Demolition of Woolwich’s Waterfront leisure centre and move to General Gordon Square pushes ahead

Greenwich Council have published further details on plans to move Waterfront leisure centre in Woolwich to the site of Wilko’s in the Town Centre.

The current site will be sold for housing. The planned future development will be a mixed-use development on sites including:

  • Viscount House – this is the site of Wilko’s, Ladbrookes, a budget store and formally Barclays, who have recently moved to the Arsenal site.

  • 14-20 Vincent Road. This is a small parade of Victorian buildings on Vincent Road that appear to be earmarked for demolition under these plans, including the Bull Tavern pub.

  • Vincent Road Garages. This blot on the landscape can’t go soon enough.

  • Troy Court. The block of flats beside the garages. Residents would move into new housing above the planned leisure centre.

According to Greenwich Council, the new development will comprise:

  • A like for like leisure offer
  • Private and affordable housing
  • Flexible Grade A office space
  • Retail space
  • A rooftop bar/multifunction space
  • New public realm, including pedestrian and cycle access routes
  • Public parking provision

This all looks pretty positive. A leisure centre that is detached from the town centre moves to its heart. This allows re-modelling of the poor road layout by the existing leisure centre and the Waterfront building goes which severes the town from the river and obscures the foot tunnel.

The new development brings town centre housing where none exists and removes a large wasteful single level car park with presumably a multi-storey replacement. A like-for-like offering should ensure decent provision. Hopefully slides are incorporated. The downside is no view of the Thames from the pool.

They envisage a three-stage program:

Negotiations are underway with tenants of Viscount House regarding short term extensions. This includes the vacated Barclays site, so demolition isn’t imminent.

Wilko’s have a lease until 2024 and are looking at alternative sites in the town centre. The council states if they do not move then a compulsory purchase order is likely to be instigated.

Near the current Waterfront site, Berkeley Homes have just commenced building on a third Thames-side tower:

Concrete core of third tower on left

Once this is completed they intend to move onto constructing five towers at the site of the current Waterfront car park. But this will not happen immediately. Here’s what will be built:

I covered the plans last August, and was critical of the lack of commercial space facing the Thames.

Aerial plan

Greenwich Council hope to start building work of the new leisure centre in January 2020 for completion in January 2022.

Almost all sides of the square are seeing construction underway or future plans. A 27-storey tower is on the drawing board for the grassed area in front of Tesco. A recent post on this scheme can be seen here.

thomas street tower overview

Just along from there is a plan for 310 homes at the “island site”. Information on that here.


Work is also currently underway on converting upper floors of the Equitable house into flats.

And there’s also long stalled plans for the DLR site:






Running a site takes much time and cost a lot of money. Adverts are far from enough to cover it and my rent.

You can support me and the running this site in a number of ways including Paypal here

Another option is via Patreon by clicking here

You can also buy me a beer/coffee at Ko-fi here

There's also a Facebook page for the site here

Many thanks

J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    23 thoughts on “Demolition of Woolwich’s Waterfront leisure centre and move to General Gordon Square pushes ahead

    • On the thames facing new developments, it’s frustrating when you do get commercial space put it in remained boarded up for years and years.

      Greenwich council should be waving business rates for businesses under 50 staff for 2 years to help get those spaces filled. Or to offer discounts for tenants to just come in for a fixed term on reduced rates. There is a heap of boarded up space on blackwall lane and even the new Greenwich Square – such a shame. It’s a huge commitment to fit out those space.

    • I wasn’t aware plans had been submitted and will chase that up. It is seriously important that the Foot Tunnel can be seen and that there is proper signage to it. I am shocked at the number of people who don’t know it is there or assume it is no longer used. It doesn’t get the numbers through it that the Greenwich tunnel does – but it is still in the daily 100s. FOGWOFT are hoping to have an event there soon and hope people will come along.
      I and other FOGWOFT members am doing a presentation at a Docklands Conference next month about the free river crossings provided by the London County Council so that the people of east London had parity with west Londonders whose bridges were free – Blackwall, Greenwich Foot Tunnel, Rotherhithe, Woolwich Foot Tunnel and the Free Ferry – all built to high standards over 20 years and all still very much in use. The Woolwich Foot Tunnel often gets overlooked – please see it gets used.

    • Great update. Glad Wilko is trying stay in Woolwich.

      Reading about the Viscount House (I never knew that was the name!) being bulldozed makes me feel very old as I remember it being built: it originally had a Barclays, Blockbuster Video and Gateway Supermarket. It was actually quite a nice site until Gateway became Somerfield and reduced its retail space and then Blockbuster went bust and that site was split and created the Ladbrokes and pound store and then the site reached a nadir when the building was set on fire during the infamous Woolwich riots a few years ago. The entrance Woolwich New Road used to always attract drunkards who were looking for shelter.

    • The Waterfront is looking pretty tired inside these days, but I’d still rather swim there than in the Greenwich Centre’s dingy, shallow pool any day. Councillors and users need to keep an eagle eye on the ‘like for like leisure facilities’ claim and see that RBG doesn’t roll over for the developers as they did for the Greenwich Centre.

      • Absolutely correct re: Greenwich centre pool. Not designed by a swimmer. Far too shallow.

        • I wonder if “like for like” includes replacing the water slides and wave machine which are a big draw for children and parents. I don’t think there is anything similar in any of the other pools in Greenwich.

      • I totally agree, Neil. The Greenwich Centre swimming facilities are a disappointment. The move from the Arches resulted in a downsize in pool provision and not like for like at all. I am very sceptical about the Waterfront move too. The sauna facility here is very popular and great value for money (included in the price of a swim.) This was a feature that I read was withdrawn from the Greenwich Centre plans quite late in the day. If this kind of facility is included in the new centre plans at all, I fully anticipate a pay wall.

    • Not very positive for regulars of the Bull Tavern! Wonder how long it’ll be before the only pubs are of the gastro variety and long-standing locals lose their haunts 🙁

    • Any word re timings on any of these developments please?

    • I don’t doubt that it’s a good thing for the local area – without the Waterfront building, I can envision an unobstructed view down Hare Street all the way to the foot tunnel (although I have yet to see the plans for what will replace it). But some nostalgic part of me will miss the old place; my siblings and I spent many afternoons there with my now-departed grandparents, so it holds a lot of memories.

    • The Waterfront area sky rise housing proposal looks dreadful – way too high and characterless. Surely Woolwich Waterfront should like the Cutty Sark area of Greenwich, be an area of recreation where people can sit and eat and drink looking out and walking by the river….

      • And watch the ferries go by… yes, that would be ideal. But alas, the developers are unlikely to give it over to public use when there’s money to be made in building lots of high-rise flats.

    • Any news re the plans for the new bridge connecting Thamesmead to the other side of the river instead?
      Replacing the waterfront center with a new structure is a good idea in principle (the facility needs some refurbishments), however please keep the pools and the SLIDES! Children love them.

      The whole area, including Woolwich city center, lacks of playgrounds and dedicated areas children. Do these new housing plans includes new facilities to this scope and, equally important, enough green areas?

    • Pingback: A look at developments along the DLR between Canning Town and Woolwich Arsenal – fromthemurkydepths

    • Adding to the last comment, there appears to be a lack of children’s playgrounds in Woolwich town centre, other than the very small one in the Woolwich Arsenal development (Wellington Park). A real missed opportunity.

    • Pingback: Woolwich Waterfront car park to close soon as towers rise – FromTheMurkyDepths

    • Pingback: A look at 2017’s most popular stories – FromTheMurkyDepths

    • Pingback: Amazing views over Woolwich now undergoing huge change – From The Murky Depths

    • It will be very sad if waterfront closes as it holds loads of memories for myself as a child my children and many others I’m sure.
      Admiringly the place needs some refurbishment as it’s not really had much in the 25 years I’ve know.
      It’s obviously not going to be a like for like replacement. It’s just money in development of more hi rise buildings if waterfront is demolished
      Sad really

    • Pingback: Another bit of old Woolwich to die? Flats proposed near station – From The Murky Depths

    • Pingback: Waterfront Woolwich's move delayed until 2024/25 | From The Murky Depths

    • NO WAY, It would be a very bad move to build yet more tower blocks in place of Waterfront.
      The facilities I much doubt would be ‘like for like’.
      Besides, what a dreadful waste of public funds advertising the million pound refurbishment to already be doomed set for demolition.

      IF it really has to be demolished, it would deserve to be reserved for accessible open space to be viewed and enjoyed by all.
      Another tower block with car parks would not do justice to the treasured and historical land.

      It deserves to promote its prestigious location for all to benefit for generations to come.

      The developers have dictated the majority of the monopoly and the prime location really does need empowerment of protection to save it from being obliterated from the general public.
      Whether in the form of a leisure facility as it is today or perhaps to moor up a sister ship to the Cutty Sark or acceptable non offensive memorial statue .

      The prestigious landmark belongs to residents and visitors to utilise and appreciate, not just a select minority in position to afford an apartment. It should be reserved for public use.
      Preserve the skyline from tower block pollution, enough!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.