Monday, March 4, 2024

New council homes to be built in Plumstead despite ‘building looking like a ghetto’

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Greenwich Council has approved plans to build 24 new flats in Plumstead, all of which would be available for social rent.

The project, sent by the council, would see the community hub building on the site at Herbert Road being knocked down.

The public toilets in the area will also be relocated and a new communal garden and play space will be included in the scheme.

This Is Local London: The site for the new block is located beside Acworth House (Credit: Google Earth)The site for the new block is located beside Acworth House (Credit: Google Earth)

The proposal was previously brought to the planning board at a meeting on January 23, but a decision was deferred so that the committee could visit the site.

Labour Councillor Ivis Williams, who represents the Shooters Hill ward, said at the meeting in January that the proposal looked wrong on ‘so many levels’.

She said several of the objections from residents in her ward had not been included in the council officers’ report as they were made before the application was made in its current form, causing people to feel ‘ignored’.

Cllr Williams: “It gives a feel of a ghetto look, and if you don’t know what a ghetto is, it’s where you have minority groups living in impoverished areas due to political, social and economical pressure and that’s the view that this proposed block gives.”

The councillor said she was desperate for the council to build more homes, but also felt the borough’s communities needed to be listened to.

She said the area was already overpopulated and suffered from drug issues and antisocial behaviour, and that the height of the structure would not be appropriate.

Council officers said in their report that the new development would sit approximately 10 metres away from existing flats in Acworth House.

Susan Masindi, who lives in Acworth House, said residents of the existing block would like to have seen the new building being shorter and further away from the current flats.

She said: “When that building goes up, the people in Acworth House are not going to have any sunshine or daylight because it will be like they are compartmentalised.”

Steve Fitzwilliam, speaking on behalf of Rivington Street Studio, said that the new structure would help provide a presence to mitigate the antisocial behaviour in the area.

Peter Fernandes, speaking on behalf of Greenwich Builds, also said that the current application was the sixth iteration of the project’s design and that work had been done to incorporate the views of residents during the public consultation.

Mr Fernandes said: “We feel like we’ve really listened. We’ve tried to strike the right balance between doing what we are supposed to do, building council homes for the great many people on the council waiting list, and listening to the comments and the impacts it has on the existing residents.”

The plans were brought back to the planning board on February 6 following a site visit and approved.

Mr Fernandes said at the meeting that the Greenwich Builds team would be willing to add screening features to the windows of the structure to provide additional privacy for residents.

Labour Councillor Gary Dillon said at the meeting that the biggest problem the council currently faced was finding space to build homes for the 28,000 people on the authority’s housing waiting list.

He said at the meeting: “That is the task we face. The application is not perfect and if I had a different head on, I would say we could do better. But we are where we are and we are in desperate need of family homes.

“I believe there are possibly other conversations being had and explorations being made in close proximity that may provide an opportunity for a design review later on down the road should something materialise. My fingers are crossed for that.”

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