Planning decision on £770m Morden Wharf proposal for 1,500 homes across four towers is imminent

OMA Morden Wharf Beach 1

The £770m scheme would include 1,500 homes and over 17,000sq m of commercial space if built

OMA’s £770m mixed-use Morden Wharf development on London’s Greenwich peninsula has come under attack from the local MP who has written to the local council to lodge his opposition.

Matthew Pennycook, Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, says the four-tower mixed-use scheme is too tall.

He has written to the planning board of the Labour-led local authority, formally lining up against the U&I project which was lodged for planning in June last year. Work is expected to start in 2023 if given approval.

It would consist of 1,500 homes and over 17,000sq m of commercial space across 12 buildings, including four towers between 21 and 36 storeys in height.

But Pennycook said that the “excessive” heights of the towers would be “wholly inappropriate” for the site, on the western side of the peninsula, and would have a “marked detrimental impact on the existing character of the area”.

OMA Morden Wharf Balcony

He added that Morden Wharf would impact views of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site from Greenwich Park, despite the executive for the heritage site having decided not to object to the application.

He urged members of the Greenwich planning board to reject the application and encouraged U&I to revise the plans “in a way that respects the surrounding context of this important site”.

OMA, which has designed a handful of much smaller projects in the UK including Maggie’s Gartnavel in Glasgow and a headquarters for Rothschild Bank in the City of London, is working on the troubled Manchester Factory arts project but Morden Wharf would be its biggest project in the UK by some distance.

It was appointed as masterplanner and lead architect in 2013. At the time partner Reinier de Graaf said: “We are excited to have the opportunity to work with an ambitious development team on one of the last significant riverfront sites on the Thames.

Morden Wharf 4

”Our vision for Morden Wharf adds value to an already impressive site through regeneration of existing buildings and infrastructure which will attract visitors and residents to the sites cultural, residential, leisure, and commercial offerings.”

The proposals include a new boathouse designed by Carmody Groarke (pictured below) which could provide a permanent mooring for the crown’s royal rowbarge, Gloriana, which was built for the Queen’s 2012 diamond jubilee celebrations.

OMA Morden Wharf Jetty

A new road called Sea Witch Lane, named after a pub which was destroyed by a bomb in the Second World War, would run through the development towards a public square for seasonal events and markets.

Other firms working on the scheme include Chetwoods, which has designed the commercial space, QS Gardiner &Theobald, structural and M&E engineer Ramboll and landscape architect Planit.

U&I said in response to Pennycook’s letter that the proposals ”have been developed in close consultation with the local community and the design of all buildings has been carefully considered to ensure they are in-keeping with the emerging context on the Peninsula.”

The development is set to neighbour the BPTW-designed Enderby Place scheme, which will consist of three towers between 24 and 32 storeys in height.

But the landowner of that scheme, Criterion Capital, has said it is unlikely to build it and will revise the plans because a cruise liner port which would have been included in it has been abandoned.