Conservative Councillor opposes redevelopment of Greenwich Market at Appeal


On the 9th of September, Eltham North Conservative Councillor and Planning Board member Dermot Poston spoke at Greenwich Hospital’s appeal against the Council’s decision to deny planning permission to its redevelopment of Greenwich Market.


Dermot was a member of the Planning Board which rejected the plans for Greenwich Market, which included removing much of the interior of the market, creating a wood-clad hotel in the centre and (it is feared) damaging the unique features of the current market. 


Dermot’s speech received very favourable comments and we have reproduced it below. Dermot said “Lord Clark in his now seminal lectures on “Civilisation” described the main buildings on the World Heritage site at Greenwich as “the greatest architectural unit built in England since the Middle Ages”.


Greenwich Council has an obligation laid upon it by Parliament to protect this wonderful heritage. As one of its councillors I am mindful of that today.


If the central building goes ahead, it will confront one’s eyes as one walks down the main thoroughfare in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College. Passing the extraordinary Painted Hall, one will see, rising above the Georgian line of Kay’s terrace, the architecturally incongruous Mansard roof with the so-called boutique hotel behind. As Rebecca Duncan (Greenwich Council’s Conservation Officer) has said it would seriously disrupt the harmonious composition of the terrace.


Everyone who loves Greenwich knows its famous views—indeed the Canelletto from across the river is known the world over, but wonderful too is that from the Royal Observatory Hill. Looking down on the town centre and the Kay terraces-- an important feature from up there, one sees the rising masts of the Cutty Sark. But this magical picture which enlarges as one descends would be marred by the intrusion of the central block—quite out of scale and period with the Cutty Sark and its surroundings. Further damage would be done by this block overpowering the buildings in Church Street that stand at the entrance to the market.


In town planning terms the market, enclosed within the Kay terraces, is set beside the Old Royal Naval College and the Queen’s House. It is a deliberate and meaningful accompaniment which complements beautifully the amazing symmetry of Christopher Wren and Indigo Jones. Greenwich Town Centre is individual and sometimes magnificent: Greenwich Market is individual and quirky but of its place. The replacement architecture proposed is universal and could be anywhere, but it fails to be Greenwich architecture.


Should this development take place in this setting I believe it would be one of the most ill-conceived schemes that has come before me in my many years on the Planning Board.”