Shepherd Leas Development - a cause for concern.


You may notice something different about this well-loved view from the Oxleas cafe. It is the view that we may get in the future if a proposed housing development goes ahead.


The development has been proposed by Meridian Home Start - an organisation set up by the Royal Borough of Greenwich Council to provide affordable homes in the borough.


Whilst we fully support the need for affordable homes, this proposed development gives us some serious concerns. The site chosen for the development is at the northern end of Riefield Road, opposite Falconwood Station. Some of you will know that it is currently occupied by some badly neglected low rise blocks of flats.


In 2017, Meridian Home Start devised a plan to build just over 40 2/3 storey houses on the site - a scheme which was apparently approved in consultation with local residents. Now Meridian have changed their proposal. The 40 houses have become an eleven storey tower block with additional six-storey side wings.

Like local residents, we believe the scale of this development is completely inappropriate, given that it will overshadow the SSSI and ancient woodland of Shepherdleas Wood. (It will be meters away!)


The site is part of an important wildlife habitat chain which runs from Woodlands Farm/Shrewsbury Park in the north, to Avery Hill in the south. Although the A2 and the Bexleyheath Railway line transect this habitat chain, a vital bridging link is provided by this site. The link will be seriously obstructed by an eleven storey tower block. 

Another issue which concerns is is that of light pollution: the tower block will increase this causing further difficulties for nocturnal wildlife already struggling with street lighting etc. Then, of course, there is the impact on the local landscape, which you can judge for yourself from the photograph above.


Like other local organisations we will be asking a number of questions of both Meridian and the Council. Why, for example, when Meridian's other developments ( in already built areas like e.g. Sandpit Place, SE7, and Jacks Acre in the Rochester Way), have all been low-level developments, was the decision taken to build a tower block next to the sensitive environment of the ancient woodlands? Why haven't they even considered the potential environmental impact of this development?


We are urging all our members and concerned supporters to help get the scale of this development reduced. We expect Meridian to submit a Planning Application shortly and we will be joining other organisations to oppose it in its current form.


The proposals can be viewed on where you can make comments and you can ask questions by emailing