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Comer Homes ordered to demolish new tower blocks

Greenwich Council has taken the decisive step of ordering the developer of a high-end residential project to dismantle it, asserting that it has strayed too far from the original blueprint. The council has issued an enforcement notice against the Comer Homes Group, deeming its Mast Quay development in Woolwich, situated in the south of London, to be in violation of the law.

In a statement, Greenwich Council expressed, “The council firmly believes that the only reasonable and proportionate solution to rectify the harm caused by the completed Mast Quay phase two development to the local area and its residents, due to the alterations made during construction, is the complete demolition and restoration of the land to its previous state.”

Comer Homes has declared its intention to contest the decision with the Planning Inspectorate. In a statement, the company voiced its surprise and extreme disappointment with the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s decision to issue an enforcement notice regarding their Mast Quay phase two development. They further stated, “Over many months, we have actively sought to collaborate with the council, and despite these drastic actions, we remain open to doing so.”

Construction of the second phase of Mast Quay was finalized in 2022, and tenants have already taken up residence. Should Comer Homes’ appeal prove unsuccessful, the residents will need to secure alternative accommodation. This recent addition to the development encompasses 206 residential units across two buildings, one standing at 15 storeys high, while the other varies in height between 6 and 23 storeys.

Greenwich Council has identified 26 deviations from the original planning permission, including observable deviations from the proposed design and materials, the absence of roof gardens and children’s play areas, and a lack of wheelchair access to balconies and the residents’ gym.

Comer Homes has described the project on its website as a “magnificent, meticulously crafted living space with panoramic views of the River Thames.” It’s worth noting that the first phase of Mast Quay, which consists of three lower-rise towers, was largely completed by 2007 and remains unaffected by the enforcement notice.

The initial planning permission was granted to Mast Quay Developments Ltd in 2012, with Comer Homes assuming responsibility after the original developer fell into administration.

Council leader Anthony Okereke explained, “This decision has not been made lightly by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, but we believe it is commensurate with the gravity of the situation.

Mast Quay Phase II consists of two prominent high-rise buildings on Woolwich’s riverside that simply do not meet the required standards. The reason they fall short is that the development granted planning permission is not the one we see before us today.

Doing what is right is often not the easiest path, which is why we will not stand idly by and allow subpar and unlawful developments in our borough. We are unafraid to make tough decisions when we believe they are the right ones.”

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