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Woolwich’s Mutant Apartment Blocks Face Demolition

Published by UK Property Accountants
Published Date: September 28, 2023

In a surprising turn of events, a developer faces a daunting task—demolishing two apartment blocks in the serene neighbourhood of Woolwich, south-east London.

The reason behind this drastic action? 

Let's find out!!

A Drastic Measure

Demolition machinery at work

The high-rise apartment blocks, nestled within the Mast Quay Phase II development, have veered significantly from their approved plans, according to Greenwich Council.

What's particularly shocking is the revelation that there have been no less than 26 deviations from the original plans approved back in 2012. The gravity of the situation has prompted the council to issue a stern order—the developer, must prepare for demolition.

Comprising a total of 204 apartments, these blocks stand as a testament to a development gone awry. Despite the impending demolition, the council remains committed to supporting the existing tenants, ensuring they find suitable alternative accommodation. However, this shocking news has left residents reeling.

The Human Cost

For one of the resident, who resides in a two-bedroom apartment within the affected development with his wife, the demolition order has been nothing short of a bombshell. Moving into a property is an endeavour that demands considerable effort, and the prospect of finding a new place is far from easy. The instability created by this situation has left him deeply unsettled.

Apartment blocks in Woolwich

Woolwich Apartment Blocks

Despite the deviations from the original plans, the resident cherishes their current abode, for which he pays over £2,000 a month. Furthermore, the resident highlights the prime location of the apartments, situated along the banks of the river Thames.

Deviations and Disappointments

Among the myriad deviations cited by the council, the failure to provide roof gardens for residents and the public, as well as children's play areas, stands out. These amenities, initially promised to enhance the quality of life for residents, remain unbuilt.

Furthermore, there are apartments labelled as "accessible" that are far from accommodating. Steps leading to the balconies render these spaces inaccessible to wheelchair users, a glaring oversight.

Councillor Anthony Okereke

The leader of Greenwich Council, asserts that the decision to order the demolition is both reasonable and proportionate. The development that was granted Planning Permission differs substantially from the one that now stands before us. This marks the first time the council has issued a planning enforcement notice of this magnitude.

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A Year-Long Investigation

The wheels of justice began to turn when, in 2022, the council launched a year-long investigation into the deviations from the approved plans. It was only after the completion of the development that these breaches came to light, prompting swift action.

Comer Homes Group now faces a critical deadline. They have until the 30th of October to appeal the enforcement order with the government's Planning Inspectorate. Councillor Aidan Smith emphasises the council's commitment to working with responsible developers to unlock sites and deliver much-needed new homes for the borough.

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The Woolwich apartment blocks' demolition order serves as a stark reminder of the importance of adhering to approved plans and planning conditions.

The impact on residents and the developer is significant, but Greenwich Council has taken a firm stance in the name of upholding the integrity of development projects. As the legal process unfolds, all eyes are on the future of this "mutant development" and the pursuit of justice.

For expert guidance on property development compliance, reach out to our UK Property Accountants today to secure your project's financial success.

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Why is the developer being ordered to demolish the apartment blocks in Woolwich?

The developer, Comer Homes Group, is facing a demolition order due to substantial deviations from the approved plans and planning conditions set by Greenwich Council.

How many deviations from the original plans have been identified by the council?

Greenwich Council has identified "at least" 26 deviations from the plans originally approved in 2012.

Why are some of the apartments labelled as "accessible" not truly accessible?

Some "accessible" apartments have steps leading to the balconies, rendering them inaccessible to wheelchair users.

Is this the first time Greenwich Council has issued such a planning enforcement notice?

Yes, this marks the first time the council has issued a planning enforcement notice of this scale.

What is the deadline for Comer Homes Group to appeal the enforcement order?

Comer Homes Group has until the 30th of October to appeal the enforcement order with the government's Planning Inspectorate.

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