Monday, August 21, 2017
Residents say tower will cast a shadow over Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

Residents say tower will cast a shadow over Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

4
419

 

RESIDENTS battling plans for a proposed 20 storey tower say it will “cast a long shadow” over an important wildlife haven.

Friends of Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park are calling on Greenwich council to “think twice” before giving the go ahead for plans drawn up by Greenwich Millennium Village Ltd (GMVL) Residents are alarmed by the proposals revealed in consultation meetings for the further phase of development for Greenwich Millenium Village(GMV). The plans, for which outline planning permission was agreed in 2012 include a 20 storey residential block with 90 homes, a new onsite energy centre to provide low carbon, heat, hot water and electricity for residents, shops and offices.

But the detailed plans have raised concerns the tower block will have a significantly bad impact on the nearby Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park and on some existing homes. The developers recognise that the tower, which is intended to be a landmark building higher than the existing buildings, will cast a shadow over about 10 per cent of the park. However a strip of land – called an “Ecology Swale” has been allocated close by and the tower has been made 36 per cent slimmer than that proposed on the masterplan to reduce shadowing.

Sue Younghouse a volunteer and member of the friends group, said: “This 20 storey building will cast long shadows over the park. That will reduce the ground temperature which in turn affects plant growth and invertebrate activity and it will change the bio diversity of the area for ever. Greenwich council should take a long hard look at the destruction this will cause and think twice about the damage they are doing today and for future generations.”

“I have volunteered at the park for almost nine years. It is a haven for beautiful birds, butterflies and rare bees, spiders and moth and a green oasis for local residents, visitors and children. It provides wonderful educational opportunities for schools in an area where green spaces are hard to find. It’s lovely to see the faces of schoolchildren when they are shown the sheer variety of wildlife or have a go at pond dipping in the park.

Resident Annie Mitchell, said: “I have lived in the village for 12 years and was attracted by its commitment to eco living and the wonderful ecology park. This 20 storey block is more than double the size of most buildings on the estate and will stick out like a sore thumb.  The light pours into our apartment and the solar gain means we rarely have any heating on all through the winter. The tower will block the sun coming in until much later, affecting us and hundreds of residents. Surely Greenwich council should be encouraging developments that cut energy use.”

Stuart Blakley, Senior Development Manager, from GMVL which is a joint venture between Taylor Wimpey Central London and Countryside Properties said “We recognise the ecology park is an integral part of Greenwich Millennium Village and as part of our long term commitment to the area and biodiversity, a new ecology swale will be built as an extension to the ecology park. This will include new habitat areas and be designed in full co-ordination with the Land Trust who owns and manages the ecology park. We have already discussed with the trust both the new ecology swale and the biodiversity character areas within it, as well as the swale’s proposed transfer to the trust for future management, once established. We are also delivering significant areas of new biodiverse roofs across the Masterplan and creating new habitat areas in the process.

He said the 20 storey tower for Plot 201 had evolved in consultation with council officers and the Greenwich Design Review Panel to “considerably reduce overshadowing of the ecology park”

He said: “We are also undertaking all of the required technical assessments which will be submitted as part of the reserved matters application.”

Reporter | Resident of Lewisham for more than 25 years and studied sociology at Goldsmiths. Previously worked for many years as a picture researcher for book and part work publishers and joined The Mercury after studying for a NCTJ at Lambeth College. Big yoga and walking fan – not just in the country but also along the River Thames. Love South East London and wander around Lewisham town centre, Deptford High Street and Greenwich Town Centre at least once a week. Mandy has worked for the Mercury for 14 years.

4 COMMENTS

  1. This is really shameful. The Ecology Park is one of the very few ecologically diverse wildlife habitats left in this part of the borough – an island in a sea of high rise development. To jeopardise what’s there is madness and shouldn’t be allowed. The swale won’t have the same bio diversity of the park as it will also sit in the shadow of tall buildings. The planning committee at Greenwich Council have to realise what is at stake. If wildlife and the environment is of any importance in determining planning decisions, then this should be rejected and the building limited to a size where shadowing isn’t an issue. The swale is simply a gesture to persuade the planning committee to support the proposals and doesn’t mitigate what will be lost by any stretch. Our councillors and planners should stand up to the developers, but I fear they won’t.

  2. Dear editor

    I would like to comment on the remarks made by GMV about the Ecology Swale as mitigation for the damage that will be done to the Ecology Park. As someone who has been volunteering at the ecology park since 2014, I attended the public consultation and discussed the building of the swale with GMV representatives at great length. I felt they were suggesting that the swale is not only mitigation but also a gift that their company is kindly providing for the residents, when neither of these things is true.

    The swale is in an area which, when it is built, will also be shaded by buildings, on plot 202 and 203. For one thing, this will create the same shaded habitats that they are supposedly compensating for. This shade will also make it unpleasant for visitors, therefore not mitigating for the loss of the park’s community value. Would you enjoy a quiet walk in a cold, damp stretch of marsh?

    Furthermore, there is no written guarantee that the area will be used for an ecology swale when the building is put up. The swale is nothing but good intentions. Should this become undesirable for GMV then they will have the power to completely redesign the area as a beautiful but barren lawn. There have been requests for shading diagrams of the swale area but these cannot be provided, demonstrating the level of infancy that the plans are currently in. Surely they should be at a more developed stage if they are to be presented as mitigation for the loss of habitats and species within the Ecology Park.

    There is also the issue of timing. By the time the swale is actually built (if at all), the 20 story building would have been in place for a number of years. This is sufficient time for the important species of plant, insect, bird and pond life to have died or moved away permanently. The planting of a shaded swale at this time, will have little to no allure whatsoever.

    Finally, the area where the swale is planned for must stay publically accessible and green, this means that GMV are not allowed to build housing on the area anyway. In addition to this, wildlife that does take refuge there will not have found a bio diverse safe haven like those that already exist within the Ecology Park, rather it will be at constant risk of being disturbed by people.

    In summary, GMV have offered the Ecology Park an area of land that is both useless to them and the species that we are trying to protect.

  3. The new swale and habitats will also be in the shade, it isn’t a solution! The tower needs to change position and loose a bit of height. The scheme should still be viable with these changes as the developer has got away without having to provide any affordable housing…

  4. I’ve just seen this article. I have been a member of Greenwich Yacht club since 1992. GYC moved to its current location next to the Ecology Park around the year 2000. I have been horrified by the effect of the buildings built over the past year that overshadow GYC now: in winter we now have ice in the boatyard that doesn’t melt, so we have to buy salt just to make the yard and slipway safe; and no sunshine any more to help us to work on our boats in the yard in the winter. This was not the case before. Shade on the Ecology Park will be a disaster for the wildlife and plants. Chipping away at the edges threatens the whole thing. The suggested swale won’t make up for the likely damage to the Ecology Park – this swale would also be in the shade of nearby new buildings so won’t be suitable for the species whose habitat will be wrecked by the shade. It won’t be a bright sunny place for these species, let alone for people to enjoy.
    I gather the proposal is to build the ecology swale after the tower block. And I gather that GMV residents would have to pay for the swale, which has not been the case for the Ecology Park. This tall building would diminish the Ecology Park and just adds to the canyon of tall buildings along the Thames. Places like the Ecology Park are too rare.

LEAVE A REPLY

Residents say tower will cast a shadow over Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park