The new owners of Enderby Wharf have placed the last nail into the coffin of Greenwich Council’s junked plan for a cruise liner terminal by announcing plans to build “low-cost” rental housing on the site.
Criterion Capital, which owns the Trocadero at Piccadilly Circus, has bought the land from Morgan Stanley, the investment bank which had backed plans to build the London City Cruise Port on the east Greenwich site.
Greenwich Council had fervently backed the proposals, first announced nine years ago, and twice gave the scheme planning permission: for a smaller scheme in 2011, planned to be ready for the Olympics and when the effects of air pollution from cruise liners was less well-known, and a larger scheme in 2015, when the issue had become contentious.
Notoriously, then-council leader Denise Hyland – who was the only council leader in London to sit on her borough’s main planning committee – told the 2015 meeting that she could not see any pollution when she went to visit the cruise terminal in Southampton, in a visit with the port’s promoters. She voted in favour and was a passionate advocate for the port.
But a resident-led campaign led council leader Danny Thorpe – who had supported the terminal in 2015 – to withdraw the council’s support after he was elected leader in 2018 after a string of his Labour colleagues broke ranks to support campaigners at hustings.
In a statement released late on Friday, Criterion said: “We are mindful of the site’s complex planning history and, despite the previous planning consent for the site including a cruise liner terminal – which has in part been implemented by the previous owners – we believe the plans can be vastly improved. As a result we are pleased to announce that we will be scrapping the cruise terminal plans.”
Its chief executive, Asif Aziz, said: “Although the cruise terminal was a profitable proposition, I agree with the local residents who have complained that it would cause significant environmental damage.
“Instead, in conjunction with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and through an open and constructive conversation with local residents and community groups, we shall deliver innovative low-cost housing for rental. This will be designed for those who either can’t or don’t want to buy, and will be served by excellent public transport links including the Thames Clipper.”
Other Criterion projects include the redevelopment of Colliers Wood Tower, an office block once voted London’s ugliest building, into the glass-clad 182 flats of Britannia Point, and another office-to-residential conversion, Canterbury House in Croydon, which is also aimed at renters – although plans for a 34-storey tower next door were rejected in 2018.
853 produces public interest journalism for Greenwich and SE London and is part-funded by its readers. If you would like to contribute to keeping the site running, please…
– join well over 100 monthly patrons at www.patreon.com/853.
– switch power supplier! Low-cost renewable Bulb energy will pay you and this site £50 each if you switch
– buy the author a coffee at ko-fi.com.
– make a one-off contribution at paypal.me/853london