There’s much to be positive about this month – not least the re-opening of the Visitor Centre, now rather poncily renamed Discover Greenwich , a name I wouldn’t have chosen, but it’s what’s inside that counts, and it’s looking exciting indeed – and the long-anticipated opening of the brewery at the Old Royal Naval College.
But we can’t afford to take our eye off the ball. Most people now know that Greenwich Hospital Trust are appealing the same proposal for redevelopment of the market that was UNANIMOUSLY thrown out by Greenwich Council last year.
It was thrown out because it was wrong for Greenwich – too big, too tall, too brash, too uncaring of what Greenwich is about – a World Heritage Site (at least for the moment, until we finally get rid of all our heritage and we join Dresden in the ex-World Heritage Sites of Shame Club…) loved around the world for its history and mellow beauty.
The proposal deliberately smashed up old buildings to make room for wheelie bins (after first being carefully ‘preserved by record’ – some PR guy’s very proud of that phrase…) and ripped up cobblestones to be replaced with Bluewater plus a few craft stalls. The proposed hotel, not a bad idea in itself, was far too tall for the site, another example of cash over care.
That Greenwich Hospital Trust is appealing the decision shows exactly the kind of bullies we’re dealing with here. Caring not a jot for the opinions of locals, historic integrity or the longtime viability of a World Heritage Site without-any-heritage in favour of making the fastest buck for the charity (short-termism or what?) they will keep on appealing until they get what they want.
We can’t let that happen. Can we?
It certainly doesn’t help that we will have to fight our own MP, who is on record as supporting the development that his own party on the council rejected as being bad for the area. An MP who only ever seems to speak in parliament about his declared interests in the construction industry, and who doesn’t need care about what his constituents might think because he’s sitting in a safe seat.
What is to be done here? Paul, who was very active on the original protest, tells me
“They do accept submissions from the public, by the way. I think the appeal can take different forms, one of which is like a public enquiry. WE as residents will have to get our act together, and also pressurise some of the amenity groups to resubmit objections.”
I understand from another ‘source’ that it “goes to the inspectorate which is supposed to adjudicate on the basis of planning law – which means the entire thing is a long argument between barristers. People really need to write in to the inspectorate with their views – and they need to stick to ‘planning’ and legal arguments – the inspector won’t listen to anything else.”
Trouble is, I’ve spent time this morning trying to work out how to send in those submissions, and I can’t quite work out how. I can’t even find the inspectorate in question. I’ve looked in all the obvious places and can’t see anything, but I’m not the most technically savvy Phantom in the world. Is it too early, perhaps? I need some help here, folks…