The 335 bus to Kidbrooke began service on Saturday

The Royal Arsenal in Woolwich and the redevelopment of the Ferrier Estate in Kidbrooke have both been nominated for an award honouring housing schemes designed so residents do not need cars.

Royal Arsenal Riverside and Kidbrooke Village, both built by Berkeley Homes, are in line for the first Transport for New Homes Award, set up by a new group which aims to bring transport and planning issues together. Among the competing developments is Poundbury, the Dorchester suburb built on land owned by the Prince of Wales.

Kidbrooke Village’s shortlisting coincided with the introduction of the long-awaited 335 bus between the new development and North Greenwich, which made its first journeys on Saturday. Berkeley Homes is also providing a new Kidbrooke station as part of the development.

“Residents here are not automatically expected to use a car as their main form of transport, and not all of the flats come with parking spaces,” TfNH says. “There is good public transport access, including a rail station within the site, which is receiving a new station building; regular buses pass through the site. Direct walking and cycling routes have been put in place, and old pedestrian subways replaced with surface-level crossings.”

Construction started in Kidbrooke 10 years ago

However, progress with public transport has not been smooth. In 2013, the reconfiguration of the road network saw buses withdrawn from the development – affecting neighbouring homes too. The buses returned four years later, but in a stroke of bad luck, roadworks meant the 335 wasn’t able to serve most of the development on its first day.

Greenwich councillors recently threw out a neighbouring development – Kidbrooke Station Square, which is backed by Transport for London – because they feared it would be too dense for the local transport network to cope. London mayor Sadiq Khan has now called in the application to decide himself.

Well, the square’s open…

Over in Woolwich, the Royal Arsenal has also been touched by bad luck – with Crossrail now running nearly a year late. Central government refused to fund a Crossrail station in Woolwich, leaving Berkeley Homes and Greenwich Council to pick up the bill.

Woolwich Station_327259

The station square recently opened to the public, while pictures released by Crossrail this week show the station is largely finished. But a report of a TfL board meeting published by the transport blog London Reconnections yesterday suggested that the Woolwich section may not now open until 2021, with a partial opening between Abbey Wood and Canary Wharf dismissed.

However, Transport for New Homes says: “Woolwich Arsenal station is also nearby, as well as more than 10 different bus routes, and there is a Thames Clipper pier at the centre of the site for a boat service into central London. There is a cycle route into central London along the riverfront and all homes have secure cycle parking. The central parts of the site are pedestrianised and all roads open to vehicles have safe pedestrian paths. Walking is encouraged by the peaceful public realm, which includes benches and green spaces. Car parking is hidden away in the basements of the buildings; there is no on-street parking with the exception of some disabled bays and car club spaces.”

It could be some time before the bin bag is removed from this sign

The other nominees are Bath Western Riverside and Kilnwood Vale, Crawley. Poundbury, where 2,300 people live, is praised for having “residential and commercial buildings, offices, shops, pubs, cafes, communal areas and even a cereal producing factory right in the town centre”. Over a quarter of its commuters walk to work.

Jenny Raggett, one of the judges for the Transport for New Homes Award, told 853: “The way we combine new homes with transport will determine how we travel and therefore the way we live for decades to come. Cutting back on car use and instead being able to walk, cycle or use public transport on a daily basis is all part of the lower carbon and healthier lifestyle that many people aspire to.

“We’re pleased to have shortlisted five developments that buck the trend for out-of-town car-dominated estates, places where real attention has been paid to sustainable transport and quality of life.”

The winning development will be announced on 20 November.

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