Woolwich tower plan
Meyer’s tower would be entirely for private sale

Campaigners against a 27-storey tower block planned for Woolwich town centre are urging locals to send objections into planning inspectors after the developer behind it appealed against Greenwich Council’s decision to refuse the scheme.

There will now be a six-day public inquiry, likely to be at Woolwich Town Hall, from 19 November into Meyer Homes’ proposals for the tower, which would be entirely for private sale, in front of the Tesco superstore. The plans also include three other blocks of between nine and 16 storeys behind the store, with the entire development comprising 804 flats in total, including up to 17% for social rent, all in the blocks behind the store.

Greenwich councillors threw the scheme out in November 2018, but Meyer lodged a last-minute appeal last month. Planning officers said the proposal was “unacceptably dominating and overbearing to General Gordon Square and the surrounding townscape”, Greenwich’s chair of planning, Sarah Merrill, said the development would cause “substantial harm to Woolwich town centre and Woolwich as a whole”.

All previous comments made by residents to Greenwich Council will have been passed on to the planning inspector, but Speak Out Woolwich, which led opposition to the scheme, has called on locals who did not comment before, or have new things to say, to make their feelings known to the Planning Inspectorate ahead of its deadline for comments, which is Wednesday 18 September. Objectors can simply say they agree with the objections made by Greenwich Council, or state their own reasons.

At last year’s hearing, the group’s John Edwards said: “The 27-storey tower would stand as an icon of social division and corporate greed. That’s why it’s aroused so much opposition. None of the flats in the tower will be for social housing. There’s one three-bedroom apartment at the very top, clearly intended as a penthouse suite, not as a family home.

“The higher the tower, the more profit it makes. The only reason it’s 27 storeys is because it’s the maximum acceptable to London City Airport, not people in Woolwich.

“The housing in phase four, where the social housing would be, is poor. It’s going to impact on the people living there and it’ll impact on their neighbours. The whole development is too big, too bulky, and too high.”

For its part, Meyer said that Greenwich Council’s decision to permit a 27-storey block on the site in 2007 was still valid – something council officers denied.

Comments can be left on the Planning Inspectorate website, under reference APP/E5330/W/19/3233519.

Another Meyer development close to a Tesco, this time in Lewisham, was the subject of a five-day public inquiry at Lewisham Town Hall in May. The verdict on its appeal against a plan for a 34-storey block there has not yet been released.

A second planning inquiry is also due to begin on 19 November into another major development, the Rockwell scheme to build 771 homes off Anchor and Hope Lane in Charlton, which was refused by Greenwich Council last summer and then again by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, in January. Rockwell’s appeal is against Khan’s decision, not the council’s. This inquiry is due to last 12 days.

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