Murky Depths

News in London and beyond


Woolwich town centre to become conservation area

Newly restored

Good news! Woolwich town centre is to finally become a conservation area which offers greater protection to many of the fantastic buildings across the town – many of which are in poor condition particularly at street level.

Click to enlarge

Conservation area status can make it easier to take action against owners neglecting buildings and prevent tacky signage and poor quality additions.

Lack of care from owners

Hare Street is pretty bad for it:

It must be noted however that powers already exist for local authorities to take action on neglected buildings even without conservation status.

Poor public realm and streets also act to the detriment of certain buildings:

Foliage sprouting out of buildings is commonly seen:

In addition a number of buildings are to be added onto a heritage list. Many of the finest buildings from the Victorian era were designed by Henry Hudson Church.

Many people mistake local listing for national listing yet it offers relatively little legal protection but still has merit and well worth having to guide policy.

There’s some good buildings absent from the list. Basically they aren’t on there as developers want to demolish them. Buildings with less merit appear as no one wants to knock them down – yet.

Take these two. This one is on the list:

Courtesy Google

But this building over the road isn’t as it’s in line for demolition as part of Spray Street plans (originally the scheme was going to retain and renovate this):

Quality of buildings

Woolwich isn’t short of good buildings often overlooked due to their poor condition – particularly at ground floor level or loomed over by post-war horrors.

Yet look beyond that and exquisite detailing is often in evidence.

Old library – now GLLaB building – is in poor condition

Fortunately some structures have been renovated in recent years. The Woolwich building is one:

Scaffolding removed on Woolwich building

The former co op building is another. This was threatened with demolition and replacement with a car park before the financial crises of 2007/8:

Sadly Mortgramit Square is absent from the heritage list:

These are in line for demolition.

Consultation on the proposed conservation zone and heritage list should commence shortly.

The creation of both a conservation area and heritage list will hopefully preserve what is good across Woolwich – as there’s so much of it that goes unregarded and unloved.


  1. tony g

    too little too late isn’t it?

  2. Peter

    This piece echoes what I always feel whenever I venture to Woolwich. If you look above the shop fronts there are so many interesting details and architectural styles. It almost grieves me to see these fine buildings slowly decay. Hare street is an obvious example. Hopefully the conservation area status will have a positive impact.

  3. Steve

    Have I got this correct? The buildings on Woolwich New Road that are to be knocked down as part of the Spray Street development are in the proposed conservation area but are not proposed to be added to the herritage list whilst at the other end of Woolwich New Road there are buildings proposed to be added to the herritage list but are not in the proposed conservation area.

  4. CDT

    It is good news that Woolwich Town Centre will be a conservation area. Woolwich like Greenwich has so many buildings that have been part of our Borough heritage and history for centuries.

    It is due to our Boroughs Heritage that Greenwich Borough was awarded Royal Borough Status. So although the Borough is in need of regeneration and development

    It is important we keep and maintain our Boroughs history and heritage for future generations.

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