Estate agents are still advertising viewings at 'mutant' flats

Estate agents are still advertising viewings at 'mutant' flats

September 29, 2023

Estate agents are still advertising viewings at ‘mutant’ flats – even after council ordered developers to raze South London tower blocks to the ground over planning law breach

  • Greenwich council issued an enforcement notice against Comer Homes Group
  • Developer was told to completely tear down the tower blocks due to breaches 

Estate agents are still advertising viewings for the ‘mutant’ South London flats which the Labour-led council has ordered developers to raze due to a planning law breach, MailOnline can reveal today. 

An email was sent around but many residents of the tower blocks, which contain 205 flats, found out their homes were earmarked for destruction by news reports. Some were forced to approach the front desk for more information today after reading about it.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has issued an enforcement notice against Comer Homes Group and the developer has been told to completely tear down its Mast Quay Phase II residential towers in Woolwich which were originally approved in 2012.

The Labour-led council said the blocks, one of which is 23 storeys tall, are ‘substantially different’ to the approved plans and are now in breach of planning permission.

Some residents complained the quality of the property was so poor that they welcomed the demolition, while others were dumfounded how no one from the council noticed the years-long project was going awry.

The Labour-led council said the blocks, one of which is 23 storeys tall, are ‘substantially different’ to the approved plans and are now in breach of planning permission

Estate agents are still advertising flats in Mast Quay tower blocks, even now council says they must be pulled down

A carparking space reportedly costs £250 a month and one-bed flats rent for £1,750 a month in the tower blocks

Woolwich residents reported they received a statement featuring 26 things wrong with the property, where a carparking space reportedly costs £250 a month and one-bed flats rent for £1,750 a month.

READ MORE: Hundreds set to lose their homes after Labour-led council orders developers to demolish two ‘mutant’ South London tower blocks over breach of planning laws 

They didn’t create a roof top terrace, as promised on the planning application, nor did they make their gym and ground floor apartments step-free, and the overall floor plan was said to be oversized.

One anonymous woman rushed across the forecourt to speak to the reception, and on her way said: ‘I got an email saying “update on the planning enforcement” and I was like, what planning enforcement?’

Another resident, who worked in housing and would not give his named, said he was ‘shocked’ it was being knocked down, and that the estate agents at Hamptons, who have an on-site office, were still giving viewings to potential renters.

He said: ‘I was shocked that it’s come to this.

‘I’m a little confused why they were still conducting viewings if they know it’s going to be demolished, I saw people over the weekend.

‘I just want to know what the plans are, do we need to start looking now? Do we need to start packing now?

‘It will be a waste of money, it was create people unnecessary problems.

Some residents complained the quality of the property was so poor that they welcomed the demolition

The council says differences between what was originally approved in 2012 and what was actually built have amounted to a breach of planning. Pictured: An artist’s impression of what the building was meant to look like

‘[The council] should have been checking and keeping an eye on it. I just don’t see how our council could let something like this be constructed without checking in about what’s happening. So both sides there are a lot of poor decisions.’

Council leader Anthony Okereke said the decision had not been taken lightly but said he believed it is ‘reasonable and proportionate to the scale and seriousness of the situation’.

He added: ‘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.

‘In Our Greenwich, our vision for the borough by 2030, I committed to development that delivers positive change to the area for existing and new communities, and this is simply not the case with Mast Quay Phase II.

‘The right thing to do is not usually the easy thing to do. That is why we will not stand by and allow poor quality and unlawful development anywhere in our borough and we are not afraid of taking difficult decisions when we believe it’s the right thing to do.’

A 30-year-old resident, who’s a full-time writing student in the States, living and working remotely in Woolwich, said he ‘wasn’t surprised’ to hear it was going to be knocked down.

The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: ‘It’s a really nice place, I was surprised to hear they weren’t supposed to build it.

‘I think most of the conversations happening in the building are really just people concerned about finding homes.

‘There is still a housing crisis here in London.

Council leader Anthony Okereke said he believed the enforcement notice was ‘reasonable and proportionate’

Developer Comer Homes Group has said it will appeal the enforcement notice issued by the council 

‘I was surprised at how quickly it was built, I would be lying if I said there weren’t some cricks and cracks.

‘I would say I’m not surprised about the way that it’s gone, it was just very, very, very quickly built here.’

He added that people moved in while works were ongoing, and that he felt it was heavily marketed towards young people, and that all the residents he saw were in their 20s and 30s.

He said: ‘It’s a new place for younger people at the expense of expediency.’

Another resident, who did not want to be named, was so dissatisfied with the quality of the property that she would use the break clause if she had been given it.

She suggested that the demolition had been on the cards since March but that no one was made aware.

She said: ‘I didn’t know about it [the demolition.] I found out yesterday when I saw the statement on my email.

‘I think I saw some article in March. To be honest if there was a break clause because of all this I would take it.’

Shraddha Qureshi, 37, who lives in the flat block next door that will remain standing, said she was worried about living next to a demolition site. She felt it was unnecessary to knock it down because it didn’t fit the plans.

She added: ‘It’s a huge, huge building, so there would be too much in the air. Just because it didn’t go along with the initial planning? Oh, God.

‘It’s going to spoil the views as well, the demolition. So I wouldn’t go with that idea.’

She said she had been excited for the building to come to the area and felt it looked high quality and sleek, with bright colours than its neighbours.

Comer Homes Group has said it will appeal against the enforcement notice and will ‘robustly’ correct what it says are ‘inaccuracies’ about the development and address the council’s concerns.

It said: ‘The Comer Homes Group is surprised and extremely disappointed by the decision of the Royal Borough of Greenwich to issue an enforcement notice in respect of our Mast Quay Phase II development.

‘We are particularly surprised to see the accompanying public statements which are inaccurate and misrepresent the position and our actions.

‘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 UK. 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.

‘We are also prioritising the interests of residents at Mast Quay Phase II and we are 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.

‘We will make no further public comment and will be writing directly to the council to seek the meetings we have been calling for.’

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