New Images of Woolwich Riverside Towers

I saw these images a couple of weeks back and intended to write a post but didn’t find the time due to being away. So here’s a very brief post with some images. They have probably been reported elsewhere but I thought I’d put them up to show the plans for the tall buildings next to the Thames, being built by Berkeley Homes as part of their Royal Arsenal development.

Image

The towers are reasonably tall, but I think they should be taller. Not a particularly popular opinion I’m sure. The tower closest in the above image looks too squat with the tall, slab like appendage to the right. A well designed, elegant tall building is always better than one compromised and squashed down to meet height limits, which are often arbitrary, and. In place of elegance and grace comes squat and stumpy lumps. The attached wedges are more intrusive and ugly. There’s a sense here of this happening. If the closest tower were 5-10 storeys taller it would be a better centre piece to the area, and the slightly shorter attached slab-like part of the building to the right could be reduced by 5 storeys.

Royal Arsenal Riverside Tower 3

The image on the left shows the slab to the rear of the tower. reduce that by a third at least to prevent it’s overbearing mass and add it to the tower. This faces onto a park so will have a greater impact than the slabs to the right, though they could do with a reduction too. The material used is terracotta panels. It’s like heading back 10 years when terracotta panels seemed to adorn most new builds. Before swiftly being ditched. Berekley have generally done a very good job with the Arsenal development. Many of the brick blocks are top notch. It’s a shame they have devaited from that to this dated, squat collection of buildings.

new providence wharfOne grim example of a terracotta clad, overbearing residential building attempting to squeeze as many units as possible ‘New Providence Wharf’, seen above, which faces onto the Thames a couple of miles upstream. The Berkeley towers are not as bad as that, but many of the same mistakes and compromises are evident.

The site is however is an ideal spot for a tower. Located close to a major new transport system in Crossrail, which is designed for high capacity, high frequency services to major centres of employment. It is also close to river services, the DLR and Southeastern trains. River services and southeastern have large scope for capacity increases in coming years. So a suitable spot to build tall. With the lamentable levels of house building since the 1990s under all shades of government and high levels of population growth there needs to be a massive increase in building, and towers, if well designed, can do a great job. Of course there are many issues with levels of ‘affordable’ housing, and foreign investors buying up many new builds and then leaving them empty, or avoiding tax by registering through companies, or letting them out at market rates so high people can only afford it by claiming housing benefit costing taxpayers a huge sum. But these issues do not negate the benefits of building tall. High density is needed.

These towers will be joined by the tower proposed over the road by Riverside House as featured in my last post. Greenwich council have also confirmed they will move Waterfront Leisure Centre to a site occupied by Wilkinson’s in General Gordon Square in the town centre, and the leisure centre site will see more towers. There’s real scope there to open up the river and access to Hare Street and shops, as existed decades ago, and to bring the foot tunnel into the open. Finally, below is how the Berkeley towers will appear from the river. Nice enough, with clean and clearly defined lines, with the rear slabs not visible.

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Train Usage In South East London (Part 2)

My last post showed the number of people using trains last year from each station on the Greenwich line after figures were released. Below are the figures for other Dartford bound lines. In addition there are details of stations served by trains from all 3 lines, both in inner London and also stations past zone 6, where many SE London suburban services continue. The average growth across all of London in the year 2012-13 was 5.3%. The national average was 2.3%.

Sidcup line. Two stations exceed the London average but many are below -

Sidcup Line stats 2012-13

Bexleyheath Line. No stations meet the London average -

Welling Line Stats 2012-13

Inner London stations. Served by more than one line -

Blackheath etc 2012-13

Lewisham’s figures look impressive but are flattered by including Freedom Pass data for the first time.

Central London stations. Two here are served by other franchises so it’s difficult to gain a clear picture. Cannon Street dropping is odd. Perhaps it is due to the rebuilding process then ongoing.

Central London Stations 2012-13

Kent Stations. These are beyond the London zone 6 boundary.

Medway stations 2012-13

The figures above are very poor. Figures for southeastern’s London stations are also poor. Many do not meet national levels of growth, let alone London levels. Regional figures can be seen below.

Figures by Region 2012-13As I wrote in my previous post, there’s a multitude of possible reasons. One is the cumulative effects of 6 years of the highest fare increases in the UK pricing people off. Another is the ease of travelling without a ticket on much of southeastern’s network across SE London and north Kent due to very few ticket barriers in operation, and no on-board staff. This compares poorly to many other routes in London which have working barriers from the first to last service, due to greater staffing levels and/or on-board staff, and so are better able to measure passenger numbers.

Short formed trains and overcrowding are other issues, and southeastern have no orders for new stock in contrast to South West trains, Southern, Thameslink (First Capital Connect), London Overground, Chiltern, and First Great Western.

London Overground taking over southeastern suburban routes up to Gillingham would’ve greatly helped. Unfortunately Kent council were strongly against and helped block the plans in late 2013. I wonder how happy they are to see these very poor figures at many Kent stations under southeastern? Presumably they are hoping the Department for Transport will force southeastern to offer many improvements under its franchise extension, at least to the levels London Overground were proposing.

London Overground would have increased services in the evenings and weekends to a minimum of 4 trains an hour on all routes instead of the current level of 2, by utilising trains lying unused in sidings. That is the minimum service level across much of London. Station staff numbers would have been increased so barriers could be staffed throughout the day at all entrance and exits. Fare evasion would have declined. The increased revenue would have helped cover additional expenses. The oyster card would also have been extended to Dartford station.

It is likely that few of those improvements will now happen. Southeastern and the Department for Transport are now in negotiations about future service levels. The fear must be that the DfT see these figures and restrict future improvements, overlooking that there is a big risk that passenger numbers are not accurately measured. They may also ignore latent growth potential in the existing population by improving frequencies to the level seen across much of London. In addition overlooking future growth potential from the many new developments in planning or construction. The redevelopment of the Ferrier estate at Kidbrooke is an example of this. Much land close to Southeastern stations is earmarked for mass house building within the M25 in the London plan, and also past it into Kent along the Thames Gateway.

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Railway Station Usage Figures Released

Figures have been released showing passenger numbers across the country in the year 2012/13. Here are the figures for the North Kent line from Slade Green to Deptford via Greenwich.

Train figures 2012-13 with percentages

Overall Southeastern have the seventh lowest increase in passengers across the UK.

stations 1

stations 2

Southeastern also have the smallest increase of any commuter franchise serving suburban London. It lags behind all others at 1.7% growth. London Overground, prevented from taking over Southeastern’s London metro routes at the end of 2013, shows rapid growth of 18.3%.

So what’s the reason for this? Population growth is high amongst area served by southeastern in London. In addition this covers the year of the olympics which should have boosted figures. Charlton saw a decline despite being a designated station for olympic visitors. One affect skewing the overall figures may be that many Kent stations show declines. This is evident in the Medway towns with declines at Gravesend, Greenhithe (Bluewater) and Gillingham. Dartford also shows a decrease. This could be skewing overall figures but a few London stations still show declines and those with increases are often below the national average, let alone London.

I think it’s a number of issues. Many southeastern stations in London are un-staffed all day. In addition there are no guards at all checking tickets on metro trains. Ticketless travel is far easier than other networks. Even if there are barriers they are left open most of the day. They are sometimes in use for a couple of hours at peak times, though there is almost always an alternative entrance without barriers. Are any stations staffed from opening all the way to closure? Even major stations such as Woolwich Arsenal close the ticket offices and open barriers in the early evening.

Many other networks across London have barriers in operation all day until past midnight. London Overground does on the majority of its services, as does the Underground. This not only increases safety but prevents ticketless travel. Some of Southern’s major routes in south London run on London Overground routes and so have barriers from the first service to the last. This is funded by London Overground. Of course, other franchises and routes do have unstaffed stations and a lack of barriers, but will often have guards on board every service checking tickets along the train. Across southeastern’s London network no barriers is the norm at the vast majority of stations along with no guards. The result is that unless travelling to a central London station, travelling without a ticket is very easy.

Fares

In addition southeastern could be suffering the cumulative effects of years of greater increases in fares compared to other franchises. The southeastern franchise had the highest fare increases of any UK franchise from 2006 to 2011, of inflation plus 3% each year. Other franchises had inflation + 1%.

Southeastern was nationalised in late 2003 after the failure of the Connex south eastern franchise. After 2 1/2 very successful years, with increasing reliability and vastly improved passenger communications, the company was re-privatised. That was in 2006, under Tony Blair’s Labour government with Brown in the treasury and Alistair Darling as Transport minister. The new franchise agreement stipulated the UK’s highest fare increases, plus slowed down many routes from Kent into London to ‘encourage’ people onto the new High Speed 1 services to St Pancras. Those new services were priced at a very high level and are only of benefit to select Kent commuters, yet all southeastern users were penalised, including London commuters.

That legacy of continual increases since 2006, above other franchises, could well have priced many off. Since the coalition came to power they have maintained a policy of high fare increases, though have abolished the additional increase southeastern had above other franchises.

OvergroundService Levels

Infrequent service levels could be another reason for poor growth. Once frequencies reach a level of (at least) one train every 15 minutes the service becomes a ‘turn up and go’ service. People know that they won’t have to wait too long at the platform. Advanced planning isn’t necessary before setting off. One of London Overground’s core strengths has been to increase as many services as possible to 4 trains an hour, at least, and late into the evening. This is what they were proposing for southeastern metro routes until blocked from taking over. Many southeastern routes currently drop to 2 trains an hour after 8 or 9pm and on Sundays. Thus you could be in line for a long wait. A cancellation then leaves a possible hour long wait. Compared to almost every other London rail route, and of course the underground, this is a terrible level of service which is holding back growth. Where services have been improved above 2 trains an hour across London and the UK, passenger numbers have responded with large growth.

Reliability & Train Length

Then there is the question of reliability. Southeastern have had periods of terrible punctuality. Much is beyond their control and is due to Network Rail. With that in mind it is still the case that too much has been a result of trains with maintenance faults. Given this, where people can use alternatives such as North Greenwich tube station, they will. This could factor in to Charlton’s figures.

Given the ease in avoiding paying for travel, I think these figures could well under-represent true passenger numbers. In addition there is huge latent demand if services improve to the standards elsewhere in London. It is worrying if figures are not showing true passenger numbers and untapped potential is not being realised, as this could affect future investment levels. The cycle then becomes embedded; investment is lower and passenger numbers stagnate.

Southeastern are one of the few franchises that have no plans for any new London commuter rolling stock in the coming years. Southern have large orders for 170 new  carriages, with new trains arriving weekly. Thameslink have an order for 1200 new carriages. TfL will take over some Greater Anglia lines in 2015 and are in the process of ordering new trains both for their current services and the Anglia lines. The trains freed up by that could be used to lengthen trains elsewhere for Greater Anglia passengers. First Great Western commuter lines are being electrified. They will receive more trains – either from Thameslink or a new order. South West trains are also being lengthened right now with 60 additional carriages.

Southeastern is enjoying no such luck. Packed out 4 carriage trains at rush hour look set to continue on some routes. The London Bridge rebuild makes things difficult in the immediate future but new stock will be needed by 2018. Perhaps sooner if not enough trains can be strengthened to 12 carriages from 2015. The Department for Transport may also hope that Crossrail will reduce the need for new trains come 2018, but it is looking like it could be full on day one.

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Another Tower Proposed for Woolwich (Lost Count Yet?)

Callis yardFollowing on from the plethora of recent proposals in Woolwich is another tower. The scheme is on the Callis Yard site, with the tower located opposite Waterfront leisure centre. It would be located opposite tall buildings planned as part of Berkeley Homes Royal Arsenal masterplan, and alongside Riverside House. Inland Homes is behind the scheme.

Callis Yard 3

The proposals are on the poor side and seem to be squeezing a lot into a tight plot. The tower itself is a bit of a mish-mash of various materials. Mainly grey brick and grey cladding. It’s not going to win any awards. Just as well it will be surrounded on pretty much all sides by other tall buildings. This is though a step down in quality from some of the Berkeley Homes development over the road. It has the whiff of the type of cheap building which was all too common 10 years ago.

The plan comprises of 97.2 sq metres of Leisure (opposite a large leisure centre?), 361.1 sq metres of nursery space and 160 new homes. It follows on from an aborted scheme given permission in 2008 which was of a lower height.

kings cross hotel metropolis pdInland Homes do not have a great track record of building quality buildings. Their site shows rather too many poor quality developments, built in a dated mid ’90s style. The architects they have commissioned for the Woolwich scheme are Metropolis PD.  They have the dubious honour of being the architects behind the design (below) which would have replaced the Georgian terrace (above) opposite Kings Cross station. The proposals were to replace them with a glass box. A really banal glass box. Fortunately planning was refused and renovation is now ongoing.

Refused hotel scheme

Refused hotel scheme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Woolwich tower will be surrounded on almost all sides, which is a blessing, and so its weak design is not a massive issue. The 160 flats and their occupants will bring some life back to that part of Woolwich. Berkeley Homes plan a number of tall buildings just over the road. The proposed scheme is shown below outlined in red.

Callis Yard overhead renderThe Waterfront leisure centre will be increasingly surrounded by tall buildings in coming years. This just adds one more to the many already planned. It is earmarked for possible change of use in the Woolwich masterplan and is in a prime riverside site. I suspect it wont be around in its present location for too many more years after Crossrail opens and the ferry is relocated.

Callis Yard overhead map

trav antic

Also in Woolwich, the Antic pub group have applied for planning permission for a new pub below the Travelodge. That would bring a pub to this neglected corner of Woolwich, close to where the tower is proposed. Antic run many well liked pubs across London and have recently opened the Post Office in Eltham. They are also planning to open a new pub in the former Woolwich building society HQ at General Gorden Square. The goal is to open by the end of March. In addition there will be another pub close to the Dial Arch in the Arsenal. That will be operated by the Geronimo group.

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Abbey Wood Crossrail Latest

abbey-wood-station-design-architects-impression

Construction at Abbey Wood Crossrail station is picking up speed. Some new dates have been revealed regarding forthcoming changes. The existing tracks on the line from Kent to London will be realigned, beginning in May. Construction on an interim station is starting now and will be open in October 2014, when the current station will be demolished. Access to the station from the north will be blocked whilst this happens, with access reinstated when building works are complete by Autumn 2017.

Abbey Wood station rampThe tangle of ugly, concrete 1970s ramps seen above are to be demolished. This picture also shows the amount of land by the station that is currently used for car parking and low rise industrial purposes. I would expect all that to be become high density housing in the near future. Below is an image of the new temporary station building, constructed on the former station car park.

Abbey Wood temporary station

Bexley and Greenwich boroughs, along with Crossrail, have been working with Urban Movement to develop public realm proposals to enhance the station approaches and Harrow Manor Way.

Abbey wood 244 combinedThis shows the current bin store for shops removed. A recent post on the Bexley is Bonkers blog highlights the difficulties shops are having with the bins so a new location will need to be found for them, if possible. More car parking is proposed. This will make up for the loss of spaces in the station car park, and no doubt Bexley council are salivating at the charges they hope to levy. No images are shown of the main shopping parade which is in long term decline. That should be the priority for street improvements.

Abbey Wood FelixstoweTo the north of the station the car park will be reduced. Better quality, lighter, more attractive paving will be installed. The pillars of the bridge are shown painted. Not sure about the blue. These are very early designs however. Bridges and flyovers are blots on many streets but the issues they present to pedestrians below can be fixed quite easily. With painting, planting, and better lighting the dark, gloomy oppressiveness can be Abbey Wood Felixstowe newalleviated. There’s many successful examples of that around SE1 in central London.

If the street was be be rebuilt in the style shown on the left then it shows a rather optimistic view of future parking and driving standards given current behaviour. Shared surfaces often seem to be an Cross Quarter abbey wood 2invitation to drive off the road and onto the pavement locally. The whole pedestrian area would be covered in cars, some parked, some double parked, and some waiting.

There’s also no sign of a cycle lane from the station to join the lane planned by Sainsbury’s about 100 metres away, though there’s ample space for one. The spot where the Sainsbury’s lane begins is behind the trees on the middle image above. There’s also no cycle stands shown. With buses from Thamesmead slow and busy it’s an ideal cycle route to invest in. A segregated lane from the station, past Sainsbury’s, then along the road to Thamesmead should be an absolute priority.

Thamesmead back street cycle lane

Abbey Wood cycle lane mapBexley council have plans for a cycle route through back streets in Thamesmead heading to the station, on the passage seen above. That would require a cyclist heading from the station to leave the segregated stretch, turn right crossing a very busy road, then turn left crossing another busy road, to join the uninviting back street shown above. Not gonna happen.

The map shows what is confirmed, and also what Bexley hopes to install. A better idea is to continue the segregated stretch straight past Sainsbury’s, along Harrow Manorway continuing to Thamesmead, on the ample space available to the left of the road as shown below. This would mean one less busy road to cross and offer a more direct route. Problem is, left of the road is Greenwich borough, and right is Bexley.

harrow

Cross Quarter Progress

In other semi-related news, the new Sainsbury’s, hotel, and flats development named ‘Cross Quarter’ has recently secured funding to begin construction. Demolition of the former Siemen’s factory is now complete. The first stage is projected to be finished by mid 2015.

IMG_20140226_175715

IMG_20140226_175723

Funding For Public Realm Improvements

In total there’s £90 million available from Crossrail specifically for public realm improvements. Other sources of revenue to imprve the local area are future Local Implementation Fund money from the Mayor and GLA, along with Section 106 payments from developers. As more proposals inevitably arrive in coming years so will millions more to both councils coffers.

Hopefully Bexley and Greenwich council, working together (eek!), will submit ambitious plans to secure a good chunk of the initial Crossrail cash to make improvements soon to an area long neglected. Following those initial stages immediately around the station, a plan should be devised to fundamentally improve the Harrow Manorway corridor, cycle lanes, Abbey Wood estate, the co-op estate, Thamesmead Stage 1 and other housing areas nearby. All are within walking distance of the station and all have been neglected for far too long. The cash will soon be available to do so. Hopefully the desire is there too.

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New Cinema For Eltham

cinema 2

Here is part two of my look at the many plans for Eltham in coming years. A bit later than expected so sorry about that. The most interesting proposal is a six screen cinema in a new building on the High Street combined with two restaurants. The former co op store, now a poundland, will be demolished and replaced with a new four storey building. Greenwich council took the rare step of buying the site in 2012 and agreed to build a cinema last November. Planning permission went in this week.

cinemaThe cinema proposal is part of a plan for Eltham town centre which aims to boost the High Street’s economy and encourage more people into the town in the evenings. A cinema with two restaurants in the same building at street level, and new high quality pubs in improved public spaces should certainly help in that aim. The council is to be praised for taking the initiative here and stepping in to buy the site. It is something unlikely to happen if left to the market. It’s a rare thing in the modern age for a public authority to take such a step but after many lethargic developer failings over the past 20 years it is something that is to be encouraged. Of course, it could go very wrong and cost taxpayers a fair sum.

Existing shop

Existing shop

I’m sure there are many who think the public sector should never get involved in such things. But I think they are onto a winner here and it will be a big success. Waiting for private developers to get to this stage would likely take many years, if at all. With the ridiculous cost of land in London today barriers to entry for newcomers are vast. That’s something that national government needs to fix, and looks very unlikely to, so the local authority needs to do what it can within the constraints. Eltham is a short hop from Woolwich, Kidbrooke and Lewisham, which are all having thousands of new homes constructed and will provide a huge potential market along with the existing population.

coronetJust down the road is a good example of such failings at the site of Eltham’s former cinema, which closed in 2000. The former Odeon, then Coronet cinema, was a wonderful art deco cinema. It was a building of great character and a landmark in area. Developers Cathedral group bought in 2000. Part of the plans were that the cinema would return. However no cinema returned. Instead it is to become a gym. And the housing element took 10 years to build 58 homes. And what they did build was awful.

Image

Look at those atrocious windows. They look like bands that belong on the exterior of a category A prison. You can imagine bands of cells behind. They have massive frames for small windows. Cathedral chose the dreariest colour too. You’ll notice it differs slightly from the render below.

coronet eltham render

And the reality below. Many cut backs, or ‘value engineering’ to be seen.

eltham tesco 2This kind of cheaply constructed and barely designed building has been all too common over the past 20 years due to minimal standards and regulation. Things like those small windows were allowed as regulations on minimum window size and natural light were abolished. Fortunately many developments over the past 5 years have shown real signs of improvement and regulations, similar to the Parker-Morris standard abolished in the 1980s, have been re-introduced in some types of housing. Basic elements like good proportions are now more in evidence. It’s a shame that in Eltham a prime site, facing onto a busy street, has been lumbered with this.

And the length of time taken to get to the construction stage reveals the many flaws in the UK housing industry in recent decades. Cathedral sat on it without building for 10 years. When they did they produced an awful building at bare minimum cost. This is why developers need to be fined if they buy land and do not build within a set period. There is a massive need for housing and local authorities have extremely limited abilities to build by law. But private developers are constructing half of what is needed. Last year just 125k homes were built. This has not just occurred after the 2008 recession that house builders and many politicians like to claim. Developers did not build enough in the 20 years even before the credit crunch, when they could source funding easily for construction, and credit was available to buyers with minimum checks or deposit.

If developers overpaid for the land before 2008 then that’s tough. If forced to sell others will or should be permitted to buy – private or public. With lower land prices smaller developers can expand, and new ones enter the market. Free the shackles of local authorities who should be able to borrow to build. This could be Greenwich council or the Greater London Authority. A reduction in over-inflated land prices would see lower and more sustainable house prices. Lower rents as well for businesses looking to open up, which would add to the vitality of local areas. Currently developers charge extortionate commercial rents to cover the high prices they paid for land. Hardly any units are then taken and those that are belong to the same old mass chains. More often they are vacant for a year or two and then converted into a couple of units of housing and increases the sterility of new developments whilst vitality and convenience suffer.

ELTHAM STATION

Eltham station will hopefully be utilised by people coming to the cinema. The massive Kidbrooke and Lewisham developments have great rail access to Eltham. It’s a very short trip on the train from both. Timetable and frequency improvements are required. Later evening trains would be needed to help prevent people having to rush from the end of a film or a drink to the station. The last train from Eltham to Lewisham and Kidbrooke is 11:12pm. With the tube becoming 24 hours on weekends from 2015 serious consideration now needs to be given to later trains. This will be very hard to achieve whilst London Bridge is rebuilt up to 2018 but after completion is a must. People increasingly work varied hours, and with the evening economy growing all the time later transport is needed. South East London already suffers from terrible frequencies that the rest of London doesn’t have to put up with, such as just 2 trains per hour in the evening on the Eltham line. Early finishing trains whilst many other areas enjoy later weekend transport would be another insult. The demand is already there and will only increase.

The station doesn’t provide the best introduction to Eltham. It is laid out like a major junction which I assumed it was. Looking on google maps though it appears not, with one main road (Well Hall Road) intersected by one minor road and the station bus stops. Maybe locals could help, but is there scope to alter this junction into a less ugly, and more welcoming introduction to the town?

Eltham station junctionEltham station

It doesn’t appear to be pedestrian friendly. It is located above the major A2 road so scope to improve is limited and probably not the most pressing concern. Small scale interventions to improve attractiveness and accessibility would however be welcome.

The Eltham masterplan includes a few other bits which will be of interest. One is the possible closure and relocation of a Roper Street school.

“It is intended that site D, the current Roper Street school, is relocated to the site of the existing car showroom on Eltham Hill. This allows this space to be opened to provide a residential led mixed use development. The site could incorporate a range of uses including residential, such as a gallery space, theatre or community centre, whilst protecting the existing school frontage.”

The future appears bright for Eltham. Last time I visited it seemed a town with declining fortunes and a night out in a couple of pubs left a lot to be desired. Now though with £5 million to improve the high street, a new cinema and restaurant building and better pubs, along with new developments increasing the town centre population, the future seems positive.

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New Greenwich Peninsula Development Ruins Masterplan?

Image

My next post was going to be more about the various things planned for Eltham but I’ve decided to put this short post out as it concerns proposals that are being considered for planning permission very soon.

peninsula mapDevelopment on Greenwich Peninsula is finally picking up the pace. Plans for five plots and the jetty are due to be decided next Monday (sections in red to the left) and include a couple of towers. I’ve had a look, which wasn’t easy as Greenwich Council’s website kept crashing and bringing up various error messages.

Image

It appears that the developer (Knight Dragon) wants the building on Plot M0116 to ignore the carefully designed plot boundaries from the 2004 masterplan, and have the building jut out halfway across the street hampering views from the park to the river.

ImageThe image on the left shows the red lines of the intended avenue width in the 2004 masterplan. The blue line shows where the new building will intrude over the street ruining the harmony of buildings lining the road. They will no longer be flush and offer consistency.

The other half of the intended park to river view will have trees blocking the vista.

peninsula plan 3 overhang 2The other image on the right has a red boundary outline, which shows the building size of the structure now in for planning permission, and how it is larger than the planned size (in white) the masterplan allows. The park to the south west loses direct views to the Thames.

Let’s not forget that the masterplan was drawn up at a high cost, over many years and under the guidance of experts.  Then developers come along and ignore one of the core aims. This is where the local authority needs to ask questions. It should be noted the boundary section facing south west refers to the landscape area in for permission and the building will not intrude there, only onto the avenue running from the park to the river.

To partly circumvent the masterplan’s aim while still hoping to gain permission the proposal allows pedestrian movement at street level based upon the original designated boundary, and only leans out at first floor and above levels. This will also increase the overbearing nature of the building on the park right next to this section.

One of the best things about grid type layouts, even of the small type planned for here, is the vistas they provide between narrow avenues and buildings. By allowing buildings to block them it ruins the effect. And if allowed here then one plot application after another will ignore the plan.

There have already been previous changes to original plans such as cutting the number of affordable housing units. Now just 21% of homes on the 11 plots being developed across the peninsula will be affordable, or in terms of rooms a drop from 38% to 25% as can be seen on the 853 blog.

I will have a look and see what else turns up in these plans. And get on with that intended look at other Eltham schemes.

EDIT: Here’s another image that shows the building will intrude 7 metres into the avenue, and 20 metres further from the original building line which was set back. The red block is the masterplan intended plot, and the new proposal is to the left -

peninsula building overhang 2

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