Earlier this week, Andrew Gilligan wrote about the plans for the redevelopment of Greenwich Market. Here is the response of the market owners, Greenwich Hospital.
The Environmental Statement referred to assessed the principle locations of the temporary market not the final proposals. We assessed a maximum site area of 10,000 sqm (to include storage, access etc) to accommodate the temporary market. The final details of the temporary market will be submitted to Greenwich Council in early June. The temporary market will allow for the same number of stallholders as existing and will be of a similar size in terms of floor space.
Paragraph 3.16 of the Environmental Statement refers to the gross Market area which includes the circulation area in front of the shops and the seating areas of George II and the Coach and Horses.
Paragraph 3.25 of the Environmental Statement refers to a brief for the temporary market with a floor space requirement of 1,000 sqm which was an approximate area and not what was tested in site terms. The Environmental Statement relates to the main site application and was written before the final plans for the temporary market were fully defined. The temporary market will be judged on its own merits through the planning application process. The proposed marquee will accommodate the same number of stalls on a similar size footprint.
Greenwich Hospital is in discussions with all the retailers in the market and has a relocation strategy in place. Through this process it will be able to relocate all the existing retailers from the current market during construction either into other Hospital owned units in the town centre or 6 of them to the temporary market units.
Obviously it is difficult to give specifics due to the fact that our discussions with tenants are ongoing and confidential.
We have just received planning consent for a change of use of 2-5 College Approach to create 4 retail units. There is only 1 vacant unit in the Greenwich Hospital Estate as the other is under offer and this is by a tenant moving from elsewhere in the estate, however this will in due course create 1 more available unit within the estate.
There is another unit on the estate that the tenant has chosen to vacate and so we expect that this will come back to Greenwich Hospital soon. All this will total 7 units, which together with the 6 retail units in the temporary market will provide 13 options to relocate tenants. This is not withstanding the fact that some tenants have indicated that they would rather leave the estate than be relocated either due to the direction their businesses are taking or because they were merely taking advantage of a short-term let opportunity. There are other possible relocation units around the Hospital’s Estate, for example, the Greenwich Tourist Information Office will vacate 46 Greenwich Church Street to return to the Old Royal Naval College next March.
Regenerated market floor space
Although the covered area of the market has reduced slightly by less than 10% the actual market footprint has remained broadly the same, as have the number of stalls that can be housed. This point is dealt with fully in the Design and Access Statement of the planning application.
The historic footprint remains and is very slightly wider, so the existing stall layout can be accommodated.
The proposed canopy has fewer columns/masts than the existing canopy. They are wider in diameter but they are dual-purpose, as they will carry rainwater down and electrical supplies up to high level lighting etc.
Increase in build density
The total floorspace of the proposals has increased from the existing floor space. This is partly related to the reuse of the existing inefficient service yards with the provision of a new building to the west of the existing market.
There are increases in building heights within the site to accommodate the new facilities. However, the buildings remain below the roofline of the existing Nelson Road roofs and are hardly visible from outside the site.
Transport and Access
The person trips obtained for the hotel are generated from survey information from a series of comparable London hotels found within the TRAVL database, the standard database for trip generation used by local authorities and TfL in London.
Analysis of this information shows that the trips associated with a hotel are typically spread out throughout the day. As such there would be little impact during either the morning or evening peak periods.
Planning policy encourages car free developments in town centres with good public transport links. However, the arrangements were discussed with the Council and stakeholders.
Whilst some guests, when initially arriving, may do so by taxi, the close proximity of the Docklands Light Railway station will encourage the guests, many of whom are likely to be tourists visiting Historic Greenwich, not to drive or use a taxi.
On a daily basis, many of the trips will be guests who have already checked into the hotel, travelling on foot to tourist destinations in Greenwich, or travelling by Docklands Light Railway or Thames Clipper River service to Central London.
The proportion of guests who choose to travel by taxi will be collected by taxis stopping briefly on King William Walk. Due to the dispersed nature of the guests’ arrival and departure patterns this is unlikely to cause significant traffic impact. Any increase in vehicles would be more than offset by the removal of the vehicular traffic associated with the current office buildings within the market and the car park in Durnford Street.
It should also be noted that, in order to reduce the likelihood of taxis waiting on King William Walk consideration is currently being given to the introduction of a system to enable the hotel to summon a taxi from the nearby taxi rank on Greenwich Church Street for guests leaving the hotel.
Greenwich Hospital has not kept ‘disturbing details of the development quiet’, on the contrary the consultation website www.greenwichmarketconsultation.co.uk aims to be transparent and informative which is why agendas and minutes of Key Stakeholder minutes are all online.
Whilst the results of the October 2007 exhibition showed that 50% of respondees commented that they supported the scheme with suggestions; many of these suggestions have now been incorporated into the scheme and therefore we do count these individuals as supportive.
Below is a summary of some of the main issues which have been influenced by the responses of the local planning authority, the Key Stakeholder Consultative Group, Community Liaison Group and all other stakeholders and residents:
- Phasing of the market regeneration was rejected by Greenwich Hospital after the market traders and retailers suggested it would make trading very difficult. Greenwich Hospital responded to this by seeking to find a venue to relocate the market within Greenwich during the regeneration period.
- Cutty Sark Gardens was considered as the first option for temporary market relocation in
accordance with market traders wishes.
- Market Roof: Hopkins Architects refined the design of the new market and extended coverage of the roof to both ends of the market to enable the largest number of traders to be protected from the weather; this was a direct result of concerns expressed by traders.
- The Community Liaison Group (CLG) was set up following a decision of the KSCG to set up a body to oversee and facilitate the move of the market to a temporary location and to include representatives of the community and residents in the CLG.
- The Old Royal Naval College was selected as a temporary market location following discussions with the Key Stakeholder Consultative Group and market traders.
- Delaying the Closure of Greenwich Market: After many meetings with market traders and after consideration of the effects of the economic slowdown on the market traders, Greenwich Hospital decided to keep the market trading throughout Christmas 2009 in the existing market location to give traders the best chance of trading successfully over the crucial Christmas period.
- Stall Design in the market will be worked up by Greenwich Space Management and Hopkins Architects with the help and assistance of traders who will be utilising the new stall
- Construction impact – development of a strategy to address the construction impacts of the market regeneration on surrounding residents has been and will continue to be addressed by ensuring the Community Liaison Group continues to meet post planning application.
- Finish and materials – The finish and materials were the subject of a considerable number of comments made by members of the community following the Public Exhibition in October 2007 and these reflected a wish that the selected finishes should fit well within the context of Greenwich Town Centre and should be of high quality. Greenwich Hospital and Hopkins Architects considered these comments carefully and removed the red brick from the interior walls of the market, replacing them with timber.
- Accessibility for disabled people was considered after Greenwich Association for Disabled People submitted an email to Greenwich Hospital which stated a preference for even flooring, flat thresholds, lavatories with disabled access and additional enhanced accessibility features.
- Second Public Exhibition was agreed by the KSCG and by Greenwich Council officers as a good method of communicating the final market regeneration plans to as wide a group of residents as possible. Greenwich Hospital was happy to facilitate this exhibition.
- On Site storage capacity in the regenerated market area will match the existing on site storage capacity. This strategy has been developed following discussions with market traders on how storage in the new market would operate.
Greenwich Hospital believes that the application for the regeneration is in accordance with Greenwich Council’s Unitary Development Plan and that it will demonstrate the highest standards in design, landscaping, detailing and finish and that the regeneration will maintain and preserve the architectural integrity and identity of the town centre. Greenwich Hospital does not believe that the essential character of the market will change. Rather the hotel will make the market an attractive place for more people for more of the time and bring a more positive atmosphere to the market in the evenings and on non market trading days. The new roof will be a considerable improvement on the current roof. There is broad support for the principle of regeneration from many Greenwich stakeholders and residents but that is not evident in the article.
It is particularly disappointing that someone who has written on the subject so often failed to attend the recent public exhibition when he could have discussed the plans in more detail Greenwich Hospital response to Andrew Gilligan article of 27 May 2009 with members of the project team; even though he was explicitly invited to do so by the Member of Parliament.