Grim News For the Heart of East Greenwich
I know several of you have been busily emailing all sorts of people who should know about such things, asking what the hell is going on with the amazing new development we’re supposed to be getting where the old Greenwich District Hospital used to be, and where the only things flourishing there these days are weeds and regular changes of billboard telling us that yet another government quango’s taken over the sorry mess.
I’m pretty sure that not one of you have enjoyed the decency of a reply.
Well, Jemma has sent me a couple of links that may go part way to explaining why everything’s gone deathly quiet there.
Firstly, a couple of weeks ago, Property News announced that the Homes and Communities Agency is scrapping the capital’s public-private partnership aiming to build new housing in the key worker and affordable sector. Major changes in contracts with sundry developers is pretty much across the board, but First Base, who was promising such marvels for East Greenwich, is having its contract terminated entirely. Apparently First Base are said to be “very disappointed” – though of course they won’t be out of pocket as the HCA has underwritten the developers’ pre-development costs. Great. So it’s just us getting zero out of that particular fiasco.
It’s interesting to note that there’s a comment below the feature that seems quietly pleased as it points out that the ‘affordable’ housing market’s rotten anyway.
The second feature, in Regeneration and Renewal is subscriber-protected and I can’t reproduce in full what it says. If you’re really interested, you could take advantage of the free 30-day trial (I mean – when else are you likely to want to use it – and who knows – you might actually love it and end up a loyal reader…) but what it says in a nutshell is that the site, along with six others across London, will be ‘re-tendered,’ thanks to ”market conditions,” giving “selected developers fast-track access to housing-led public development projects” (whatever that means.)
I don’t know if this is a sensible decision or not for the long-term – it’s possible that re-tendering is the best idea given what’s going on, but for anyone who was hoping to see a) regeneration in East Greenwich b) a new swimming pool c) a new library, d) new affordable homes, get whistling now.
I think what annoys me most is that NO ONE has kept any of us in the loop about this. Jemma found this by accident, and kindly sent it to me. It’s clear the council – and the government – had no intentions of telling anyone.
One good thing. If you go past there at the moment someone (I’m assuming guerrilla gardeners, huzzah!) has tilled the soil in the giant tubs just outside, where the trees are, and is now planting it up with what looks like cuttings from their garden. At least someone gives a damn…