Plans for homes on Royal Hill community garden site emerge

Royal Hill proposals
The plans were published shortly before the coronavirus lockdown

Plans have been submitted to build accommodation for adults with learning difficulties on the site of the former community garden in Royal Hill, west Greenwich.

The former police car park had been maintained by volunteers as a garden for three years before Greenwich Council took the land back last spring, saying it was being “unlawfully used”.

Now the council has come forward with plans for a house for four adults and four one-bedroom flats, plus a training office with a staff bedroom.

The planning application was published in mid-March, shortly before the coronavirus lockdown, and the deadline for comments has passed.

Royal Hill site now
The land is on the site of a former railway line

Locals had fought for the site to remain in community use, but council made its disdain for the community garden clear – in 2017, its former leader – and current deputy mayor – Denise Hyland declared: “We cannot leave a piece of land that can house two families as an allotment [sic].”

However the proposed buildings would surround a small shared garden, and residents would be allowed in at times to help maintain it.

This is the council’s third attempt to build on the land after two previous attempts to build homes were thrown out by its own councillors, and these plans have been scaled back from an original proposal for up to 12 bedrooms.

Royal Hill Community Garden
The community gardeners were on site for three years

This time, Stolon Studio, an architecture firm which specialises in small plots of land, has been brought in. Its other work includes Forest Mews, a live/work development behind terraced houses near the company’s base in Forest Hill.

The plot of land was part of an ill-fated railway line between Nunhead and Greenwich Park which closed in the 1920s and was later filled in. A ground study was carried out using radar which picked up what are likely to be remains, however, a brief report included with the application suggests more work is needed to find out more about how the cutting and tunnel was filled in.

Greenwich Council hopes the new accommodation will replace a home in nearby Ashburnham Grove, which has recently closed.

More details can be found in the design and access statement, with full documents on Greenwich Council’s planning website (reference 20/0718/F).

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