Okay, then, what do we all think of the most recent plans for Greenwich Market? After the ghastly Hopkins proposals were vigorously fought against by everyone except Nick Raynsford (who permanently lost my respect for that one action – an MP should represent his people, not his outside interestes, however much they pay him in comparison to his MP’s salary – that’s the deal he takes on when he’s elected) I am delighted to say that the new brooms at Greenwich Hospital have finally seen (most of) what makes Greenwich unique and are working with that je ne sais quois (and the local population) rather than trying to mould the town into something it’s not.
Take a look at the plans if you haven’t seen them already.
I find it hard to come up with anything I’m going to man the barricades for this time.
Now of course it’s easy to blame Hopkins for the dreadful plans which would have seen cobbles ripped up, a gigantic ’boutique’ hotel and the destruction of the historic banana warehouse for glorified wheelie bins, but architects only respond to their clients’ briefs. The old guard at Greenwich Hospital wanted these things; Hopkins’ plans might have been horrid and out of place, but I don’t see them as the villains here. It was the old mob at Greenwich Hospital and Nick Raynsford who tried to impose this on us despite unanimous rejection from all areas of the council (not usually known for backbone) and various local pressurisers.
The new guys at Greenwich Hospital seem to have listened. Instead of that horrid roof, the nasty niche ‘stalls’ the vile hotel and the destruction of history, these plans appear to modernise without going too far. On what I can see here, I like it. The banana warehouse – beyond saving according to the last lot – will be restored, the service yard (I don’t ever remember it being called ‘Fry’s Court’ before but hey…) will be a new bit of market and the cobbles will be cleaned and re-set.
In fact my only concern (currently, until I think of something else…) is that I’m hoping the new retail space won’t be so big it starts to attract giant multinational chains. Greenwich Hospital: keep ‘em small, keep ‘em affordable and the quirky individuals that bring tourists and locals alike will keep them coming. You may get more up-front cash from a chain, but you’ll lose infinitely more. You’ve come this far – stick with the individual character of Greenwich and it will repay you.
All this gives me hope for another inappropriate proposal the other end of Greenwich. While I wouldn’t dream of mentioning Jospeh Kay’s market and. Sorry I’m starting this again so I can mention Telly Tubby Sainsburys in a different sentence, there is potential for another popular uprising over an unsuitable development to bear fruit.
I don’t care for IKEA but I can tolerate them in the right place – a giant shed, out of town, with easy access and easy parking. Greenwich Peninsula is not the right place – a few hundred yards from a major river crossing and a few yards from a major traffic blackspot.
There’s an anti-development head of steam building over this and if you fancy joining them they’ll be in the eco park that will be bulldozed if the plans go ahead this Saturday between 12.00pm and 2.00pm for a picnic and petition signing. It’s not hard to find – just go behind Sainsburys and you’ll see this lovely little spot:
If you can’t make the picnic but you want to find out more, their facebook page is here…
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