Seen as ideal: Council warms to L-shaped block of affordable homes to replace units ‘unfit for humans’

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Plans have moved forward for a new housing block consisting solely of affordable flats in Charlton.

The scheme would see 62 new flats being built in the area in a building stretching between five and seven storeys.

The project, in Riefield Road, would see the existing social housing block on the site being knocked down. Council documents said the homes, built in the 1970s, were currently vacant and described the current site as being in such a deteriorated state that they were ‘not fit for human habitation’.

The scheme was put forward by Greenwich council under its affordable housing developer, Meridian Home Start Limited. It will go before the council’s planning board on April 16 to determine whether planning permission will be granted.

Planning documents from Cartwright Pickard Architects, on behalf of Meridian Home Start, said the new L-shaped building would offer flats at 65 per cent of market rent levels.

More than half of the site would see landscape improvements such as new trees. A communal courtyard garden that will be overlooked by the flats is also planned.

The block has gone through a series of redesigns after the planning board refused a similar scheme stretching up to nine storeys-tall in August 2022 for being too high and inappropriate for the location.

The current, revised project has received 81 objections from neighbours, criticising the scale and height of the building and claiming it would still appear visually intrusive.

A CGI of the development on the corner of Rochester Way and Riefield Road (Picture: Cartwright Pickard Architects/Meridian Home Start)

Conservative councillor Pat Greenwell, representing the Eltham Town and Avery Hill ward, said: “The new building will not provide a positive relationship with the existing landscape and the architecture of the nearby buildings.

“It will still dominate the landscape and the surrounding of Riefield Road and roads by the station at Falconwood.”

Council officers maintained in their report that the development would not appear out of proportion to the surrounding context despite it being noticeably taller than nearby buildings.

They said the site’s location at the junction of three streets and opposite Falconwood railway station justified its height in an effort to enhance the distinctiveness of the area.

Planning documents said: “The need to maximise affordable homes on a site with excellent infrastructure capacity has been balanced with the need to fit into the local natural and built context in a positive way.”

Pictured top: A CGI of the communal garden planned for the development (Picture: Cartwright Pickard Architects/Meridian Home Start)


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