Posts Tagged ‘lovell’s wharf’
For years, its cut-off Thames Path stood as a reminder of the poor relationship between developers and locals in Greenwich. Now the firm which is developing Lovell’s Wharf and neighbouring Pipers, Granite and Badcock’s Wharves – under the uninspiring Greenwich Wharf banner – wants Greenwich Council to back plans to pack more homes into the site, taking the blocks from 10 to 13 storeys high.
The Greenwich Phantom’s already discussed this, but it’s worth restating what’s planned. The developer wants to increase the number of flats in the development from 667 to 913 – with the extra 246 flats all for private sale.
There was a consultation at the end of last year – it doesn’t seem to have had much effect, though.
Plans for a hotel and offices are axed in the new scheme, along with nearly all other non-residential uses. The original plans, approved in 2007, included a health centre, some shops, and a rowing club.
Reading through the planning documents (Greenwich Council’s new planning website is a mess, unfortunately), you could be forgiven for thinking that the developers saw the approved proposals for adjacent Enderby’s Wharf included 16-storey blocks, and thought “we fancy a bit of that”.
But even the current, more modest buildings are looming horribly over Banning Street – the new proposals look less like community-building, more like a quick money-making scheme, packing people in with fewer facilities and no investment in local transport to help them get in and out of the area.
One of the first big barneys on this site was over the closure – well, destruction – of the Thames Path at Lovell’s Wharf in Greenwich, and the council’s subsequent grovelling to developers after that.
Of course, the developers then downed tools after finishing the first phase, leaving a flooded hole in the ground where the future developments promised by the council’s propaganda weekly should have been.
But work’s recently recommenced, and nearly three years after the fences came down and people realised the path had been destroyed, Durkan Homes has finally replaced it. It actually opened on 11 January, and huge credit must go to local councillor Mary Mills, who cut the ribbon that day.
Looking back at the original May 2010 post, mind, it’s striking just how many of the complaints – of poor communication and council arrogance – still ring true now, particularly in light of recent events. And that was just after an election…
Further up the path, there’s some dramatic progress along the remaining closed section of the path, between Delta Wharf and Drawdock Road, just next to the Dome…
The whole thing’s being rebuilt – including the river wall, and the slipway at the end of Drawdock Road. Might be a while yet. And before you ask, there’s still no sign of Delta Wharf turning into a beach for the 2012 Olympics…
But at least now most of the path is now open, except for that short section – should you be walking or cycling it westbound, keep a very close eye for the pathway that takes you back onto it (just beyond the oddly-pointless traffic lights at the top of the Blackwall Tunnel escape ramp).
All of which gives you the chance for a proper walk or cycle along the Thames, and to enjoy the work of the secretive Greenwich Guerrilla Knitters. Their creations are holding up well, despite the winter.
9.15pm update: A committee of councillors will be discussing a report into cycling along the Thames Path (that’s along the whole borough, from Deptford to Thamesmead) at 7pm on Tuesday 12 February, at Woolwich Town Hall.
There’s plenty of competition for the title, but Lovell’s Wharf may well be Greenwich’s worst development site. Not content with having destroyed the riverside path, developers London & Regional Properties now want to have 13-storey tower blocks on the site – similar to the original plans for the site, thrown out some years back.
From The Greenwich Phantom:
The developers of the site called Greenwich Wharves are proposing some substantial changes to
- increasing the total square metres from 94,825 by 12,695 sq.m – anincrease of 30%
- increase the number of new homes from 667 to 911 – about 37% increase
- change in the height of the buildings up to 13 storeys on the riverfront
- reduction in the commercial and office accommodation – no details provided about what or how much is reduced
The commercial and office accommodation were an important factor in the consented plans. Before consent there had been an outrageous original proposal for very tall buildings. The developers now appear to be trying to claw back what they were originally refused.
There are consultation meetings on Tuesday 11th December from 5pm to 9pm, and on Wednesday 12th December from 2pm to 9pm, at Rothbury Hall on Azof Street.
Much of the site was abandoned during the early years of the economic crash, although work is now underway on the second phase of Lovell’s. Nearby, there remains little sign of work on the much-vaunted cruise liner terminal.
PS. If you haven’t seen it already, take a look at the Phantom’s Advent calendar…
Ten minutes’ walk from here, the Duchess of Cornwall was being offered canapes at a Queens House reception. At the same time, flowers and candles were being placed at the site of Sunday’s shooting in Banning Street, while friends, neighbours and passers-by paused to reflect.
I’ve written about this area before. Behind these hoardings once stood Lovell’s Wharf. Some years ago, the industrial buildings were swept away, along with the riverside path behind it. Last year, the first housing on the site was occupied, and earlier this year other blocks were opened on Banning Street. It’s a mixed development – plush riverside homes on one side, opposite affordable and social housing.
But the rest of the site has been abandoned by developers London & Regional Properties and Durkan Homes. The riverside path has been destroyed, and behind those hoardings now lies a huge, unguarded, pool of dirty water. A bumpy, unfinished road curls through the development, with crumbling yards on one side and brand new housing on the other.
Terrible crimes like this can happen anywhere – it’s only a few month since a man’s body was found in a burnt-out car in a lane behind swish housing off Blackheath. What Angerstein Lane and Banning Street have in common, though, is that they are isolated corners.
The brochure at liveatlovells.com promises the “lightness and luxury of riverside living”, but older residents will know that riverside living, down by the wharves or down by the docks, had a darker side too. Sunday’s tragedy was an awful reminder of that.
Until the Lovell’s Wharf development is finished, and London & Regional Properties ends its neglect of the project, the area’s going to remain a favourite for shady dealings and those who’d like to stay out of sight.
With the weather looking good for Easter weekend, it’s come just in time.
A rock garden has also been built along the path – something else for the occupiers of the new homes to look out upon.
This now means the only section of Thames Path closed between Deptford Creek and the Thames Barrier is the stretch at Lovells Wharf, where the path has been routed past a sales office belonging to estate agents ‘King Sturge, and where London and Regional Properties is showing no signs of planning to restore the pathway it destroyed.
One other little bit of Thames Path news – Ballast Quay, where the Cutty Sark pub is, is now two way for cyclists only. Personally, I prefer to avoid the cobbles and ride direct along Banning Street and Old Woolwich Road, but scenic cyclists can now follow the river in both directions if they want to.
6:45PM UPDATE: One word of warning, though – don’t go expecting a sit down next to the Dome, where the Homes & Communities Agency has decided that while Greenwich Peninsula is “a place where you can”, it’s certainly not a place where it’ll bother emptying litter bins on its stretch of the path. Carrier bags are courtesy of the brand new Tesco Express. That’ll look lovely come Easter Monday…
I’ve made a few visits to the Thames Path at Greenwich over the past few days – with this wonderful weather, I haven’t been the only one. Although the path reopened before Christmas, part of it has been difficult to navigate thanks to huge great puddles through a short stretch of it. Now the puddles have dried out, and the walkers and cyclists have returned.
But now many of the riverside buildings have gone – including the Tunnel Refineries silos – parts of it are in a sorry state. You might have read about the planned Peninsula Festival beach – well, I assume this isn’t a preview of what to expect…
The saddest sight, though, is Enderby’s Wharf – in particular, Enderby House. Despite planning permission having been given for the cruise liner terminal development, very little has happened on site, apart from an invasion of vandals. The house actually looked worse yesterday, with the door left hanging open. This was how it looked last week…
Apparently some of the problems are due to cable theft – the rising price of copper making it a target. But it’s unfortunate that West Properties have left this area wide open to thieves and vandals. I’m told the situation will be fixed soon – it can’t come soon enough.
Still, at least we have most of the path back. Apart from the stretch that started all this off, where London & Regional Properties are content to keep part of Lovells Wharf as a hole in the ground, filling up with water.
While it’s great to have most of the path back, a stroll by the Thames at Greenwich really doesn’t put the property industry in the best light.
There’s a fresh exhibition on Wednesday and Thursday of plans to build a cruise liner terminal at Enderby’s Wharf – those are the ones announced by the leader of Greenwich Council on TV before any meaningful consultation had taken place.
The developers say:
Since the previous exhibition and consultation events, the proposals for the regeneration of the vacant wharf for a mix of uses including an international cruise liner terminal, new river bus service together with hotel, training and residential accommodation, and reuse of Enderby House as a tourist interpretation centre have continued to evolve. These proposals have now been supplemented by the design of a new public square adjacent to Enderby House which is linked to the Thames Path and a series of tidal gardens on the banks of the River Thames. The ambition to release over 50% of the wharf to new open space and public realm has been retained.
Prior to the submission of a planning application, which is to submitted shortly, we would like to invite you to this exhibition being held on Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th October 2010 where plans and a model of the proposals will be on display. The event will be held between 4pm and 8.30pm on both days in Christ Church next to the Forum in East Greenwich on Trafalgar Road.
Images from the exhibition have also been placed online – although not in a particularly user-friendly format, and there’s a lot of guff to wade through.
Next door, there’s recently been a bit of movement at Lovell’s Wharf and there’s a few more feet of river path open – the footway now leads to a set of steps leading down to Banning Street, as well as the developers’ marketing suite. With 22 months to go until the Olympics, this is the state of the Thames Path at Lovell’s Wharf right now…
Credit to Peninsula councillor Mary Mills for being the bearer of more bad tidings – another closure of Greenwich’s Thames Path. This one is on the east side of the peninsula, just past the Millennium Village, as work continues on the massive City Peninsula development. It’s not a massive closure, and the building work has already encroached on roads and footpaths between the Pilot pub and the Dome.
(City Peninsula? You didn’t know? “A scheme of 149 apartments in a 17 storey tower… over 100 units have now exchanged contracts…. shrewd investors can see beyond a short-term problem with the financial markets and look to long-term growth and stability in the housing market in London.” All in this together, eh?)
Mary has also posted the design guidelines for the Thames Path through Lovell’s Wharf – where the landowners have destroyed the old path and rerouted it into their sales office.
Generally, though, it raises more questions than answers. One bit caught my eye – I’m not quite sure the developers are sticking to their word here.
“A short section of existing footpath adjacent to Lovell’s wharf connecting the river at the south end of the site to Ballast Quay will be retained. This corner of the site possesses the distinct character of maritime Greenwich, and as such should be preserved as a ‘back door’ into the site. It also provides an excellent opportunity for interpretation and artwork.”
This must mean…
Yup, this tiny, tiny little section of old path. Keeping this little corner may be to the letter of the guidelines, but it’s hardly keeping to the spirit of them. And what space is there for “intepretation and artwork” in a tiny stump of a path?
Enhancements would include removal of superfluous flood protection and paving and introducing reclaimed cobble finishes and quayside furniture to echo the distinct feel of Ballast Quay.
No sign of those. But why put “reclaimed cobble finishes” on a path where there were none before? Strange.
If possible the existing brick wall with the ‘LOVELL’S WHARF’ inscription would be preserved and would act as a low retaining wall for the proposed planting strip separating the Thames path from the riverside.
Well, that’s gone. Unless it’s in storage somewhere – what’s happened to it?
Lovell’s has an unhappy history of landowners ignoring local opinion – in 2001 its distinctive derricks (cranes) were quitely removed because of supposed safety fears, with no reference to heritage bodies or Greenwich Council. They were thought to be the last two such cranes on the Thames in London. (The Memoryscape website outlines just what has been lost at Lovell’s.)
So it’s worrying to see that the guidelines for Lovell’s already appear to be being flouted. Is anybody from the council actually bothering to check they’re being stuck to? At the very least, walkers and locals should be watching what goes on at Lovell’s like hawks.
UPDATE 1.35PM: Forgot to add this in earlier – there’s an exhibition on 29/30 July at Christchurch Forum, Trafalgar Road, on the plans for a cruise liner terminal at Enderby Wharf. More closer to the time.
Something this blog missed out on while I was away was the furore over the closure of the Thames Path in Greenwich between Ballast Quay and the Millennium Dome. As the hoardings came down on the first stage of the Lovell’s Wharf development, many were horrified to find the old riverside walk had been bricked off and destroyed, with a new path routed into the sales office for the Lovells Wharf development. There were no signs to help walkers find their way around, although these have since been installed.
The row even became a bit of an election issue, with a wannabe councillor making some hay with it (and blogging about it here) and a current councillor having to scurry around to find out what the blazes was going on. Somehow, to me it summed up everything that’d gone wrong with Greenwich Council; its reluctance to engage properly with local people, the perception that it was on the side of developers rather than residents, and plain old-fashioned incompetence – even some temporary signs would have been better than leaving walkers and tourists lost.
The farrago brought some sharp exchanges at a hustings I took part in, and it certainly looked as if Greenwich Council had been found guilty of taking one of Greenwich’s most precious rescources for granted. I’m sure the council must be aware of the strength of feeling over the path, so how is it seeking to make amends in the first issue of propaganda rag Greenwich Time since the election? With little time to wheel a freshly-re-elected councillor upto the riverside, how about a story on how the council is committed to restoring the path as soon as possible? Perhaps something on the plans for the riverside? Perhaps some useful information for residents about what’s going on?
Just a puff piece for the development, informing us that “occupants will have easy access to Greenwich town centre, Canary Wharf and the City” – er, just like everywhere else in SE10, then. It’s the sort of nonsense you’d expect in one of those glossy lifestyle-porn monthlies that pop through selected doors in the area, not from a publication funded out of our taxes.
The other thing is a bit odd – it claims the development “opens up access to a section of the Thames pathway which has been closed to the public for years”. It doesn’t – the old path has bricked off and planted over, and a new path runs straight into the developers’ sales office. Charming.
Watching people walk up the stump of the old path, only to gaze mournfully about what’s been denied to them, is a new pastime. That section of the Thames pathway will be closed until 2012, so what I imagine Greenwich Time perhaps was trying to say is “when the development eventually fully opens, it will restore a section of the Thames pathway which will by then have been closed for five years so the development could be built”. Not quite so impressive. The image shown is a computer-generated one, so the piece has been written without even bothering to visit the site, where the first homes are nearly ready for occupation.
Finally, a patsy quote from a “local planning watchdog” that I don’t think I’ve ever heard of, reassuring us that it’ll be alright in the end. Because Greenwich Time said so, eh?
So, the message from the council on the Thames Path closure? Tough. Take a look at these lovely flats instead, wouldn’t you like to buy one? Paying for a council to promote itself is one thing, paying for a council to brown-nose and promote private developments is another thing entirely, and it certainly has nothing to do with “campaigning for an even greater Greenwich”.
The prospect of four more years of Greenwich Time is a depressing one – another story featured in this week’s soaraway issue is that the council’s street sweeping services are performing better than ever, which any walk around Charlton will confirm is complete cobblers. Of course, the power now lies with the newly-(re-)elected Labour councillors whose reputations are being dragged down by this patronising nonsense. Will they have the guts to change things? We’ll just have to wait and see.