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.”