Greenwich cruise liner scheme sunk over air quality concerns

Plans for a controversial cruise liner terminal in south east London, which had successfully seen off a legal challenge over air quality concerns, have been abandoned by the scheme's promoter.

Greenwich: cruise liner terminal plans abandoned
Greenwich: cruise liner terminal plans abandoned

In 2012, planning permission was granted by the London Borough of Greenwich for a new jetty on the Thames to provide docking for cruise ships, a cruise liner terminal, a 251-bedroom hotel and 770 new homes.

The then mayor of London, Boris Johnson, had decided not to call in the application and there was no challenge to the planning permission granted.

However, in March 2015, the developer Enderby Wharf Ltd, which is owned by investment bank Morgan Stanley, applied for permission to amend the plans.

The hotel was to be replaced by further residential buildings, one of which would be increased in size. And the terminal building was to be increased in size by more than 80 per cent.

This revised application was approved in July 2015, triggering a legal challenge by a local resident who argued that there should have been a full assessment of the terminal's impact on local air quality.

Local opposition to the plans has centred on the fact the terminal would not have an onshore power source for ships docking there. This would mean they would have to run their diesel engines to maintain a power supply.

But the challenge was rejected by the High Court in August 2016.

Since then, work on the housing element of the scheme has progressed.

But in July, Danny Thorpe, the leader of Greenwich Council, said he was "hugely disappointed" the developers had not responded to his calls for them "to address the impact on pollution and air quality" of the proposed cruise liner terminal.

Thorpe said that the council could not revoke the planning consent granted. However, he said the council would "not consider varying or amending any of the existing section 106 obligations if asked by the owner or any subsequent owner unless there is a strong planning case for the changes proposed".

In September  this year, it was reported that Morgan Stanley was working on revised plans for the cruise ship development.

Yesterday, a statement from the council said that Morgan Stanley "have finally agreed to cancel their plans to build a cruise terminal at Enderby Wharf", stating that the firm was unable to find a solution to the borough's air quality concerns

In addition, the statement said the council was also concerned over the amount of affordable housing offered in the development and would be "pushing Morgan Stanley, or whoever comes forward to develop the site, for a greater number of genuinely affordable homes".

It also said that there was an issue over a "lack of good quality public space" in the wider Enderby Wharf scheme.

The statement said the council "would like to see whether, together, we could build a new Peninsula Park on the riverfront for everyone to enjoy, with green spaces and safe paths for walking and cycling".

A letter to the council from Morgan Stanley said: "As you are aware, creating a cruise terminal at Enderby was strongly supported by the previous leadership of the council and the former mayor of London, as well as being a planning condition without which the original scheme would not have been granted approval.

"The council’s position on the desirability of the cruise terminal has clearly changed, as has the position of the mayor’s office, following the concerns raised by the local community.

"As the indirect owner of the site, we have taken this change into account, and listened to the comments expressed by both the council and the broader community. As a result, we are discussing revised plans and proposals for the Enderby site that would no longer include a cruise terminal at Enderby Wharf and will continue to explore options to meet the needs of the council and the local community."

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