Plans for up to 7500 homes in Charlton are now online in draft form and responses to the draft have to be in by tomorrow. Then the formal consultation begins. I’ve had a quick look through and here’s a few things that stood out:

New Park

An expanded park by the Thames Barrier is planned, as seen above.

There’s talk of a “green bridge” from the planned new park to Maryon Park over the road. I’m a bit wary of this plan as it’ll eat up £12 million to install. A street crossing is costed at far less – half a million. That £11.5 million could achieve much elsewhere.

The inspiration appears to be the green bridge at Mile End. I’ve walked under that spot a number of times over the years and it seems a bit gloomy underneath. It’s not a pleasant space underneath on the very busy main street. And a bridge at Charlton would see people at street level have to ascend up the bridge to cross over. There’s a school directly beside the site – will pupils bother to climb up to then cross and climb down?

consultation-at-grade-crossing
At-grade crossing as seen here is £11.5 million less

Heights

Most buildings are planned to be between 3-6 storeys in height. This seems a little low given the vast expanse of the site and the huge need for homes. I can understand not wanting numerous 20-storey towers though given a population rising over a million people per decade that could be needed on huge sites with a blank slate such as this.

But crucially they also state that transport improvements will see that plan for 3-6 storeys change. This is mentioned in combination with the DLR or tube but it’s not hard to see how a revised Waterfront Transit would be used as an example of improved links to push for taller buildings:

consultation-gwt

Even if mid-rise forms are desired which still offer high density, having 5-8 floors would be better than 3-6. The masterplan mentions mid-rise housing in European cities such as Paris and Madrid as a desired models to follow:

charlton-mid-rise-paris-madrid

Both do follow a mid-rise model that works incredibly well all over Europe, from Milan and Seville to Copenhagen and Berlin. But 3-6 storeys in Madrid and Paris? Well 5-8 is more likely and that’s with higher ceiling heights. Here’s a typical inner-suburban Madrid street – note this isn’t in the city centre.

madrid

Streets

The document mentions using Government’s 2007 manual for streets to inform street design. There’s no mention of TfL’s recent 2016 Streetscape manual, but both are still leagues ahead of how Greenwich’s Highway’s Department currently operate. All very positive, but these guides rarely inform routine work when carried out. It’s no good only using guidelines for massive multi-million pound projects when day-to-day work is so poor and outdated.

Retail

Opening in 2017 with 454 car parking spaces
Opening in 2017 with 454 car parking spaces

This masterplan finally does what the 2012 should’ve done and provides mixed-use sites including residential across the site, including those current retail barns.

cconsultation-retail-barns

The five year delay in doing so allowed numerous retail sheds to be built or attain planning permission which exacerbated traffic issues and did nothing to help with housing shortages.

Makro is the only giant site which is listed as being altered even in the medium term:

consultations-delivery-stages

Anchor and Hope Lane is seen as a focal point for the site – a new High Street in effect. But the Sainsbury’s depot will remain thus impacting on the stretch to the river.

I’ll have a further look through and do a follow-up post of other things that stand up. You can read it yourself by clicking here (it’s at the bottom of the page). Comments can be emailed to charlton-masterplan@royalgreenwich.gov.uk

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