Could it be that the comatose Heart of East Greenwich is beginning to regain consciousness? Two things in the last day or so begin to make me wonder.
Firstly, I was walking past the Ship and Billet yesterday afternoon and saw movement inside. There appeared to be blokes doing something to the bar. The wood looked new – I don’t know if it’s a new bar or if the old one’s been stripped back. But Peter was on the top deck of the 422 last night and managed to peer in through the non-obscure part of the glass and saw more work going on with the panelling, benches and the bar, though he couldn’t tell if it was being refurbished or removed.
Let’s hope the former. It was never a favourite pub of mine but after it returned to being the Ship and Billet after that ghastly stint as the Frog & Radiator it always looked pretty decent – an honourable exception, along with the superb Manchester Flowers, in a road that’s generally fully of run down, sad-looking and generally depressing establishments. If it can be brought back to life, I’m for it.
Secondly, James sent me the link to the latest Homes and Communities meeting minutes about the Heart of East Greenwich, which, although the meeting was on the 16th Feb, have only just been published. Could this possibly see a small movement in proceedings?
The good news is that HM Treasury had approved the scheme that morning (though I thought that had already happened) though at the time they were still waiting for approval from the HCA projects executive and Greenwich Council. I don’t know whether or not either of those have been forthcoming since.
There seems to have been more than one developer interested in taking on the project. One has been decided and they’ve held the second best bidder as a standby in case of unforeseen events, though apparently not everyone was wild about that – presumably thinking ‘how safe can the top bidder be if they’re creating contingency already?’
Generally, everything was approved, with the exception of Cllr Stephen Carr, who objected, though it’s not clear why he did so. Perhaps he was concerned in the same way as James, who feels “it’s a slight worry that the scheme appears to have been taken out of the London Wide Initiative for affordable housing in order to ‘improve viability’, as this could lead to too much buy-to-let in the tenure ‘mix’ and a more transient population than might have been envisaged at first.”
Two noticeable absences, which may or may not have aided the decision making: Chris Roberts and Boris Johnson…
It should be noted, of course, that all this happened back in February. Since then I’ve heard nothing at all, and Peter’s view over those hoardings from the top of the 422 remains the same . The weeds continue to grow, the hollows to fill with water and the foxes to yowl into the night. And Andrew, who threatened to eat the hat of the committee’s choice if building work began before June, can, I suspect, keep the HP Sauce in the cupboard for now . Plus ça change.