AN MP has backed calls for a tower to be reduced in height to protect wildlife at a watery oasis from overshadowing.
Matthew Pennycook has expressed his concerns a proposed 20 storey tower at Greenwich Millennium Village (GMV) will have a bad impact on nearby Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park (GPEP). The MP for Greenwich and Woolwich says there is a “strong case for lowering its height” which would also make it more in line with surrounding buildings.
Friends of GPEP and supporters of the Keep Our Park Sunny campaign are objecting to detailed plans proposed by developer GMV Ltd . The developer won outline planning consent in 2012 for proposals which include a 20 storey tower with 90 homes and an energy centre to provide low carbon, heat, hot water and electricity.
But the detailed plans have raised concerns the tower will overshadow the park and some homes. The developer recognises the tower, which is intended to be a landmark building higher than the existing buildings, will cause some shadowing of the park. In mitigation the plans include a strip of land – called an “Ecology Swale” nearby and the tower has been made 36 per cent slimmer than that proposed on the masterplan to reduce its impact.
But Mr Pennycook said the park “Is an urban oasis and its four acres of freshwater habitat is home to a fascinating array of wildlife. As one resident rightly argued in a letter to me, the park is a “wonderful resource” that must be “treasured, valued and appreciated for posterity”.
He said: “The design of the proposed tower is unimaginative and I believe there is a strong case for lowering its height in order to make it more consistent with surrounding building heights and to reduce its impact on the ecology park.”
Sue Younghouse from Friends of GPEP said the “Ecology Swale” is on land already earmarked as open space. She said: “What is even worse is that the swale itself will be in the shade because of the buildings that the developers are putting up right next to it. That means it cannot provide an alternative habitat for the wonderful variety of wildlife and fauna that exists in the ecology park.
“The support from Matthew Pennycook is very welcome and we would urge Greenwich Council Planning Board to listen to his and all our concerns over the sitting and height of this tower block.”
A spokesman from GMVL, which is a joint venture between Taylor Wimpey Central London and Countryside Properties in association with the Mayor of London, said: “The design of the building has been carefully developed by award winning architectural practice Jestico + Whiles (who have designed the recently completed and under construction neighbouring blocks) in consultation with Royal Borough of Greenwich officers and the Greenwich Design Review Panel. The emerging Reserved Matters design considerably reduces overshadowing of the ecology park compared to the consented outline position.
“GMVL are committed to biodiversity and the environment as we work hard to deliver the GMV masterplan. The new Ecology Swale will use previously privately owned land to deliver new public space for future and existing residents to enjoy.
“The swale will include new habitat areas and be designed in full coordination with the Land Trust who owns and manages the ecology park. GMVL has 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.”