At the final consultation in September-October 2019, two-thirds of responses
were supportive or strongly supportive of the proposals. There was
particularly strong support for Morden Park, the illustrative design of the
buildings and the employment offer.
Below are some of the key issues raised and our response in the final plans.
In our public consultations, a wide range of uses on the site was supported including a desire for community focussed spaces.
Although most of our proposal is only at the outline application stage, which means we cannot fix specific uses at this time, they include a broad range of uses to ensure a truly mixed-use development is delivered. We have suggested the inclusion of cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as a children’s nursery, community space, retail space, and outdoor community gardens and allotments.
Local councillors and local groups emphasised their desire for play space suitable for all ages, including older children.
The public realm elements of our proposal have been designed to create a successful playscape suitable for all ages. This includes space for adults to relax and socialise while their children play. Much of the play areas will be in the residential gardens and roof terraces. However, Morden Park will also be interspersed with natural play elements such as stepping stones and hidden play rooms.
A minority of comments have raised concerns about the maximum heights of the towers.
We have made some changes to the height and overall massing of the towers since we began public consultation. We have increased the distance between buildings and made the towers themselves slimmer in profile.
The wider Greenwich Peninsula has seen planning approvals for well over 17,000 homes, with towers up to 40 storeys, so we do not feel the proposals will be out of character with the area. Taller elements and parking buried underground releases half the site for public realm.
Many respondents have said the existing public transport infrastructure is strained.
Much of this is outside our direct control and action will require the collective investment and coordination of all the major developers, Transport for London (TfL) and the Royal Borough of Greenwich over a number of years. Nevertheless, Morden Wharf will deliver major investments to improve walking, cycling and public transport provision.
We have held positive discussions with TfL about public transport capacity in the area, both on the bus network and tube, as well as around bringing further Thames Clipper services to the area. However, we believe the impact of the proposals on transport usage is likely to be proportionally very small.
The scheme would also generate an estimated £11.3m in combined Mayoral and Local Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments, plus S106 contributions, £9.8m New Homes Bonus payments over four years, and Council Tax and Business Rates revenues of £3.4m per annum.
A minority of respondents have expressed concern about the density of the development.
The proposals would support new shops, restaurants and community space, as well as a target of 35% affordable housing,and is at a density generally acceptable in an Opportunity Area. We believe the site can provide up to 1,500 new homes and space to directly support over 600 jobs. The diversity of the uses on site is a key strength – and the new homes and jobs provide the critical mass for a fantastic new destination for the peninsula.
Some respondents have expressed frustration at the length of the closure of the path by other developments.
We have had really positive discussions about the plans for the upgraded Thames path, but we completely understand the frustration about construction. U+I have committed, as far as feasibly possible and so long as public safety can be assured, to provide early delivery of upgrades, and for alternative routes to be provided through the site whilst construction takes place.
There have been concerns about traffic congestion, which is already significant at Woolwich Tunnel and its approaches.
The number of new vehicle trips due to the proposals is expected to be relatively low. We have also designed residential areas on a ‘car as guest’ basis, with vehicles kept away from surface areas, pedestrian and cycle routes wherever possible.
The proposals include a provision of car parking for residents at a parking rate of 0.2 of spaces to homes, including disabled parking and electric charging spaces, a balanced approach for the employment uses in line with policy, together with car club bays across the site.
Public feedback has focussed on the design of the residential elements of the proposals. There has been a strong desire for the architecture to communicate the industrial history of the site.
The new structures, designed by OMA, retain a strong industrial aesthetic; they are both new and modern, whilst also native to their surroundings and the site’s history.
One tower has been singled out to make a statement. Rather than modifying the shape at upper levels where differences would only be perceivable from great distance, the base of the building has been modified in an expression referencing an industrial silo like those that stood here when it was a glucose refinery.
Not only does this stand out against the regularity of its surrounding blocks but provides increased daylight and permeability at the human level.
There has been very strong support for this feature from both the public survey and stakeholders, and for the proposed greening of buildings. Earlier proposals for prominent signage on one of the towers had mixed reactions and has been removed.