Woolwich Tesco tower public meeting planned as MP leads protests

Woolwich tower plan
The tower appears to take some inspiration from New York City’s Flatiron Building

A public meeting has been organised about a controversial plan to build a 27-storey tower block in front of Woolwich’s Tesco store.

Developer Meyer Homes wants to build the tower along with three other blocks of between nine and 16 storeys behind the store, providing 804 flats in total.

But there are no homes planned for social rent – while 20.02% will be “affordable”, these will be split between the so-called London Living Rent (two-thirds of market rent) and Discount Market Sale, a form of shared ownership.

Woolwich development plans
The new blocks as seen from the South Circular Road

Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook has led critics of the scheme, saying: “An entirely private 27-storey tower with a few ‘affordable’ units overlooking Grand Depot Road and the South Circular is unacceptable.”

He added: “In a world where capital investment in housing has been slashed and viability assessments reign supreme, planning decisions are never easy. But in my view this one is clear cut.

“The council’s planning board should refuse the application outright and tell Meyer Homes to go away and come back with an improved scheme.”

The public meeting will be held at 133-133a Island Business Centre, 8-36 Wellington Street, SE18 6PF, on Monday 30 October at 6.30pm.

Woolwich tower plans
The proposed view from General Gordon Square

Organiser John Edwards says: “We have a number of very serious concerns about these proposals, most particularly the lack of any social rented housing.

“The needs of local residents must take priority over the profits of developers and speculators and we aim to do all we can to make sure there is a powerful local voice on this both at the planning application stage and afterwards.”

The application is reference number 17/2812/F on the council planning website – comments need to be in by 3 November.

Meyer bought the land in 2015 after Tesco’s development arm Spenhill pulled out of plans to complete the Woolwich Central development, which included flats, a superstore, and a library and civic headquarters for Greenwich Council.

Architecture critics branded the first phase of housing “inept, arrogant and oppressive” when they awarded it the Carbuncle Cup the previous year.

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