Council fails to listen to Eltham residents

Confusion reigned this month as Greenwich Council started a consultation about the demolition of the Grove Market Place on Eltham High Street and then gave permission for the developer to go ahead before residents had been heard.


Following an application by the new owners to demolish the Grove Market Place and 60 Eltham High Street, Eltham at the start of May, the Council invited comments from Councillors; neighbours and other interested parties.  On the notice posted at the Grove Market Place site dated 21st May 2013, it states:


“Any person who wishes to make representations to the Council about the application should do so in writing by 11/06/2013to Planning Department, 5th floor, Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington Street, Woolwich, SE18 6HQ stating the full reference number(s) above.”


However, less than two weeks later, Greenwich Council sent the developers a letter stating:


“The Royal Borough of Greenwich as Local Planning Authority hereby determines that the development described above and referred to in your application dated 7th May 2013 falls within the limits of permitted development as described in Part 31, Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 and that prior approval for the development is NOT required in this instance.”


This meant that rather than hearing residents, neighbours and other views on the demolition of this increasingly hazardous site, the Council changed its mind and simply waived the application through without waiting to hear what anyone else thought. 


Local Conservative Councillor Adam Thomas met with the new owners of Grove Market, Citygrove, to discuss their plans for the redevelopment of the site, however, they were not informed that the demolition had been approved without their views or those of neighbouring residents being considered.  


Leader of Greenwich Conservatives Cllr Spencer Drury said “It seems to be increasingly common that this Council does not listen to residents views, especially here in Eltham.  However, with plans for the Coronet also being considered (and inaccessible to the public generally) and now the demolition of the Grove Market Place being approved before the consultation has finished, the Woolwich-based Labour Council has hit a new low.  Eltham residents living near this building deserve the chance to be heard, but following on from other badly handled consultations, like that on parking charges, there is a clear message that the Council not only doesn’t care about Eltham, but really can’t be bothered to listen to the people that live there either.”


Eltham South Councillors Adam Thomas and Matt Clare promised to raise the abortive consultation at the Council meeting scheduled for the end of this month.