Victorian Woolwich town centre shop demolished

A Victorian building near Woolwich Arsenal station which housed J N Handleys has been demolished over recent weeks.

Handleys store on Vincent Road

The building was located at 19-20 Vincent Road. An application was approved in September 2018 to rebuild with flats though a subsequent application was refused here. Presumably the 2018 approved version will now be built – though there are possibly some further twists and turns ahead.

Housing plans on site

According to a Greenwich Council report the site is due to be included in a comprehensive development to house a new leisure centre and housing – though it isn’t actually owned by the council.

Taken from council report

The council’s report states:

“Agree that the stakeholder and public consultation will include the
following properties in the scheme with the aim of bringing forward a
comprehensive, mixed-use, viable redevelopment:

  • Viscount House, subject to relocation of the existing Council tenants
  • 14-20 Vincent Road, subject to consultation with owners and tenants
  • Vincent Road Garages
  • Troy Court, subject to consultation with tenants”


Site seen from above:

Progress on moving Woolwich’s leisure centre from its current location by the Thames to the site of Wilko’s has dragged on for years.

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Another issue of landownership is Wilko’s lease running until 2024. The company have stated they’ll only vacate if they can find another site in the town centre to meet their needs. So far that has not happened.

Viscount House. Future site of new leisure centre

Greenwich Council considered a Compulsory Purchase Order around two years ago yet Wilko’s are still trading and little has been heard since.

Waterfront on left

While progress has been glacial at gaining possession of the future site, the existing Waterfront site has seen its car park sold to Berkeley Homes who have commenced construction of towers on site.

Former car park

The existing leisure centre has recently seen a sharp fall in membership. Numbers fell by 17 per cent from 2017 to 2018. Delays have also seen the condition of the centre deteriorate with Greenwich Council now looking to pay hundreds of thousands to keep it going.

Towers coming soon

Issues at Wilko’s and site owners in the vicinity looking to build their own developments will see the saga of what happens with a new leisure centre continue.

This was the already delayed timescale I’ve just discovered in an old 2017 council document:

Years behind schedule

Progress is currently around five years late and counting.

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You can also donate via PayPal here or buy a coffee through the Ko-Fi service



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Many thanks

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.

7 thoughts on “Victorian Woolwich town centre shop demolished

  • I despair at the gentrification of our local communities.

  • I don’t. Gentrification is welcome. This place is a dump and needs more affluent people living here so things can improve. And yes I don’t care if that is at the expense of social housing and the local community. There is already too much badly maintained social housing in this borough and there are too many dregs of society concentrated in woolwich.

    • Gentrification will not change the prevailing attitude of the local scumbags unless they are removed entirely One need only look at Hackney Wick around Fish Island or Newington Green around Islington. Large scale gentrification creates monolithic tanks for occupation while smaller ones create pockets of affluence for the attention of the daytime patrols. Unless any development is accompanied by a larger scheme for all to enjoy such as a park, being the house on the border between high salary and low wages makes for strained relations.

    • More affluent people. Why the hell would anyone with money choose Woolwich when they can pay through the nose to live in one of those ticky tacky flats somewhere better?

  • Woolwich is in desperate need for change I welcome the regeneration and new homes being built in Woolwich.

    We need to bring Woolwich back to to the great Town Centre and area it once used to be before all the anti social behaviour which has blighted Woolwich over recent years.
    Many people say they now aviod Woolwich duie to these issues which is also having a serious affect on local businesses in the area who need the passing footfall.

  • I suppose the obvious question to ask about the existing Waterfront Centre is why was it built there
    Anyone can see that no one walks anywhere near there…its on a fast stretch of road….
    The,Town Centre has been run down over the last 30 years yet for many its still their main port of call

  • I remember all the old shops down Vincent Road in the 70’s & 80’s. I’m an Ipswich lad but my Grandparents were from Plumstead and I had so many happy times down there. I hate to be judgemental but what you’ve got down there now looks like shit compared to what the place used to be like. So sad.


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