Greenwich Council look to sell old Woolwich library

Thanks to 853 for the heads up on this. Greenwich Council have announced a raft of land sell-offs and their coverage can be seen here.

A few caught my eye including plans to sell the old Woolwich library subject to approval. The site currently houses GLLaB. It’s in a pretty sorry state and in need of refurbishment. Selling makes sense as a decent chunk of income could be gained and sizeable housing plans unlikely given it’s a Grade II listed building.

It’d make a great pub or restaurant. Only trouble is many restaurant groups are in trouble and even before that happened – very few showed much interest in Woolwich. It’s not the most attractive part of town (though I like it!).

Another site that stands out is plans to build council homes on Orangery Lane in Eltham.

And thirdly is selling Felixstowe Road depot in Abbey Wood. If this is the spot near Mottisfont Road then combined with an adjacent garage site – directly beside the new Crossrail platform – they could develop homes outright or via Meridian Homes rather than sell to a private developer to provide home after obligatory 20% profit margin. It’d also allow a second station entrance to Crossrail onto deprived Abbey Wood estate and assist lower Plumstead. I’ve covered it before.

Selling the land is lose-lose for those looking for affordable housing AND a deprived area of the borough. After the Pocket Living fiasco are they going down this road again? What about helping people in need looking for good homes – and taxpayers. The long term benefits outweigh a short term sell off.

I can’t help but think if planning and land use strategies were not so far behind schedule then alternatives and greater strategic oversight would be in evidence. Site allocations policy is two years late and counting.

As this is at an early stage will cllrs step up and question from the get go? If Greenwich Council are serious about alleviating the housing shortage and helping deprived areas (well, they havn’t in Abbey Wood for many years but the party is supposed to care for poorer areas) then this is an absolutely ideal site. Even using some market sale homes to cross-subsidise affordable homes (not at 80% market rates) and providing a new station entrance would be better – and they’d be in control of the process.

Other land sales include the former Plumstead leisure centre for new council housing.

Once again, you can read 853’s great coverage on the land sales here.


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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.

5 thoughts on “Greenwich Council look to sell old Woolwich library

  • I think selling the old Woolwich Library does make sense as stated this building is in a very sorry state of repair and will raise some much needed income for Greenwich Council.

    However, once refurbished and cleaned up the building could be used by other businesses wanting a town centre location opposite Sainsburys and a short walk from the main shopping street (Powis Street), A Business Centre for small businesses wanting office space and internet access for example or for a variety of other uses as mentioned.

    Housing may be an option has other grade II listed buildings have been turned in to housing. I suppose it depends on what the council would like the building used for when it grants planning permission.

  • I don’t think listed status prevents them from turning it into houses. Just look at the poor old Arches Leisure centre (although locally listed so I’m sure they strongarmed the council’s conservation officer into signing off whatever the proposals were rather than Historic England)…

    • It doesn’t prevent it as you say but makes it difficult and costly to do the adjustments. Still waiting to see what is happening with the Arches.

  • Don’t worry about GGLaB finding a new place, being that they’re the Council’s favourite pet, they’ll likely get a brand spanking new diamond palace, from which to do their important, yet unquantifiable, work. (Did anyone say organ of patronage?)

  • Pingback: Plan to refurbish former Woolwich library | Murky Depths

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