Murky Depths

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Plumstead

New Plumstead leisure centre and library tops out

Cake made to celebrate the occasion

Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe was on hand today as the Plumstead Centre comprising a revamped library, cafe and leisure centre topped out.

Work begun after approval was given in late 2017. Initial plans to demolish parts of the old library were halted when the building gained Grade II listing forcing a re-think.

Early plans to pierce through frontage were scrapped after building listed

The council have now been able to incorporate what was originally planned without demolishing part of one of the High Street’s most attractive buildings.

The former Plumstead leisure centre previously closed at short notice and will move to the rear of the existing library after administrative offices were demolished, and upstairs rooms that formerly housed the borough museum will reopen as a cafe.

Render of completed building – the frontage is one of the highlights of the High Street

Plans have not been without controversy as the forthcoming leisure centre will be smaller than the former site.

The cost of the project is entirely met without external grants, including selling public buildings such as the former leisure centre and Kinara children’s centre.

Former children’s centre for sale

Whilst many aspects have been welcomed by local people, some asked why external funding grants were not obtained to help foot part of the cost rather than selling local assets. A similar Carnegie library in Erith saw grant funding. They secured £1.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and are aiming for £1.2m more.

Income from the Kinara children’s centre sale will also go towards Woolwich’s Creative District.

Selling sites mean they are not being used for council housing – despite a sharp increase in homelessness and Greenwich Council recently approving another £65 million buying homes as far away as Medway in Kent.

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2 Comments

  1. Jo

    Whilst it may seem churlish to complain as on the surface this looks good there are a lot of questions.

    Why so much spent here? To help Better? Hardly any of us who live in Plumstead thought this a priority for funds in our town. Who walks down the streets in much of lower Plumstead and thinks, yes, of all the places lets spend so much on what is already a lovely, well maintained library and ignore the rest so long in need of investment? Beyond weird.

    And to then do it by selling a childrens centre? Extremely weird.

    Also, the cake must cost a pretty penny. Bad PR no when a children’s library in Abbey Wood is threatened with a massive rent hike by Greenwich Council and now probably has to close?

    https://853london.com/2019/07/25/abbey-wood-toy-library-faces-closure-after-greenwich-council-rent-hike/

    • L B

      Jo the decision on the shape and scale of local government HM Treasury will allow to be financed via public means was taken in the period 1986-1994. Its twenty five years later and Greenwichs last holdover assets, operations and services are reaching the end of their sustainability and therefore tenure. Any new plans made since the late 80s have to meet the conditions set by The Goverment at that time or they cannot and will not come to pass. The budget strings are kept in Whitehall

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