19, Maidenstone Hill, Greenwich, London SE10 8SY 020 8692 7845

19, Maidenstone Hill,
London SE10 8SY
020 8692 7845
[email protected]
Strategic Planning Team,
South Quay Masterplan Consultation,
London Borough of Tower Hamlets,
PO Box 55739,
London E14 2BG,
11 February 2015
Dear Sir/Madam,
Draft South Quay Masterplan Consultation.
The Committee of the Friends of Greenwich Park is grateful to be able to comment on
the draft of the South Quay Masterplan. We welcome the inclusion of a section, SQ4,
specifically about the views from Greenwich Park and the importance of preserving the
integrity of the historic “Grand Axis”.
The “Grand Axis” starts at All Saints church, Blackheath, runs along Blackheath
Avenue through Greenwich Park, passes between the wings of the Old Royal Naval
College, and ends at St Anne’s church, Limehouse. The historical importance of this
line dates from the time when the “one o’clock red time ball” on Flamstead’s house in
Greenwich Park had to be seen from St Anne’s church so that the descent of a similar
time ball on St Anne’s could be made at the same instant. The Axis was protected in
the 1980s by moving Canary Wharf to the east of its originally proposed site. The need
for such mechanical requirements for time has long since past, and we acknowledge
that some building has already taken place on the Axis so that St Anne’s is now hidden
from the Park.
The statue of General Wolfe in Greenwich Park stands on the Grand Axis. When
viewed from along Blackheath Avenue, the statue currently has “open sky” beyond it.
The draft Plan acknowledges these points and reflects issues made by Greenwich
Amenity Societies when they responded to the South Quay planning application.
Paragraph 3 of SQ4, Views, specifically requires any developer to comment on the
effect of the view from the Wolfe Statue and, more importantly, from the intersection
of Blackheath and Great Cross Avenues.
Figure 4.1 shows the angle of view from the former, but does not extend sufficiently
far to the South to enable a sight “cone” to be shown from the avenues’ intersection.
(The “cone” shown is the view from Wolfe to St Paul’s cathedral). We ask that this
Figure be expanded to show All Saint’s church and the extent of the view from
that intersection. The “cone” so produced will be very narrow as Blackheath Avenue
is lined with trees, but it will have expanded to a number of degrees by the time it
reaches the South Quay area. Any building in this cone will have to below the height
of the base of General Wolfe to maintain “open sky” behind him and hence his
“silhouette”. Wolfe sits on the escarpment with his base at a height of 48 metres (157
feet) which equates to between 10 and 15 storeys, dependent on ceiling height of the
floors. We would welcome this guidance being specifically included in the Plan.
To aid developers, we recommend that the Plan includes a transverse section (north:
St Anne’s to south: All Saint’s) of the existing buildings on the Grand Axis (similar to
Figure 3.3). This will show which building(s) are higher than St Anne’s, and set a
framework limiting the height for any future tall buildings. It will also show the relative
contours of Docklands and Greenwich Park.
Section SQ4 also comments on layering and clustering, and seeks to require “stepping
down from north to south”. On Figure 4.1”contour lines” are showing radiating out
from Wolfe across the Isle of Dogs. We understand that these are taken from the
Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site Management Plan (MGWHSMP), but there
are no units applied to the contours in this figure. The MGWHSMP (Plan 3 page 124)
does give numbers to each line, though again does not specify the units. It would be
helpful to provide an interpretation of the building height recommended for each
line. The policy then will give a stepping down of building heights from west to east as
well as north to south, avoiding a “table top” flat block effect when seen from Wolfe.
Figure VI Vision Map and Figure 3.1 (pages 19 and 34 of the draft Plan) give an
impression of where buildings of different height are likely to feature in South Quay. It
would be helpful to have the line of the Grand Axis on both these figures (as well as
currently Figure 4.1) as it would show the impact of the Grand Axis. Doing so is likely
to show that two or possibly three “taller elements” will be on the Axis. The public
consultation had a display which named all the different developments – it would be
helpful to have that in the Plan document – while recognising that much is “work in
train”. The position at a given date will enable people to comment about specifically
named areas.) Areas that might be affected by the Grand Axis policy are 8 (56-58 Marsh
Wall), 9 (Arrowhead Quay), 10 (Quay House), 13 (Millharbour South) and 14
(Millharbour West and East) and even possibly 7 (54 Marsh Wall) and 11 (Admiral
Yours faithfully
Tony Butler
A D Butler
Friends of Greenwich Park
Copied to
P Binns (Greenwich Conservation Society)
R Baglin(Greenwich Society)
Nick Raynsford MP
Councillor Matthew Pennycook (Royal Greenwich)
Councillor A Wood (Tower Hamlets)
Jacob Jaarsma (Planning Manager, Royal Greenwich)
B McCarthy (Maritime Greenwich Foundation World Heritage Site Executive)
P Marsden (MGWHSE)
S Sudhakar (Tower Hamlets Urban Design Officer)
H Chen (Tower Hamlets Plan Making Team)