Market Planning Enquiry

Well, folks, we’ve got to that moment. The frankly undemocratic, going-over-the-council’s head appeal by Greenwich Hospital over the redevelopment of Greenwich market into some kind of shameful pastiche of a ’heritage site’ that seems to turn the market itself into a sideshow, demolishes historic buildings and involves a 100 bedroom hotel when there are already many town centre hotels (and which cannot even use the Olympics as an excuse as it would be built after the circus leaves town. ) There are developments I would have supported. This is not one of them.

Bizarrely, I find myself agreeing with Greenwich Council for once – this, despite the minor concessions sneaked in by the Hospital, is just wrong – and, if allowed, will turn Greenwich into every other shopping town in Britain, bland and faceless, with any bohemian wrinkle or individual quirk ironed out, buried under mounds of corporate neatness.

Paul tells me that the first day of an inquiry like this is the most important. That day is tomorrow, at Woolwich Town Hall.

 It will run from 7 to 10 September and from 14 to 17 September, beginning at 10am on each day and the public is invited to attend.

As Richard reminds me, Greenwich Council are opposing this -  they unanimously voted against the development again last month, but Nick Raynsford is  once again putting his own interests within the building fraternity above local issues and supporting the plans. I do not know why the Greenwich Society have decided to support it too.

7 Comments to “Market Planning Enquiry”

  1. Pedro says:

    There was huge outrage when the Hospital first proposed their horrible scheme. It’s really important we stick to our guns so that the hospital, and their well-paid lobbyists, don’t get to push this through and rip the heart out of our community.

  2. TPlautus says:

    don’t worry – there’s a New Heart in East Greenwich

  3. OldChina says:

    This entire scheme is about upgrading the market to appeal to rich visitors. Locals will not want to spend time here anymore, when it’s a luxury hotel with over priced shops. Speaking to reps of the Hospital a few weeks ago I think they’re fully aware of this, but they were just seeing dollar signs.

  4. Paul T says:

    I attended this morning, and there was a decent show of opposition, maybe 20 people. There will be various people speaking in opposition to the appeal on Thursday, 9 September.

    The interesting aspect, of course, is that we can’t address the real nub of the issue – the fact that Greenwich Hospital Estates have no interest in the market bar sucking as much money out of it as possible, and hence seem keen on killing the golden goose. It’s only a peripheral planning issue.

    But we can attack the symptoms of their cynicism, namely the height of the hotel, the fact they want to bulldoze historic buildings on Durnford Street, and the effect that 100 plus rooms will have on traffic. Fingers crossed.

  5. [...] in the charity’s way is a rare combination – Greenwich’s councillors and local public opinion. About 40 people turned up on a weekday to watch the proceedings, and of the 10 people down to [...]

  6. Paul T says:

    An intriguing third day, when the bulk of the objectors spoke (yesterday was, I believe, dominated mainly by evidence from the Council’s conservation expert.

    The opposition included residents, councillors, amenity groups, and market traders. One hilarious point was that the design of the hotel will provide a natural home for pigeons, with lots of roosting spaces. So one group of locals at least will be happy if this scheme goes ahead.

    Kate Jaconello speaking for the traders got a special grilling from the GHE’s barrister. He invoked minutes and emails from November 2008, trying to demolish her objections by claiming that, nearly two years ago, she had failed to object. Kate spent 40 minutes explaining that she’d changed her mind.

    As to the mysterious Durnford Street buildings which were so dangerous they had to be demolished, which later staged a miraculous recovery, they made no response. Obviously GHE reserve their own right to state a fact one moment, then contradict themselves a year later.