Speranza Street render
Matt Morrow spoke to support the Speranza Street scheme

A senior councillor has said that his own town hall should be building more homes on a site in Plumstead where 17 council homes have been given the go-ahead.

Matt Morrow, the cabinet member for children and young people and local councillor for Plumstead, spoke as the borough’s planning board approved a cul-de-sac of 15 houses and two flats on the former leisure centre site at Speranza Street, which is in his ward.

The scheme is part of Greenwich Council’s pledge to start work on 750 new homes by May 2022, with all homes being for London Affordable Rent – about half market rates.

Five four-bedroom homes, 10 two-bedroom houses and two one-bedroom flats are planned, with 14 car parking spaces.

The scheme passed through the planning board easily – and only received two objections from members of the public – but Morrow, who was speaking in favour as the local councillor for Plumstead, said that he would have preferred it if a taller and denser development was built.

“I don’t think the site is as dense as it could be,” he told the committee last night.

“It’s fairly low-density and it looks like it’s going to be a lovely cul-de-sac, and a really nice place to live.

“But if the buildings had been taller, we could have got more people off the housing waiting list and into nice housing – it makes a huge impact on people’s lives, being overcrowded and then being housed in a really nice new building.

“I think that’s something of a missed opportunity, but my attempts to engage on the point of density with Greenwich Builds has resulted in where we are. I think they were only ever going to defend what they wanted to build rather than discuss the possibility of getting more units onto the site.”

Morrow emphasised, though, that the development would still make a difference in chipping away at the 23,000-strong waiting list for council housing.

“I think Plumstead’s done well, because there was a possibility a while back that this site would be disposed of for private redevelopment in order to pay for the wonderful new facilities at the Plumstead Centre,” he said.

Morrow added that he supported the relatively high number of parking spaces in the development as neighbouring streets were under pressure. “If you build places without parking people will still get cars,” he said.

A Greenwich Builds representative who addressed the meeting said that Morrow’s representations had resulted in changes to increase the number of bedrooms in the development.

“There was a discussion about increasing the number of units, but it was felt we could achieve the number of bedrooms to increase the density and have more residents on the site,” he said.

The application was unanimously approved by all 10 councillors present.

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