Waterfront in Woolwich continues to struggle

New figures show declining numbers of gym users continues across many Greenwich Council leisure centres.

Low cost gyms are hitting hard. Across all leisure centres there was a marked reduction in overall visitors from April to June 2019 compared to the previous year. It was down seven per cent across all centres and falls in those swimming at Woolwich was also highlighted in a council report.

Greenwich Centre on left

Things stabilised over the period July to September across all centres in terms of overall visitors. Smaller centres such as Coldharbour helped make up for reductions at larger centres at Eltham, Greenwich and Woolwich.

Sutcliffe Park in Kidbrooke also helped with mitigating falls at big centres.

Back in October 2018 I covered a previous report which showed a 17 per cent fall in membership numbers from 2017. This year’s report does not include membership numbers.

Towers on former car park

The report blames both the loss of Woolwich Waterfront’s car park – which now sees towers underway – and competition from low-cost gyms. Another is due to open at Kidbrooke in less than two weeks. At £10.99 for the first six months of membership it could well impact upon the Eltham Centre.

Puregym opening soon at Kidbrooke

The Waterfront’s move to General Gordon Square has been consistently delayed. It could now be in 2025 according to an April 2019 council report.

The lack of membership figures in the latest report matches a theme running throughout reports going before Greenwich Council’s Cabinet next week. If it’s not previous figures now excluded it’s certain issues being given a positive slant or not mentioned.

Issue such as an increase at shop vacancy rates in Eltham and Greenwich are not remarked upon.

There’s a lot more to look at so I’ll cover some more points in coming days.





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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.

10 thoughts on “Waterfront in Woolwich continues to struggle

  • Nor did they build a car park at the Greenwich centre. Considering that Silvertown is going to add to traffic through the town, what harm would there have been in a little more traffic for the centre?

    Instead users are parking in nearby streets, annoying residents.

    A truly wrongheaded decision and now there’s no chance for it to be corrected.

  • If the reception staff at the Eltham centre answered the phone far more often, they’d probably have far more customers. It’s incredibly difficult to get anyone to answer the phone there. 2-3 staff are responsible but not many. Yet Greenwich Centre always answer the phone

  • The council gyms are far too expensive. I was in need of a gym some years back and was horrified that Greenwich Square was charging in excess £40 per month – more than half my carer’s allowance. In the end I brought a mat, dumbbells from a charity shop and began weights/old PE exercises at home before going to bed.

    Ultimately if you are motivated, then you find a way forward. The council isn’t motivated to provide a cost-effective gym for its citizens, although there is clearly some demand. They will let the service decline to the point it becomes derelict, and use the single-digit membership numbers to close the Waterfront Leisure Centre altogether. After all, if the low-cost operators are filling in the gap why bother with a loss-making enterprise? I’m sure they’ll find a more profitable use for both sites in the end.

  • It’s not the option of low cost gyms that is driving the fall in memberships in Council-run gyms, it’s the general state of grottiness of those Council-run gyms. Add to that the unsupervised children running amok, and you have the formula of how make any business fail, let alone a gym.

    • Many have said similar

  • Not surprised – the one and only time I used the pool at the Waterfront I was charged for peak time on a Sunday morning and found two out of three swimming lanes closed due to kids swimming lessons. The membership fees are also extortionate for what you actually recieve, considering it’s marketed as affordable.

  • I refuse to step foot in th vile place again after my last visit. It’s my local pool/gym and it’s just got worse and worse year after year but the last time I went was just disgusting. I made a complaint and they never even bothered to reply.

  • This place is disgusting and the staff are rude and unhelpful. I was a member of this gym when there was no other choice in Woolwich, but thankfully now there are other choices. I’m a hula hooper and need practise space. I asked the gym manager if I could use the studios when there were no classes running and she wanted to charge me £70 per hour. If I could afford to pay £70 per hour for private practise space then I wouldn’t be living near Woolwich. I asked at Anytime Gym and the manager there said no problem – I can even use the mirrored studio. That was when the Waterfront Leisure Centre lost me as a customer. Dirty, disgusting, overpriced, rude and unhelpful staff – this place needs to shut down or be sold to a company who actually wants to provide a decent service for the public.

  • This Leisure Centre is filthy. It is rarely cleaned.The toilets and changing rooms are not checked regularly and I have witnessed some anti social behaviour in changing rooms and toilets. Membership will remain down until these issues are tackled and major improvements made.

    When you pay for a gym membership you expect the best facilities and service from the instructors and staff.

    I do not think sadly many residents will be sorry to see the Water Front Leisure close on it’s current site location. Lets hope the new Leisure Centre when built on the site of Wilkinson’s on Woolwich New Road will be a much better managed Leisure Centre and fit for purpose.

  • There are now two residents gyms and a pool (for the newer buildings only) in the Arsenal, which could also have contributed to the drop.

    The used to do great classes, but as per other responses, the place is so filthy, and the staff so unhelpful, it’s not worth the price.


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