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Greenwich Peninsula affordable homes cut by council

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Quintain plan for Greenwich Peninsula

Greenwich councillors agreed last night to back plans to cut the proportion of affordable housing on Greenwich Peninsula – overturning the original plans to create mixed communities across the area.

Now just 21% of homes on the 11 plots being developed on the peninsula will be affordable – or in terms of rooms, a cut from 38% to 25%.

The council’s planning board unanimously supported the proposal, which also sets in stone plans to reduce the amount of affordable housing in the Peninsula Quays development in the north of the peninsula to zero, and to increase it in new developments near Greenwich Millennium Village.

The Peninsula Quays plan, overlooking the river immediately to the south-west of the Dome, envisages a private school, “high-end private residential” units at Drawdock Road, and a four/five star hotel at Ordnance Crescent.

It also emerged that mayor Boris Johnson’s Greater London Authority has agreed to sell the 11 plots of land on the peninsula at a lower cost to help kick-start development.

“The increased values that the [Peninsula Quays development] will generate are to be used to cross subsidise the provision of more affordable housing on the seven plots to the south-east of the site,” a planning officers’ report says.

“Overall more affordable housing will be delivered than if it had been spread across all 11 plots.”

There is nothing in the planning papers to indicate just what affordable housing would be provided – whether they would be tiny flats or family homes.

As mentioned here in April, residents in GMV and City Peninsula – the tower block just to the north – are furious, with City Peninsula residents’ spokesman Shane Brownie predicting the plan would result in “a polarised community”.

Such social cleansing of new developments goes against Greenwich Council policy, as described by Greenwich & Woolwich Labour Party chair David Gardner in a comment on this site last week: “Greenwich have a long standing policy supporting a strong social housing obligation within all developments and to pepper pot to avoid ghettoes of social housing… with the exclusive properties all overlooking the river.

“I very much trust that Greenwich planners have adhered to this critical principle of mixed developments and communities.”

Unfortunately for him, they haven’t.

Among the councillors voting for the cut in affordable housing was Denise Hyland, the regeneration cabinet member supposedly in charge of enforcing planning policy.

No public consultation was undertaken on the issue – the council says it is not obliged to by law, and that the decision is necessary for developer Meridian Delta Limited to obtain £50million in funding for the affordable housing, which works out at about £77,000 for each of the 646 homes. However, an “independent financial assessor” verified the developers’ claims, the council says.

I’m hoping to get more details of last night’s meeting as the day goes on, but the planning board also backed plans to build a private gym in never-used retail space at the foot of the the mostly-empty 6 Mitre Passage office building close to the Dome.

Written by Darryl

26 June, 2013 at 7:30 am

11 Responses

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  1. In terms of those for sale 90% will be bought by overseas investors if London development trends are any indication. The only difference is those ultra prime ones in the north will be lived in for about a month of the year at most, and those in the south bought by buy to let landlords. Chance of locals being able to buy one – minimal.

    fromthemurkydepths

    26 June, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  2. So, 10,000 homes. How many children is that ? How many schools need to be built (besides the posh one)?
    I dont see any new schools (besides the posh one) mentioned.
    – How much water will these people consume – do we need to build another reservoir?
    I assume this information will be provided somewhere.

    Harry

    26 June, 2013 at 9:08 pm

  3. @Harry dont the plans include plans for a free school? Yes I imagine they will be bought by foreign investors. I met a Korean a few weeks ago who said he wanted to buy a London flat as his dauighter would like to attend a UK university. I asked which university she was keen on to which he replied “I am not sure as she is only 4″. It makes sense really as on many metrics (for thos from overseas) London property isnt expensive especially with the pound so low.

    Richard

    27 June, 2013 at 9:59 am

  4. Harry’s point is a good one – where’s the infrastructure for all these new homes (and many more in the Borough as a whole)? The extra buses, trains, healthcare (is everyone in Greenwich and Lewisham going to have to use Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s A & E?), schools… It’s all very well the council pandering to developers and getting quick cash, but the developers don’t have to live in the homes they built and off they go to another lucky site, leaving an overcrowded, over-hyped mess. A bit more thought would be good, instead of a headlong rush into high-rise buildings for overseas investors.

    Joe

    29 June, 2013 at 8:59 pm

  5. I am particularly concerned about the impact of this scheme and others on the Jubilee Line and North Greenwich station (which everyone in the borough seems to get a bus to and use). This station/line is already operating at full capacity during peak hours and this scheme and others are going to exacerbate this. If transport capacity in the area is not increased it is going to heap further rush hour misery on everyone locally that commutes. I would like to see the Council urgently prioritising this. The Council should be lobbying TFL harder for a new southern extension of the DLR across the river from Canning Town and/or a more easterly terminus (in Greenwich) for the Bakerloo Line extension.
    .

    Tony

    30 June, 2013 at 11:42 am

  6. TfL seem to think that a DLR extension south from Canning Town will actually put more pressure on North Greenwich with a greater number using it as an interchange.

    In the infamous “Assessment of Options” report for the river crossing, point 4.64 highlights the fact that a DLR extension from canning Town to Falconwood would reduce the service through City Airport/Woolwich. This stretch of line is already very busy at peak times and I cannot see this working. There would also be a knock-on capacity issue at North Greenwich as people changed onto the Jubilee line to get to Canary Wharf (4.68). This means that any Silvertown rail tunnel would actually be built at significant cost for a low number of passengers (4.75.iv)

    The Bakerloo idea is very interesting. If this were to happen it would ideally be extended through Charlton and Woolwich and on to Thamesmead as a significant number of people use buses from Thamesmead to get to North Greenwich. This in itself would ease pressure on North Greenwich and I suspect the impact of Crossrail will make the North Kent line quieter in any case post-2018.

    Stewart

    1 July, 2013 at 1:52 pm

  7. Hi all, I thought you might be interested in the statement I read out at the Planning Board on my concerns about what is amounting to a very polarised community that the council are approving on the peninsula, with little regard to mixed sustainable communities.

    Good evening. My name is Shane Brownie. I am the Secretary of the City Peninsula Residents Association. The residents of City Peninsula live adjacent to the 11 plots referred to in tonight’s proposal to modify the section 106 agreement and subsequent applications for peninsula quays.

    At the planning board on the 28th February I and our association’s Chair spoke on behalf of residents to object to the variation to the section 106 agreement on the grounds that:

    * it would result in a reduction in the number of affordable housing across the peninsula and;
    * that it would result in a polarised community by allowing no affordable housing on Peninsula Quays and unsustainably high proportions of affordable housing in the south of the peninsula – in conflict with policies on mixed and balanced communities within the Peninsula Masterplan and the council’s and the Mayors planning policies.

    The developers case was made solely on their claim of worsening financial viability not now being able to support the number and spread of affordable housing agreed in the masterplan.

    Members made clear they would have opposed the variation but for the need to ensure £50m affordable housing grant was not lost and that the variation would result in an acceleration of development across the peninsula.

    Tonight’s further modification would allow the developer to escape from its commitment to build out peninsula quays and do so at its leisure. It would also allow them to come back to the council if they were unable to secure a provider of the Affordable housing, to secure and develop the affordable housing.

    The developers are clearly wanting to “have their cake and eat it”. On the one hand they are claiming worsening viability to secure lower affordable housing and a polarised provision, and on the other hand they want the flexibility to build out Peninsula Quays at their leisure in order to improve their viability in later years. The modification would also introduce uncertainty to the provision of affordable housing by allowing the developers to come back to the council and renegotiate a lower allocation in future.

    We note the developers would be receiving £50m of affordable housing grant from the government, equivalent to £77,000 per unit, as well as the sale price they would receive from the registered provider, and we also note from tonight’s paper that the developer has secured an additional discount from the GLA on the cost of the land – all adding up to considerable public subsidy.

    Given these very high levels of subsidy, the strong and improving London housing market, record profits currently being obtained by developers and the intensification of development on peninsula quays, we do not accept that viability has worsened such that conditions agreed in the master plan cannot be delivered. And we would like to urge the council to make public its report on viability for further scrutiny.

    As tonight’s paper notes, the developers have been woefully inadequate in developing out the peninsula to date with only 229 homes in total being constructed since the masterplan compared to the proposed construction rate of 500 homes per year. The existing condition provides the council with some leverage to ensure development is brought forward by the end of 2017. The modification would remove this leverage and allow the developers to further delay development beyond six years in order to further improve their viability. Such improved viability would then be able to support a higher and more balanced provision of affordable housing.

    As such, we would like to urge members to reject this further modification of the section 106 and the peninsula quays applications on the basis that it would result in a lower allocation of affordable housing overall, result in a polarised community across the peninsula,

    But also that it would introduce uncertainty to the provision of any such affordable housing and allow further delay in the development of the peninsula overall.

    Many thanks for your time.
    Shane Brownie
    City Peninsula Residents

    datademon

    3 July, 2013 at 10:38 pm

  8. Well done, Shane.

    One thing that puzzles me about the need for the variation is the talk of losing £50m of GLA funding. As both Chris Roberts and Mike Youkee (ex-Quintain) sit on Johnson’s “Homes for London” board couldn’t some extension be reached? After all, it looks like they ar ethe ones who approve the funding.

    http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/development/london-mayor-announces-housing-board-members/6521962.article

    Stewart

    4 July, 2013 at 9:35 pm

  9. […] Nor will you read about how the proportion of social housing was cut by Greenwich Council. […]

  10. […] the council accepted a lower offer of £2m just to get the damn thing finished. And look at the Greenwich Peninsula: plans amended so there’s now no affordable housing in the swanky bit near the O2 and a […]

  11. […] 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. […]


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