Councillors have been asked to approve a plan to demolish the former Greenwich Police Station and replace it with a development of 59 flats.
The six-storey development on the corner of Burney Street and Royal Hill would represent “less than substantial harm” to the Greenwich World Heritage Site and local conservation area, but this would be outweighed by the provision of new housing, officers wrote ahead of a meeting of the council’s planning board on Tuesday 17 September.
Developers bought the police station in 2017 after it was closed under cuts initiated by Boris Johnson when he was mayor of London. The only open police station in Greenwich borough is now at Plumstead, although the closest to Greenwich itself is at Lewisham. Officers are now mainly based at Warspite Road in Woolwich.
Of the 59 flats, nine will be offered under London Affordable Rent, a form of social rent. Eight will be offered for shared ownership and the remainder will be sold privately. The development would also include non-residential space that could be used as a clinic, nursery or other community facility.
Council officers said the new building would be an improvement on the old police station. “While it is acknowledged that there would be increased height and building footprint, this will not undermine the overall character of the surrounding properties or the general pattern of development,” they said.
“It is emphasised that the proposed building would be an improvement on the current Burney Street streetscape, as it would replace under-used car-parking at the front of the former Police Station. It is broadly agreed that the demolition of the former Greenwich Police Station is supported as it is considered to be a harmful development within the conservation area. While there would be a change, it is considered to appropriately relate to the immediate area while providing for an improved aesthetic and relationship with the surrounding buildings.”
The officers added: “The proposed height, scale and bulk of the development is respectful of the existing townscape, established urban grain and relates well to the surrounding buildings. The proposed height of the new building creates a ‘gateway’ towards Royal Hill when viewed from Greenwich High Road.”
The development is opposite the Borough Hall, which Greenwich Council plans to hand over to theatre group Selladoor, which has plans to transform the old venue with a rooftop bar. A neighbouring block, the 18-flat Swanne House, is the subject of a separate application to redevelop it to squeeze in another 12 flats. The council also plans to build a home for adults with learning difficulties on the community garden site opposite.
Councillors on the planning board, the council’s main planning committee, will discuss the application on Tuesday 17 September.
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