Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Kidbrooke Village to become a 'mini Canary Wharf'

One Canada Square: A vision of the future?
Kidbrooke Village will rise to a whopping 30 stories high under new proposals that could turn the area into a mini Canary Wharf.

Under the plans, a 30 storey residential tower would be built in the village centre with a number of 20 storey towers built elsewhere on the site.

This is double the height of existing plans and would be a bizarre sight in what is otherwise a very suburban area.

It is also far higher than the original proposals for the site which were for a maximum of nine storey buildings.

Under the new proposals, the number of properties on the site would also swell to over 5000. This is over 3000 more homes than were in the original Ferrier Estate.

Greenwich Council are thought to be keen on the plans, as they would help the borough meet its housebuilding targets.

Developers in London are also keen on high rise residential developments, with Far East investors also known to be keen.

But can Kidbrooke really cope with such a high-density, high-rise development?

Kidbrooke is very poorly served for infrastructure.

Some limited upgrading of the existing station is already underway, but there are currently no plans to significantly expand public transport access to Kidbrooke.

Indeed far from it, public transport access to Kidbrooke village has actually decreased in the past year, with local bus services cut because of the new development.

Trains through Kidbrooke in peak hours are also jam-packed, with use of the station up almost 50% since 2005.

And while Greenwich Council have suggested extending the DLR to the area, Transport for London currently has no plans to do so.

All of which means that the new development would become heavily dependent on cars.

With nearby roads already among some of the most congested in the country, these proposals could be storing up big problems for the future.

The developers are consulting on their proposals on four days over the coming week.

You can find out more at the information centre in the village.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Nelson Mandela Road (to freedom)

Nothing quite sums up the epic struggle undertaken by Nelson Mandela like two wilted flowers wrapped in foil and sellotaped to a road sign...

Nelson Mandela Road is one of at least 25 roads in the UK named after the former South African president.

According to the BBC:

"In reality, most addresses with Mandela in the title are on new, showpiece housing developments. This guaranteed that they would meet no resistance from existing tenants, who did not always appreciate having their home address renamed to suit a political agenda."

The article details several examples of plans for other roads named after Mandela in the eighties that were fought off by local people.

So how do residents of Nelson Mandela Road feel about their street's namesake? I've heard complaints before that the name has held down house prices, compared to houses on neighbouring Hither Farm Road. 

This seems unlikely to me, but who knows? Perhaps it's the Only Fools and Horses connotation.

Or perhaps the name will even have the opposite effect following all the praise Mandela has received since his death.

Either way, what better way to show your respect for old Madiba, than to light a candle down on Nelson Mandela Road.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

New cafe opens in Kidbrooke Village

A new coffee shop has opened in Kidbrooke Village centre called 1st Coffee.

It's right next door to the new marketing suite and Sainsbury's.

They offer a good range of sandwiches, pastries and coffees and have lots of comfortable leather sofas and extra seating outside.

It's run by Niall who also owns the coffee kiosk at Kidbrooke Station.

Niall's a very friendly guy who is also very knowledgeable about developments in the village and happy to chat.

If you haven't popped in yet we suggest you give it a try.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Kidbrooke Village beginning to emerge

There's still a long way to go, but things have really started to move down in Kidbrooke Village.

A new Sainsbury's local opened up at the end of last year on Tudway Road. Here it is on it's opening day. The quietest supermarket in London:

The new 'village centre' is pleasant enough, if a little corporate for my taste:

Hopefully the new shop owners will be allowed to put their own signs up when they finally move in:

There's also a new playground which is welcome but where are the swings? Every playground needs swings:

The park land is quite nice as well, if a little bit TellyTubby-esque in places:

There's also lots of new man-made water features such as this waterfall off of Kidbrooke Park Road:

The strange thing about this is that there is actually a lost river round about here, but it flows in the opposite direction to the one they've created on top of it. 

I guess it looks better this way from the Marketing suite.

 There's another new pond near Sutcliffe Park:

Although for some inexplicable reason they've placed all the benches so that they face away from the pond:

Lovely view of the main road there.

One thing I don't like about the new 'village' is the attempts by Berkeley Homes to try and make the whole area an appendage to the more saleable parts of neighbouring Blackheath:
They've also named all the parkland as "Cator Park" after the exclusive gated Cator Estate in Blackheath:

Residents on the Cator Estate meanwhile have made it clear that want absolutely nothing to do with developments on the wrong side of the Great Wall of Blackheath.

Overall though, I'm fairly impressed with the new village so far.

The last remaining piece of the Ferrier is still hanging on at Telemann Square, (despite demolition being planned for last year) and the redevelopment of the station is well behind schedule (more of which another time) but things do seem to be moving in the right direction.

My only worry is that Berkeley Homes are trying to squeeze too many properties into too small a space, and what is now a pleasant environment will quickly become an overcrowded one.

Already, they've added extra floors to the tower blocks they're building, making the development even more high rise than the Ferrier was.

They're also cramming a lot more in, as you can see from this image on Berkeley Homes' website:

To me that looks like repeating the mistakes of the past. We shall see.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Greenwich Time bridges the gap between fact and fantasy

This week's edition of Greenwich Council's propaganda rag is out today and leads on the botched launch of their campaign to build two new Thames road crossings.

According to the council:

"The royal borough, working closely with Newham Council north of the river launched the campaign officially in front of the media and TV crews."

Except there wasn't a single TV crew at the launch, let alone multiple TV crews.

There were however a number of very real protestors, who funnily enough don't get a mention in the report.

It's a strange editorial process. Real protestors - ignored. Imaginary TV crews - included.

You can read our report of the launch here. The News Shopper's report quoting us is here.