Murky Depths

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Woolwich

Greenwich Council looks at demolishing Woolwich car parks

A council planning strategy is looking at demolishing Woolwich town centre car park including one above Sainsbury’s.

According the the council Calderwood and Monk Street car parks are in poor condition and it is proposed to redevelop with:

“A mixed use development appropriate to the town centre, including retail/services food and drink, B1 workspace suitable for SMEs, community uses and residential.”

“There is also the potential for temporary or “meanwhile” uses of parts of the car parks prior to redevelopment, including food and drink, workspace and/or
community/cultural uses.”

Facade simplified in recent years as vertical bars removed

The site is classified as “detrimental to the character and cohesiveness of the town centre”.

Losing car parking spaces would no doubt annoy some. Road changes include:

Near car park

“Any development on the site should support the wider vision of narrowing the roadway along Monk Street and removing the roundabouts to create a more pleasant pedestrian environment.”

Always a problem

I recall being terrified of being stuck in the lifts of the Calderwood Street car park as a child visiting Woolwich. The piss-stained lifts used to clank and bang in a very odd way and were in awful shape. It seems better now – or maybe that childhood fear has long gone, though it left an impression of Woolwich for years. No other shopping area had such a run-down area – at least in my memory.

Many things big and small left a poor impression of Woolwich for so many people. Even today the sneers are never far away. Redevelopment would certainly be welcome.

Car park behind converted office block

The conversion of the above block took a dull and ugly office block and made it even uglier. One good element is active frontages through commercial units at street level. Redeveloping car parks would seek to do the same.

Gorgeous backstreets of Woolwich

This scheme is marked as a long term ambition and would need Sainsbury’s on board. Bringing some life to this end of the high street wold be welcome. The crumbling old library could be improved, and the lovely Bathway district really needs new life.

 

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11 Comments

  1. Ned

    Never used the car parks in Woolwich, always used the on-street parking when I was driven there. I’m all in favour of getting rid of these monstrosities but I have a few reservations.

    Firstly, narrow the Monk Street roadway and remove the roundabouts and that’s more bus standing space gone. Secondly, the shops along the frontage of what was Morgan Grampian have never seemed in great health or particularly viable. And thirdly, is there any point in spreading Woolwich town centre any thinner? With the centre of gravity having swung decisively towards the Woolwich Arsenal Station end of town, and the long term structural death of the high street, I feel the focus west of Thomas Street/Calderwood Street should be overwhelmingly residential.

  2. Marco

    Definitely agree that the car park should be torn down and removed!

    I am passionate about this topic because of the points listed below and to enhance the area, it’s necessary.

    In summary

    – There’s rampant usage on a daily basis of youth and adults using the car park for drugs, antisocial behaviour, prostitution, sex, alcohol consumption/concealment, parties, playing loud music, running on the awning, constant nuisance to the area, loitering, littering, defecating and pissing as mentioned.

    – The car park has become an extension of the town centre where antisocial behavior is getting progressively worst.

    – The council has various pictures of the prevalence of the above which shows that the car park is not used for its intended purpose and even if it was, it’s been overrun with antisocial behaviour that it’s no longer feasible to manage and maintain.

    – Multiple times a day and on a weekly basis, there’s countless disruption in the car park with high levels of antisocial behaviour where youths and adults hide or return to after being ushered away from the high street, McDonalds, or the town centre to stay undetected from the police but causing nuisance to others in the area or those simply looking to pickup groceries.

    – Residents and visitors to the area do not feel comfortable leaving their car in the car park due to the aforementioned.

    – The area can be revitalised as initially mentioned in the Woolwich plan with more quiet residential or community use such as the old town bathway theatre or dance studios.

    – Safety is key and due to the above, children, families and any individual shouldn’t fear for their safety or be made to feel uncomfortable parking, going to the supermarket and dealing

    – The area can be made more green and healthy. The revised Woolwich proposals mentioned hanging gardens. This would look great around the area and add much greenery to the public realm including monk street, calderwood/market, calderwood/polytechnic and calderwood/Thomas street.

    – Peckham and other areas have had the same issues and repurposed the car parks to support more community, art, theatre and healthy alternatives.

    I agree that the area should be repurposed to be more residential, more pedestrian friendly and quieter to support residential living.

    I thoroughly support these plans particularly for residents in the area that suffer from the constant battle of antisocial behaviour.

  3. Mike S

    Powis St is dying because of poor car access, and the axis becoming tesco and the Arsenal.

    Demolish this one by all means, but replace it with a booked space long stay car park oriented towards commuters, coming straight off the A205. That would fit with increased pedestrianisation of the center but increase footfall between there and the stations.

  4. Steve

    A lot of people who use the shops or work in Woolwich use that car park (including council workers) as it is cheap and convenient to the centre.
    Flatten it by all means but where are they going to park then?
    I think the council should spend some of their many millions on improving the car park, making it secure and improving its tatty appearance along with the area around it.
    The council might think we currently live in some sort of utopian deamland where everyone walks, cycles or uses the bus everywhere but reality is we don’t. Eltham centre trade has been hit from less parking along with confusion over what parking there is. Blackheath is slowly seeing ever more shops close and not reopening as you can’t even park for half an hour to pop to the bank or one of the remaining shops.
    Sure, remove the parking but it will just force more to shop at places like Bluewater where parking is free and for as long as you want.

  5. Any idea how soon will it be demolished ? – the thing is an eyesaw, its falling apart, its unsafe, its used maliciously. – the sooner it get knocked down the better.

  6. CDT

    I would like to see the current car park go as it is in a terrible state of disrepair and also for the other anti social behaviours and smells mentioned in both Marco’s post and Murky’s article.

    I would like to see the site redeveloped with a new bigger Sainsbury’s store and other commercial premises to bring more people to this part of Woolwich Town Centre.

  7. DISAPPOINTED

    If you value your vehicle and more importantly your safety you would not park there anyway. Just pay the £60 parking fine at least your likely to live to tell the tale. The car park is a nightmare for female drivers.

    Why the debate, just knock the monstrosity down. Period.

    Again the council have proven how on the ball they are. It has taken 20 years plus for them to notice that the car park is not fit for purpose. Break out the champagne!

    We should really be discussing what to do with the space once the car park has been demolished

    A green space. – Please no!. The council really don’t understand the concept of maintenance so it will end up being a fly tipper’s paradise

    Car Park. – Maybe, however it would have to be run by the private sector. If run by the council, it would mean one badly run car park is replaced by another badly run car park. Lesson learnt is a concept alien to RBG.

    Housing – maybe. However, given RBG history they will sell the land cheaply to the private sector with little consideration for social housing. The electorate really do not want to encourage stupidity.

    Retail – that’s a joke. Are there not have enough empty units in Woolwich and Woolwich certainly don’t need another £1 shop.

    Offices – Again who is smoking something. Name a business that requires office space that has succeeded in Woolwich. We all know that the council has made every effort to promote Woolwich as a destination for commerce……NOT

    The only thing I can think of is to continue with the current strategy and consider the area for an entertainment venue in line with the Woolwich Creative District Strategy. Would it not be nice for an area to be known for something other than crime and administrative incompetence?

    We can only hope

  8. Ashley

    This could become a great scheme, involving potential Council Housing. Yes I say Council Housing. a larger Sainsbury’s Store. A better insight to regeneration to this part of Woolwich. Not forgetting a private carpark for residents and shoppers.

    But, unfortunately this current administration is so short sighted and lack any leadership or ideas it won’t happen unless radical change happens.

  9. CDT

    I totally agree Ashley, This site has potential. As the council own the land the car park is on. Greenwich Council should use the site for a mixed council housing/retail development with a new larger Sainsburys Store at ground level.

  10. HK

    I agree with Steve, flatten the car park, but real decent alternative parking needs to be provided for.
    Yes we all should try to use public transport where possible, but the reality is sometimes driving is necessary.
    If there is no cheap, safe and easy parking, shoppers will go else where like Bluewater (the longer journey will have an impact of emissions), and it will ultimately have a negative effect on Woolwich.
    The problem is Greenwich Council are so shortsighted and have no clear policy ie. approving Ikea and the Silvertown tunnel, yet claim to be tackling emissions!!!!
    All they care about is £

  11. Stephen

    Heres an idea, why not use the space currently occupied by the old car park and bus stands and build a lovely new bus station with a covered entrance over the railway bridge opening onto Powis street, this would take the pressure of the hoards of people that gather at the stops in the town centre.

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