From The Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Woolwich

More images of planned towers at Woolwich’s Mortgramit Square emerge

More images have been released of planned towers on the Furlong Garage site in Woolwich opposite Waterfront Leisure Centre.

Developers state that the current characterful Mortgramit Square and interwar buildings present:

  • Poor permeability through the site, Mortgramit Square not being inviting to be used.
    Current pedestrian experience not very pleasant and unsafe. Opportunity to enhance the public realm with safer public open space.

Well yes, as it’s now surrounded by vacant buildings. With imagination and reworking some aspects, active frontages would transform the space.





In the space above, remove the car parking, the blank wall to the right and open up buildings to the left and this would be a very appealing area. New homes could be built behind refurbished current buildings.

New plans

Careful reworking can transform the area. This is nonsense from developers: “Poor quality and unattractive existing building”.

It’s very rare to find such an untouched and characterful area in London. Most towns and councils would jump at having such a space. The potential is vast.

Active frontage to right – rebuilding to left?

In much of east or south London it would be coveted and transformed into a thriving area of small business and apartments.



It’s not realistic to expect the site to be preserved as it is, and not actually desirable as whilst a lot has merit, not all does. Keep what works and can be transformed and build high density housing around and behind instead of flattening everything. It’s incredibly lazy.

Link to Woolwich High Street could be created quite easily ahead

Developers are going big on links between Powis Street and Hare Street. That already exists. They also focus on a link to Woolwich High Street. It really wouldn’t be difficult to create a link (see pic above) whilst retaining the best of current buildings and sensitive new-builds around those.

296 new homes are planned including “affordable housing”. No word on what type of affordable housing or social homes.

The towers planned are similar to Lewisham Central, which is nominated for the Carbuncle Cup of worst UK building this year.

Why this isn’t a listed area I don’t know. Woolwich destroyed a great deal of its best buildings and public spaces from the 1960s to 1990s. Will the authority keep making the same mistakes?

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3 Comments

  1. LJ

    An excellent post on the best local blog around. Keep up the good work.

  2. Local resident

    Great post, greenwich council need to transform this but keep the charm the buildings proposed are out of charachter for the area and imposing. More should be done to restore these great buildings like what was done to wick tower ( emporium building)

  3. amplatrade

    Woolwich is a litany of missed opportunities. In my experience planners always fall for the bullsh@t fed to them by developers. I’ve been on both sides in my career and unfortunately know how easy it is to pull the wool over their eyes.

    One of Woolwich’s main problems is the imposition of 1970s traffic patterns. Trying to defeat the automobile with double yellow lines and road closures us short sighted and hurts small business, the life of a community.

    Other cities defeat traffic in small commercial centres by providing alternate parallel traffic routes that circumvent the congested areas. Woolwich seems to have dealt with it by blocking traffic through its centre completely.

    Toronto, a model planned city, has creative ways of providing public parking and keeping small business viable. They also enforce strong parking standards, requiring developers to provide sufficient private, and sometimes public parking. Very few, if any new building in Woolwich have any parking.

    Denying access to cars by simply limiting parking and mutilating the urban fabric does not solve traffic problems, it compounds them. Wishing everyone will use public transportation no matter what is also short sighted.

    I wonder if the urban self mutilation can ever be repaired. The first step is for planners to be more responsible and halt ridiculous exploitative projects like the one mentioned in this article.

    On the East side of Woolwich they are planning to pull down public housing tower blocks because the configuration is a failure. A mere KM away they are singing the praises of these overbearing towers which will scar the town centre for 70 years or more.

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