Members of the Friends of the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park (GPEP) celebrate tower block knock-back

BY CALUM FRASER
calum@slpmedia.co.uk

Residents are celebrating after plans to build a tower block were knocked back by town hall chiefs.

Members of the Friends of the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park (GPEP) have been campaigning for months to halt plans by developers to build a 13-storey block next to the park.

They believe the shadow cast by the building would have put the ecology park into shadow and could have caused irreparable damage to the wildlife and fauna below.

But Greenwich council’s planning board unanimously rejected the scheme on Tuesday, November 6, presented by Greenwich Millennium Village (GMV), a company made up of Taylor Wimpey and Countryside.

Annie Mitchell, a volunteer for the Friends of GPEP group, said: “It was a real David and Goliath moment.

“It really felt like a moment from a film. The officers had recommended that the plans be accepted by the board, so we felt the odds were against us. We packed out the room.

“It can’t be very often that the planning board gets a standing ovation, but they certainly did this time. There was a lot of cheering and even some tears.

We were delighted.” The council received 499 letters of objection for the plot 201 reserved matters application.

Developers had reduced the size of the tower from 20-storeys to 13 after a backlash from residents last year. The proposals include 65 flats, 37 one beds and 28 two beds, with 12 per cent earmarked to be affordable.

Ms Mitchell, who lives at Faraday Lodge overlooking the park, said: “This has been a long campaign.

I really hope the developers don’t think ‘well, okay we had our tick box exercise but that didn’t work and now we’re going to railroad this through either through an appeal to the planning inspectorate or through the GLA.

“They could redesign it to protect the park and wildlife. “Times have moved on and the days when councils and residents would lie down and let developers dump any number of tower blocks they want on top of us are over.

“They need to accept this. This is a park people should be proud of. It has huge outreach work and so many people in the community use it.”

The ecology park is four acres of freshwater habitat on the banks of the Thames that has been open to the public since 2002.

It is owned by national land management charity the Land Trust and managed on its behalf by The Conservation Volunteers.

A park survey recorded 160 species of birds and bees, 20 dragonfly and 16 butterfly.

This is the second large-scale development proposal that the planning board has rejected in the past four months.

Plans by Rockwell to build five 10-storey blocks behind the Derrick and Atlas Gardens Estate in Charlton were rejected.

But London Mayor Sadiq Khan overruled the council’s decision and the scheme is now set to go ahead in the teeth of opposition from councillors and residents.

We contacted GMV but did not receive a response by the time we went to press.

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