FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Woolwich

Woolwich riverside towers on the up

riverside towers

I havn’t wrote a post for a good few weeks, and so after being contacted to ask if the blog is on hold, I thought it right that I should add something to give the appearance it’s ticking over.

So anyway, a post to show how Berkeley Homes first towers by the river at Woolwich are shaping up. The block on the right in the above image completed a few months ago. Pretty perfunctory. The first two blocks of another six are now rising.

RRoyal Arsenal Riverside Tower

And here’s a render of the eventual six riverside towers:

Arsenal entire site showing 6 towers

Work is now also underway at Phase 3 of the Arsenal masterplan at a section named Laboratory Square. Here’s a very uninteresting shot showing little, except a couple of cranes. It does though signify that this phase is now well underway:

phase 3

phase 3 laboratory square

This development will mirror the buildings on the opposite side of No 1 Street in terms of scale and materials. There’s a few 1980s-esque elements in there such as the arch. Some of the Arsenal wall has been removed to open up the area.

Work on the Crossrail station is proceeding. Here’s how it’s looking with the now reprieved listed Officers House on the left. Berkeley were proposing demolition for a taxi rank.

woolwich crossrail station

Over at the town centre, and this shot of Beresford Square below shows the almost complete towers above the forthcoming Crossrail station. The square was pretty barren even early in the evening. The hopes of the square becoming a lively, attractive place at night are far from realised.

Beresford Square

Beresford_Square_Night

I always thought this would be a better spot for the big TV in General Gordon Square. Perhaps positioned where the toilets are by the Gate House. For one thing, being a hard surfaced area it can handle crowds for events. General Gorden Square is less suitable, as it comprises an extensive water feature and stepped grassed sections. Holding events on it has seen patches of greenery die off. I doubt the designers of the square envisaged large crowds hence the lack of suitable landscaping. And the back of the giant TV is a poor first impression when leaving the station.

Beresford Square was also pretty filthy with in-grained dirt and graffiti (see pic below). If Greenwich Council cannot clean major town centre squares then what hope for other areas? As I’ve wrote before, they have the expensive equipment to do so. They boasted about it on the front of their own newspaper. And they have multi-million pound squares paid for by the GLA less than five years ago. Why not maintain to a decent standard? There’s still much wrong with RBG’s design and maintenance of public spaces. An hour with a jet washer would make this appear as good as new:

beresford sq

Lastly, work is underway on upgrading the dual carriageway to Plumstead. £1.2m is to be spent on improving this stretch of road. The scheme looks very good. Though I’m not entirely sure this particular section is part of it:

woolwich central res work

The work will bring back the removed westbound bus lane and introduce properly segregated cycle lanes. All good news. As I passed the area by Plumstead station there was, as ever it seems, many cars parked terribly blocking the existing cycle lanes and bus stops. Enforcement seems non-existent at that spot, like many others, as it’s a constant issue there.

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11 Comments

  1. mpellatt

    A pleasant riverboat trip from the O2 and walk up from the jetty to the station is ruined when you hit Beresford Square. It screams “run-down” at you. The flats above the shops with the bare light-bulbs, very dubious shops. Can’t see it being an attractive place without serious, sustained investment.

  2. Jenny Emsley

    Thanks for your very interesting information, I lived in Abbywood for many years and find this progression fascinating. X

  3. Mike S

    So, if the building has been reprieved, there is no taxi rank at Crossrail (or drop off point) nearby. And the buses take a 5 min walk to reach. As an encouragement, particularly to passengers with a large amount of luggage travelling to Heathrow, this is even more stupid design than North Greenwich.
    As I have said before, what Woolwich needs is a huge park-and-ride space at the “wrong” end of Powis st, to attract foot people. Every space closed and turned into yet more housing is another nail into the old town centre.

    • There’s would still be space for a turning circle. The renders on the link show that there should be enough space with the building’s retention.

      • Mike S

        Good, (even if only for licensed black cab turning circles); I thought the brinkmanship said this couldn’t be done without demolition.

  4. GavinM

    Having visited Woolwich a number of times before eventually deciding to move there last year, I can see the area is improving, even in the space of the last two years. I think the major issues are the connections to transport within Woolwich/Chalrton/North Greenwich, particularly, as mentioned above, to the new Crossrail. Woolwich Dockyard needs tidied up too.

    Does anyone know what the latest position is on the Woolwich Estates re-generation, there seems to be no movement on Morris Walk, Maryon Road etc.?

    Maryon Wilson Park’s could do with a facelift too.

    Other than that, I think Woolwich is great and has potential to improve greatly. The thing I love about it most is, it feels like you are living within a town within a City.

  5. Woolwich does have so much potential. It’s frustrating to see some of it not being utilised. A town with great history and a huge amount of wonderful buildings.

    Morris Walk estate is being ‘decanted’ of residents. Some have already left. Some people are housed on short terms lets until demolition occurs. I believe the blocks to the south of the railway will go first – within 2-3 years. A bit longer for those to the north. Some tall-ish towers will be located there, alongside a couple of others around 20 storeys that are in planning and not part of the ‘One Woolwich’ scheme.

    Assuming the towers are of good design it’s an ideal spot. Woolwich Dockyard station needs an upgrade though, and these developments should be the catalyst for making the station capable of seeing 12 carriage trains or building a new station slightly further west (equidistant between Woolwich Arsenal and Charlton stations) which is beside the replacement for Morris Walk and other new towers. Greenwich Council should be pushing this as a relatively quick and cheap improvement with longer trains serving many stations in the borough. No other way will give a 20% capacity boost for such modest investment. For example, Rochester has just seen a new 12-car capable station built for £26m. Much less than most transport schemes.

    • GavinM

      Thank you for the information and update.

      I really hope Woolwich Dockyard gets tidied up, and if it got moved west that would be nice for me as it would be closer to my house!

      Overall, I think slowly the potential is being unlocked even if some of the planning is questionable!

  6. The Riverside Towers are an interesting subject to me. Some time ago I spoke to one of the architects at a presentation. I didn’t know she was one of the architects and I was bemoaning the design as boring , lacklustre and uninspired. I thought something with a little more “wow” would have suited the waterfront. I also pointed out how the orientation of the blocks meant that many dwellings would be in near permanent shade, due to casting shadows on each other. She didn’t seem to have an answer and I suppose it really doesn’t matter when the apartments will be bought by Chinese investors and lay empty.

    • GavinM

      Whilst I would agree the style of the apartments is not going to win any awards I do not think they are too bad and given that the overall area is being improved as a result that’s not a bad trade off. The Royal Arsenal area does house some fantastic looking old style buildings to enjoy also. And, I do not get the impression the apartments are owned all owned by Chinese investors.

  7. GavinM

    Sorry, I know this is an older post but I just had further query. Do we know if there are plans to make the walkway along the river completely passable from Woolwich Arsenal to North Greenwich? At the moment, at the Thames Barrier cafe you have to walk quite far around on the main road before you get back to the river front.

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