Woolwich: Tower block next to Elizabeth line station could face fire regs hurdle
The project, developed by Berkeley Homes and Transport for London, will deliver 523 new homes to the Woolwich area.
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Plans for a new 26-storey tower block beside an Elizabeth line station in South London may be paused following new fire safety regulations. Work on a set of four tower blocks up to 26 storeys tall in Woolwich could be paused to add an additional staircase.
The plans for the towers surrounding the town centre’s Elizabeth line station were originally approved by Greenwich Council last December. However, documents for a scrutiny meeting next week have shown that the development at Armourer’s Court may need to be reapproved.
Council documents said: “Likely changes to Building Regulations (not formalised by Government) mean that the Over station East development will need to go back into the planning process.”
The project, developed by Berkeley Homes and Transport for London, will deliver 523 new homes to the Woolwich area. However, the mayor of London announced in February that residential buildings over 30 metres, or roughly 10 storeys, were required to have a second staircase.
The news on the Armourer’s Court development comes after revised plans for a set of tower blocks up to 16 storeys tall in Woolwich, including 712 flats, were put before the council’s planning board at a meeting on July 4. The designs for the eight towers in front and behind Tesco Extra in Woolwich had been resubmitted to include additional staircases in each building.
The revised proposals were discussed at a planning meeting for Greenwich Council on July 4. Labour Councillor Chris Lloyd said he was disappointed by the additional staircases reducing the size of ‘affordable’ flats in the development more so than those that would be privately sold.
Cllr Lloyd said at the meeting: “It feels lazy to sacrifice habitable rooms on the affordable housing side while seemingly safeguarding those that are for private sale… I just don’t want to see any more applications like this come before this panel and for us to just roll over and accept that it’s okay.”
Reece Harris, speaking on behalf of Meyer Homes, said in response that there were no restrictions on where the additional staircases were located. He said that the revised plans were designed to maintain the level of affordable housing as much as possible, while not affecting the massing of the buildings.
Mr Harris said at the meeting: “The changes are not being made for the purposes of additional profit on the scheme, I just want to make that very clear. Adding an additional staircase into each of these buildings is an additional cost.”
The planning committee for Greenwich Council voted to approve the revised plans for the apartment blocks sent by Meyer Homes at the meeting on July 4. The plans for the tower blocks beside the Woolwich Elizabeth line station at Armourer’s Court will be discussed at a Greenwich Council meeting on July 11.