Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Woolwich

Listed Woolwich building threatened with demolition restored with new public space

This would've been flattened if original plans went ahead

A listed building beside the new Woolwich Crossrail station has been renovated after a successful campaign saw Berkeley Homes change tack on demolition plans.

Back in 2014 the developer revealed plans to knock down the Officers’ House  facing onto Dial Arch Square for a vehicle drop off point and turning circle.

2014 plan

Back then I covered the story extensively and those posts got huge views.

The building dates from 1739 and nicely rounds off both squares. The plans were somewhat baffling. A walkway between the new station and building was said to be too narrow for pedestrians. Now it’s restored we can clearly see that was a bit of a nonsense.

This passage was given as a reason to demolish building on left

The other side of the building also has a wide passage to cater for pedestrian flow:

Leading to Tesco, Tap Room etc

The 2014 plan threatened to have vehicles idling when waiting to pick up directly next to Dial Arch Square which acts as a respite from the rest of busy Woolwich.

2014 plan

Renders showed just a few vehicles. The reality would have been somewhat different.

Instead of vehicles idling by public spaces there’s now a handsome restored frontage enclosing the square.

New addition at top

The Officers’ House is now converted into flats with commercial units facing onto a new square to the rear. An attractive area it is too.

New square

This was to be little more than a car park. What a change.

New commercial space facing onto square

When occupied this square should be a bustling little area. It already has a pub and supermarket on site. Building 10 (where the Farmer’s Market was held) is also to see shops installed:

Facing onto new square

Still, this didn’t all come without repercussions. Berkeley Homes argued that renovating the Officers’ House would only be cost effective if they could build a tower above another listed building.

Block to be built over listed building 10.

Greenwich Council gave the go-ahead despite concerns of reduced lighting to those in adjacent homes. Affected people would not have had this block included in the masterplan when they moved in.

Still, it’s very good news that this part of Woolwich’s history – dating back almost 300 years – has been retained and restored and now serves a new purpose in providing homes with shop and restaurant space.

3 Comments

  1. CDT

    Excellent news I am really pleased that the Officer’s House has been kept and will remain a part of Woolwich’s history for others to now enjoy. Sadly Woolwich and the Borough of Greenwich has lost a lot of it’s hsitory and heritage over the years.

  2. Dean Woods-Jeram

    The original proposals shows developers for the blood suckers that they are, 9/10 the council’s just go along with their proposals rather than putting in strict preservation laws. Anything built prior to WW2 should be automatically listed and cost of preservation should not be used as an excuse to demolish. Especially when they always manipulate the projected figures in the planning stage to play on their side. This should be illegal.

  3. anonymous201486

    I’m glad Berkeley Homes has been made to see the error of it’s ways.

    When I clicked through to it website, the development is described thus: ‘The Officers’ House is a unique architectural gem in the heart of Royal Arsenal Riverside, with the original part of the building built over 250 years ago.’

    Shame there is no public use, but a beautiful building has been saved from demolition by ‘vandals’ aided and abetted by a supine planning authority.

    You couldn’t pay me to live in Woolwich, but that’s another story.

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