Plans for a major new housing development at South Dock in Rotherhithe will go back to the drawing board after pressure from local residents and Liberal Democrat councillors.
Last year the Labour council unveiled plans for at least 213 new homes for private sale, social rent and intermediate housing on the site. Residents have been furious though at the Council’s cack-handed efforts at consultation and the height of the proposed buildings. There are also fears about the impact on the South Dock Marina and the threat to the existing boatyard.
Residents complained that the Council’s first consultation last July was not well publicised. A second consultation was organised but it was by invitation only. The Council had planned originally to submit a planning application for South Dock Marina later this year but the timetable has now been pushed back.
There has also been real community anger that the height of the proposals has increased over time with the latest plans for a 15-storey tower block facing the river and other blocks of eight-, thirteen- and twenty-floors. Many residents feel this would be a gross over-development of the area when buildings in the neighbourhood are just 2-3 storeys high generally.
Concerns have also been expressed about the impact of the 105 parking places proposed in the development, especially given the poor local transport infrastructure. Plough Way is often very busy and the one-way traffic system around Surrey Quays station congested.
Liberal Democrat councillors have now persuaded the Council to go back to the drawing board and come back with new plans. Local councillors have also won a pledge to carry out the consultation in a more transparent way with a two-day 'open house' consultation along the lines of the recent Canada Water Masterplan exhibition.
Surrey Docks Liberal Democrat councillor Dan Whitehead, said:
“The Labour council’s plans for South Dock have shocked the community and it was a big issue locally during the Surrey Docks by-election.
“It’s very welcome news that the Council is now taking a step back after pressure from residents and Liberal Democrat councillors, and will ask for residents’ views again. Hopefully it will be a case of third time lucky on this consultation.
“The Council needs to understand that it can’t just keep bulldozing through its plans and build twenty-storey developments in areas like this in a desperate attempt to catch up on its housing promises. Liberal Democrats will continue to fight residents’ corner and make the Council listen.”