MP criticises ‘bad practice’ at Fairview New Homes’ Synergy development on Victoria Way

Fairview Synergy development
The Synergy development is now poking into the sky above Charlton

Local MP Matt Pennycook has reacted angrily after the developer behind 330 new homes being built on Victoria Way shrugged off complaints about the impact of construction work on the site’s neighbours.

Fairview New Homes dismissed a series of issues raised by Pennycook on behalf of residents about dirt, idling construction vehicles and work taking place outside permitted hours.

Its senior site manager, Matthew Hook, said “we can only assume that the points raised are generally historical” and said that Greenwich Council was happy with the cracked state of the road outside the development site, which is being branded Synergy.

After effectively being told residents’ complaints were groundless, Pennycook has now said he will name the company in Parliament as an example of bad practice in the construction sector. He is also asking for residents with complaints to get in touch with him and the company.

Greenwich had threatened Fairview with an unlimited fine in December 2018 after complaints that contractors were working outside permitted hours. Hook claimed that the work was actually being carried out by a utility firm.

Fairview Synergy
Residents have had to put up with dust and construction lorries

Hook also said that the points had been addressed in a meeting with the council on 25 February, and that no further complaints had been made since.

“So to summarise, all of the concerns raised in your letter have already been discussed, reviewed and mitigated following a meeting between [Fairview] and [Greenwich Council] on the 25/02/19 and to date, since the meeting we have had no further complaints or correspondence from local residents or [Greenwich Council] or any other industry bodies such as the Considerate Constructors Scheme regarding the development on Victoria Way,” Hook wrote.

However, the residents’ complaints were made to Pennycook at a roving advice surgery on 30 March, more than a month after the meeting with the council, with the letter written on 14 May.

Pennycook has responded: “It is patently the case that local residents do have outstanding complaints about construction management on the site. Rather than seeking to dismiss these complaints as you did in your letter, a responsible developer would have engaged with the substance of each of them and given due consideration as to what more could be done to alleviate them.

“I intend to name [Fairview] on the floor of the House of Commons and use your letter as an example of bad practice in the sector as well as making additional direct representations to ministers at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.”

The source of residents’ gripes was clear on Thursday afternoon, with surfaces on the lower stretch of Victoria Way covered in dust from construction. While a site worker hosed down the entrance to the development, nothing was being done about dust and grime outside people’s homes. The wheels of a passing construction truck did not appear to have been washed.

Fairview Synergy site
Fairview has hosed down the road and pavement outside the site, but not outside people’s homes

An eight-strong committee of councillors approved the scheme, which includes two 10-storey blocks and 144 car parking spaces, by six votes to one in January 2018. Among the complaints from residents was a lack of consultation with neighbours about the scheme, and accusations of bullying tactics.

Fairview has not responded to a request for comment.

Cratus Communications, whose deputy chairman is former Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts, handled the consultation for the Victoria Way scheme. Last month, the company published a blog post on its website claiming it was “quietly revolutionising and abolishing the traditional view of ‘faceless’ developers sweeping into town and ‘doing what they like’”. “Communication with existing residents has to be managed carefully and with tact,” it added.

If you live close to the Victoria Way development and are affected by the dirt and grime from Fairview New Homes’ Synergy development, please email matthew.pennycook.mp[at]parliament.uk, and copy in matthew.hook[at]fairview.co.uk. Comments are also open below.


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Developer plans new homes on land behind Victoria Way gardens

The plot has been unused since Greenwich Council sold it in 2004

Five new homes could be built on land behind houses in Victoria Way if a developer gets permission from Greenwich Council, which sold the property at auction 15 years ago.

One 4-bedroom home, two 3-bedroom semi-detached homes and two 2-bedroom flats would be built on the land adjacent to Wellington Gardens, between Victoria Way and Wellington Mews.

Henry Browne, a Guernsey-based developer, bought the land behind sheltered accommodation on Victoria Way in 2004 when Greenwich Council sold it. Planning documents filed by the developer say it was described as “suitable for development”. No price is recorded with the Land Registry for the sale, but its records state the land was worth £750,000 in 2015.

The developer’s drawing of the planned homes

The developer says the land is covered in “thick bramble undergrowth”. “There are a number of self-sown sycamore trees, dying from sooty bark disease. There are many dead trees and fallen branches which could make the site unsafe if it could be penetrated,” planning documents state.

The new homes would be screened from Wellington Gardens by new trees, the developer says, with two trees on the site – protected by preservation orders going back to 1972 – kept. They would be next to a car repair yard and garage on Wellington Mews, an unmade road. Other schemes to build homes on Wellington Mews have been rejected over the years, the most recent being a scheme that was withdrawn in 2006.

A plan of the site with the car yard top left, Wellington Mews on the left and Wellington Gardens beneath, with the back garden of 111/113 Victoria Way on the right

The documents state that Greenwich Council planning officers stated the land was unsuitable for development in 2017 – despite the same council having sold it 13 years earlier. The developer responds “no reason is given… the site is surrounded by other residential developments”. It says “the five family homes would respect the scale and character of the area and the site”.

Documents, including the key design and access statement, can be seen by searching for reference 19/0755/F on Greenwich Council’s planning search, where you can leave responses to the application before 30 May.


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Parking permit petition launched for Eastcombe Avenue and Victoria Way

Charlton free parking sign
Parking is currently free in the streets adjoining Eastcombe Avenue

Is parking a problem for you in Eastcombe Avenue or the neighbouring streets? DI GAINES has been in touch about a petition that she and residents in the local area are organising, asking Greenwich Council to introduce a parking permit scheme in the surrounding streets.

The group are door-knocking for signatures at the moment and say they have around 100 signatures already. You can download a copy of the petition here. The petition will be presented to the the full council meeting on Wednesday March 27th by Charlton ward councillor Linda Perks. Here’s what the petition organisers have to say:

Action is needed now and we have formed a residents group to petition the Council to obtain residents’ parking in the current free parking areas from Victoria Way, Eastcombe Avenue, Wyndcliff Road and adjoining roads.

With commuter and school parking we now have the issue of contractors parking for the Victoria Way development. This will only get worse and when the flats are occupied we will have the issue of where they are going to park.

We are one of the few areas in Greenwich borough without residents’ parking and although it is mainly one end of Eastcombe Avenue, Wyndcliff Road and Victoria Way that is currently affected we do not want to “push” the problem further into other roads and that is why we are campaigning for the whole area to have permits.

Permits are not expensive, currently £70 a year and visitors permits are easily obtainable. This works our roughly £1.35 per week, a cost we feel justified for piece of mind

It appears that the only consultation currently proposed by the Council is to existing permit holders. So we are taking action to present this petition at the next full council meeting on 27 March.

We are campaigning in the area but if we miss you and you would like to sign the petition or have any questions please email Permitsforus[at]gmail.com

Thank you for your support

Has has parking got worse in your street recently? Do you think a permit scheme is the answer? If you live in an area with a parking permit scheme in place, does it work? Let us know in the comments below.


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