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Peabody’s 1,500-home Thamesmead regeneration gets green light

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Plans by Proctor & Matthews and Mecanoo for the first stage of Peabody’s £1.5 billion transformation of the Thamesmead estate in south-east London have been approved

In total, four planning applications were approved by the London Borough of Bexley, paving the way for more than 1,500 new homes and kickstarting the first major development in Thamesmead since Peabody acquired the land in 2014. The approvals also indicate the first stage of the wider regeneration programme, which could deliver up to 20,000 new homes in the Thamesmead area. 

The consented applications include detailed plans for a civic-led quarter with 525 new homes, known as Southmere Village, and outline plans for three other development areas delivering 1,000 homes – Binsey Walk, Coralline Walk and Sedgemere Road. 

All four sites sit inside the boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich’s Thamesmead Housing Zones – forming part of the Greater London Authority’s £47.5m investment into the area – and will be served by the new Crossrail station at Abbey Wood, which opens in December 2018.

Drawn up by design team leaders Proctor & Matthews Architects and Mecanoo, the scheme runs from Southmere Lake to the north and Abbey Wood station to the south.

Proposals for Southmere Village include 3,716m² of commercial space. The buildings will be centred around a new public square on the banks of Southmere Lake, and will mainly be clad in brick in response to local residents’ desire for the new structures to contrast with the concrete of the 1960s estate.

Proctor & Matthews has also designed a new civic building, housing a library, nursery and gym, which will act as a social hub and focal point of the square.

Stephen Proctor, director of Proctor and Matthews Architects, said: ’Our proposals look to overlay a sequence of spaces connecting the new Abbey Wood Crossrail station with Southmere Lake: one of the area’s greatest landscape assets in this part of Thamesmead.

’This will create a mixed-use, mixed–tenure linear development that frames a meandering neighbourhood ‘lane’ and draws together the disparate surrounding concrete neighbourhoods of the 1970’s and the fragments of earlier street patterns which lie to the east and west of Harrow Manor Way – the principal connection between North and South Thamesmead.’

As part of the wider scheme, the last remaining blocks of Thamesmead’s 1967 masterplan – the 13-storey Blewbury House and Tilehurst Point towers – will be retained in a new ’ensemble’ block designed by Mecanoo, alongside three later residential blocks and an NHS health centre.

Collectively, the planning permissions represent one of the largest residential developments to be given the go-ahead in London this year; the Thamesmead masterplan area is bigger than both the Old Oak Common and Nine Elms masterplans combined. 

John Lewis, Peabody’s executive director for Thamesmead, said: ’This is just the start of our commitment to Thamesmead residents at what is a really exciting time, with the Elizabeth Line opening at Abbey Wood Station in December 2018 and the DLR extending to Thamesmead in the next ten years.

’Thamesmead will be better connected, opening up new opportunities to residents and to businesses looking to invest. We hope this will be the catalyst for Thamesmead fulfilling its promise as London’s new town.’

The development will be built in four phases, with Southmere Village due to start in 2017, and the final phase expected to complete in 2024. 

Meanwhile Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners is also working on the wider ‘futures plan’ for the huge 1960s estate – effectively a 15-year vision for area (AJ 25.06.14).

Housing zone team in full

  • Proctor and Matthews Architects: Design team lead, masterplanners and architects
  • Mecanoo: masterplanners, architects and landscape architects
  • Bell Philips Architects: Architects
  • Pitman Tozer Architects: Architects
  • Project Orange: Architects
  • Max Fordham: Energy masterplan and building services
  • Peter Brett Associates: Structural, civil and transport engineers
  • Turkington Martin: Landscape Architects 


Construction work started at Thamesmead, built on top of the Erith and Plumstead Marshes, in the 1960s and was funded by the now-abolished Greater London Council. At the time, it was hailed for its futuristic Modernist and Brutalist design, including elevated walkways. The threat of flooding required all habitable rooms to be built on the first floor. However, over the years the estate has been blighted with problems like anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

The area has a strong cultural history, having been used as a setting for a number of films and television programmes – perhaps most notably for Stanley Kubrick’s film, A Clockwork Orange.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It will probably cheer the place up and raise property values in the short term - everyone wants to live in a Spanish resort after all. But it's a pity this seems to be the only way available.

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