“Enforce the highest standards in new developments”, Greens tell Greenwich Council

Greenwich Green Party members have challenged Greenwich Council to be more directive to developers in the Borough, and not let them get away with avoiding the highest of standards for new residential and commercial sites in the Borough.

Greenwich Council has recently finished consulting on new planning guidance (known as the ‘Urban Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)’).

In a response sent to Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Aidan Smith, and senior Greenwich planning officers, we have commended the new guidance for commitments to sustainability and appropriate development in a number of key areas, including:

  • Flood mitigation
  • Biodiversity
  • Carbon impact and climate resilience
  • Trees, vegetation and public space

However, we are concerned that language used in the document only suggests, rather than requires, developers to adhere to these principles.

Greenwich Green Party member George Edgar (Blackheath Westcombe) said,

“We believe the new planning guidance would be considerably strengthened by making these references more directive. They are mostly phrased in terms of a recommendation to consider issues, or to follow guidance “as far as practicable” or “whenever possible”. That risks allowing developers to avoid potential additional costs by arguing that following the guidelines is not practical in their case, and it is easy then for the policy to be effectively undermined. We strongly recommend that Greenwich Council take a more proactive position, for example by saying it will not approve developments that don’t commit to supporting biodiversity, improving active travel and reducing climate impact to specific high standards.”

Greenwich Green Party Coordinator John Holmes (East Greenwich) added,

​​”Greenwich faces a housing crisis where many residents, including key workers, cannot find anywhere in the Borough that they can afford to live. This new guidance touches on the question of affordable housing but is not specific. But Greenwich must be more ambitious and set strict targets for developers on the amount of affordable housing that is incorporated into both new developments and regeneration projects.”

Read the full letter below.

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