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.
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.
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.
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.