The block, which would be on the right, would overlook the ecology park

A planning inspector has approved plans to build a 13-storey block next to the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park, 15 months after Greenwich councillors threw out the scheme.

Developers Taylor Wimpey and Countryside already had outline permission to build on Plot 201 at Greenwich Millennium Village site, but required detailed permission to build the 65-flat block off Peartree Way.

Councillors had agreed with campaigners that a tall building looming over the ecology park would seriously damage the park’s ecosystem. They rejected the proposal in November 2018 to cheers from the public gallery, despite council officers recommending they approve the scheme.

But in a decision published last week, the inspector, Graeme Robbie, said the developers’ plans to mitigate the impact of the development were enough to allow him to approve the proposal.

“I am satisfied that those measures set out would mitigate the impacts of the proposal by managing the subtle change of those habitats most closely situated to the proposed building whilst robustly relocating those in areas of greatest shading,” he wrote.

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park
Campaigners fear the effects from the block overshadowing the ecology park

He added that while the ecology park opened its gates in 2002, “the impacts of the on-going developments on the park were clearly anticipated with the embedded mitigation measures already set out”.

However, the developers have since submitted a new application for a 12-storey block on the same site, which has been joined by a separate application to demolish the current ecology centre, next to the Thames, and build a new, larger one to the south of the park – an attempt to further address concerns about the ecology park’s future.

The planning inspector’s decision will put pressure on councillors to approve the revised scheme when – or if – it comes before the planning board, despite the lack of the lack of “affordable” housing – 88% of the homes in the block would be for private sale, with 12% offered for shared ownership. This is set against a masterplan agreed in 2012 which promises just 20% “affordable” housing across the site.

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