Planning application goes in for 766 new homes on site of Morris Walk Estate

Trinity Park
The plans envisage taller blocks to the north of the site

Developer Lovell has submitted its planning application to redevelop the Morris Walk Estate on the Charlton/Woolwich border, with 766 new homes planned.

The application comes less than two weeks after the final consultation into the scheme ended. Locals will be able to have their say in the coming weeks when Greenwich Council’s planning department publishes full details of the scheme and asks for formal submissions. Lovell already has outline permission to build here, this application fills in the details.

Much of the old estate – built as 562 council homes between 1964 and 1966 – has now been demolished, although some tenants are still living in blocks to the north of the estate, off Woolwich Church Street.

Of the 766 homes promised, 177 will be for affordable rent (about half market rent) with 76 available for shared ownership. It promises “a high quality inclusive design which is sympathetic to the surrounding area, strengthening the visual connection across the rail line and providing green links to Maryon Park. The scale and form of the new buildings respond to the existing homes in the immediate context and integrate new green squares for people to meet and play.”

The company plans to build a mixture of one, two, three and four-bedroom houses and apartments, with more “affordable” housing and a cluster of taller blocks – of up to 13 storeys – to the north of the site. It plans 304 homes in the north of the site, of which 87 would be for affordable rent and 42 for shared ownership. There would be 144 car parking spaces.

To the south there would be more private housing, including blocks of up to six storeys high with houses closer to Maryon Park. Some 44 per cent of homes south of the railway line would have three bedrooms or more. There would be 462 homes, including 90 for affordable rent and 34 for shared ownership. There would be 281 car parking spaces, many beneath buildings to “to reduce on street car dominance and create a more pedestrian-friendly environment”.

If planning permission is given, Lovell hopes to start work in autumn 2021.

Lovell Trinity Park render
The view from Maryon Park – where Denmark House stood until recently

The development is part of a 12-year deal with Greenwich Council signed in 2012 which also includes the crumbling Maryon Road and Maryon Grove estates, which will also be rebuilt by Lovell, with a planning application scheduled for 2023. It has already turned Woolwich’s notorious Connaught estate into a new development called Trinity Walk.

However, there have been a series of hitches along the way: demolition of Morris Walk was due to begin two years ago; but when that date was missed it was claimed the development had been delayed for seven years.

Last summer a senior Greenwich councillor complained that Lovell had “let the council down”, but demolition finally got under way this summer. However, neighbours were annoyed after emergency services were allowed to carry out exercises in the fenced-off estate without informing them.

Mick Laws, the development and precommencement director at Lovell London, said: “This is an exciting regeneration programme for the area and if planning is granted, will not only provide new homes but much needed inward investment and jobs. Lovell is dedicated to building the proposed homes and working closely with Royal Borough of Greenwich throughout the process.”

Update: You can now see full details of the plans for Morris North and Morris South.


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Trinity Park: We’ve decoded the bizarre consultation for rebuilt Morris Walk Estate

Danny Thorpe and Lovells execs
Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe (second left) on site for the start of demolition at Morris Walk during the summer

A new consultation about what will replace the Morris Walk Estate has been launched. However, you’re unlikely to have heard about it until this week, even though it launched last Friday, and it’s probably the strangest consultation we’ve ever come across – and we’ve seen a few in our time.

As a public service, we’ve taken the videos from it and are hosting them here so you can take part without having to flail around with a smartphone.

Demolition work is taking place on the Morris Walk Estate so it can be replaced by a new development, Trinity Park. The estate went up quickly in the mid-1960s, and it’s coming down quickly too – Denmark House, the tower block next to Maryon Park, has all but gone in just four weeks. The demolition teams could have been even speedier, but we’re hearing great care is being taken to avoid disturbing the neighbours. So far, so good.

The development is to be built by Lovell, which has turned the notorious Connaught Estate in Woolwich into Trinity Walk. It plans to replace the 562 homes of Morris Walk (all built for council housing) with 768 homes – 35 per cent will be “affordable”. The planning definition of “affordable” differs from the dictionary definition: a previous planning permission saw this break down to 25 per cent social rent and 10 per cent shared ownership, although a new planning application is on its way. We’d expect the social rent to be London Affordable Rent, which is half market rent – slightly higher than Greenwich Council rents, which are about 40 per cent market rents and among the cheapest in London.

Lovell will also demolish the dilapidated Maryon Road and Maryon Grove estates in due course; these are being handled separately.

Lovell leaflet
Lovell’s consultation leaflet – good luck with that

Lovell’s latest consultation began on Friday. It lasts a week. While other developers have made efforts to keep in touch with us about major schemes in SE7, Lovell didn’t tell us about this. It does say it told 290 surrounding residents, however, and left leaflets in locations including New Charlton Community Centre, St Thomas Church, Windrush Primary School and Time Court care home.

The consultation involves you having to point your mobile phone at QR codes which then bring up a series of videos. It’s not very accessible, to say the least – heaven knows what they made of it in the care home.

So we’ve got hold of the videos, uploaded them to our own site, and are presenting them here ourselves, right here on The Charlton Champion.

Lovell says it is unable to hold a physical consultation because of the pandemic, but others are making better jobs of it – see this Greenwich Council consultation into new housing in Eltham, or Aitch Group’s plans for Eastmoor Street.

Anyway, make yourself a cuppa, sit back, and find out more about what’s planned. (If you’re in a hurry, skip to video 6.)

By the way, we can’t change the music. Sorry.



Video 1: A brief introduction. You can probably skip this, to be honest.



Video 2: A description of the dismantling and demolition work. Morris North = north of the railway line. Morris South = south of it.



Video 3: A description of past consultation events. Local people like the public transport and green space; hate the fact they’re living next to crumbling estates with antisocial behaviour, flytipping and parked cars. They would like a small supermarket and for the development to fit in with its neighbours.



Video 4: A description of the area. Yes, you know it, but it’s all about context.



Video 5: Now it’s an introduction to the masterplan. Odd to claim that one of the downsides of the Morris Walk Estate was that it didn’t have enough private housing, but there you go. However, this promises a mix of private, shared ownership and “affordable” homes (at least they’re separated the last two out) and pledges the railway will be used to unite rather than divide the community. Taller buildings will be placed nearer the A206, smaller buildings at the Charlton end.



Video 6: The interesting bits begin. Plans for Morris North: 304 new homes (296 flats, eight houses) with blocks of up to 13 storeys. 144 car parking spaces, mostly underground. Public courtyards with green spaces, and views to the parks and across the Thames (from the 13th floor, presumably).



Video 7: Morris South plans: 462 homes (309 flats, 153 houses) with blocks of up to six storeys. Houses to fit in with their neighbours on Maryon Road and Woodland Terrace. A new pedestrian street, Maryon Park Avenue, will lead right from the park towards Woolwich Dockyard. 288 car parking spaces, to be designed so it doesn’t feel there are cars everywhere.



Video 8: What happens next. Please send your feedback and work goes on to finalise the planning applications.


Here are the exhibition boards to download, if the text on the videos is small to read.

However, they don’t include the renders of what’s proposed, so we’ve taken some screenshots. Much of the work closer to Charlton looks decent. It’s a shame the mess of a consultation lets it down.

Lovell Trinity Park render
The view from Maryon Park – where Denmark House stood until recently
Trinity Park render
The view along Maryon Park Avenue
Lovell render
Looking up Prospect Vale
Roughly where Woodland Terrace, Charlton, meets Prospect Vale, Woolwich. New housing planned for old tower block site
Lovell render
Looking along the railway line between Morris North and Morris South from Maryon Park
Morris North render
The view from Woolwich Church Street
Trinity Park
An overview of the whole development

One you’ve watched all that, you can send feedback using this form. Closing date is this Thursday, 30 October – we’d have told you about this earlier if we knew.

Please tell them we sent you.


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Demolition begins at Morris Walk Estate as developers target autumn 2021 for new homes

Morris Walk estate - Lovell image
Morris Walk Estate is finally coming down

Demolition crews have moved in to the Morris Walk Estate on the Charlton/Woolwich border, starting a year of work to dismantle the 1960s blocks before work can start on 900 new homes.

The estate is being redeveloped in conjunction with the Connaught Estate in Woolwich, which has largely been rebuilt by developer Lovell as Trinity Walk. The company hopes to start work on the new homes at Morris Walk in autumn 2021.

Built in the mid-1960s as part of a long-delayed slum clearance programme – Morris Walk was one of the streets destroyed – the estate was constructed using prefabricated parts built at a factory in Norwich and taken by train to Charlton, where lorries would take the parts to the estate. Two flats were put together each day. The first tenants were housed in December 1964, and the estate was finished by the autumn of 1966.

The distinctive blocks were seen as a success at the time, but within a year of the estate being completed severe condensation started to blight its 562 homes along with rodents and poor soundproofing. A gas explosion at Ronan Point – built using similar methods – across the river in Canning Town in 1968 led to more worries about the blocks, and they were refurbished in the mid-1980s. Plans to demolish the blocks were announced in 2006. Delays have reset the project since then, with discord between the council and Lovell. Demolition was due to begin two years ago.

In 2014, outline planning permission was given for up to 766 homes – a quarter for social rent and 10 per cent for shared ownership. Those plans envisaged tall blocks to the north with houses and maisonettes to the south. However, a new masterplan is being prepared and detailed plans will have to be approved by Greenwich Council before work can begin. A consultation is due later this year.

Chris Wallace, the construction director at Lovell said: “The demolition work is a very complex procedure which has to be carefully planned due to the height and layout of the estate, the vicinity of the rail lines and proximity of the local community. As usual, health and safety is our key priority and we will communicate to the local residents on a regular basis.”

The start of demolition comes after the Ministry of Defence and police apologised to neighbours for setting off explosions in the derelict estate in June.

Both Greenwich Council and Lovell said they were not responsible for allowing emergency services to carry out exercises on the estate, with conflicting accounts over what happened. Lovell has now blamed a “miscommunication” between it, the MoD, police and council.

The MoD said: “We regret that the conduct of this exercise caused disruption, particularly as the activity took place late in the day. The Ministry of Defence continues to be extremely grateful for the support from the local community for critical exercises such as this, and we apologise for the inconvenience it has caused.”

The Metropolitan Police said: “The Metropolitan Police Service were advised of a military exercise due to be held on the 23rd June at the Morris Walk Estate. The MPS regrettably did not foresee the impact that this would have on the community. We apologise for any upset or distress caused to the community by the Military activity during their training exercise.”


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