Stuck at North Greenwich: Can the peninsula cope with its new masterplan?

A luxury hotel is among the developments under construction on the peninsula

A luxury hotel is among the developments under construction on the peninsula

Update, Friday 17 April: The consultation period has now been extended to Tuesday 28 April.

The general election’s well under way. But an arguably bigger decision for this part of south east London is also open for your thoughts – although you’ve only got until Friday to make your views known.

Last month, Greenwich Council quietly started consulting on changes to the 11-year-old Greenwich Peninsula masterplan. Considering the size and location of the site, this is one of the most important pieces of planning in the 50-year history of the borough (with only Thamesmead and the Royal Arsenal as competition).

Yet, as ever, engagement with the public seems to be the last thing on anyone’s mind. You know how the council claimed Greenwich Time was essential for engaging with local people? Well, not a word of editorial copy has appeared in its weekly paper about this in the three weeks the consultation has been open.

By contrast, the issue has been covered in both the News Shopper and the Mercury.

If there’s a development that demands proper discussion and debate – especially at general election time – it’s this one. It touches on the two most vital issues addressing our capital city – housing and infrastructure. Yet there simply isn’t one – it’s being swept under the carpet.

To his credit, Labour candidate Matt Pennycook mused on the issues after a consultation event in January (followed up by the Guardian’s Dave Hill), but that’s been about it. The local Peninsula ward councillors aren’t even mentioning it on their new blog.

If you want to find out more, head to Greenwich Council’s planning search and look for application 15/0716/O.

There are 191 documents to read. One person is not realistically going to manage to take on board this information all alone – even in the summary planning statement – so if you read the documents and something strikes you that’s not mentioned here, please feel free to stick it in the comments.

The plans include 12,678 homes (up from 10,100 in 2004); towers of up to 40 storeys high; 220 serviced apartments; a 500-room hotel; education and healthcare facilities; a film studio and visitor attraction; a new bus station/ transport hub; and a 5k running track around the peninsula.

Update, 21 April. Philip Binns has emailed to say the planning statement points out “up to 15,700 units could be delivered in total on the Peninsula as a whole”, explaining that this is made up of the 12,678 units referred to in the application notice plus a further 200 serviced apartments and 2,822 units which are currently being constructed or are to be implemented (approvals already having been granted). This would represent a 57% increase on what was permitted in 2004.

Like I said, there’s a lot to take in. But here’s two very broad themes that I reckon should be addressed. You may have different views.

Housing – who’s going to live there?

One vital question is unanswered – how many of these homes will people be able to afford to live in? No figures are given for social or “affordable” housing.

We already know that neither you nor I will be able to afford to live in part of the Peninsula, as Greenwich Council allowed the pre-emptive social cleansing of Peninsula Quays back in 2013, reducing the amount of social/affordable housing to 0%.

This decision was based on a viability assessment – can the developer afford to build social housing? – which was kept secret by Greenwich Council. Earlier this year, local resident Shane Brownie won a Freedom of Information battle to get this information out there.

It’s a complex issue that affects other areas of London and elsewhere – the most notorious case affects Southwark Council and the Heygate estate – and one that’s barely being heard in the election campaign. The BBC’s Sunday Politics London spoke to Shane when it dealt with the issue a few weeks back. (Thanks to Alex Ingram for the recording.)

It’s entirely possible Knight Dragon has been spooked by Greenwich being forced to disclose this document, and is playing its cards even closer to its chest.

Indeed, this planning application going out to formal consultation during an election may even stifle debate – although the decision to run it now would have been the council’s call, rather than Knight Dragon’s.

But where else in London would a development of 12,000 new homes emerge without any discussion about who they are for?

The transport infrastructure – can North Greenwich cope?

Day and night: The huge queue for the single-decker 108 at Stratheden Road, Blackheath; and the struggle to get home when there's an event on. Thanks to Ruth Townson for the pictures.

Day and night: The huge queue for the single-decker 108 at Stratheden Road, Blackheath; and the struggle to get home when there’s an event on. Thanks to Ruth Townson for the pictures.

The plans also include rebuilding and moving North Greenwich bus station. It’s approaching capacity and struggles to cope with demand as it is. But the increase is small – space for 17 bus stands rather than 15, and 11 bus stops rather than seven.

There’s pressure for North Greenwich to handle even more buses. Very few other tube stations in London are expected to handle demand from such an absurdly large area (Finsbury Park – which has to serve areas such as Crouch End and Muswell Hill – is probably the nearest equivalent).

Politicians keep demanding extra services from Kidbrooke and Eltham (as opposed to demanding improvements to rail services there), while existing routes from areas much closer to North Greenwich still struggle to cope. Route 108, in particular, is still overwhelmed each morning despite demands for a boost to services, which were met with the miserly addition of a single extra bus.

And this is before the next phase of homes open on the peninsula – adding more “one-stop” passengers on the buses and more demand for the tube station itself.

Yet TfL’s only significant transport boost in the area has ben to create a cable car which is aimed at tourists and charges premium fares. If it was a bus route, it’d be London’s 407th busiest.

It’s a crude measure – especially as these figures cover all passengers, not just ones heading to North Greenwich – but a cursory glance at passenger numbers on the eight services would suggest they’ve pretty much hit their rush-hour capacity.

Bus usage on the routes serving North Greenwich station since 1999. Route 486's figure includes predecessor service M1.

Bus usage on the routes serving North Greenwich station since 1999. Route 486’s figure includes predecessor service M1. Thanks to Clare Griffiths for her Datawrapper work.

Add to this the continuing huge developments planned for Canary Wharf and the Royal Docks, together with predictions that Crossrail will hit capacity within months of opening, and you’ve got a big problem in depending so heavily on the Jubilee Line. The queues for Stratford-bound trains at Canary Wharf show just how big demand is here.

Move the peninsula closer to Canary Wharf

There are already big queues to get on eastbound Jubilee Line trains at Canary Wharf

There are already big queues to get on eastbound Jubilee Line trains at Canary Wharf in the evening rush hour

One answer would be to give Canary Wharf workers an alternative to the Jubilee Line. At this point, up will pop Transport for London, claiming the Silvertown Tunnel would provide that for buses.

But it’s very likely that before long, any buses routed this way would get stuck in the same snarl-ups as the 108 through Blackwall, or new ones north of the Thames.

Building new roads won’t bring the high-density regeneration Greenwich Peninsula needs – this isn’t a suburban business park or a collection of warehouses. You get better results when you build workplaces within walking distance of shops, restaurants, other workplaces and railway stations.

The mostly-empty office block at 6 Mitre Passage, whose lights have stayed dim on winter evenings, shows how the Greenwich Peninsula has failed to attract businesses – one stop from Canary Wharf might as well be the other side of London.

So why not a pedestrian and cycle link to Canary Wharf? Proposals for a bridge from Rotherhithe to the Wharf have recently been dusted off – but one to the east would bring the Greenwich Peninsula within walking distance of shops, offices and the new Crossrail station.

It’d transform the area, tying it into Canary Wharf and freeing up space on both Tube and buses, and making it more attractive for businesses to set up shop.

In 2009, the cost of a bridge was put at £90m, not including maintenance and operating costs, and a TfL assessment as part of the cable car business case said it would be an “iconic” scheme, “likely to attract investment” in the area.

It added that “the walking routes on both sides of the Thames would need substantial improvement associated with developments for the environment to be of a high quality”. Well, those improvements are coming now. And without a fixed connection to Canary Wharf, those improvements on the Greenwich Peninsula may never fully reach their potential.

It’s election time – why isn’t this an issue?

London's new hire bikes feature the Dome - even though there are no terminals near North Greenwich

London’s new hire bikes feature the Dome – even though there are no terminals near North Greenwich

London is growing at a bewildering rate. Property developers are ruling over local people like feudal landlords, while local councils are treated like mug punters who fall for three card tricks.

Yet this simply isn’t an issue in a general election where it’s become fashionable to bash London. Planning desperately needs reform to give councils more clout – but this isn’t being addressed in manifestos.

The lack of serious discussion about how to manage London’s growth reflects poorly on our city’s politicians and media. And we’ve one of the worst examples of it here in Greenwich, a borough run by councillors that have too often lacked curiosity in what’s presented to them.

In the same way that Greenwich councillors fell for poor road-building schemes because the area lacks river crossings, they may well fall for an unsustainable plan for the peninsula simply because they’re desperate to see all that brownfield land built on with the first thing that comes along.

That said, the recent ousting of Chris Roberts acolyte Ray Walker from his role as planning board chair can give us hope – his replacement, Mark James, has a background in transport, so actually has an understanding of the issues at stake. With Matt Pennycook taking a more sceptical view of big developments than his predecessor, some of the mood music around Greenwich and regeneration could be about to see a welcome change.

If you’ve a couple of hours free this week, give the plans a read and send your views (try the planning statement and design and access statements for summaries) to the council. At least then, they can’t say they weren’t warned.

30 comments

  1. Suzanne Miller

    Thanks for reporting on this outrage. Surely it’s misfeasance to sneak something this big through without wide and lengthy consultation? Is there any mechanism for forcing the council to lengthen the consultation period?
    Outraged of Greenwich. Splutter splutter …

  2. Giles S

    I’m not sure this accounts for the transformative effect the Crossrail is going to have. Even though Crossrail won’t serve North Greenwich, it’s still going to bring benefits by relieving the busiest routes.

    The graph shows that the 472 is the 2nd busiest route serving North Greenwich, but it’s conceivable that Woolwich residents, who current take the 472 and then the Jubilee line into central London, will shift over to Crossrail. This would remove a huge number of people from North Greenwich, freeing up capacity for GMV residents to take the bus one stop!

  3. Darryl Chamberlain

    Crossrail “will be full within months”, TfL boss Peter Hendy says: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/21/london-lack-affordable-transport-risks-sparking-riots-tfl-chief

    It’ll certainly revolutionise travel, but you’ll probably get a couple of years of relief with Crossrail before it gets back to business as usual – witness how just quickly the Woolwich Arsenal DLR extension filled up, yet the 472 remains packed.

    Worth noting that cost is a factor here, too. Without a revamp of London’s fare structure, it can be much cheaper to travel to Zone 2 North Greenwich by bus rather than pick up a train from Zone 4 Woolwich Arsenal – a differential that’s widened in recent years.

  4. m1ssan0nym0us

    I am not sure reading the councils planning statement and design and access statements would serve any purpose as the Planning dept only incorrectly translate these when they are preventing local residents from improving their homes. You only have to look at the new developments scattered around the borough to realise that the developers call the shots. There have been quite a few Television programmes lately highlighting the behaviour of International developers such as Knight Dragon who offer their properties off plan to foreign investors years before completion. Last weekend I took a trip to Canary Wharf I was very surprised to see how big the Chinese community had become in this part of London. You mention the social housing problem and the tiny fraction being built on the peninsular. These are only temporary as they will soon be sold off under the right to buy scheme. The short sightedness of the Labour council is amazing as they are very quickly going to develop themselves out of power. With all of the proposed developments and the increased traffic pollution from ,The Silvertown tunnel ,an extended retail park an Ikea plus the LC Airport in the peninsular area can we soon be expecting Beijing like Smogs ?

  5. David

    Maybe Woolwich will eventually be rezoned to 3/4?

    However, the 472 bus is not going to get busier due to 12000 new homes on the Peninsula; the vast majority will walk to the tube station as to catch a bus would involve a walk back to GMV to catch a bus to take them past the flat they’ve just walked from. Ditto all the other bus routes. The exception will be the new GMV flats – they will be around 20 minutes walk so will walk to Sainsburys to hop on the bus, but there are likely an additional 400 (rough guess) coming on in the next 18 months rather than the Knight Dragon 12000. I think the expansion of the bus station is definitely a good thing: An extra six stands/stops is a 25% or so increase.

    A crossing from the Peninsula to the Wharf – considering all ocean going vessels can traverse this part of the Thames a bridge would have to be around 250ft high – the approach would have to start somewhere in Charlton to gain that height, surely? A cable car to the Wharf on the other hand – now that’s an idea.

    To be fair to the developers they have held several public forums both at the Forum in E Greenwich and Mitre Passage (their offices) on the Peninsula prior to putting the masterplan together and again after, but before submitting to the council for approval. It’s Greenwich Council as usual again being about as transparent as a brick wall. With regards affordable housing, a substantial amount of what is under construction (Bellway and Knight Dragon and new phase GMV) is affordable housing, all five/10 minutes walk to a tube station (well not GMV – a five minute bus ride though), next to the river with parkland all around and soon to be lots of amenities on the ground floor of these developments. Hardly social cleansing (a term I detest as it offers highly offensive comparisons to ethnic cleansing). Who knows how many affordable units will be in the new plots – but then again the pricing of these flats I’m sure will be in line with the rest of SE10 and Blackheath – where is the new affordable housing being built in these areas?

  6. clogsilk

    Thank you for the credit 🙂 I used Excel for this, not datawrapper, as the original spreadsheets from TfL were fiddly to manipulate and datawrapper only really likes simple inputs. Datawrapper are also now charging you for outputting their charts in a usable format, and the cost seems to be aimed at companies, so it is prohibitively expensive for people like me. (Just in case anyone out there was considering using datawrapper in future.)

  7. vridaochskrika

    Darryl makes an excellent point above. Why would anyone who lives in the village take the 422 to Woolwich and have to pay for zones 1-4 when they can take the 422 to North Greenwich and pay for zone 1&2?

  8. fromthemurkydepths

    Just some initial thoughts – As you say, the Jubilee has large developments coming at Canary Wharf (Wood Wharf etc) and the Royal Docks, but also Stratford. About half a dozen towers have just commenced and should be more visible in coming months. This will increase the amount coming from Stratford and passing through N Greenwich to Canary Wharf, London Bridge and the west end. There is scope for some frequency improvements but how much time that will buy is a big unknown. Oh, and of course Canning Town! Forgot that. City Island is rising quickly http://www.londoncityisland.com/ and many others nearby. I’ve been meaning to write a post about Silvertown & Canning Town for some time. Loads around there.

    I think a pedestrian/cycle bridge would be utterly transformative. The cruise terminal is a major issue but a rising bridge isn’t beyond the wit of man.

    It would also be good to see far better walking links from the Peninsula to the shops and railway stations to the south at East Greenwich, aside from the riverside paths. To get from the expanded GMV to Westcombe Park station will not be pleasant, and if you work in the City the train makes a lot of sense. All the marketing and plans seem to assume the vast majority will only head north to the Jubilee. Many will will but a decent % will likely want to use southeastern trains as Westcombe park and maze Hill stations will be 1) closer for some and 2) cheaper if travelling to the West End or the City. The Jubilee doesn’t even go direct to the City of course so SE have a big advantage there with 15 mins trips to Cannon Street and after 2018, far less congestion.

    Currently walking to SE stations requires crossing crappy roundabouts under the Blackwall approaches. It’s the usual anti-pedestrian Highway designs from Greenwich around here (not criticising you Mary!). TfL also need to do far more, but they have improved other flyovers in London (taking them quite a while in Bow…) so why the hold up with co-operating with Greenwich? The latest is improvements in a couple of years, but Greenwich managed approaches could be worked on separately. Again, cheap and simple short term improvements just havn’t happened. Those people staying at the forthcoming hotel on Blackwall Avenue will have a pretty miserable old walk.

  9. Jill A

    Not to mention concerns over the building of another school in a highly polluted hotpot on the Peninsula where NO2 levels are recorded at 80+. Has no-one taken heed of the EAC directives? Can children’s health be so readily disregarded?

  10. fromthemurkydepths

    Sorry, strayed a bit away there from Knight Dragon plans onto the new GMV stages and the Barratts, Alcatel, Morden’s Wharf etc sites and developments on the south west of the Peninsula.

  11. Darryl Chamberlain

    Oh, it’s all linked together. The trouble is that nobody seems to have really seriously sat down and banged heads together on developing the peninsula as a whole – Barratt, Cathedral, Knight Dragon and Countryside Properties; together with the GLA, TfL and Greenwich Council.

  12. John Norman

    I get the tube/bus from North Greenwich to Canary Wharf every day. I have to watch whilst more and more full trains go by until I can get on one – together with everyone else crowding the platform.
    Buses are very full, and you can see demonstrated that people already living on the Peninsular take the bus rather than a 10 minute walk – even more filling up the bus (often leaving the top deck empty)

    A bridge is needed from North Greenwich to Canary Wharf – if it cant be a swingable section bridge – I dont see why large ships need to go up much further – the ones you see are for vanity only – If you want to use the Thames for goods transport – you would use barges.

    Big planning changes should be forced to have a website dedicated to showing the layman what the changes will entail – not over 100 documents.

    I tried to browse them – well I am glad the foot path/cycle path is not diverted away from the Thames – I feared that it would have to go behind the new builds – not wanting the hoy-ploy spoiling their view of the river.

    But education – 2 Christian schools – why oh why does my child’s future depend on my religion? I know there is a 50% non-Christian rule, but its horrible to discriminate like that. I think one school is private and one is partially publicly funded.
    I couldn’t see mention of the free school. So I am not sure that the number of school places will match the need.

    Looking at the number of flats to be finished all around the same time in Greenwich and Docklands – I can see some ‘flat-price’ Armageddon. Really, there are people wanting to buy all those flats, just waiting around? And London can supply jobs for all those people?

  13. Shivanee

    John Norman makes an important point – if the local services don’t even serve the local community, no one will hang around long on the Peninsula, regardless of tenure.

    RBG are sneaking out a public consultation on the religious school’s building this weekend only! Except they haven’t told anyone. No leaflet drop to Peninsula residents, not in Greenwich Time or their website (of course), even though they want taxpayers to fund the £37m build. This issue will affect residents in Charlton and across Greenwich as well as the Peninsula. With an 83% CofE pupil intake (120 St. Mary Magdalene places + 30 foundation places), what about local families living in the 12,000 homes plus East Greenwich and Charlton’s new developments?
    https://www.change.org/p/royal-borough-of-greenwich-cancel-plans-for-an-exclusive-cofe-faith-school-on-greenwich-peninsula

    Do Peninsula and Charlton councillors even know about this? If people don’t have a reason to stay here long-term, the Peninsula will end up as a big timeshare apartment complex.

  14. bikemapper

    The need to ‘Think Bike’ at the beginning of the design process is well made in the Get Britain Cycling report. In practice this amounts to ‘Think Bike Network’.

    I agree that a North Greenwich – Canary Wharf bridge is needed, and should be part of the current proposal. However, please don’t get the idea that it has to be all or nothing.

    Sustrans have shown the way forward in Rotherhithe. Crucially, even though the Brunel Bridge is yet to be built – yes, they have even given the bridge a name – they have developed a number of routes in the area which connect directly and safely to the place where they want the bridge to be built.

    It is absolutely vital, then, that there is a good cycle path between Woolwich and a North Greenwich – Canary Wharf bridge (via the Thames Cycle Path). It might be another ten, fifteen, twenty years before the bridge gets built, but without the links in place, there would be very little chance at all.

    This map here should help you to fill in the blanks.

  15. vridaochskrika

    Also; what’s the deal with GMV?
    How can they claim to be London’s favourite village – when it isn’t even a village, and what evidence do they have to suggest it’s London’s favourite?

  16. tom hyde

    Regarding a name for the North Greenwich / Canary Wharf bridge … what about the “Peninsula Bridge”?

  17. David N

    Re: comments about pedestrian access to Westcombe Park station.
    The IKEA transport assessment finds no problems with this. Quality of environment is rated ‘neither good nor bad’!! One of the reasons why the new IKEA won’t generate much traffic.

  18. fromthemurkydepths

    I went for a wander around the area after reading this, and am writing up a post about the ‘neither good nor bad’ environment and access between east Greenwich and the different areas of the peninsula.

  19. Pingback: Greenwich: A walk around the new developments | fromthemurkydepths
  20. datademon

    Excellent article Darryl. Yes amazing and perplexing that so little is said in the borough about what is essentially entirely new community of around 30,000 households. We have an excellent chance here to create a fantastic mixed sustainable community – a new town if you like! But instead we get piece meal applications coming forward the gradually undermine the original masterplan vision and policies – undermining the strategic approach. It is absolutely outrageous that Knight Dragon have undertaken a consultation on the future of the peninsula without providing any numbers, percentages or distribution of the proposed affordable housing. Only a mention of the councils policy and the need to recognise developer viability (sound familiar?). I have written to the council to complain and seek them to force this to at least be disclosed in the Officers report. Otherwise what is likely to happen is a deal will be down behind closed doors again between the developer and council and the first we will hear about it will be when individual applications start coming before the council. So no lessons learnt in terms of openness and transparency from my FOI request on the East Greenwich Peninsula. Hopefully some media stories on the Peninsula due to come out soon will put some pressure on the council to accept its responsibilities and deliver openness and transparency and delivery of a mixed sustainable community that is in line with their and the Major’s planning policies.

    See below links to my letter to the council and a link to the Planning Statement document on the West Greenwich Peninsula Masterplan.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/xtqw19ce5pq0af0/150329%20Letter%20RBOG%20West%20Pen%20Masterplan.docx?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5ywvj2x079yogqz/150411%20West%20Pen%20Masterplan%20PLANNING%20STATEMENT-288654.pdf?dl=0

    Regards,

    Shane Brownie

  21. Paddy

    I’m trying to think of examples of places where the infrastructure has literally not been able to cope due to large scale development. I know people in Dubai, Tokyo and NY for example, and although these are all cities, like London, with a lot of people and a lot of new development, I don’t think I’ve heard of an instance where the infrastructure actually failed due to overdevelopment. Of course there are problems – but I mean things actually grinding to a halt or becoming so bad that businesses / residents have rejected an area.

    Just over 15 years ago, there was hardly anything on the peninsula. I’ve lived here for over 10 years (in a part owned property – so social housing) and of course the trains have got busier and the buses are more full, but largely the peninsula is improving, more so since Knight Dragon took over the development. Knight Dragon gave an overview of their plans at a GMV meeting recently and I liked what I heard – Central Park being improved, the bus station becoming bigger, much more in the way of retail / restaurants / leisure etc. I’m no town planner but surely this is what happens when an empty piece of land, in the middle of a big, world class city is developed?

    My point is, things get developed, they get busier, but the infrastructure around them generally adapts to be able to cope. People have said for years that London couldn’t cope with more development and more people but it has, and that’s what has made it the incredible place it is today.

    But you are not going to get half empty buses and trains – that is one of the realities of living in a massive city.

  22. John Norman

    Place where transport couldn’t cope – Hyderabad – they built quickly because of the tech boom in india. They didn’t plan properly for transport infrastructure, so it became a nightmare to live in and companies left because their staff couldn’t reliably get to work.
    Trouble is the infrastructure around Greenwich Peninsular is almost at capacity (at peak times). The Jubilee line trains are full at peak hours, and any slight hiccup in the line results in platforms filling up and stations being closed for safety. Buses are pretty full as well. You can put more buses on, but then you get ‘bus jams’. And given the peninsular is well, a peninsular, unless bridges or tunnels are built there are not many options to make things better.
    I am not sure of any holistic plan that caters for the needs that the development of all of Greater London requires, really every new flat built should have already proven there is enough bandwidth in the Sewerage, water, schools, power, public transport to cope. And if not – no new buildings. I strongly suspect, they build the buildings, then deal with not enough schools. reservoirs drying up (and blaming it on no rain), sewers overflowing into the Thames and brown-outs.

  23. Paddy

    Not sure how comparable Hyderabad is to London – as I understand it the main problems there were a severe lack of public transport to start with, hence way too many cars. They didn’t have anything like the investment in public transport London has had over the years. And you still have a heck of a lot of global, big business based in Hyderabad.

    I remember living in Greenwich in the 90s and trying to get the overground to London Bridge at peak times – it was massively overcrowded. And at that point there was no Jubilee Line, the DLR wasn’t what it is now and Cross Rail wasn’t on the horizon. I remember using the Met & Hammersmith and City line when I lived in Ladbroke Grove 20 years ago, and the Northern Line when I spent a year in Balham recently – all completely packed at peak times pretty much without fail.

    My point is, l suspect (taking into account the way London and similar cities have developed over the years) that the Peninsula will be fine. Buses and trains will be busy but as I say, that is what you get in a world class city and I’ve not seen another where this isn’t the case.

  24. datademon

    Last night was total chaos / grid lock. We were totally stuck in north greenwich unable to get out – the cars / cabs ended up giving up and took matters into their own hands – broke out of the roads and started using the bus lanes. Total chaos. They really do need to sort out a strategy for these peak times before someone gets hurt. Putting an additional 20,000 households on top of this without sufficient increase in capacity is very worrying.

  25. Shivanee

    Greenwich Council doesn’t know what it’s doing with transport on the Peninsula but it has committed itself to building a new chapel exclusively for the Church of England as part of the St. Mary Magdalene Peninsula school. http://www.smmsplans.co.uk/ You have to squint really hard but it’s clearly marked as chapel in two diagrams not ‘multi-faith’ as the text suggests and was referred to by Chapel at the exhibition. Not sure what this means for the actual multi-faith centre that Knight Dragon was supposed to deliver as part of it’s Section 106? So RBG is very keen to let the developer off the hook and pick the tab to build schools and now churches…..

    So the school plans state a chapel, tennis courts but no car parking. Interesting impact for traffic on the Peninsula and East Greenwich given more than 1/3 of the intake will be from Woolwich (pupils as far as Thamesmead already travel to SMM Peninsula Primary). Only 6 parking spaces for staff. Their architect said the hope is the Highways Agency and TfL will change road access, though they have already vetoed extra traffic lights; Knight Dragon will build new roads; and TfL will change local bus services to accommodate the school. The architect also admitted they are struggling with adhering to the minimum car use Peninsula Masterplan and strict regulations around site capacity. With 1650 kids plus staff, the number of bodies on that single site will be close to 2,000 – the population of GMV.

    When asked about morning access from Millennium Way and Silvertown tunnel, Knight Dragon, hotel and Ikea construction, neither the architect nor the RBG Manager had much to say. Though they are counting parking and traffic around GMV and conducting a pollution report. Not sure it will be released looking at the state of the developer’s banners outside the school? The RBG building manager said there will not be another public exhibition before formal consultation – despite the critical issue of access, congestion and parking not being addressed in this design plan. You can view and comment before this Friday.

    John Norman – if you are interested in the school demand issue, read p.5.9-5.11 of this Knight Dragon document:
    http://publicaccess.royalgreenwich.gov.uk:81/online-applications/files/AF77A0FD90AAE504156021FFCE3000C1/pdf/15_0716_O-CHAPTER_5_VOLUME_1_ENVIRONMENTAL_STATEMENT-288676.pdf

    Figures referenced are from RBG.

  26. fromthemurkydepths

    Paddy – infrastructure should be planned and built in advance or alongside major new developments rather than adapting after to cope. I advocate far higher density housebuilding in central London and areas like north Greenwich but 50k extra people with no real transport plans is optimistic.

    A good example of an area failing, or at least never reaching its potential is Thamesmead just down the river. Now north Greenwich is no Thamesmead, but infrastructure doesn’t always follow on. In the case of the Jubilee they have limited scope for improvements so a bridge should be looked at to Canary Wharf. It’s a shame even no studies appear to have been carried out.

    As for cities always seeing rammed full public transport like the Jubilee in the peaks – this isn’t the case. Not with such crush-loaded levels on such a wide scale. It’s nowhere near as bad in Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt etc in my experience. I’m not sure New York is as bad either but not 100% on that. Though many are smaller they have benefits of much greater housing density in the centre of their cities so less reliance on metros/trains, and also planned networks in advance. The French never stop expanding trams/rail/metro networks in their cities to accommodate growth.

  27. Shivanee

    fromthemurkydepths – I agree with you, transport will be an issue, mainly for people living where the river bends in developments like Enderbys etc. I pointed this out to the TfL Silvertown team when they showed their river map which marked projected population increases. Though the new developments will be in the middle of Cutty Sark, Maze Hill and North Greenwich so several stations nearby. The cruse liner port means boat services as well, probably to Canary Wharf. I don’t think Westcombe Park will be affected because it’s a walk away and most people living in distance to a tube station will prefer that for cost and regularity.

    It’s less of a problem for those like Paddy and I who live further down the thumb. Having commuted on both Central and Piccadilly lines, capacity on the Jubilee line is fine and Crossrail will have a positive impact for Greenwich too as it will facilitate getting to Farringdon/North and West/Heathrow. Most people on the Peninsula will be walking distance to the tube so buses less affected. Moving the bus station will deter people for one stop as they will have to walk anyway. So I don’t think Charlton residents getting the bus will be adversely affected. Woolwich zoning is an issue but given the bus/tube interchange will no longer be seamless, likely many people will probably prefer to cut their journey over cost.

    The 2004 Peninsula Masterplan stipulated low car density and TfL have a transport policy that all developers must strictly comply to, ie. Ikea had to ludicrously demonstrate a cycling policy, electric charging etc. Realistically, if this strict bar on cars didn’t exist, then the Peninsula and Greenwich would be much worse clogged and pollution higher. Development wouldn’t have taken off. The policy is driving down car reliance (£40k for a car space) and to an extent buffering smog – in the residential area anyway.

    GMVA has helped get Zipcar onto the Peninsula and increase the supply (the previous carclub was crap) – as the car bookings are popular. Zipcar has a deal for free membership for residents. The Peninsula attracts people who don’t own cars (i.e. lifestyle preferences) and are happy to hire when necessary. In that respect, the 2004 Sustainability plan and TfL’s policies are working well here. The transport that is underused is the boat. Expect the Peninsula to become like Sydney or Hong Kong in the next 20yrs where river commutes will become the norm for many.

  28. Pelton Pirate

    I’m glad this is coming to the fore. I myself am personally trying to get Royal Greenwich to rethink the Enderby Wharf Cruise Liner proposal whose revised plans can be read under reference 15/0973/F on the planning part of RG’s site. The travel plans are woefully inadequate.

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