‘Rockwell’s Charlton Riverside development threatens our area – sign our petition’

Rockwell revised scheme
Neighbours have disputed Rockwell’s images of what the scheme would look like

Next month, there will be a public inquiry into plans for 771 new homes off Anchor & Hope Lane. The developer, Rockwell, is appealing against the Mayor of London’s rejection of the scheme; that followed an earlier decision by Greenwich Council to throw out the proposals. Community groups fear the scheme will get the Charlton Riverside redevelopment off to a bad start and want you to sign their petition. ANDREW DONKIN of Charlton Together, which represents groups including the Charlton Society and Charlton Central Residents’ Association, explains why.

If you care about the future of Charlton, I’d like to ask you to sign this petition calling on the Planning Inspectorate to dismiss an appeal by property developer Rockwell for its overcrowded and poorly-designed scheme on Charlton Riverside. The appeal is next month and Charlton Together urgently needs your help and signature now.

Regular readers of The Charlton Champion will recall how Rockwell’s application has already been refused by both the Mayor of London and Greenwich Council. It was refused because the plans submitted would result in the over development of the site and would fail to adhere to the vision and objectives for the redevelopment of the area set out in the Charlton Riverside Masterplan, adopted by the Council in 2017 as planning guidance for the area.

The well-received Charlton Riverside masterplan was developed over a period of five years, with the full involvement of the local community, at a cost of £854,000 using the council’s (eg, the public’s) money. The Rockwell development appeal currently before the Planning Inspectorate drives a coach and horses through the carefully created Masterplan in terms of building heights, levels of density/massing, and affordable housing.

Roden Richardson, the vice-chair of the Charlton Society, said: “If the Rockwell development appeal is allowed by the Planning Inspectorate it will set a precedent for all future developers to ignore the masterplan in respect of further planning applications for the wider site. This will have a huge impact on the whole of Charlton and beyond it across southeast London.”

Helen Jakeways, from Charlton Together, added: “It would set a dangerous precedent if this appeal is allowed at this density. There are many other developers waiting in the background to see what happens. All of their proposals for new housing are well over the density required for their plots in the Masterplan and the London Plan. There are no agreements currently in place for local infrastructure, which includes, roads, school places, doctor surgery places and public transport. This will affect everyone living and working in the SE7 area and all the areas around it.”

If you’re reading this and you care about Charlton, please sign the new petition. Numbers really will count when it is presented to the Planning Inspectorate in mid-November.

You can sign the petition at change.org.


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Charlton Riverside: Rockwell challenges Khan’s refusal of 771-home scheme

Rockwell revised scheme
Neighbours disputed Rockwell’s images of what the scheme would look like

The developer behind plans to build 771 homes off Anchor and Hope Lane has appealed to planning inspectors to overturn Sadiq Khan’s rejection of the scheme.

Rockwell’s proposals, the first to emerge on the Charlton Riverside development area, were bitterly opposed by residents in Atlas and Derrick Gardens who feared their homes would be overlooked by the 10-storey blocks planned for the site of a trading estate.

Greenwich Council’s main planning committee rejected the scheme in July 2018, with one councillor saying the scheme was “like Stalingrad”, despite the council’s own officers recommending they approve the scheme. Then the mayor of London overturned Greenwich’s decision a month later, “calling in” the proposal to decide himself. City Hall’s planning officers recommended he approve a slightly amended scheme, but the mayor made the surprise decision to reject the scheme himself after a hearing in January.

Now Rockwell is putting its scheme’s neighbours through a third round of the fight by appealling to the Planning Inspectorate, where an inspector will decide on the development after a detailed public hearing.

Once again, residents are being asked to submit comments on the scheme – visit the Planning Inspectorate’s website and enter case reference number 3233585.

Rockwell’s appeal is against Khan’s decision, not Greenwich Council’s. At the time, Khan said: “This is an underutilised, brownfield site in an opportunity area and very accessible. It is well-connected and in an area capable of accommodating growth. It is precisely the kind of site that we need to bring forward in order to create vibrant and active places, ensuring a compact and well-functioning city.

“However, I am clear that we must deliver good growth, not growth at any cost, where people have more of a say and don’t feel excluded from the process. I have listened carefully to the concerns of residents and considered the substantial amount of work done on the Charlton Riverside Masterplan. I consider that this is the wrong development for the site.”

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

He urged Rockwell to “go back to the drawing board, in partnership with the community, the council and the GLA, to come up with a scheme that delivers on the strong ambitions we all share for the future of Charlton Riverside”.

But Rockwell have instead decided to challenge the decision. They may have been fortified by Greenwich’s Council’s approval of 10-storey blocks at Victoria Way – just outside the masterplan area – in January 2018 without any explanation to objectors, a decision that was later ratified by the mayor.

Rockwell’s scheme is one of five for the Charlton riverside, designated an “opportunity area” for redevelopment by City Hall. The other four are:

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

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Charlton Riverside: Khan rejected Rockwell scheme because it was ‘growth at any cost’

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

London mayor Sadiq Khan has set out his reasons for rejecting plans for 771 homes off Anchor & Hope Lane, calling it “the wrong development for this site”.

The scheme, which included building 10-storey blocks, was bitterly opposed by residents in Atlas Gardens and Derrick Gardens, who said the buildings would loom over their homes. It was rejected by Greenwich councillors in July, despite council officers recommending they approve it, because it did not conform with the recently-agreed masterplan for the Charlton riverside.

But Khan overturned the decision a month later, “calling in” the scheme to decide himself. City Hall’s planning officers recommended he approve a slightly amended scheme, but the mayor made the surprise decision to reject the scheme himself after a hearing last week. (See the full documents.)

In his written summary, Khan says: “This is an underutilised, brownfield site in an opportunity area and very accessible. It is well-connected and in an area capable of accommodating growth. It is precisely the kind of site that we need to bring forward in order to create vibrant and active places, ensuring a compact and well-functioning city.

Neighbours feared the development would loom over Atlas and Derrick Gardens

“However, I am clear that we must deliver good growth, not growth at any cost, where people have more of a say and don’t feel excluded from the process. I have listened carefully to the concerns of residents and considered the substantial amount of work done on the Charlton Riverside Masterplan. I consider that this is the wrong development for the site.”

Khan outlines four reasons: poor design; its effect on Imex House, a commercial building next door which houses Squeeze singer Glenn Tilbrook’s studio; the lack of space for existing local businesses on the site; and the lack of a Section 106 agreement for “affordable” housing and other mitigation of the scheme’s impact.

Rockwell revised scheme
Neighbours disputed Rockwell’s images of what the scheme would look like

In his reasons, he urges Rockwell to “go back to the drawing board, in partnership with the community, the council and the GLA, to come up with a scheme that delivers on the strong ambitions we all share for the future of Charlton Riverside”.

Khan’s reasons may raise eyebrows elsewhere in Charlton, where 10-storey blocks at Victoria Way – just outside the masterplan area – were approved by Greenwich councillors in January 2018 without any explanation to objectors, a decision that was later ratified by the mayor. Indeed, Rockwell can still appeal to planning inspectors and challenge Khan’s decision.

The scheme was the first to come forward for the Charlton Riverside. Two others are in the pipeline and may now overtake the Rockwell proposal: one from developer U+I for the former Siemens site just east of the Thames Barrier, where public events will be held next week, and a second for 500 homes just to the west of the barrier, called Flint Glass Wharf.


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