Building 11 new render

A quick reminder that the consultation regarding demolishing the listed Officers’ House (Building 11) at Woolwich Arsenal is today and tomorrow. See my last in-depth post on this here. Planning documents can be seen here. The times are:

FRIDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2014: 3PM-7PM

SATURDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2014: 10AM-4PM

VENUE: GREENWICH HERITAGE CENTRE, ARTILLERY SQUARE, ROYAL ARSENAL, WOOLWICH SE18 4DX

A tight squeeze?

A tight squeeze?

The google streetview shot above shows the available space for pedestrians to access a new square from Dial Arch Square. Not exactly tight is it, particularly if the scaffolding and barriers on the right are removed. You can pan around and see the wider area on google streetview here.  There is still substantial space behind building 11 (on the right above) for a new square behind. Even enough for a drop off point if absolutely essential, which I’m sceptical about. Judging by the September 2014 streetview images, some substantial works are already occuring at the building. Could well be internal demolition.

So, the space is already wide enough here for easy access, yet I can’t even see it being a major approach to the station for many passengers. Most people coming to the new station will do so from the south – Plumstead Road and Woolwich town centre. This will be aided by some wall removal to open up that route.

People living in the new Berkeley towers facing Plumstead Road can access the station by exiting the buildings onto nice new, wide paving to be installed on Plumstead Road in front of their new flats, and heading east along there to reach the station. From the north most people would come from Major Draper Street. As areas to the west build up in coming years a sizable number of station users will come from that direction. But many coming east through where the Officers’ House sits even with new uses on the new square? Very unlikely. And those that do will have ample space with the buildings retention.

Berkeley are also claiming there were errors when the building was listed. The documents put online on 27th November include a ‘heritage statement and statement of justification’. It seems they cannot see a new square functioning with this building. Really? And what’s the need, or expectation, that a new square will be busy, given its credentials. It would have a taxi drop-off point/car park, a Tesco metro, a blank wall which is the side of the Crossrail station, an open space leading from Dial Arch Square, and then refurbished older buildings which will be the only possible things of interest.

Retaining Building 11 and including active frontages within it facing onto both squares would do far more to enliven the new square, as it would then have possibly two pubs/bars/restaurants facing onto it, both in the retained Building 11 and the refurbished one opposite. Far from making the building opposite Building 11 more likely to succeed by opening up the space with its demolition, retaining Building 11 would increase leisure options in the new square aiding the chance of success for whatever does open opposite.

So who is really going to benefit here? People driving there from far and wide whose walk after being dropped off reduces by 30 seconds, as they’ll no longer need to walk around the building?