The generation-long transformation of Greenwich Peninsula from a scrap of poisoned land to a fully-fledged town has been completed with the approval of a new masterplan.
Not without controversy, developer Knight Dragon successfully made a case to raise the number of homes surrounding The O2 from 10,000 to 15,000 at a Greenwich planning board meeting on Tuesday, September 8.
The extent of the development was brought home to residents at the meeting when projections showed that The O2 would be hidden by towers – some up to 40 storeys – when viewed from Greenwich Park.
The peninsula is one of the UK’s largest areas of public sector land with planning consent and three parties – the Mayor of London, the borough council and the developers – have been working towards developing at £8.4billion community with homes – 22.7% affordable – offices, schools, shops, community facilities – and a film studio.
Other ideas include a golf driving range – already open and in operation – a 5K running track wrapping the entire site, another pier on the west of the peninsula and 2,000 more parking spaces to support The O2.
The report to councillors said: “The proposals are driven by a vision to create new neighbourhoods with individual characters for residents to live, work and play that are complemented by high quality landscaping and public realm; to provide mixed-use development that contributes to the streetscape; provide a wide range of jobs; a new and improved transport interchange and to improve connectivity to the wider Greenwich area.”
New Greenwich MP Matt Pennycook has been unimpressed and calls the scheme “a bitter pill to swallow”.
He wrote in his blog: “When set against the principles underpinning the original Peninsula vision and the collective expectations of the community, Knight Dragon’s offer falls disappointingly short – a view I expressed candidly to their representatives when they presented their final proposals to me last week.”
He lists the benefits of the scheme – including a new transport hub – before concluding: “Despite these positive developments few local residents will feel that what’s being offered in terms of affordable housing and infrastructure justifies the staggering increase in density and building height for which permission is being sought.”
Residents’ groups have expressed their concern about overdevelopment and inadequate local services.
The Greenwich Society, Westcombe Society and the East Greenwich Residents Association issued a joint statement on their objections.
“Knight Dragon want to take the total numbers of new dwellings in the Greenwich Peninsula Opportunity Area to over 20,000. How will our already overstretched infrastructure, public transport and road network cope with such a massive increase? No justification is produced for the excessive increase in units to 15,720.”
But Greenwich Design Review Panel said the plan would bring “a large piece of land back into use, redefine the setting of an iconic London landmark The O2 arena and create a new thriving community”.
Vice chairman of Knight Dragon Sammy Lee said: “It's a huge project and a huge responsibility. Something like this only happens once in a generation in London. We have big plans for the Peninsula and the team, the determination and the finance to deliver them.”
The plan was agreed by nine votes to one, with one abstention. The plan will now go to the Mayor of London who is expected to back the scheme.