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.