Future of ‘challenging site’ in Erith divides opinions but council agrees to new housing project

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Bexley council has given the go-ahead to plans for a new block of 65 flats in Erith, despite people criticising the lack of affordable housing offered by the project.

The plans, submitted by Bexley council’s housing developer BexleyCo, would see a new block between five and seven storeys-tall being built on the site in Stonewood Road.

The space is currently occupied by bushes and trees and sits opposite the Grade II listed former Erith Library.

The new development will include communal rooftop terraces and an enhanced public plaza with space for a shop. The project will see the existing underpass that connects the site with Erith train station being repurposed into a cycle store.

The project was approved at a planning committee meeting on April 11.

The plans had received objections from the Bexley Civic Society and London South East Colleges, who have a campus beside the site. The Bexley Civic Society called the frontage of the building an ‘alien’ feature.

They added that the scheme appeared to make a ‘mockery’ out of Government guidelines on affordable housing in London.

Lucy Morris, speaking on behalf of planning consultants Nexus Planning, said at the meeting on April 11: “The design, massing and materials palette have been carefully selected in consultation with council officers to provide a high quality design which responds to the site’s constraints.”

Council documents said an independent viability assessment of the scheme claimed no affordable housing could be delivered by the development. Labour councillor Larry Ferguson said Labour councillors had previously raised concerns on the viability studies that claimed such developments were not suitable for social housing.

Cllr Ferguson said at the meeting: “We’ve had a number of these sort of instances where applications come to the committee and the developers tell us they can’t provide affordable housing.

“Obviously they have their viability studies and so on and so forth. But I think it’s disappointing in this particular instance because I guess you have to ask if BexleyCo can’t do it, who can?”

Conservative councillor Cameron Smith said it was a shame there was no affordable housing planned for the scheme. He added that he felt it was a representation of how unattainable the London Plan’s target for 50 per cent of homes on public land to be ‘affordable’ was.

Conservative councillor Kurtis Christoforides said at the meeting: “I visited the site, as have many other members I’m sure, and it is apparent what a difficult site it is to develop, and therefore one would assume to develop in a financially viable way.”

He added: “I do think that this is one of those areas where I feel more minded to accept at face value the findings of the viability assessments just because this is such a challenging site.”

Pictured top: A CGI of the new development as seen from Walnut Tree Road. Permission for use by all LDRS partners (Picture: Flanagan Lawrence / BexleyCo)


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.