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Greenwich Peninsula: Morris + Co and Hall McKnight schemes axed in latest rethink

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The Greenwich Peninsula masterplan has undergone another rethink, with housing schemes by Morris + Co and Hall McKnight dropped in the latest version of the south-east London regeneration scheme

Allies and Morrison’s revised masterplan for the huge Thamesside site, best known as the home of the Oarena, has been submitted to Greenwich Council by developer Knight Dragon.

Key changes from the 2015 version include an uplift in the overall number of homes across the peninsula from 15,700 to 17,500 and the axing of a planned 38,693m² film studio. 

As reported previously, the new masterplan is also missing the scheme’s original eye-catching Peninsula Place centrepiece, a chandelier-like structure designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

However, planning drawings show that controversial plans to demolish Foster + Partners’ 1998 North Greenwich Interchange are still going ahead. 

As well as a new outline proposal, the application also seeks detailed planning approval for 476 homes in two projects on the southern edge of the masterplan, designed by Sheppard Robson.

These have replaced earlier designs for high rises on the same sites by Morris + Co (then Duggan Morris) and Hall McKnight, which were approved in 2017 but were never built. 

Hall Mcknight’s scheme shown in red; Duggan morris’ proposal shown in green; Alison Brooks Architects’ project at 19.04 Lower Riverside shown in orange

Hall Mcknight’s scheme shown in red; Duggan morris’ proposal shown in green; Alison Brooks Architects’ project at 19.04 Lower Riverside shown in orange

Hall Mcknight’s scheme shown in red; Duggan morris’ proposal shown in green; Alison Brooks Architects’ project at 19.04 Lower Riverside shown in orange

The schemes were later ‘thoroughly reviewed’ by developer L&Q, which took over the plots to increase the amount of affordable housing from the approved 25 per cent.

L&Q then decided that modifying the existing schemes would require ‘significant changes’ and instead appointed Sheppard Robson to design a taller scheme with over 50 per cent affordable.  

In addition, Alison Brooks Architects has confirmed its East Parkside plot, a cluster of residential towers on the peninsula approved in 2017, has been put on hold. 

Explaining the changes, Knight Dragon said the decision to revisit the 2015 outline was sparked by ‘external factors’ such as the approval of the Silvertown Tunnel and progress on plans for a major film studio in Dagenham East.

As for Calatrava’s scheme, the developer said that while no changes had been confirmed, it was ‘reviewing’ the composition and delivery of the Peninsula Central neighbourhood, including Peninsula Place.

The masterplan also scraps film studios earmarked for a large triangular plot next to Millennium Way. The developer said this was because plans were coming forward for a similar facility proposed by Barking Council’s regeneration firm Be First.

The 2019 masterplan is a partial reworking of Allies and Morrison’s 2015 version, which itself was a revision of Farrells’ 2004 masterplan. It focuses on the central part of the peninsula and excludes many sites already under construction.

Map masterplan 2019 greenwich peninsula

Map masterplan 2019 greenwich peninsula

Red line indicates area of 2015 masterplan under revision

Knight Dragon chief executive Richard Margree said: ‘Greenwich Peninsula is a 20-year regeneration project. As with any project of such scale, circumstances will change, bringing new opportunities and challenges, and we will need to evolve to ensure what we create is suitable for what the city needs and the way we live now.’

In addition to dropping the film studios and upping the housing numbers, Margree said Knight Dragon was also exploring the possibility of a new theatre space to ‘strengthen the cultural offer on the Peninsula’.

He added: ‘Alongside these proposed revisions to future chapters of Greenwich Peninsula, we continue to make excellent progress. In four short years, we’ve created over 2,000 new homes, housing a population of some 3,700 residents, and we will complete a further 540 homes for occupation by spring/summer 2020.’

Alan Shingler, partner at Sheppard Robson, said: ’We wanted our striking and rigorously composed design proposals–the first element of the Brickfields Neighbourhood–to set a benchmark for design quality and to be a marker for the wider plans for Greenwich Peninsula. 

’Whilst the scale of the design speaks of the project’s urban ambition, our designs work hard to have a human scale from street level. A terrace of townhouses on the south face St Mary Magdalene C of E School, helping root the project within the community and the wider transformation of the area.’

NEW: Sheppard Robson's designs for the new scheme on the Peninsula

NEW: Sheppard Robson’s designs for the new scheme on the Peninsula

NEW: Sheppard Robson’s designs for the new scheme on the Peninsula

Other recent developments mentioned by Margree include the completion of Penoyre & Prasad’s St Mary Magdalene School, which opens fully this year, and the completion of the first phase of US firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s walkway, The Tide, which was designed with London-based designer Neiheiser Argyros.

The Assemblage-masterplanned design district, London’s first ‘purpose-built district for the creative community’ featuring 16 buildings by nine different architects, is on track to open in 2020, said Margree.

Plan for the peninsula’s neighbouring Morden Wharf site, a 1,500-home development masterplanned by OMA, were recently revealed by the Dutch practice.

Morris + Co and Hall McKnight were approached for comment.

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