Brook Estate
Councillors had wanted to see the site themselves

Greenwich councillors have been told they can’t visit an estate where 80 new council homes are planned, even though they had deferred the decision to take a look at the site themselves.

Plans for a site visit to the Brook Estate, on the Kidbrooke/Eltham border, have been scrapped because of England’s third coronavirus lockdown, according to council documents released today. Instead they will be given more photographs to help them decide on whether to allow the development.

Council officers had recommended the planning board rubber-stamp the 58 houses and 22 flats on the Brook Estate last month, planned as part of a pledge to start building 750 council homes by 2022.

But a resident campaign, Save the Brooks, argued that while the council homes were needed, the development should be reconfigured to keep more green space. After a number of missteps made by councillors and officers in arguing for the development, the committee voted by five votes to three to take a look at the land on Rochester Way themselves – despite council leader Danny Thorpe speaking at the meeting to implore councillors to approve it.

Brook estate
A view of the planned development along Rochester Way

Now the plan will be discussed next Tuesday, with council officers again approving the scheme. “The government advice is to only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable to work from home,” councillors are told in the meeting papers.

“Officers are satisfied that for the purposes of considering this planning application, through the provision of additional photographs within the officer presentation, a site visit to better understand the context of the site is not necessary to allow members to determine this application.”

Another controversial plan, for a development of “compact flats” at The Heights in Charlton, is also affected by the decision to scrap site visits. Last week the planning chair Stephen Brain said he was “not prepared to break the law or put [the council] into a bad light”.


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