Last Call for Comments on Market Appeal

Folks, the number of ‘final deadlines’ for comments about Greenwich Hospital Trust’s appeal against the UNANIMOUS decision by Greenwich councillors of ALL parties to reject their proposals to develop the covered market seem to be as confused as the process that you’re supposed to follow to have your say. Below is the The Phantom’s Easy Guide to having your say. If you get bored with my preamble, cut to the bit in red below.

I read only last week that the deadline was 22nd April, but I’m reliably informed the deadline has NOT passed. Instead, if you haven’t commented yet then there is still a teeny tiny amount of time to do so.

Certainly, if you’re one of the people who agree with me that this is a disgraceful presumption on the part of Greenwich Hospital, to assume that absolutely everyone on the council is wrong, don’t rely on our local MP to represent you.

Nick Raynsford thinks it’s a great idea – in fact it was him who apparently told GH to appeal – against a council led BY HIS OWN PARTY. Of course he would love to see more giant developments going up – his links with the building industry are far stronger than any impulse to actually represent his own constituents – or, indeed, his own party.

No – if you object, you need to say so – you’ll get no joy from Nick. Actually, I guess, if you don’t object, have your say so too – I’m sure GH will appreciate your support.

A few notes on what the Planning Inspectors are looking for. They have to consider objections on points of law. Inappropriate massing, traffic implications and other hotel capacity in the area will all rack up and they WILL take into account the fact that absolutely everyone on the council unanimously rejected the plans. Purely aesthetc ‘quality’ issues, are more difficult to argue, as it’s subjective.

However this IS a World Heritage Site, and I personally think that they would be irresponsible to Britain’s reputation as a tourist destination to create something so wholly inappropriate to a place people flock to from all over the world to see for its history – and, of course, at the same time, spend cash.

A requirement both of National Planning, under PPG 15, and the Borough SPD – Supplementary Planning Document, is that the development MUST ‘preserve or enhance” the conservation area, and protect the setting of the Listed Buildings (which is all of the Joseph Kay, stucco-fronted buildings. A hotel that dwarfs its historic neighbours hardly does that.

The Durnford Street buildings may not be listed, but they ARE part of the conservation area. I can’t see how demolishing them to build a trash compacter will enhance the listed buildings’ setting. And what the hell point is there in getting rid of real cobbles if they’re only going to replace them with fake cobbles – though of course GH refer to as ‘granite sets’? None of this was mentioned in the Hospital’s ‘consultation.’

I’m the first to agree that the 1950s inner buildings and the roof are pretty hideous, but this isn’t the development the market needs. A simple glass roof (without those hideous pillars that close the place rather than open it up,) and discreet replacements for the 1950s monstrosities would be just fine. Greed has ensured that the proposed Hotel Building will tower over the adjacent Joseph Kay buildings, and dominate them from key viewpoints on a World Heritage Site, and with so many businesses reliant on tourists coming to Greenwich, it is our duty to ensure that they still have a reason to visit.

And it CAN be done – you only have to look at the fantastic development at the Old Brewery (by the Greenwich Foundation who sometimes accidentally get confused with Greenwich Hospital Trust, poor things) to see that history and contemporary styling can work.

So – how to object (or support if you happen to think it’s a great idea…)

This is the link to the case. You have until the 4th May to submit comments. Click the very bottom button, which will take you to the planning portal. From there it’s pretty easy to fill in the form, and just put a couple of paragraphs of what you think of the project – you don’t have to send a letter or supporting dcuments if you don’t want to. It can be as long or as short as you like.

If you’re still after ideas, Paul has sent me a list of his “Eight Ridiculous Claims” which you might enjoy:

1 “The scheme enhances the character and appearance of the conservation area. Elements such as the adjacent storage yards adjacent to Durnford Street are of poor quality. Their appearance clearly detracts from the area.” (2.7)

(A major plank of their appeal is that, by knocking down the stables and banana warehouse, they will improve Durnford Street. You have to give them points for sheer cheek!)

2 “The scheme is not visible from viewpoints outside the area.” (2.9)

( There are no drawings supplied to prove this, but Elevation C clearly shows the scheme is visible from the immediate area, and will be visible from many buildings around the market, as well as the park.)

3 “The scheme will not be detrimental to the setting of the adjacent Grade II listed buildings.” (2.10)
(see above)

4 “The council has not taken into account the economic benefit of the new hotel in enlivening the area as a visitor destination, this protecting a number of buildings around the conservation area in the long term.”(2.14)

(Will the loss of informal, quirky stalls and the introduction of shops that can afford higher rents really benefit the area, if we lose the distinctive, informal feel of the market?)

5 “Unattractive outbuildings [ie the Durnford Street buildings] create a wholly unattractive entrance to the market and do not contribute positively to the Conservation Area. (2.31)
and
6 “The removal of the [Durnford Street] buildings… and new market roof all enhance the character of the conservation area.” (2.33)

(This is an assertion which even the Appellants don’t believe – otherwise they would have mentioned the demolition of the buildings in their display. Remember they are being replaced by a trash compactor!)

7 “The existing market roof is locally listed [but]… is not of particular importance being late Victorian/early Edwardian in date. The current covering comprises corrugated plastic… which does not contribute to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.” (2.36)

(Would a thin plastic roof really be better than a glass structure, which the Appellants have allowed to fall into disrepair?)

8 “The net increase in traffic… is insignificant and would not adversely impact traffic flow.” (2.53)

(No extra traffic from a 105 room hotel? Remember the main entrance and exit would be on College Approach, which is always busy.)

I leave it with you, guys. Yours to object, support or ignore, but you only have until 4th May to have your say.


34 Comments to “Last Call for Comments on Market Appeal”

  1. Paul says:

    Thanks for posting this, Phantom.

    And you've made a very good point: this is about GREED. The Hospital have already spent a huge sum – I've been told £2m, although that could be speculation – on these plans, on consultancy and PR in an attempt to massage public opinion. We're up against some determined and motivated people.

    Once the market's gone, we'll never get it back. They seem to have sneaked the appeal under the wire, our local MP is backing it, so we have to make our voices heard louder than his.

    If you're a market trader, or anyone with a specific viewpoint who can counter some of their more outrageous assertions, so much the better!

  2. The Last Stand of the 150 says:

    All those that support the Hospital's plans should spend an afternoon in Smithfield market,with its prissy, sterile, identikit shopping experience. The food traders were cleared out to make way for the restaurants,all sense of the rambling spontaneity that visitors adore was lost forever.
    Greenwich Hospital own enough square footage on the Island site to create a large hotel within the existing buildings, without lowering a new pile of concrete onto it like some giant tarantula -it's a lazy and unimaginative way of developing your assets.
    Please post your objections, do not assume that your opinion is too small to matter,the market is a precious gift to this generation let's hand it intact to the next.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What are the plans of Greenwich Hospital exactly? Renovation or replacement of the market? I ask as this is the first I've heard of it.

    If they're planning on taking the market away from us then I'll be lying down in front of the bulldozers if need be.

  4. arnie says:

    I've sent off my objection to the scheme. Apart from my general objections to the scheme*, I don't feel GH should be undertaking some large-scale works in the area at present. What with the works to the foot tunnel and pier (plus anything else planned for the area) contractors' lorries would jam up the whole Cutty Sark area. That'll look good to any tourists!

    * Already well articulated in this and earlier blog posts.

  5. GG says:

    Minor point to The Last Stand of the 150…

    Hey I and many friends like what they have done to Smithfield. Tourists swamp the place too.

    Just because it is not to your taste does not mean it is not a huge success…!

    Don't get me wrong, I am anti this Greenwich scheme, but would love Greenwich to be as dynamic and buzzing as the Smithfield area.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Phantom, I see there's a hustings in Blackheath Halls tonight…
    Greenwichites should go and heckle Raynsford!

  7. Pedro says:

    GG, much of the Smithfields you like was due to be demolished – a developer wanted to destroy some of the lesser buildings in order to build a shiny new edifice. It took a huge opposition campaign before several of the Victorian and Edwardian buildings are saved.

    The situation is exactly like that of Greenwich market, although the Edwardian buildings they want to get rid of are smaller.

    The new plans will not, in any way, make the market more 'bustling', merely newer, shinier (until the cheap new plastic roof gets dirty) and sterile.

  8. The Last Stand of the 150 says:

    GG, the Last Stand of the 150 is an organisation which speaks for the traders in Greenwich market itself.
    We obviously have an agenda in fighting the proposals as our membership are convinced that our livelihoods are at stake. At the very least the redevelopment will cause years of disruption, with many of us not being invited back to the promised land.
    You make the point that Smithfield is a huge success and is swamped with tourists – our contention is that this is exactly how Greenwich is now. Why change?

  9. The Greenwich Phantom says:

    Anon – either you're new around here or you've not been paying attention! This has been going on for several years now – and it's already been through one planning decision (rejected) – this is the appeal.

    In a nutshell, Greenwich Hospital Trust, who own pretty much all of Greenwich that Morden College don't own, want to rip out the old buildings inside the market, take down the roof and redevelop it to maximise profits.

    Now,they can't touch the cute, listed bits, but even given that proviso, they've made a pretty good fist at messing up a World Heritage Site proposal.

    On the east side of the covered market, they want to build a giant hotel, in place of a bit that got bombed in the war and was rebuilt if not to great standards, at least to the same height as everything else. GHT want to build much higher than that.

    They want to put in a new, plastic roof with strange undulations that are supposed to channel rainwater into the ground, but actually just create a whole bunch of very ugly pillars all over the market, thus rendering it even more congested.

    They want to rip up the original cobbles and replace them with fake versions (presumably so they can sell off the originals) and they want to demolish the old Edwardian buildings in Durnford street so they can put in a trash compactor.

    That Greenwich market could do with a spruce up there is no doubt. I'd leap at a nice replacement (clear) glass roof much along the lines of the one we have, and I wouldn't object in principle to replacing the inner buildings (they only date from the 50s and are really quite ugly) but they need to compliment what's already there, instead of satisfy some archtiect's ego, and they need to ensure that the stores that replace the ones we have are small enough to discourage chains from setting up shop, and encourage small, one-off traders that attract tourists and locals alike.

    There are so many reasons to hate this development proposal I can't list 'em here, but any project that unites Labour, Tory, Lib-Dem and Uncle Tom Cobbly & All to UNANIMOUSLY kick it out of the council planning meeting must have something seriously wrong with it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Links to Planning not working very well…

  11. The Greenwich Phantom says:

    links working okay for me – anyone else having the problem?

  12. Anonymous says:

    works for me, firefox & safari

  13. Marketeer says:

    Last Stand

    Do you mean Smithfield or Spitalfield?

  14. Sean says:

    The plans are ghastly.
    The lack of respect for locals shown in appealing the council's decision is ghastly.
    Objections sent.

  15. Anonymous says:

    If we're talking Spitalfields, it isn't that buzzing. There are a bunch of tourists buying food and a Dr Martens shop, but the busiest part now tends to be Truman Brewery and Drapers Walk, a short walk away – ie the old bit they haven't messed up and over-restored.

    The overpriced shops in Spitalfields market look pretty empty, altho the restaurants (most of them chains) are busy, older traders, like the quirky toy shop, have found their business is down. that's what happens when you overdevelop an area and lose its character. Just like Greenwich, the shop owners were told they'd keep the mix and have independent restaurants, only to find the opposite.

    It's worth pointing out that, on balance, the alterations to Spitalfields were much less drastic than those planned for Greenwich.

  16. Anonymous says:

    We have lodged our objection. You might want to note that PPG15 is no longer replaced by PPS5 at the end of March. Similar requirements but a lot more condensed, though there is a larger guidance document that is appended to it. Link to PPS below:

    http://www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planning/planningpolicyguidance/planningpolicystatements/planningpolicystatements/pps5/

  17. Anonymous says:

    A few quotes from PPS5 that people may wish to use in there comments without reading the whole document are:

    (1)PPS5 states under policy HE7.2 that in considering the impact of a proposal on any heritage asset, local planning authorities should take into account the particular nature of the significance of the heritage asset and the value that it holds for this and future generations.

    (2)In respect to policy HE7.5 of PPS5 it clearly states Local planning authorities should take into account that the new development making a positive contribution to the character and local distinctiveness of the historic environment.

    (3The guidance in PPS5 is very clear it states that there should always be a “presumption in favour of the conservation of designated heritage assets”. It goes on to state “the more significant the designate heritage asset then the greater the presumption in favour of its conservation should be”. It then states that in respect to World Heritage Sites they deserve the highest protection as impacts or loss of heritage assets cannot be replaced and the impact has cultural, environmental, economic and social impacts.

  18. Latelygay says:

    Spitalfields has been utterly transformed and is brimming with a electric vibrancy and it's about as authentic an experience as an Irish Pub in Hong Kong. As has already been suggested, it has been gentrified exclusively for high end chic commerce and just as happened with Covent Garden it will become another quarter of the city where ordinary Londonders will not feel inclined to venture.

    There's no shortage of overpriced resturants and specialist shops in Greenwich as it is. Who said we needed more of this nonsense.

    You think the recession would be concentrating minds on rebuilding our economy with genuine local opportunities rather than just another reason for parting people from their cash in good measure.

  19. Paolo says:

    On the hotel point, it may be worth pointing out that in addition to the Novotel by Greenwich station, there are 2 more going up along Greenwich High Rd and planning permission has just been granted for one on Deptford Bridge, next to the DLR

    I hardly think yet another hotel will be necessary. After all, I can't imagine people staying in the aforementioned ones will be there to visit Deptford…

  20. scared of chives says:

    Ooh Paulo…you've done it now…the Dame will be onto you.

    Latelygay – I think I've been to that pub – theone near..er…Marks and Spencer?

  21. Rod says:

    I think it's interesting that they have stopped saying that the Durnsford St buildings are falling-down-dangerous, which was their initial position. At the "consultation" held briefly in Nelson Rd (after the initial planning application had already been submitted) a member of the Hospital Trust's staff and one of their architects looked me straight in the eye and told me that the buildings were too dangerous to be surveyed. I'm glad that they have abandoned this particular lie.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I just heard that Greenwich High Road just opposite the Golden Chippy is getting a Premier Inn, as endorsed by Lenny Henry. And at the end of Greenwich High Road we are to get another brand name cheap hotel. Do we really need yet more generic hotels?

  23. Pedro says:

    Yes, correct.

    The development looks pretty horrendous – it appears the nearer you get to the A2, the more you can get away with. Especially if you're persistent.

    There's a great summary at the Deptford Dame's site.

    http://deptforddame.blogspot.com/2010/03/43-81-greenwich-high-road.html

  24. Anonymous says:

    It is pretty horrendous and it has really spoilt the outlook of what were a few wonderful historic streets in West Greenwich. I loved looking down the largely unspoilt streets at all the lovely Victorian houses. The landscape, particularly down Devonshire Drive just seems completely overshadowed now by the massive multi-storey construction at the bottom of the street. At least Mumford Mills (i think possibly lower in height than the new stuff) was a historical building that was carefully restored. This is just bland, cheaply-built concrete structures with, im sure lots of glass and naff metalwork. Pretty much kit-built ready to be inserted into any city. I dont deny that the site needed something doing with it but the lack of consideration with which this has gone up is just beyond belief considering Greenwich is meant to be a world heritage site…And its truly an insult that an area that was once a significant contributor to our industrial past will be 'honored' with a Galliard plaque with a few token words about what went on there.

  25. Lucy says:

    Sorry this is slightly off topic, but couldn't click on Tell the Phantom without having outlook, or something. Re the revelation that the BW tunnel is going to closed at weekends

    http://www.greenwich.co.uk/andrew-gilligan/03162-blackwall-tunnel-to-be-closed-even-more-foot-tunnels-closed-from-this-week-for-months/

    Damian has commented in response to above post that -

    TfL is holding a public meeting about safety improvement works in the northbound road tunnel on Saturday, May 15 at the Vue cinema at The O2, Greenwich Peninsula, from noon until 1.30pm.

    TfL will also hold a public meeting in The East Wintergarden, Bank Street, Canary Wharf on Friday, May 14, from 6pm until 7.30pm.

  26. Paul says:

    Thanks for the note om PPS5, anonymous. I notice one crucial para, not in MMG15 as far as I know:

    "Where there is evidence of deliberate neglect of or damage to a heritage asset in the
    hope of obtaining consent, the resultant deteriorated state of the heritage asset
    should not be a factor taken into account in any decision."

    This seems to be the case with both Durnford Street, and the market roof, two locally listed features they've allowed to fall into decay, in the hope they can knock them down. Indeed, they use their decayed state to try and claim that their plastic roof, and track compactor, will be an improvement on what has gone before.

  27. Paul says:

    Nick Raynsford SUPPORTS these plans? Well, someone had to, I guess. Only problem is I don't know who to change my vote to now. But, preferably someone who thinks residents are as important as builders

  28. Anonymous says:

    Nick Raysford seems to ignore the fact that there are already two chain hotels in central Greenwich – Novotel and Ibis. It's worrying that we have an MP – who is deputy chair of the Construction Industry Council – trampling over sensitive local planning issues.

  29. greenwich phantom says:

    As an aside, has TGP gone on his/her hols?

  30. greenwich sandwich says:

    Whoops, that should have read 'greenwich sandwich'; getting myself confused with someone else ;-D

  31. Latelygay says:

    I believe the Phantom has posting/site issues which accounts for the lack of updates; and my, how sorely missed they are missed.

    For the last year now my 11am routine has been … big mug of tea, big doughnut and TGP on t'internet. I'm all at sea!

  32. The Greenwich Phantom says:

    I'm coming back soon, guys, promise! I am around, but I'm not keen to post on a blog that has issues with photos and categories. The Phantom Webmaster is just putting the changed-over site through its paces. Should be back with you and your donuts soon…

  33. ebspig says:

    While we are missing you dreadfully, dear Phant, we were hoping you were having a lovely hol.

  34. rebecca says:

    Indeed days to pass that little bit slower without my TGP hit.