Charlton Riverside developer U+I promises ‘affordable homesteads for ordinary people’

Charlton riverside at the Thames Barrier
Ripe for development: Charlton’s riverside at the Thames Barrier

One of the developers behind the redevelopment of Charlton’s riverside is promising “affordable homesteads for ordinary people alongside the river Thames” as part of a plan to create 5,000 new homes on what is currently industrial land.

Richard Upton, deputy chief executive of U+I, says the company will soon be in control of enough land to create a “small town” by the Thames.

Upton’s statement pre-empts a Greenwich Council consultation on a new masterplan for the riverside, which has been postponed until after the mayoral election.

His comments appear in Historic England’s Conservation Bulletin (see pages 26-28), in a special edition devoted to the challenges London’s next mayor will face.

Under U+I’s previous name of Cathedral, the company was responsible for the Movement development next to Greenwich station as well as the redevelopment of the Eltham Coronet cinema site. U+I is also behind Deptford Market Yard, next to Deptford station, and owns the Morden Wharf site to the west of the Greenwich Peninsula.

It’s the first official confirmation that U+I is involved in the plans for Charlton.

Upton writes: “In Charlton, U+I will soon control sufficient land to create a small town spanning 6 million square feet and providing 5,000 homes. The site is brownfield and light industrial in nature, but we’ve delved into its past and from this, we’ll create a future that makes it unique. The grimy industrial routes actually reflect the patterns of paths and hedgerows from the 17th century. Lovely. I promise you we will bring history and parochial distinction alive.

“Charlton will once again provide affordable homesteads for ordinary people alongside the river Thames.”

It also looks like architectural practice Farrells is also involved in the scheme. The article also features a timeline of the Charlton riverside’s history which is credited to Farrells.

This looks very like Anchor & Hope Lane... (picture: Farrells)
This looks very like Anchor & Hope Lane… (picture: Farrells)

Earlier this year, founder Terry Farrell told the Evening Standard he wanted to see a series of low-rise lift bridges for pedestrians and cyclists across the Thames at locations including Rotherhithe, Greenwich Peninsula, Charlton and Woolwich.

The story was illustrated by a mock-up of such a bridge – which appears to be at the end of Anchor and Hope Lane in Charlton. Last year, TfL identified Charlton as a site for a potential crossing in a speculative list of 13 possible or planned links across the Thames, although it said the idea was merely “conceptual”.

Information about what’s planned in the new riverside masterplan – which will replace an earlier version – has been kept firmly under wraps. But elements have been quietly emerging, with new council plans preferring housing above retail on land currently occupied by Asda. Earlier this month, plans emerged to demolish what’s left of the Victoria pub and replace it with student housing.

Separately, plans to create a secondary school on the riverside could come to fruition much earlier than planned, with proposals for the two-year-old Royal Greenwich University Technical College to become an 11-18 school, after the college had trouble recruiting students at age 14. A little-publicised consultation took place earlier this year.