10-storey block in Abbey Wood which opponents claimed would “swamp” surrounding homes, gets go-ahead

By Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter

A 10-storey block which councillors fear could “absolutely swamp” surrounding homes will go ahead, despite a last-minute plea from the local vicar.

Members of Bexley council gave the go-ahead to Peabody’s application to build a block of 66 homes and business space on the corner of Abbey Wood Road and Knee Hill, Abbey Wood, at their February meeting.

The vicar of Abbey Wood, Reverend David Sherratt, said the blocks would be “completely out of character with the neighbourhood”.

He said: “The tower block of it would completely destroy the nature and feel of that area.”

He added homes on Knee Hill, where he lives, would be completely “overshadowed” by the development.

“There’s been no regard for privacy or anything in these plans,” he said.

“A lower scale development is essential.”

The site has been empty since the Harrow Inn pub was demolished more than 10 years ago.

The site is in an area earmarked for substantial growth and was within one of only two zones in the borough where developers can build high-rise buildings.

Councillor Val Clark expressed concern over how close the building would sit to the Harrow motorway, which would be roughly in line with the second storey of the development.

She said: “It’s rather too large. It’ll have a horrible overbearing impact on the area from what I can see so far.”

Cllr June Slaughter said: “We talk about landmark buildings but this is positively overpowering and if I lived in one of the houses around this island site I’d feel completely swamped by the extent of this building.

“It’s oppressive in its bulk and its height.

“Residents will never be able to open their windows.

“A large road like that close to dwellings is pretty awful – I know it’s zoned for residential, but we do have to think about quality of life.”

But Cllr Brian Bishop said: “The area is changing. The height of it doesn’t distract from village life. It’s a good and very useful addition to the area.”

Peabody will build 31 one-bed, 20 two-bed and 15 three-bed flats, with 36 per cent affordable, as well as business space at the foot of the building.

Pictured top: The road as it is – and an artist’s impression of what it could look like




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