an extension of the 301 service to zone 4 Woolwich station rather than a route to zone 3 Charlton or zone 2 North Greenwich.

Developers in the area will be expected to pay £3,000 per home to Greenwich Council for new roads, and £2,800 to TfL for new bus services.

The council is also looking for a site to place a new primary school, after concluding that a planned school on Anchor & Hope Lane would provide insufficient spaces as it would also be serving the Greenwich Peninsula. Hyde will have to pay £915,000 towards that.

The local NHS is to get £1.1m in extra funding for GP services as the commercial units on the site are too small to include a health centre; the council’s GLLaB job brokerage will collect almost £1.3 million from the scheme.

One factor that will weigh heavily on the developer’s side is that Greenwich only has a three-year supply of new housing on the way – it should, by law, have five. This is enough to get a refusal overturned on appeal – putting pressure on councillors to back the scheme.

Another scheme for nearby Flint Glass Wharf – on the other side of the Tarmac plant – is also due to come to councillors soon, with 500 homes. South of Herringham Quarter, Montreaux is developing plans for the Stone Foundries site.


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Herringham Quarter: Plans for 1,300 Charlton Riverside homes go to council

Is this the future of the Charlton Riverside?

Hyde housing association has formally submitted its plans to build nearly 1,300 new homes on the Charlton riverside, making it the third major scheme to enter the planning process.

It has put in a detailed planning application to Greenwich Council to build 762 homes on two plots either side of Herringham Road, close to the Thames Barrier, with blocks of up to 10 storeys. It is calling the site Herringham Quarter.

One set of blocks would replace Maybank Wharf, the current Westminster Waste recycling yard. Of the 524 flats planned for the riverside site, 21.5% would be for shared ownership, 21% would be for London Affordable Rent, a form of social rent.

Phase 1 is where 762 homes are planned. Phases 2 and 3 are not expected until after 2024

The other set of blocks, to the south, would offer 238 flats, all for London Affordable Rent. It says it plans to take vacant possession of both sites in March. Retail and workshops are also in the plans along with open spaces and a new flood defence wall.

Hyde also plans to build 530 homes on two adjoining sites closer to the Thames Barrier. However, it has only asked for outline permission for these sites; it does not expect to take possession of the land until 2024. One set of blocks would be of 203 flats for private sale, the other would be of 285 flats with 9% London Affordable Rent and 48% shared ownership.

Don’t ask why some people are dressed for summer and others winter…

Access to the new homes, however, could be a challenge for the first residents – with the sole route in and out of the site being via the industrial yards of Eastmoor Street. Hyde says it has agreed with Transport for London for a bus route to serve the site – but oddly, it would be an extension of the 301 route to Woolwich, rather than a route to North Greenwich or Charlton station. While this would be cheap to provide, it would be lumbering residents with the cost of commuting from zone 4 even though they would be living in zone 3.

The riverside development will also have to contend with Riverside Wharf – the Tarmac yard – as a neighbour. As at Greenwich Millennium Village, one block will be built to shield the development from the industrial use.

Much of what is in the planned development has already been trailed at public exhibitions. But the application submitted to Greenwich Council does provide some very useful context as to the wider Charlton Riverside project and its neighbour at Greenwich Peninsula.

Who owns what and what’s planned on the riverside – note the amount of land owned by Greenwich Council

The other four schemes, from west to east, are:

Want to see what the riverside could look like in a decade?

Hyde’s map of future riverside developments (click to expand)

You can find the full planning documents – and send your thoughts to the council – on its planning website (reference 19/3456/F). If you read nothing else, have a look at the first volume of its transport and access statement, which is where we’ve lifted the images from.


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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.

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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.)

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