A councillor has criticised a developer for attempting to build houses in Abbey Wood that residents “will only be able to look at”.

Abbey Wood councillor Ann Marie Cousins argued with the developer over the type of housing being put forward for a major development in Felixstowe Road.

Abbey Wood LLP asked Greenwich Council to allow it to change the level of affordable housing in its scheme for more than 240 homes, which originally had only 10 per cent as affordable.

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Affordable housing is broken into social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing.

At a meeting last night, the developer proposed 100 per cent intermediate housing – split between London living rent and shared ownership.

Although the developer was technically upping affordable housing, Cllr  Cousins said what was being offered was still not good enough for Abbey Wood.

Social housing

She said: “It bothers me that in an area where at the moment a lot of people are work-less – in that area we are not doing any social housing.

“For intermediate housing you have to be offering well in excess of £40,000, that’s not happening in Abbey Wood.

“We have residents who can see the development but only suffer the consequences and none of the benefits.

“They can only look at it, they do not benefit from it. Profits are being put above social housing provision.”

Greenwich aims for a mix of affordable housing in new developments, split between 70 per cent social/affordable rent and 30 per cent intermediate.

By offering 100 per cent affordable housing, the developer would not have to pay as much community infrastructure levy – cash given to councils and the Mayor if a big development is approved.

"Very positive"

Planning permission was granted in 2017 for the development, meaning councillors were only deciding last night on the technical housing change.

Speaking on behalf of the developer, Steve Sanam said it was a positive change for Abbey Wood, claiming residents would be able to afford the houses.

“Since this was granted we have been revising the scheme, working closely with the GLA and L&Q,” Mr Sanam said.

“Given the location, and successful regeneration, we believe this would be very positive.

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“The maximum income for LLR can be up to £60,000, and given the sheer number of units we have in the scheme I believe residents would be able to afford them.”

Including socially rented housing would push the scheme, which is already technically ‘unviable’, into further deficit, councillors were told.

Conservative councillor Nigel Fletcher said it was only a good thing that affordable housing was being increased.


“I can’t believe the hostility of some of my colleagues here,” Cllr Fletcher said, “Think of the number of times we have had schemes approved with a certain number of affordable housing and they come back asking to reduce that.

“Here we have a developer with permission that was granted with less than 10 per cent affordable coming back saying it’s 100 per cent affordable.

“Why can’t we say to them ‘thank you, you’re doing something that makes the scheme un-viable to provide affordable housing?’

“Is that not something that surely we want more of?”

The change was approved by the planning board, with an abstention from councillor Clive Mardner.