The Condemned

Sorry about the state of this photo – by the time I got round to taking it the light was failing; I’ll replace it as soon as possible, since the poor old thing needs to be recorded. This majestic lime on the corner of Vanbrugh Hill and Woolwich Road is on Death Row, is due for the ultimate punishment – chipping. It’s crime? Being in the way of developer’s greed.

Ha – thanks to Stephen I actually have a decent photograph now:

I had high hopes that the new Heart of East Greenwich (or whatever they’re calling it these days) would keep those nice wide pavements on Woolwich road that the old hospital had. Wide pavements are what make the difference between people taking their time to walk, shop and enjoy an area, and rushing through, slaloming through pushchairs and shopping trolleys, and just using the road as a thoroughfare. It’s one of the things that’s always bugged Traf Road – the pavements are too narrow to browse, to enjoy, to have tables outside – that’s why the King Billy pub is such a hard sell (though someone’s making a go of it I see…)

Sadly at the consultation last Saturday (did anyone know about this? I don’t recall hearing about it, but there’s much going on at Phantom Towers at the moment and I could have missed it I guess…) John (who took this picture for me, and apologises for the slight fuzziness) was told that it’s in the way of a building and is soon to be sawdust. I don’t care that they’re ‘going to plant a new one’ – it will be one of those daft ¬†’little’ ¬†trees that you almost don’t see, they’re so insignificant in comparison to this splendid, mature lime. It also means that Hadley Mace intend to build as close to the road as they’re allowed, creating mean little walkways instead of worthwhile places to be.

John also tells me that

While most units can apply for parking permits for street-level and underground parking facilities within the development, I was irked to discover up to 40 units (those townhouses along the top end of the development) can only apply for parking permits outside of the development – in other words there could be an additional 40 cars trying to park in Calvert Road. I don’t know if you’re aware of the parking problems already experienced in Calvert Rd, but due to the healthy Sunday trade at the Wing Wah restaurant (cnr of Calvert and Woolwich Rd), it’s nigh-on impossible to find a space at all on the day of rest. An additional 40 cars will clearly compound this problem.

I’m sure at some point there was talk that due to the congestion (and road danger) there already is around that juction, a good proportion of the accommodation would be designated ‘no parking space’ places – I didn’t realise that that meant you just applied for one in the next road instead. Of course ‘apply for’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘get’ but I suspect that it will be difficult for the council to discriminate between residents on the basis of postcode (or anything for that matter, and that’s as it should be.)

As I didn’t know about the consultation, I wasn’t there, but it sounds as though Hadley Mace are pushing their luck here – after all it’s easier to sell a house with a parking space than not and I suspect pressure was applied and the council, desperate for this development to take place, had to agree.

Whatever, HM plan to start properly within six to eight weeks and expect Phase One to be finished (the bit in green) in 2014, Phase Two (orange) in 2016 and Phase Three, complete with seven-storey tower (blue) in 2017. Hadley Mace claim the plans are available on the Greenwich Council website but all I’ve found is this.

I have mixed feelings about this. I, too, am desperate for the development to happen and for the great hole in East Greenwich to be healed, but I’m finding myself to be increasingly upset that corners are literally being cut here – just how hard would it have been to include a fabulous mature tree or two in the scheme, if nothing else for air, ecology and quality of life?

the attachments to this post:

condemend tree  2Vanbrugh hill stephen 2012
condemend tree 2Vanbrugh hill stephen 2012

condemend tree Vanbrugh hill stephen 2012
condemend tree Vanbrugh hill stephen 2012

hadley mace
hadley mace

condemned tree
condemned tree

15 Comments to “The Condemned”

  1. Chelsea_girl says:

    Funnily enough I was going to call Greenwich council today to enquire as to if the developers had permission to block off this pavement. In my opinion this is an accident waiting to happen. They’ve blocked off the pavement by the only crossing so if you have young kids/pushchair or have mobility issues you have to take your life in your hands and wait for a gap in the traffic.
    There’s already been one tragic fatal accident at that junction already.

    Does anyone know what the best department to call would be: planning? highways?

  2. Matthew Gough says:

    It’s shocking that they’re proposing to chop down that magnificent tree.
    Mature trees are such a rarity in town centres these days, and more should be done to preserve and nurture them. That tree must be protected by a tree preservation order, so surely they must have applied for special permission to chop it down.

    Is it too late to complain about the proposal? What can we do to try and save the tree?

  3. IanVisits says:

    It is possible to transplant even quite large trees to a different location with a special mechanical digger.

    Not as cheap as chopping it down, but as a mature tree adds commercial value to a new development it seems short sighted to chop down the tree when it could be moved to a more suitable (and commercially valuable) location.

  4. Nelson's Left Eye says:

    Is that gap in the green block exactly where the tree is?

  5. Gordon of Greenwich says:

    The loss of more great old trees in East Greenwich? – TFL replaced the old Poplars at the rear of properties in Tunnel Ave and RBoG not so long ago began thinning out the majestic old Plane trees in the avenue as well. Some trees (might have been Planes) were also removed close to the junction of Norman Road on the West side of town recently as well. Oh yeah, a couple of smaller trees recently ‘disappeared’ close to the Japanese restaurant close to Dandridge Close.

  6. Paul says:

    Not to forget the loss of the large trees at the bottom of Creek Road near David Herbert’s shop – at least four or five gone, without any formal explanation of why…

  7. Mary says:

    I will follow some of this up – I don’t know if Chelsea Girl got anywhere this morning – get on to me direct if not. ( And |i will see if there was a TPO on the tree – but I aware that there were some onjections to the original planning application on the issue of the trees. Gordon I will chase up the trees outside the Japanese restaurant and see what happened. I can’t do anything about TfL – and as you know we complained about what they have planted. The plane trees are a different issue – again, as you know there was a bit of a saga, and I did as much as I could.

  8. There’s surely got to be something we can do? We weren’t given a chance to comment on this, because no one knew there was a consultation, which is a disgrace. We wait six-bloomin’ years, and now it’s all being done in a tearing hurry, presumably because they know locals would kick up a stink if they heard about it.

    I’ve still never seen any plans for this – they’ve shoved this in through the back door. Some might say ‘only a tree,’ but this is mature trees; going by the back door, one by one because of sundry developers’ greed.

    I would be hugely grateful if you could ask any one that might be able to save this tree, if they could do what they can. It surely can’t all be a fait-accompli already?

  9. Chelsea_girl says:

    I’ve called Greenwich’s Highways department and I’ve been promised a response within 48 hours so we shall see!
    Will be interesting to know how long they intend to block off the pavement. It’s a busy crossing as on the way to Maze Hill station and the doctor’s surgery. The problem with crossing further up the hill is that you can’t always see the cars coming and they’re often speeding.

    Thanks Mary. I will contact you directly if I need help in making an official complaint.

  10. Jeremy says:

    How ironic that the developer likes CGI trees, but not the real thing.

  11. Dazza says:

    Passing this morning, it’s already too late to do anything…….it was being chopped down!!

    Like most things in Greenwich, Developers seem to be able to move bl**dy quickly when they want but drag their heels when they can’t be bothered (Lovells Wharf – Thames Path, Frankie & Bennys signage, etc)

  12. Shit. I bet they didn’t like the attention it was suddenly getting and they thought they’d better chop it down quick before there was a preservation order slapped on it.


  13. richstories says:

    I heard 3 weeks ago via rumour that trees- .They are large Limes (3) and London Planes (3), and (further east) smaller Hawthorn (2) and an ornamental? Maple ? were due to be felled and I have been plugging away at HM since then.

    Basically their main channel is and they say they aim to respond in 5 working days. (They managed 7). Their formal answer was
    (personal correspondence 24 May 2012 )
    “With regards to the handful of trees which currently exist along the Woolwich Road side of the site, unfortunately in order to proceed with our works we will be required to remove these trees over the next several weeks. The positioning of these trees hinders the relocation of the site hoarding on to our title boundary which we are required to do in order to commence works for the buildings to be built facing Woolwich Road. The final location of these buildings necessitates that the trees be removed in order to construct the buildings safely.

    As part of the new development, we will be installing a number of new trees throughout the scheme, including a new landscaped public square.”
    As per the cgi impressions referred to by Jeremy-
    If you angry birds want to try for a quicker response then the project manager is Jason (
    a really friendly guy – and we have to try and get good communication going with him.

  14. Mary says:

    I’ve put a note about the two Dandridge Road trees on the next blog post .. as I guess people read the most up to date one.

  15. Richard says:

    Any ideas if the large trees in the development next to the DLR station will be preserved?