Concerns for Bob Hope Theatre over Grove Market development plans

Conservatives have raised concerns that an  eight storey tower block on the Grove Market site in Eltham,  could have a serious impact on visitors to the much-loved Bob Hope Theatre and on Eltham's Conservation Area.   Greenwich Planning Board will scrutinise the proposals on 28th January but residents fear that the parking chaos caused by the provision of only 49 parking spaces will result in theatre-goers being unable to park near the Theatre. Fears that are not currently being taken into account.

 Speaking ahead of the Planning Board meeting, Eltham Councillor, Cllr Adam Thomas said , “The proposals will see an eight storey tower block built in the centre of Eltham, with 144 flats and commercial space for a restaurant but only 49 spaces available for parking. The sums do  not add up and Conservatives together with over 60 residents and two resident associations have raised concerns about what impact this will have on the Bob Hope Theatre for theatre goers; on Eltham Palace Conservation Area and the town centre and surrounding residential roads because of increased congestion. This is a hugely important site for Eltham but these proposals could have disastrous consequences.

“The Bob Hope Theatre depends on the parking available in Wythfield Road, King's Orchard and Court Yard, but these proposals threaten to take away  this provision.  Just because there is no official parking space, it does not mean people will not have cars. The consequences will have a  serious impact on the Theatre, and could adversely affect its patrons, particularly the elderly.  Planning officers at Greenwich Council have taken no real account of this in the planning report and I am calling for the plans to be refused and for further consultation on a more appropriate development.”

It comes after Conservatives met with Bob Hope Theatre representatives last month  to plan a response to the controlled parking zone (CPZ) consultation held by the council.  the CPZ may be another reason that people will find it difficult to visit the Bob Hope Theatre. 

The Grove Market proposals also mark the start of a flurry of tower block developments supported by the council.  The Royal Mail sorting office, former council offices and Argos building have all been ear-marked for large tower block developments.  This was also to be the fate of Roper Street Primary School, until local opposition stopped the proposals.

Cllr Thomas added “The council seems determined to put a tower block here and I fear this will open the floodgates to a raft of similar developments which will cause similar problems for the area..  We want this site to be developed but it has to be done properly and with the consent of local residents.  We can get something that achieves this but we need the council and the developer to work with us, instead of ignoring us.

"What I fear the most is that this could seriously affect the future of the Bob Hope Theatre and I would ask all councillors sitting on the Planning Board to take seriously the views of the community and what is best for the future of Eltham."