The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has rejected Greenwich Council’s refusal of plans for 619 new homes next to Kidbrooke station on land owned by Transport for London, which the mayor chairs.
TfL and the housing association Notting Hill Genesis want to build on land next to the station as part of a capital-wide scheme to build homes on TfL land.
Greenwich Council officers had recommended approving the project, which included a 20-storey high tower. But councillors unanimously rejected it in July, saying it was too dense and lacked sufficient transport connections.
The Eltham MP Clive Efford said the area risked looking like the centre of Lewisham – but without the transport links. “It would be irresponsible to encourage further development without insisting on improvements on local infrastructure, especially public transport,” Efford, who has long championed a DLR link to the area, said. Kidbrooke with Hornfair councillor Christine Grice said the new homes would “place a considerable strain on the transit system in the area”.
Peter Brooks, the former council deputy leader who helped draw up the original Kidbrooke masterplan, called for developers to come back with a scheme that was “a little bit smaller and a little bit less dense”.
However, Khan has taken over the project and he – or his deputy mayor for planning, Jules Pipe – will make the decision himself at a public hearing at City Hall. In a report on Greenwich’s decision, City Hall officers noted that “is performing well against the London Plan targets for approval of housing and affordable housing, it is currently underperforming in terms of the delivery of housing and in particular affordable housing”.
The definition of “affordable” was criticised at the planning meeting: while a quarter of the homes would be for social rent, a quarter would be for a form of shared ownership which would only be affordable by households earning over £49,000 a year. Concerns were also raised about increased traffic from the Silvertown Tunnel – despite the fact that Greenwich Council supports the scheme.
Greenwich was told about the decision to take over the scheme in early August, however, councillors have kept quiet about what could be an embarrassing clash with a Labour mayor.
Last year, Khan called in a scheme to build 771 homes at Anchor and Hope Lane in Charlton after councillors rejected it. But he rejected the scheme himself in January, saying he was opposed to “growth at all costs”. The developer, Rockwell, is now appealing against his decision.
No date has been set for the City Hall planning hearing, although representations can be made right up until the day it happens.
Update: The original version of this story referred to planning permission being given for an increase in homes at Kidbrooke Village, across the railway line from the TfL plot, last week. This wasn’t accurate – that decision was made in March 2015, last week’s decision was for an amendment to that original decision. Unhelpfully, the formal decision notice does not record that this was an amendment to a decision made four years previously. Apologies for any confusion.
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