Major new 650-home Woolwich development submitted

Legal and General have submitted plans to build almost 650 homes in Woolwich town centre. New blocks will be built along Beresford Street on the former site of MacBean Street school.

Looking down Beresford Street. Premier Inn is on right

This site is opposite the former Catholic Club and Premier Inn.

Current site

The tallest building would top out at 22 storeys in height. Other blocks are 6, 12, 19, 20 floors in height. The scheme will bring in £4.4 million in Community Infrastructure Levy will millions more from New Homes Bonus  and Section 106.

New east-west and north-south passages will be created to link both Powis and Beresford Streets to Macbean Street.

New public space within development

The developers state: “The architecture is created primarily from brick to reflect the historic character of the area as well as the emerging new architecture. The eastern building has a more traditional form and material quality ensuring it creates a calm backdrop to Dial Arch Square and the local historic buildings. The three taller buildings’ façades have a contemporary ‘woven’ brick expression, complementing the depth created by the balcony forms.”

Build to Rent

Flats will be entirely “Build to Rent”. I’ve recently covered extremely high costs many new Build to Rent flats go for – with a particular look at a new Deptford block which cost:

Prices of build to rent are normally much above local market rates – and so even those within the development at, say 60% to 80% and labelled “affordable” will not be any cheaper than what already exists – and is unaffordable to many. They are proposing 35% of flats are “affordable”.

Legal and General is using its investment arm to secure income for pensions and life assurances – and I foresee generational differences becoming a real political issue with Build to Rent. Expensive rentals for predominantly younger people paying for pensions of older generations (and often pensions now closed to them) will be an increasingly potent issue.

How much they charge will be one to keep an eye on and whether it follows the trend of high asking prices seen at other Build to Rent developments.

There will also be 524 sqm (5,640sqft) of retail space and 2,782sqm (29,950sqft) of flexible workplace.

Current site

The site currently incorporates a market pound – though most of the site has lay empty since the former Woolwich Poly school was demolished a number of years ago. New space will be provided.

Planning documents state: “The landowner is contractually obliged to provide 465sqm of new (market) storage facilities, however, the proposal will deliver nearly double this amount to 911sqm to benefit the market. Market traders will be offered new vehicle parking permits by the Council to park on the street”.

A building that could look wonderful and is piece of Woolwich’s heritage will also be demolished.

Former electricity works building on right is not to be renovated and incorporated

According to UCL:

“In 1930 the council’s Electricity Department substantially extended its rear premises onto what had been Thomas Nash’s timber yard. This extended area from Macbean Street to Murray’s Yard was for many years a large electricity works depot.

Interior recently used as a church

On its south side a threestorey block of stores and offices was built in 1931 to plans by John Sutcliffe, Borough Engineer. This has its frame expressed externally
on what looks a utilitarian building. Inside, on the upper office floors, there is a surprisingly high-quality finish, with imposing classical door architraves and prettily patterned dado tiling on an open-well staircase”.

It’s not much to look at now but a little imagination could see this as a thriving hub

Is it beyond saving? Could it be rebuilt? Woolwich ripped way much of its heart in post-war redevelopment. Recent developments continue to do so.


There’s very few car parking spaces given proximity to public transport including Crossrail. However, one major oversight appears to be a lack of new segregated cycle lanes along Beresford Street to ensure cyclists are not dicing with buses and cars.

Why no segregated lane?

Here’s how things look:

Current road. No cycle lanes yet wide central reservation. New development will be on right

It’s no-brainer not to ensure a cycle lane here. New paving will be laid along the street. Why not install a cycle lane at the same time? There’s plenty about healthy living in planning documents and cycle spaces.

If the building’s footprint is so large it doesn’t allow then that’s a clear mistake.

Opportunities nearby to include cycle lanes havn’t been taken

This is what Section 106, Community Infrastructure Levy and New Homes Bonus income could be funding – along with parking income. as it is, Greenwich are 31st out of 32 councils in London for using these funds to improve public realm.

There’s so much wrong with renders. Why no dropped kerb or level access for pedestrians at street corners? Cycles hanging up inside buildings as they make a big play of it – but no cycle lane.

There’s sometimes conflict between cyclists and other road users with hostility sometimes fueled by removing road space from buses and cars. When there’s a blank slate as here it’s bloody stupid not to install a segregated lane from the outset.

Lidl is the next site to see high rise with land use changing to mixed use under current consulted plans covered last week.

Click here to view plans.

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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 “Major new 650-home Woolwich development submitted

    • £4.4 million Community Development Fund?
      So, what you’re saying is GLLaB is getting another £3.8 million? (At least that’s the way I interpret it!)

    • I tried for months to get permission to photograph the internal features of the Macbean centre building .. to record it for historical purposes …… But the land owners would not even reply to my messages ..

      • I wonder if a photographic record of the building could be a condition of a planning consent?

      • There’s some pics I’ve seen. Will find them and upload

    • This site is in needed of redevelopment so happy that a planning application has been submitted for further new homes which will be built for rent.

      My concern is how many local people born and bred in the Borough will be able to afford them with out them on their salaries.


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