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Morden Wharf Consultation

We had a very productive meeting with U&I on 16th December and provided this written response to them following the meeting.

Thank you very much for organising a further consultation on the Morden Wharf project. EGRA would like to highlight the following issues:

  • We are very concerned about the proposed wharf ‘flip’ between Primrose Pier and Tunnel Wharf. Given the absence of a firm timeline for the entire Morden Wharf project, let alone the rebuilding of the Thames Path, we think that this is probably years away from delivery. You have now complicated the picture by raising the possibility of storing the Royal Barge at Tunnel Wharf which would effectively render this unusable as public space on security grounds, although actually using the Wharf for this purpose would be popular. This will obviously increase the mounting anger at the Sivyer proposals for the northern end of the site which has already produced a large number of objections.

  • EGRA members would like to see a build schedule that includes alternative arrangements for the Thames Path at all stages of construction. We appreciate that you will need to work on the riverside but forcing residents and visitors to use the Blackwall Tunnel Approach road as an alternative route is simply impossible, particularly with the potential Silvertown construction site in close proximity. We think the alternative provision should be worked out with RBG in advance of any planning application.

  • There is great alarm at the heights of the riverfront buildings. 37 storeys is over three-times taller than the existing Enderby Wharf buildings. These already create a canyon-like effect along the river with attendant problems of overshadowing and wind turbulence. Even set into a more green environment these will dominate the riverside in a way that will overwhelm the World Heritage Site views.

  • We do not think that the existing design of the blocks reflects any sense of the history of the area. Using design elements derived from German industrial heritage in the Ruhr is rather bizarre and inappropriate. We believe that the new London Plan will stress more use of the vernacular and relevance to place which we are not seeing in this development. The use of green walls is welcomed but we believe that finding appropriate planting for what is a very windy location will be an interesting challenge.

  • There has been lots of unfavourable comment on the over-sized neon signage on the buildings both in terms of crassness and light pollution. Perhaps you would like to rethink this.

  • We welcome the increase in playspace but our experience so far is that developers are happy to put in some little slides and roundabouts for under-5s but fail to deliver anything for the more diffficult older age group. We think some consultation with the potential user group via local schools would be a very useful starting point.

  • We also have many questions about the maintenance of the public space. As we discussed, RBG will not take on additional public space and indeed cannot maintain existing space. We think that new residents will be understandably reluctant to subsidise this through their service charges.

These are the headline issues that struck EGRA members during your presentation. Thank you again for the opportunity to revisit your plans. Given the number of other developments and proposals locally we hope you have also opened a dialogue with some of the other project teams. The relationship of one development to another has always been a serious problem resulting is some very unjoined-up thinking, poor permeability and inadequate infrastructure as well as some very second-rate buildings that do not relate to the river or the area.

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