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Khan steps in after Greenwich rejects major schemes by SimpsonHaugh and Assael

SimpsonHaugh's Charlton Riverside scheme
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The mayor of London has given a second chance to major housing schemes by SimpsonHaugh and Assael after Greenwich Council rejected both of them last month

Sadiq Khan wrote to the council yesterday announcing that he would act as planning authority for the two separate projects which together comprise more than 1,000 homes.

Both were turned down by councillors on Greenwich’s planning board in July, but Khan will hold public hearings later this year before reaching final decisions.

SimpsonHaugh is behind plans for 11 buildings of up to 10 storeys each on the VIP Trading Estate and Industrial Estate on Anchor and Hope Lane in Charlton (pictured).

The scheme would create 771 homes along with business, retail, community and leisure space. Councillors ruled the proposals did not adhere to the spirit or letter of the Charlton Masterplan and represented overdevelopment and excessive massing and density.

Meanwhile Assael’s bid to build a 17-storey tower and three smaller buildings to create 272 homes, a pet hospital and commercial space close to Abbey Wood station was turned down by the council on the grounds that it would ‘fail to complement the character and appearance of the street scene’ and had ‘insufficient amenity spaces’ causing ‘poor quality of living’.

But Khan ruled that there were ‘sound planning reasons’ for him to intervene on both applications, including their potential impact on the implementation of the London Plan and its draft replacement.

Reports to the mayor on both schemes highlighted that the Royal Borough of Greenwich was well below targets for affordable home delivery in the three financial years to April 2017.

Of both cases, Khan said: ‘In my view, the proposed development has potential to make an important contribution to housing and affordable housing supply in response to London Plan policies. 

’Having regard to the above, and noting the potential contribution of the proposed development, I wish to fully consider this case as the local planning authority.’

Donal Mulryan, founder of Rockwell, the developer behind the SimpsonHaugh scheme, said: ‘Our current proposals will deliver 771 new homes, of which 35 per cent would be affordable, alongside flexible workspace and over 16,000m2 of new green space.

‘We are delighted that the mayor has chosen to step in to oversee the determination of these proposals and we look forward to working with the mayor’s office to unlock the Charlton Riverside Opportunity Area.’

Greg Smith, associate at planning consultant GVA, described the call-in as a ’positive sign’.

He added: ‘This shows a willingness from the mayor to intervene in Labour boroughs where high-quality design is promoted and there is a strong commitment to delivering affordable homes.’ 

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Assael’s Eynsham Drive scheme in Abbey Wood

Assael’s scheme is backed by Abbey Wood Property.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire recently said Khan’s affordable homes targets were not high enough.

Cllr Sizwe James, development chief at Greenwich Council, said he was ’disappointed’ at Khan’s decision.

’After the planning applications were rejected, we hoped that the developers would come back to us with a new application that provided much needed affordable housing for families, in developments of an appropriate size and scale for Abbey Wood and Charlton.

’Whilst I respect the rights of the Mayor of London to call in these planning applications, and understand the pressure he is under to get more homes built, we very much hope he will address the concerns of residents in the process.’

He added: ’We also need to learn from the mistakes made in the 60’s and 70’s and create proper neighbourhoods, with walkable streets, places to work and spaces for children to play and socialise.’ 

SimpsonHaugh and Assael have both been contacted for comment. 

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