woolwich connaught

A while ago I wrote about general plans for the demolition and regeneration of three Woolwich estates. Detailed planning has now gone in for first stage of the regeneration of three Woolwich estates, under the ‘One Woolwich’ banner, which shows a few more detailed images. The Connaught estate, close to the new Tesco, will be demolished, as seen in the rather optimistic image shown above. This is part of a wider scheme which also sees the demolition of Morris Walk and Maryon Grove estates. More information can be found on a previous post by clicking here.

The new Connaught will include 654 homes, mainly in the form of flats. Yellow brick is the order of the day.

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This image shows the primary street running through the site. The landscaping is varied and maintenance will be crucial. Greenwich council are notoriously very poor at maintenance so that will need to be addressed. Though with just 35% classified as ‘affordable’ it could be that private maintenance will instead take place, coming from resident’s service charges. As for that 35% of affordable homes – 10% are shared ownership and 25% rent. With affordable rent now 80% of market rates they will hardly be affordable. in addition, it would be no surprise if the majority for private sale are sold off-plan, mainly to Asian investors, who then let them to people claiming housing benefits, due to the high rents. The tenants will now be renting from private foreign landlords instead of public authorities, with taxpayers picking up the additional costs via higher housing benefit costs. And the tenants get less security in year to year short term contracts. Such is the modern housing situation across Britain. More expensive for tenants, and more expensive for taxpayers.

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Here we see the tallest towers. Protruding balconies are prominent across the blocks, with some recessed inside the frame of the structure at select points. It’s not a bad look at all, and in keeping with many new developments across London and the UK in recent years. Thankfully the tacky plastic panels seen on some developments are absent. It looks vastly better than the existing estate –

connaught existing

connaught existing 2

This shows a typical lack of care at street level. Look at the rails on the left, and the gate on the right. They are very cheap, unpainted steel. The wall on right below the walkway hasn’t been painted for years. This is typical, whether an area is due for demolition or not, and is symptomatic of the care shown to public spaces that needs to improve, to prevent new developments declining once built.

connaught opposite
Directly opposite the new development

The new Connaught will face onto a recent development which looks good, and which features a welcome splash of colour. The only problem with it seems that the steel fencing at street level is very harsh, and looks cheap as it is unpainted. It’s a shame that overlooking small details such as this can have detrimental affects on the whole development.

connaught opposite 2The balconies also help relieve what could be a dull block. Good window proportions are also evident. A great step forward from developments throughout the ’90s into the 2000s, when Labour resisted any attempt for decent standards, e.g of window size, believing the market would deliver. They didn’t in the vast majority of cases.

woolwich connaught 4

The image above shows a box with a non active frontage at the corner. I presume this is an electrical substation. It is a shame this could not be re-sited. This seems like an ideal place for a cafe and community space. It faces on to two patches of greenery, and would be a pleasant spot for eating, drinking and socialising. There doesn’t seem to be any retail or cafe/bar. No doubt the developers will say it’s a short walk to Woolwich, but this is a development where a couple of thousand will live, and a focal point is needed.

Finally, there is this render below showing the roofs of the buildings facing onto the primary street through the site. I’m a big fan of the mansard roof, with the odd brick balcony jutting out, along with the warmth of the roof colour.

woolwich connaught 6

Links to all the documents relating to the application can be found by clicking here.

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