Charlton tower block plans thwarted again

BY CALUM FRASER calum@slpmedia.co.uk

South-east London residents, including Squeeze frontman Glenn Tilbrook, are thrilled after town hall chiefs knocked back plans to build tower blocks.

Developer Rockwell has been frustrated again as its plans to build tower blocks in Charlton were thwarted for a second time.

Greenwich council’s planning committee voted 11-0 against Rockwell’s application to build 771 homes and five 10-storey buildings behind Atlas and Derrick Gardens.

Residents have fought against the development for more than a year saying that it undermines the Charlton Riverside masterplan, which puts an emphasis on keeping tower blocks below six-storeys.

Selina Tallett, Derrick and Atlas Gardens Residents’ Association (DAGRA) chairwoman, said: “We’re delighted with the result.

“It feels like they are finally recognising the value of the community we have built here in Charlton. “We just want the opportunity to extend our great community to others through sensible housing, not have 10-storey giants plonked on top of us.

“We want to be able to say hi to our neighbours, not have them looking down on us from the sky.”

Rockwell’s original application to develop the site had a 28-storey, glass fronted tower block and 13 per cent affordable housing. Ms Tallett, 36, said: “We kicked up such a stink.

We really did. I think they underestimated what the neighbours really felt.”

This application was rejected, but Rockwell came back with another application, chopping the tower blocks down to 10-storeys, with 35 per cent affordable housing.

But an alliance of community groups called Charlton Together have lobbied the council to reject the application again. Up to 30 people were due to speak at the planning board on Monday, July 9.

But time constraints meant this was cut down to only a handful.

One speaker was Squeeze singer Glenn Tilbrook, who has a studio close to the site.

He has been in contact with Rockwell over his concerns that the development will interfere with the band’s work.

He said: “It feels like to Rockwell I’m a bad smell they want to make go away.

It feels like they want to drive a coach and horses through my life and my studio, and they want to drive a coach and horses through the Charlton masterplan.”

Planning chairwoman and Shooters Hill ward councillor, Sarah Merrill, said: “This application in no way resembles the spirit of the Charlton Riverside masterplan, in terms of height, massing and design.

It’s reminiscent of Stalingrad.”

Rockwell will now have to consider whether they will appeal the planning board’s decision, sell the land they have bought to another developer or come back with another application and go through the consultation process.

A Rockwell spokesman said: “We have been working closely with the local community and Greenwich council throughout the development of this proposal to ensure that it delivers what the borough needs and wants.

“We are disappointed that the chance to deliver much-needed new homes in this opportunity area, of which 35 per cent are proposed to be affordable, has been refused and that this aspiration will be further delayed.

“But we remain committed to continue working with stakeholders to find a solution for this site that works for everyone.”

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