Community Hospital Development

 

The long-awaited planning application for the proposed community hospital was published on 22nd May 2012. Here is a reminder of what is planned. The site comprises Nos. 32-34 Passey Place, Eltham. 32 was most recently Eltham & Mottingham House nursing home plus some health facilities and 34 was a private house. The intention is to provide premises for two local GP practices, a GP walk-in service, 40 intermediate care/stroke beds, outpatient, diagnostics, minor surgery and community mental health services for residents of Eltham and surrounding areas. There has been an extensive programme of consultation since the proposals were first put forward. CERA supported the idea in principle. We participated, along with many other community groups and individuals, in studying the scheme and raising issues that would be important to our members. CERA will now be going through the formal planning application to see whether there are any issues that still need to be addressed. If you would like to see the full details of the planning application, visit the Royal Borough of Greenwich website at "www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk" and follow the options to the planning section. Don't forget that access can be obtained on the public computers at Eltham Library where there is also a printed copy for inspection. There are two planning references i.e. 12/0987/F and 12/0979/C."

 

Town Centre Master Plan

 

This is one of the recent consultations which invited residents of Eltham to give their views. The masterplan is in course of preparation and we hope that you all took the opportunity to contribute before the closing date of 9th March 2012. CERA will be telling its members more in due course. The final version will support the planning policy for the area. The ideas expressed in the draft document covered many of the things that CERA and its members were actively looking at and we are looking forward to see what the final document will include.

 

Recent Planning Issues

The website editor is waiting to hear the result of March planning applications, which are: LIDL - seeking to change the planning conditions of the store to allow deliveries to be made throughout the night. 111 HIGH STREET - application for change of use from A1 (retail - clothes shop) to A2 (Bank). 219 HIGH STREET - application for change of use from A1 (picture framing - outer edge) to Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio. 90A HIGH STREET - Gusella’s.

 

116 Eltham High Street

Delicio cafe and brasserie opened at the end of February.

 

29 Court Yard (next to Co-Op Pharmacy)

Woodnut Cafe opened at the end of March.

 

Environmental - Philipot Path

Earlier in 2011, local people raised concern about the state of this footpath, between Pound Place and Passey Place, due to pigeons, rubbish and litter. We decided it would be a good idea to form a group of interested parties, to improve the area. One idea was to convert the un-used plot of land behind Next into an allotment.

 

Whitewoods

The local removals company put in an application in April 2010 for use of their yard, which is in Eltham High Street opposite Westmount Road, to park coaches. We had no objection to the operation of Whitewoods and the use of their yard for parking their own vehicles. However, we were concerned about the use of the yard for parking coaches and we put in an objection. Greenwich Council rejected the application and it went to appeal in January 2011. This appeal was withdrawn and a new application was submitted in June 2011 on the basis of Lawful Use. This was approved on the probability that the yard had been used for parking commercial vehicles, including coaches, for more than ten years.

 

Friars Mews

Since the last planning item we dealt with (see our “Earlier News” page), we have learned that the small piece of land at the back of Friars Mews has recently changed hands. As yet, we have no confirmation of what the new owner may want to use the land for and there has been no planning application. We will keep you in touch.

 

Grove Market Place and The King’s Arms PH.

 

Eltham Renaissance (ER) made a planning application in 2008 to redevelop the site, including residential units, large doctor’s surgery, pharmacy, convenience store and restaurants. The community raised a lot of concerns and Greenwich Council rejected the application but ER went to the Planning Inspectorate and got approval. Time passed. Towards the end of 2010, CERA members attended a public presentation plus meetings with ER and other local residents to find out about new plans for this site. We were told that several business hotel and supermarket operators had expressed interest in coming to Eltham and using part of the site. This had given ER an opportunity to alter their earlier proposal which now envisaged an 86-room hotel, a supermarket (rather than a convenience store), one café/restaurant, no GP surgery, 71 residential units above and 115 parking places underneath. CERA was obviously anxious to see how the new proposals took into account the views made in the past by the community and the council and whether we can at last welcome a development that will be an asset to the town. Design changes include reducing the height to 6 storeys at rear and 5 at front, moving the rear block back a little from Wythfield Road, covering in the loading area, toning down the frontage on the High Street side, measures to reduce the concern of local residents that they could be overlooked and their privacy compromised. Traffic impact featured strongly last time round and we confirmed that ER’s traffic consultant would meet with their opposite number on Greenwich Council to undertake a new detailed study. CERA asked to see the results so we could make our own analysis. Further details were yet to be formulated, including the actual layout within the development. CERA asked for more details before deciding what action to take. CERA still had concerns. We took soundings to gauge how people felt about the changes. In general, people felt that a hotel would be an asset to the town centre but were still unhappy about the size, bulk and lack of on-street parking. We understand that ER are still looking for ways of dealing with these issues.

 

Conservative Club Development

 

The Conservative Club building at the east end of Eltham High Street, together with the large area of land behind it, are a development project that we are interested in. The Club building itself is being refurbished and will feature an extension to the east end, in matching style, where part of the original building was demolished during wartime bombing. To the rear, their bowling green is being moved nearer the house and the two remaining old cottages (formerly stables) at the far end of the site are also being refurbished. We understand that the main building will incorporate a “community hall” but we are not sure whether this will be available for public hire. The new-build residential scheme is to be named Woodcroft Green. Progress is well under way on construction of twelve 3-bedroom and one 4-bed roomed houses, plus eight flats and car parking. The developers envisage a completion date of summer 2012; in the meantime, enquiries from prospective new owners can be made to Croudace on 0333 321 8929. At the planning stage, CERA studied the proposals for the development and voiced its concerns about access (to/from a very busy point on the already-busy Footscray Road), amount of traffic, impact of loss of specimen trees, loss of a fair bit of open space and over-development of the site. Councillors agreed the scheme. Croudace have confirmed that they will be replanting a number of trees, including seven to replace ones that died and were removed previously. We are watching to check that our concerns are being addressed. On the traffic issue, speed humps at the entrance to the new development may help slow down cars emerging onto Footscray Road. However, because of the current speed of traffic in this road we have asked for additional signage and speed monitors to be considered. We don’t yet have details of what signage is intended. A resident put forward a proposal for a mirror to be installed in Footscray Road to aid turning out of North Park. We understand that these mirrors are not favoured because they make oncoming traffic appear closer so could compromise road safety.

 

CERA voiced its concerns about access (to/from a very busy point on the already-busy Footscray Rd), amount of traffic, impact of loss of specimen trees, loss of a fair bit of open space and over-development of the site. Councillors agreed the scheme and demolition and site clearance and construction have started. Croudace have confirmed that they will be replanting a number of trees, including seven to replace ones that died and were removed previously. We will be watching to check that there is no loss of open space and whether the community hall will be available for public hire.

 

On the traffic issue, there are going to be speed humps at the entrance to the new development and this may help slow down cars emerging onto Footscray Road. However, because of the current speed of traffic in this road we have asked for additional signage and speed monitors to be considered. We don’t yet have details of what signage is intended. A resident put forward a proposal for a mirror to be installed in Footscray Road to aid turning out of North Park. We understand that these mirrors are not favoured because they make oncoming traffic appear closer so could compromise road safety.

 

Parking and traffic problems

Traffic and parking issues continue to demand a great deal of our time. Earlier this year, we made comments on the review of the Eltham Centre Controlled Parking Zone and supported residents of Roper Street at the Highways Committee to gain them better parking in the road. We continue to have concern about the increased cost of residents’ parking permits and feel the rise in the price will deter residents from applying for permits.

Our main concern in the High Street is the junction with Footscray Road. We are currently monitoring how the new pedestrian refuge affects traffic turning from one road into another. A resident has flagged up the whole area around the Sainsbury’s petrol station, where queuing cars regularly block the pavements and spill out onto Footscray Road and Messeter Place. There are several other traffic related issues with Footscray Road, including those associated with the development at the rear of the Conservative Club, presently being undertaken.

Parking in North Park is a problem we have been working on for a number of years. We can report that the council have sent draft proposals for a restricted zone to the Department of Transport. The zone will have marked parking bays which will be enforced. This is a good option, it will make getting out of driveways easier and safer. Although there will need to be signage advising of the restrictions, there will be no yellow lines which means that the impact on the conservation area will be minimal. When the bays are put in, we will monitor the effect they have on parking in Greenacres. We understand that residents there are considering several options to control the town centre parkers who currently park on their estate.

 

Loss of shops and businesses in the Town Centre

 

There have been quite a few changes but we are still obviously concerned about the number of empty shops. Some have been vacant for a long time and there are some we’re unsure about because they have front shutters but no signs to confirm one way or the other. What other shops do you want in the High Street? There are some long term spaces, which could easily accommodate some of the trades we’ve lost over the years. Let us know your thoughts on what type of shop will stimulate Eltham and keep it flourishing. Why not follow your committee’s example of looking at shops you pass in your travels, which might want to open here.

 

Eltham High Street Pedestrian Safety Scheme

We made comments at the consultation stage in 2010 on the changes to the layout of the High Street. The changes are in place, comprising two new pedestrian crossings with narrowed roadway, changes to road markings and railings. The proposal to install a mini-roundabout at the junction with Footscray Road is no longer being pursued. We are still seeing delays and hazards caused by inconsiderate parking and traffic behaviour, which we will also monitor closely. Do let us know what you think about the changes. Only time will tell if these measures improve traffic flow, pedestrian movements and safety.

 

The Orangery

It’s good to know there are new plans to bring the important Grade II* building back into use. The proposals envisaged a spacious extension on the west side, to provide accommodation for business and office units. CERA recognises that there would need to be an additional building to provide enough space to make the scheme viable but we did not like the proposed plans. We did make representation to the planning committee about the fact that the new extension did not pick up any of the architectural features of the Orangery but the developer advised the committee that they had been advised by English Heritage not to mimic original buildings when creating new designs such as they had in mind. Unfortunately, none of our comments were taken on board. Planning permission was granted in March 2010. To date, there has been no further movement.

 

Eltham Fitness Centre at Elm Terrace

Agreement was given in 2008 to build town houses and flats. CERA had reservation about the parking provision because this is such a difficult location. The site remains un-cleared. We are still awaiting further news as to when the developer will be ready to proceed. We are also monitoring this application in case it expires.

 

The former Eltham Pools

This residential development includes 78 self-contained flats, of which 22 units will be for people aged 50 plus. There will be a total of 78 parking spaces and 78 spaces for cycles. The design of the building is uninspiring - the height of the blocks has been staggered from 2 up to 6 storeys. Among the finer details we will be looking at are the future of the stained glass panels and art deco work that were a feature of this building at the edge of the CERA area.

 

Coronet Cinema (formerly Well Hall Odeon)

Work continues apace on the forty-five 1-3 bedroom apartments included in this development, of which thirty are affordable homes. The intriguing hoarding round the original part of the site deserves a look as you pass by. It features a long queue of punters which indicates how popular the cinema was in the past. The site includes a Tesco Express store, facing Well Hall Road, which is now open. Work on the main cinema building is to follow. Although this project is outside the CERA area, it is important for Eltham, including the effect the supermarket may have on town centre businesses, and leisure facilities which may benefit local residents. We will keep in touch with how the work is going and that the leisure facilities to be provided are what we expected.