The Proposal

A planning application has been submitted to the London Borough of Bexley for the Erith Quarry proposals after extensive community consultation, discussions with the Greater London Authority and the London Borough of Bexley.

The proposals have been designed around roughly three hectares of set-aside grassland and woodland belts across the site to protect and enhance ecology (animals and plants). The plans will provide up to 600 homes, a three-form entry primary school due to open in September 2017, and space for business or community facilities near the site entrance at Fraser Road.

During the pre-application period, the number of homes was reduced from around 700, and an apartment building moved away from Athol Road in response to feedback from residents.

If you have any questions, please get in touch by clicking here.

View detailed proposals

The council is considering the proposals and we expect a decision on them in 2015. You can download all the planning application documents from the council’s website by clicking here. You can download the presentation boards from our exhibition on the 18th October by clicking here (please bear in mind that these were presented before we moved the location of a building near Athol Road).

A new community takes shape

Once we established the characteristics, we were able to draw the broad outlines of what the new community would look like, breathing fresh life into Erith Quarry. We want to unlock the site’s potential and integrate with the existing community in Erith.

Working with the slopes of the site, a network of streets has been formed to hug the contours and gently climb the hill. Between the streets and open space network, a series of development plateaus are created, providing outlook onto adjacent streets, public open space and an ecological wrap.

A new primary school for Erith

Bexley Council has an identified shortage of primary school places. This proposal not only helps to meet the demand created by the site but also helps to address a significant existing need in the community.

We will build a school of excellent design in a woodland setting that encourages excellent learning. The team is in discussions with the Council about the details of the new school and more information will be available at our next consultation.

A 3.25 hectare ecology area

Measuring approximately 3.25 hectares – the equivalent of three football pitches – the ecology area will comprise mainly of retained areas of native grassland, ruderal and scrub, with smaller areas of retained wooded belts, as well as new wet pond features.

Wherever possible, trees will be protected and retained. Additional native trees will be added to further strengthen the woodland belt.

Our ambition

New links

We want our plans to be part of Erith. The links across the site will encourage pedestrians to walk across the Quarry, rather than go around. In addition to re-opening the links onto the site from Carlton Road and Fraser Road (for cars, pedestrians and cyclists) and Riverdale Road (pedestrians and cyclists only) we are aiming to create a new pedestrian link from Birch Walk across the site to Riverdale Road.

Family homes

We are looking to build up to 700 homes on the site, most of which will be 2, 3 and 4-bed houses targeted at families looking to upsize from smaller accommodation. All of our new homes will have a view of the Thames.

Education

Bexley Council has an ambition to provide a new primary school and we are working with them to see how we can build this as part of the plans. We are proposing to build a new primary school on the northern end of the site
by the entrance to Fraser Road.

Public open space

Our plans include a large amount of public open space. This space will be for use by the whole community and our new links will encourage the existing community to use this space.

Ecology

In addition to our suggested green corridors we plan to dedicate a ‘wildlife area’ to the north west of the site. A suitable long term management regime will ensure the retention of a variety of habitats within the site and provide a range of opportunities for the protected and notable animal species considered likely to utilise the site. The area to be retained and enhanced as part of the proposals will maintain a level of biodiversity interest commensurate with the Borough Wildlife Site status.

How do you approach the development of a site like this?

Historic benign neglect threatens to overrun the site, eclipsing the glimpses of woodland and grassland. Our ambition is to reverse this. We have spent several months surveying and plotting the ecology so we can integrate important habitats into our proposals.

The site character starts to inform our vision - a woodland wrap with enhanced ecological habitats, an engineered, connected network of paths and streets leading to a prominent village green, via an ecology corridor and play corridor.

The 30m level difference across the site presents design and construction challenges. The first design task for our project team was to design a network of pedestrian paths and cycle paths to link development areas, supported by an integrated road layout.

Site heritage

With the river nearby, the Quarry was used to provide ballast for ships and then, during the industrial revolution, it provided high quality loam, which is used in agriculture and construction. The Quarry has been ‘backfilled’ with bricks, masonry and other inert building materials, most of which came from the clearance of buildings destroyed in World War II. A petrol station, which operated at the northern end of the site by Fraser Road, was decommissioned in 2004.


Since its use as a Quarry ended, no steps have been taken to manage the site in any way and it has become overgrown with dense areas of bramble and Japanese knotweed, classified as prohibited invasive plant. This benign neglect, by the previous owners, has damaged the quarry’s biodiversity and remaining habitats are under threat as the bramble and knotweed continue to grow.

The site in 1890

Unlocking the Quarry

Erith Quarry has been under private ownership for many years. Our plans will open the Quarry up to the community and unlock the potential of this site. We will provide new links that will encourage the existing community into the site and through the site between their homes, Erith Station and the town centre.

The site’s contours and the needs of the school lead us towards the creation of a road along the eastern edge to link up with the internal road layout. We have considered carefully the best layout for the access onto Fraser Road.

One of the responsibilities of government – at London and local level – is to plan for housing need and community facilities. Erith Quarry has been considered to be suitable for development for many years. The Greater London Authority proposed the construction of new homes and Bexley Council has identified a range of uses for it including new homes and businesses, education, recreation and community facilities.

The Anderson Group has been in extensive discussions with the Council about its proposals for Erith Quarry. We have agreed a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) with Bexley Council. This is a project management tool that establishes timescales for all the applications needed to bring forward a planning application.