Local businesses on Plumstead Road and Spray Street say that regeneration plans for their area have left them fearing for the future.
The Spray Street Quarter site has been long-earmarked by the Council for development but since developers were appointed in 2014, businesses say they’ve been living “in limbo”, labouring under uncertainty and unable to plan for the future.
The Spray Street Quarter redevelopment, driven by a partnership between Notting Hill Housing and St Modwen, will bring 750 new homes, a cinema, new restaurants, shops and other amenities to the site between Plumstead Road and Spray Street.
Properties currently on the site do not feature in the masterplan, meaning businesses will have to sell their properties to the developers.
“I wanted to refurbish my shop and then this came along. I can’t make any plans now,” said Jay Patel, a freeholder on Plumstead Road. “There’ve been so many delays.”
Greenwich Council indicate the work that they and the developer have been doing since 2014, most of which has focused on community and business engagement events.
However, one business owner who did not want to be named said that this is part of the problem: “They’ve been playing around too long. Just consultation after consultation. There are no timescales, no certainty.”
There is widespread anxiety among businesses over the prospect of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) being used, where a body can buy property or land without the consent of the owner.
Spray Street freeholder of 30 years Ann Gaus (pictured above), well-known locally for her hairdressing business Del Capello with husband Arnold, said, “You hear horrific stories about CPOs and you worry.”
“I built the salon with blood, sweat and tears. My heart hurts. It’s our history. I feel like the carpet’s been pulled from under my feet.”
However, Councillor Danny Thorpe, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability, has confirmed that “the Council has made no resolution to use a CPO.”
Cllr Thorpe also said that the Council’s business engagement team are helping businesses seek alternative premises and have already supported several businesses to find alternative locations.
“Woolwich is changing for the better. It will be really improved by this development and the arrival of Crossrail,” he said.
A spokesperson for St. Modwen and Notting Hill Housing confirm they’ve had “initial contact with many site owners and occupiers, which will evolve into more formal discussions regarding property acquisition in the coming months.”