TWO “mutant” riverside housing blocks costing £36million are due to be demolished following a massive blunder.
The Mast Quay Phase II rental development in Woolwich, South East London, is currently home to 204 apartments.
But officials have ordered the blocks to be torn down and rebuilt – meaning tenants could be left on the streets.
Developer Comer Homes Group breached 26 planning conditions and allowed renters to move in despite warnings to keep the flats empty while an investigation was ongoing.
Greenwich Council said the towers are so different from approved plans they should be knocked down and rebuilt.
They accused Comer of failing to include a lack of play space for children, no step free access for disabled residents to their own balconies and a lack of promised green space in outside areas.
Do you live in the block? Call UK Times Online on 0207 782 4368 or email [email protected]
The council also said the final towers ended up looking “more solid and bulky”.
Comer told UK Times Online they will be appealing against the decision – potentially leading to a lengthy legal battle.
If they fails to do so, the blocks will have to be ripped down within a year or face an unlimited fine.
Greenwich Council leader Cllr Anthony Okereke said: “This decision is not one that the Royal Borough of Greenwich has taken lightly, but I believe it is reasonable and proportionate to the scale and seriousness of the situation.
“Mast Quay Phase II represents two prominent high-rise buildings on Woolwich’s riverside that just are not good enough, and the reason that they are not good enough is because the development that was given planning permission is not the one that we can all see before us today.”
Locals have branded the development an “eyesore” after developers ignored the original designs approved by the council.
While Labour councillor Aidan Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said the blocks were a “mutant development”.
Comer originally planned a 14 storey and 22 storey building when the plans were given the green light in 2021.
Ten years later when the building work was almost complete, revised plans were sent that included extra metaland grey cladding.
One resident said: “It looks a lot cheaper than the other older buildings and sticks out on the riverside.
“When compared to the other new high-rises further down at Royal, it’s an eyesore.”
Another said the “really ugly” orange colouring on the side of the building made it stick out “like a sore thumb”.
One bed flats in the development are being rented out with an asking price of £1,829pcm.
Greenwich Council said: “The Royal Borough of Greenwich has taken the decision, as the local planning authority, to progress with enforcement action against the Comer Homes Group’s Mast Quay Phase II development of two residential towers, one of which is stepped, with 23, 11, nine and six storeys, located on Woolwich Church Street, London SE18.
“The Council’s extensive investigation over the last year has concluded that the completed Mast Quay Phase II built-to rent-development has been built without planning permission and is therefore unlawful because it is so substantially different to the scheme that was originally permitted by the planning permission given in 2012.”
Comer said it was “surprised and extremely disappointed by the decision” and claimed the public statements released are “inaccurate and misrepresent the position and our actions”.
They also said they are “prioritising the interests of residents” and will continue to “do all that we can to assist them to remain secure in their homes while we respond to the council’s actions”.
A statement added: “We will be appealing against the enforcement notice and look forward to robustly correcting the inaccuracies and addressing the council’s concerns.
“We have over many months sought to engage constructively with the council, and not withstanding these disproportionate actions, remain willing to do so.
“We are justly proud of our track record of delivering high quality developments across the United Kingdom. In our view, the council’s concerns regarding Mast Quay Phase II can be addressed through following normal process and engaging with us on a retrospective planning application.
“We encourage the Council to meet with us and agree a way forward which will avoid wasting significant sums of taxpayers’ money on litigation when sensible solutions to their concerns are available.”