Two Greenwich Labour councillors have criticised their own borough’s plans to build new council homes on an estate in Kidbrooke – saying the town hall should be using an alternative site instead.
Greenwich Council plans to build three three-bedroom houses on garages and parking spaces at Woodville Close, a small estate next to the Sun-in-the Sands roundabout, as part of its Greenwich Builds programme.
But locals are up in arms about the plans, saying the parking spaces are used by residents and the small cul-de-sac would not be able to cope with the new housing.
Last December a petition signed by 41 residents went to the council, saying they were “very worried and concerned” about the proposal.
But the council put in a planning application on February 6 – two weeks before it responded to the petition. Kidbrooke Park councillor John Fahy said that the residents had simply been ignored, calling the decision to put the application in before responding to the petition “profoundly disappointing”.
He said: “There’s been poor quality consultation and it is our perception that [council] officers have decided to pursue the development and were determined to ignore residents’ views at all costs.
“We rightly expect the highest standard of developers and we expect the council to aspire to do more to ensure that transparency and adequate consultation takes place. it certainly seems not in this case.”
“We believe that this site, under any circumstances, is not suitable either for the current residents or any future residents.”
Odette McGahey, who also represents Kidbrooke Park, agreed with her colleague. “The report states that the garages are underused. Meanwhile, the residents tell us that they’ve been on the waiting list for years, being told that there were no garages available,” she said. “Not letting the residents use them is not them being underused. It’s deliberately holding the resources back.”
McGahey added that another side has been suggested, which this website understands is a derelict plot of land at Flintmill Crescent, on the other side of the ward, which locals wanted to see built on.
“We’ve been told it’s not suitable because the site would have to be cleared,” she said. “I can’t believe that we intend to just leave it like that.”
Aidan Smith, the cabinet member for regeneration, said that changes to the Woodville scheme had been made in response to residents’ concerns.
“That’s not something that we statutorily have to do, but Greenwich Builds has chosen to do it, to give residents multiple opportunities to feed back comments about our proposals,” he said.
“We’ve now submitted the planning application, which is where the formal consultation will start, and residents will have a further opportunity to respond to the consultation formally and speak at the planning committee if they wish to submit comments. So I would encourage the ward members to recommend that to their residents.”
Woodville Close is part of the second phase of the Greenwich Builds programme, which aims to build 1,000 new council homes. Work is under way or about to start on most of the first phase, of 750 homes.
Like Woodville Close, many of the homes are “infill sites” on existing estates – building on garages or, more controversially, green spaces.
In addition, more than 400 homes are being built on the old Thomas Tallis School site at Kidbrooke Park Road, while another 265 homes are planned in and close to the former Morris Walk Estate on the Woolwich-Charlton border.
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