Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park needs our help.
25 February 2017
Plans for a 20 Storey Tower Block by the Greenwich Ecology Park on site 201.
A new 'Energy Centre' on plot 504: the last remaining pocket park.
We urge our members to voice their concerns about the damaging effects of a proposed 20+ storey tower right next to the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park. This block would overshadow a large area of the park all year round but be particularly severe in the winter months causing an increase in dampness and a cooling of the ground temperature. Greenwich Millennium Village Ltd held a brief two day community consultation at the beginning of February and is likely to submit plans at the end of March.
In relation to the Environmental Impact the developer's own invertebrate report stated that the park is home to 19 Nationally Scarce species, 39 Nationally Local species, 8 threatened (Red Book Data) species and one BAP species (that is provided for under official bio diversity action plans). A report on birds stated there would be a minor direct and indirect effect with respect to thermoregulation, prey invertebrate availability and biomass reduction. These surveys were merely snapshots and not in depth enough to fully record the number of species using the park.
The park staff and volunteers have recorded the value of the park more thoroughly. A 2016 survey recorded over 80 confirmed species of bees, this is an extraordinary amount double that of Kew Gardens, and includes threatened species and two new to the UK. Other surveys record over 60 species of birds, 20 species of dragonfly and damselfly, 16 species of butterfly, more than 60 species of spider and nearly 200 species of moth. There are BAP and Red Book Data species in all these categories, and they are all interdependent and would be at risk from the damaging effects of overshadowing. For example a key BAP species, the common tern, uses the parks nesting platforms and will only nest in full sun.
The park is also a vital resource to the local community both for leisure and education and the staff manage a huge number of varied visitors from many local schools, to NHS rehabilitation to youth offender reparation to additional needs education to biologists and more. If the 20 storey tower went ahead the park's classroom would be in shade all year round during the morning time of peak use, and the dipping pond also shaded.
The park is constantly used in advertising for sales by developers. It seems incredibly hypocritical that GMV Ltd are happy to use it for their advertising yet risk damaging such a vital and valued part of the life of the Peninsula. Incidentally this new block provides no affordable or social housing. The proposed Energy Centre is to be built on the last remaining pocket park which houses native trees and ground flora. These pocket parks were created as mitigation by developers, but have one by one been built on, so the Ecology Centre houses the refugees from these sites too.
Along with The Friends of Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park we suggest that the footprint of the building is moved much further away from the park, and that the height is reduced to be in accordance with other nearby buildings. We suggest using this template below to raise awareness of concerns by writing to your local councillors and MPs plus members of the planning board. Once the planning application is in we will provide specific information to use to object to the plans and how they affect the park.
Website of the charity which runs it: TCV
Telephone number of park staff Joanna Smith and Tony Day: 020 8293 1904
Template letter (please feel free to personalise for greater impact)
Proposed plans for a 20 Storey Tower Block by the Greenwich Ecology Park (on land known as site 201)
I am writing to object to the 20 Storey Tower Block proposed by Greenwich Millennium Village Ltd (GMVL) at their public exhibition in February.
There will be a significant adverse impact on the Greenwich Ecology Par. The tower block will:
Overshadow a large area of the park all year round but be particularly severe in the winter months causing an increase in dampness and a cooling of the ground temperature.
This will have a significant effect on the 80 confirmed species of bees, 60 species of birds, 20 species of dragonfly and damselfly, 16 species of butterfly, more than 60 species of spider and nearly 200 species of moth recorded at the Park.
Many of these species will be at risk from the damaging effects of overshadowing. For example the common tern, which uses the parks nesting platforms, will only nest in full sun. The proposed block could see the end of the common tern nests.
The current proposals will diminish and degrade a key ecological resource, to the detriment of the species that use it, and the residents that enjoy it.
I understand that this impact could be reduced by small changes to the scheme, principally shifting the position of the tower further away from the park and reducing the height, to a scale comparable to the buildings currently in the area. I understand that these changes would not impact significantly on the viability of scheme, which proposes no affordable housing.
I hope that these changes to the scheme can be secured, ensuring the future of one of Greenwich Peninsula’s last remaining, and much valued, green spaces. Without the changes the detailed development proposal is unacceptable, and should be refused by Greenwich Council.