SADIQ Khan is being urged to reject a development over concerns it will “significantly alter” listed buildings, overshadow residences and provide no affordable homes.
Calls have been made for the London Mayor to not back Greenwich council’s planning permission for Berkeley Homes (BH) plans to revamp Grade II listed Building 10 and 11 as part of a scheme to create a gateway for the Crossrail station on Woolwich Arsenal. The plans also include 146 homes, the new Royal Carriage Square and commercial units.
Residents say the application breaches national and local policies in a number of areas and that the community’s views were not taken on board by the council. A campaign has been launched to to lobby Mr Khan as the scheme cannot go ahead without his final approval.
Resident Robyn Waite says a key concern is the “significant alterations to two listed heritage assets” and that the 11 storey block on top of one is to close to East Carriage House and will block light from a large number of homes.
She said: “The daylight studies for some of the homes show it will be below the national recommended guidelines and some will be plunged into darkness. People are also concerned that all the homes on the side of the building which will be most affected are the social housing ones.”
“A lot of people from the community came together to make objections. There has been a lot of issues and concerns that the plans are in breach of national and local policies. There is concern over the two listed buildings as developments around them must be given special consideration in the planning process”
She said: “Despite our efforts the community perspective was not adequately represented throughout the council’s consultation process. The entire process was wrought with lack of transparency.” The community are also concerned over the lack of affordable homes planned.
A spokeswoman on behalf of Royal Arsenal Residents, told The Mercury: “BH also claim that they cannot build any affordable homes within the new block. In fact they have exploited a loophole used by developers all over London to avoid building the recommended quota of affordable homes within luxury developments and are giving Greenwich council £1m towards a few houses which will be built elsewhere.”
The council report noted that BH had presented an independent financial report that showed affordable homes would not be viable due to the high cost of restoring dilapidated Building 11 which would only be partially subsidised from the residences in Building 10. The council also commissioned a third party review of this and BH have agreed that the issue can be revisited. The developer has also now introduced 12 “discount market homes” into the scheme.
Karl Whiteman, divisional managing director at BH, said the scheme “will retain and restore two further Grade II Listed buildings, opening them up to the public for the first time in 40 years. One of these buildings, the former Officers’ House (Building 11), was already on the English Heritage ‘at risk’ register when Berkeley acquired it in 2011. Since acquisition, Berkeley have worked to reduce the physical risk to the building and focused on securing a long-term sustainable future use.”
He said the scheme, also provides an interchange for Crossrail which is to open in 2018 and “Berkeley will also be making a £2.7 million contribution towards infrastructure and local services, including affordable housing within the borough.”
“The proposals were developed through extensive consultation and fully supported by Royal Borough of Greenwich, Historic England and Crossrail. On approval, the Council’s planning board took into account all relevant planning considerations. The application meets local and national objectives to deliver new homes on previously developed land and is an important step towards enabling the completion of the Heritage Quarter at Royal Arsenal Riverside.