Anger as developer unveils plans for 109 flats on land previously intended for just 23

By Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter

Residents living in newly-built homes near Eltham say they are “incredibly dismayed and angry” after developers unveiled plans to build 109 flats on a patch of land previously intended for just 23 homes.

Linden Homes has unveiled plans for more than 100 units at the luxury housing development Holland Gardens, also known as Waterford Place, in New Eltham.

While work has trundled along at the site since plans for the houses were approved by Greenwich Council in 2016, developers are now pursuing a much higher density proposal – to the angst of residents who bought properties surrounding the site in the first leg of the development.

Developers behind the plans held two online events explaining the new proposals earlier this month.

One nearby homeowner told developers that “residents inside and outside Holland Gardens are incredibly dismayed and angry at the increase from 23 homes to 109 flats”.

“Why has planning changed so dramatically for the worst?” he asked on the digital forum.

John Longhorn, of Linden Homes, answered they were “contractually obliged” to pursue a higher density – and therefore higher yield – application at the site, following “long and heated” discussions with the previous site owners.

“We are aware of public concern – we are in a position where from a contractual point of view we have to pursue this and that’s what is driving it,” he said of the new scheme.

When pressed on the matter, he added the developers had a “contractual obligation to pursue a higher density” proposal.

“This is not a unilateral action we have just decided upon,” he said, adding it came after “long and heated discussions”.

Developers also revealed they had not engaged in any pre-application discussions with Greenwich council on the new scheme, after Linden Homes and the former landowner could not agree “what form (the application) would take”.

Residents were told that plans were now “so far down the path” it “seems rather pointless” to engage with council planners.

The plan for 109 units confirmed fears from residents floated earlier this year over a new beefed-up scheme for the site.

Residents’ group HG Planning Watch said in July that suspected plans for 60 to 80 units at the site were “entirely out of keeping with the current development, and directly counter to numerous assurances that many residents were given by Linden Homes”.

It is the latest twist in planning matters for the site, which has stretched for more than two decades, since the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) stopped their use of the former field in 1992.

While many of the homes built in the first phase of development around the perimeter of the site have already been sold, some still remain open for purchase, with a four-bedroom house at the site priced from £699,000.

Pictured top: An artist’s impression of what the development could look like

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