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MP accuses tower developer of 'sheer naked greed'

Clive Efford adds his voice to criticism of Studio Egret West tower proposal and client Berkeley Group

The developer behind controversial plans for a Studio Egret West-designed tower in the London suburbs has demonstrated ‘sheer naked greed and opportunism’ with the proposal, the area’s MP has claimed.

Last week, AJ revealed the row over the proposed 31-storey tower, at Berkeley Group’s £1bn Kidbrooke Village development in south east London, with former City planning officer Peter Rees among those attacking the idea of building so tall in a low-rise area with moderate transport links.

Labour MP Clive Efford - whose constituency covers Kidbrooke - has now waded in, accusing the listed housebuilder of acting in the interests of shareholders rather than the local community.

He said: ‘The [Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands] masterplan said the tower site was going to be a hotel but there seems to have been a minimal effort put into finding a hotel partner.

‘I’ve been staggered by the sheer naked greed and opportunism of Berkeley Homes. It has done nothing to improve local transport links in the area and removed two local bus routes.’

Efford added that many of his younger constituents are being forced out of the area because of spiralling property prices despite the ‘massive’ housing development in their midst.

‘The tower has been overwhelmingly rejected and condemned by local residents,’ he said. ‘Who are these properties being built for?’

Berkeley declined to comment.

Readers' comments (10)

  • A. They are being built for the benefit of greedy investors who basically don't give a flying... ...fig for the people or communities that it affects, these are financial assets not homes. Is this to be expected? Perhaps, sadly but what should be less expected is often being given a leg up by various councils and the corporate revolving doorway to Westminster.
    London is out of control.

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  • Who are this properties built for? I asked the same when in Doha. They build to speculate not to cover people's needs. Let's think in people, small is beautiful.

    E.M.Ch.Aguinaga
    Madrid

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  • building a 31 storey tower in Kidbrooke is madness...high rise towers are not family friendly...expensive to maintain and to live in with regard to service charges for lift maintenance etc...these mistakes were learnt back in the 60s....the MP is dead right...this is about sheer greed and not about housing need

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  • Lets be fair, It's not exactly the most beautiful architecture either, Looks like it would be cheap as chips to build, looks like a mornings work for a newly graduated Structural Engineer.

    I have no major issue with high rise towers as I think they are a very efficient way to live. I've never done an exact comparrison but I'd imagine that the people living in 1000 dwellings in a high rise would have a fraction of the carbon footprint of 1000 detached houses.

    However, sticking such a large tower amongst a low rise area seems a bit daft. Maybe the developers should step back and have a good think, why not design the building to be 8-10 storeys high (in a pyramidal fashion) with the infrastructure for further expansion when/if the surrounding area starts to develop more with it.

    My guess is though that they have done the classic move of designing what they actually want, have realised that it will likely be rejected, so thought we'll do a revision that's another 10 storeys higher, then when that gets rejected we can haggle down to what we actually want and pretend we are coming to a compromise. Let's hope the council don't get the wool pulled over their eyes ;)

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  • I think the planning fees in London need upping considerably to deter obscene ideas, in terms of initial fees the ratio of planning fees to saleable value is minute compared to the rest of the country. This gives developers much less of a risk when pushing their luck. Fair enough the conditions can be pricier to lift in London but the overall percentage of the value is still tiny in comparison.

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  • As I commented last week, with reasonably sized apartments, say 125-175sqm each, enough basement parking, 1-2 cars per apartment, and a podium with communal facilities, corner shop, gym and cafes, the views out to Blackheath, the City and Southend, even Shooter's Hill, ought to make such a project viable. Why should Londoners all have to live in 19th century conversions rather than modern apartments like the rest of the developed world ?

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  • Who are this properties built for? I asked the same when in Doha. They build to speculate not to cover people's needs. Let's think in people, small is beautiful.

    E.M.Ch.Aguinaga
    Madrid

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  • My question is: Are not there, planning codes and regulations that control heights of buildings and densities in such small communities? Then if not: Should not the planning authority stipulate that [at a minimum] one of the conditions to be filled before giving building approval for this project be: That the developer "must" replace the two local bus routes that would be removed in the conceptual drawings, and that they shall make proper adjustments to, and, implement improvements to existing links re public transportation.

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  • Councils should not be rewards for giving pp for buildings.
    Section 106 ...or is it CIL these days is a fatal link in encouraging planning consents. It is legalized corruption!

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  • ...and what of the architects? I don't know the circumstances behind this scheme so couldn't say whether it is justified or not but isn't this also a criticism of the architect and not just the developer?

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