Peabody plans aerial

Housing Association Peabody have submitted preliminary planning documents for the demolition and rebuild of parts of Thamesmead and Abbey Wood. The rebuilding project is split into four segments with 1661 homes planned.

Peabody plans squareSome new information is contained within the scoping report. The map above shows the first stage, named Southmere Village. Plans are most advance here, and detailed planning is due shortly.

Outline permission is also being sought for the following three stages – Binsey Walk to the north, with 330 homes planned. The flats here are now mostly empty. To the south there’s both Coralline Walk (550 homes planned) which is now seeing resdients moved out, and a section called ‘Sedgemere’ (219 homes planned). Each stage sees towers up to 15 storeys.

The section named Sedgemere is located opposite Sainsbury’s and in Abbey Wood. It currently contains some small industrial units, a petrol station and a small parade of shops. This section is almost on top of the Crossrail station.

Other information contained:

  • The road link connection Lensbury Way to the new roundabout by Sainsbury’s is likely to be severed. The roundabout was only built and opened six months ago. It probably makes sense given the messy road layout now existing, but where was the forward planning?
Lensbury Way on left. Sedgemere area behind
Lensbury Way on left. Sedgemere area behind
  • A consideration of widening Harrow Manorway between Abbey Wood station and Yarnton Way to provide a bus lane in each direction. This is essential being the main link between much of north Thamesmead and Abbey Wood station. Buses are already slowed as traffic has increased notably since Sainsbury’s opened with more traffic lights installed. Add in thousands of homes and Crossrail and gridlock is likely without action. Plenty of space exists to widen as substantial grass verges are located all along the road.
Main route to station from Thamesmead.
Main route to station from Thamesmead.
  • No mention of a cycle lane along here. There’s space, and if widening the road and paving then a segregated cycle lane would be pretty easy and cheap to install.
  • More traffic lights added to Yarnton Way & Eynsham Drive roundabout. They’re likely to be needed with many new homes and things such as Lidl’s rebuilding (which will hopefully include housing itself). The roundabout is pretty substantial and takes up much land – it may make more sense to convert to a junction to increase land available for housing on sites surrounding it, such as the car wash.
Much wasted land
Much wasted land – car wash on left

The roundabout itself is bloody huge, with land on the left in the above image severely under-utilised. Greenwich council’s beautiful Highways design and management is also much in evidence here. A new masterplan really does need drawing up by councils for this whole area. It’s just five minutes walk from the forthcoming Crossrail station.

  • Removal of the bridge over Harrow Manorway with a street level crossing. Also, a bus lane installed here.

harrow bridge

As there’s almost never any problems here with buses being held up, unlike many other areas, I’d hope this is carefully studied before money spent. Similar things have happened nearby, with other users then funneled into one lane causing congestion. The newly created queues lead back onto other single lane roads nearby which in turns slows down buses on those streets. A supposed bus improvement measure actually slows down buses.

The document also states that developers Hub, behind stage two of Cross Quarter at Abbey Wood, are looking to increase the numbers of flats beyond previous plans. It’s no surprise given the location and HUB’s previous type of development. They are now looking at three blocks, one a 20 storey tower, and containing 250-300 flats.

Stage 1 – Southmere Village

Peabody plans aerial 2
Indicative render from 2015 consultation

Detailed plans for stage 1 should be submitted in coming months, and if approved work on site would commence in early 2017 with first occupations in early 2018. 562 homes are planned here.

rebuild early plans

In the meantime, a new road crossing is to be built on Yarnton Way. A footbridge was recently demolished which made crossing the road a bit tricky. The southern path is being widened, which is badly needed, as can be seen below:

crossing yarnton

corraline walk thamesmead pavement
Very narrow paths. Massive roundabout seen behind

So then, assuming these plans run to schedule, there could be around1000 homes built in the vicinity of Abbey Wood station before Crossrail opens. Some have predicted Crossrail will be full on day one. I’m not sure about that, and there’s scope to extend trains on it, but it does show how planning for infrastructure improvements needs to continually move forward.

Paris is leading the way, with four lines coming in the next 15 years. Don’t bank on the UK being so pro-active. Crossrail and Thameslink are opening decades after originally planned due to constant government wavering, which is exacerbating issues now at London Bridge, and even the short Bakerloo line extension (originally planned in the 1930s) is due to take 15 years to build.