Greenwich Council planners have backed demolishing four terraced houses in Woolwich so 31 flats and three houses can be built in their place.
The council’s former deputy leader, David Gardner, had criticised the plans last year when the developer, Lita Homes, had only planned to build 23 flats and three houses on the site.
“I would much prefer to retain our heritage and ensure the homes are occupied by local families,” Gardner, who represents the local Woolwich Common ward, said at the time. The houses, on Sandy Hill Road, have been empty for some time.
Since he made his comments in April 2019 the plans have been twice revised upwards, with 34 homes planned for the site of the terrace and a neighbouring garage.
Councillors on the planning board will decide on the application in the new year.
Three of the homes – documents prepared for councillors do not state which they would be – would be for shared ownership with none for social rent. No housing association has been approached to manage the shared ownership homes, which technically count as “affordable” housing. If no provider takes them on, the developer will have to pay the council £300,000 towards “affordable” housing elsewhere.
Local lobby groups Speak Out Woolwich and Positive Plumstead Campaign have opposed the plans, criticising the demolition of the terrace and the lack of affordable housing. The size of the 11 one-bedroom flats – which meet minimum standards at 37 square metres – was also criticised.
Lita Homes says the existing houses, which date from the 1860s, “ have been left in a perilous state by previous owners”. “No internal survey has been allowed due to [their] precarious and unsafe condition,” it says, adding that they would need to be partially demolished anyway to meet current standards.
Planning officers say that “whilst an increase in height is noted with the surrounding properties, the scale is considered appropriate as the form and appearance has been sensitively designed with consideration of the surrounding terraces”.
They add:“The proposed development would provide a safe, secure, and inclusive environment, as will be confirmed in the subsequent sections, and delivers two active frontages with appropriate outlook, privacy, and amenity for both future occupants, and neighbouring properties.”
The council’s planning board will discuss the plans on Tuesday 5 January.
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