Murky Depths

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Woolwich

Revised plans for Woolwich covered market, cinema & 750+ homes revealed

Revised plans for up to 800 homes, shops, cinema and a refurbished covered market have been revealed for the Spray Street area in Woolwich.

Earlier plans would have seen the market removed – though it’s now listed. Revised designs now integrate the market with a Picturehouse cinema.

Market alongside cinema

Housing numbers have increased from 742 to “750-800” despite now retaining the market. The earlier application from January 2018 was covered on this site here.

Like those plans buildings are centred around a plaza in the centre of the site. Once again towers face onto Plumstead Road without any setback in places.

Plumstead Road frontage – Berkeley towers directly behind this vantage point

I have little objection to height here given the excellent public transport links and prime town centre location, but this massing could lead to a canyon effect. Not a pleasant place considering commercial space and major bus stops at street level.

Current paving width – taken from near bus stops

Renders appear to show substantially narrowed paving. It’s currently a good width and much needed given high numbers of pedestrians – which will only increase. All too often in London (and the UK) pedestrians are forced into narrow spaces.

Paving greatly narrowed at major bus stop location

Let’s not eat away at one place where pedestrians aren’t crammed in – and which offers scope for a dedicated cycle lane and parking in future.

Low density to south

Buildings then taper down from towers to three-four storeys near a long-vacant site owned by TfL.

Red = Spray Street site. Blue = TfL DLR site

Surely when this is finally developed it will be at mid to high density. Adding more floors to buildings here could allow setback to towers on other parts of the site which could vastly increase the streetscape for huge numbers of people using Plumstead Road.

In a welcome move it looks like some buildings on Woolwich New Road are to be retained and refurbished. OK, this is facadism/deathmasking but done pretty well. This is something I’ve long hoped for and was absent from 2018 plans. Retaining the best of what’s there offers a welcome contrast and variety across the development.

Woolwich New Road

Much better than what was proposed:

Previous plans drew criticism for removing existing businesses without offering similar replacement locations. For example, a newsagent with much passing footfall was offered a place in Abbey Wood. We’ll have to see how that plays out.

Overall there’s lots to like about this revised scheme which could offer Woolwich a real shot in the arm. If the towers could be made slightly more elegant facing onto Plumstead Road with set backs from the street edge and massing varied across the entire site it’d be a winner.

There’s plenty of time for changes. Building work is not expected to start for three years.

View and comment on plans here.

 

 

27 Comments

  1. CDT

    These plans are much better than the 2018 plans. Now some of the old buildings are to be retained and refurbished on Woolwich New Road.

    I like the idea of the Cinema being next to the covered market which I hope will once again become a fully working under cover market with longer opening hours including opening on Sundays.

    I am really looking forward to the re-development of Spray Street and cannot wait for building work on the development to start.

    As the area around Woolwich New Road, Spray Street, Plumstead Road and Parry Place as seen more than it’s fair share of anti social behaviour. Along with the rest of Woolwich Town Centre.

  2. Lord Lew Can

    This looks great. As a local resident I look forward to using it along with Crossrail in the year 2035 when they are finally ready.

  3. Ashley

    A very much needed development and will rejuvenate an area in decline. Currently neglected and dirty.

  4. Graham

    I agree this area is in desperate need of redevelopment. Do we really need to wait three years before building starts on the development ?.

  5. Woolwicher

    Really hope Speak Out Woolwich don’t start complaining again and getting more buildings listed. I want this to happen a lot.

  6. ndog

    Speak out Woolwich do not have the best interests of Woolwich residents at heart. Two public consultations held at the tramshed years back when the original spray street development plans came out resulted in HUNDREDS of people turning up and registering their positive feedback, despite this, speak out Woolwich threw a spanner in the works whilst claiming they knew best.

    As mentioned above, it should not take 3 years for the first brick to be laid, the sooner this is done the better.

    • What??!! It is because of the sterling work done by Speak Out Woolwich that we’ve got these huge improvements to the plan. Spanner in the works? If you mean they sent back the planners to think again then let’s thank them for their efforts!

      • Woolwicher

        Well they might well send them back again and we will be waiting another five years for it to start!

      • ndog

        Stirling work? They grassed up the developer to historic England in order to get the public market listed. That very much is a spanner in the works. Funnily enough, Speak Out Woolwich had no qualms with the market laying dormant in a part of Woolwich that is filthy, crime ridden and generally run down before the developers rocked up.

  7. Graham

    Speak Out Woolwich would leave Woolwich to fall in to further decline with an increase in anti social behaviour if they have there way. By blocking every new developement and stoppping any chances of the area being fully regenerated and improved for local residents.

    I cannot wait to see the first brick laid on the Spray Street development. But I hope I do not have to wait three years for it.

    • If there are any “bricks” laid they will be of the faux brick stick-on cladding kind (see, for example, http://www.realbrickcladding.co.uk/brick-panel-system.html), much favoured by developers hoping to bamboozle local residents into accepting their over-sized, clumsily-proportioned speculative schemes.

      As Murky Depths points out, this scheme will canyonise Plumstead Road and squeeze pedestrians towards the traffic.

      I for one hope that Speak Out Woolwich will continue to campaign for a town centre that works for local people, not corporate interests.

      • Woolwicher

        Yeah they campaign so much they stop anything from happening meaning it’s one of the most run down places in London. The current derelict buildings, neglected Council estates and antisocial behaviour doesn’t suit anyone. Corporate companies are the ones that have the money to invest, so it has to work for them too. Campaign too hard, compromise too little and, we the people of Woolwich get no new development.

        • Corporate companies are not interested in ‘… neglected Council estates and antisocial behaviour’. These are things that Greenwich council should address. It’s coffers are groaning, but it is not interested in uplifting its social housing tenants or improving the public realm. Woolwich will continue to be a polished turd until the council gets off its arse and start spending the money.

          All these new developments are destined to be sparsely sold and/or let and will just add to the forest of largely empty high rise buildings.

          • Woolwicher

            Corporate companies have redeveloped loads of neglected Council estates eg connaught. This may not be ideal but we’ve got another ten years probably under Boris Johnson tory party minimum, so central/local government are not going to invest in social housing. It’s the private sector or nothing.

      • ndog

        You mean, you for one hope they campaign for their own socialist, leftist agenda? I would vehemently suggest that their opposition to spray street redevelopment does nothing for Local people. In doing so they are against new jobs, new homes, new retail units a new cinema, work spaces i could continue but you get the idea.. now how does that work for local people?

  8. One of the reasons the proposal for Spray Street has been improved by the developers has been the community campaigns demanding good quality development proposals for Woolwich. Locally we want to protect our unique now listed Market Hall and the key local landmark buildings which give Woolwich town centre its special character. Nobody has said no to development. What we all want locally is a well designed town centre with a strong sense of place – not a could be anywhere town. The original development proposals would have seen the wholesale demolition of a quarter of the town centre. This inevitably in the future would be seen as a very destructive act that blighted Woolwich’s historic town centre. SOW and many other local residents have campaigned hard for the development to be revised for the better, and hopefully this submission by the developer will address the local community’s valid concerns.

  9. Sim

    The town centre needs redevelopment, PERIOD. All this talk about ‘community’, all I’ve seen since living is Woolwich is anti-social and run down buildings in need of demolition. I’m tired of people hiding behind this sense of ‘losing their town’. The town is run down and needs investment. I hope it doesn’t take 3 years and 3 months is too long based on the current state of that part of town. The social divide between Royal Arsenal and the rest of Woolwich is a disgrace and we should be ashamed that this has been allowed to happen. The whole of Woolwich needs love and attention to thrive not just not part of it.

    • Woolwicher

      You’d think they were talking about knocking down the colosseum, not some rusty tin building riddled with leaks, with letters hanging off the front that noone has the money to refurb.

      • CL

        The Spray St development needs to happen and quickly, for the good of the town.
        High streets everywhere are dying, Woolwich included. The Spray St location is critical, given the location of the crossrail (and existing overground/DLR) station – it’s among the first things people will see upon arrival. It sets the tone. At the moment, pretty much the first thing people see is the old, decrepit buildings and anti-social behaviour by the stations. And if you want to bring people to Woolwich (rather than have them use Crossrail to commute out only), you want the attractions to be as close to the station as possible.

        If Woolwich isn’t developed quickly, the High Street will die off. And at that point, it might be irrecoverable – Woolwich will become a commuter town like everywhere else.

        It’s not just the economy of the buildings in question – it’s the entire retail economy of Woolwich that is at stake. Yes, the current occupants of the buildings need to be looked after, but they can’t hold back progress for everybody else whose future depends on it. That’s exactly why compulsory purchase orders etc. exist.

        It’s about picking your battles – the Spray St development is critical to Woolwich’s future economy. Other developments should still be fought – the Tesco tower in particular. But Spray St is the single most important development in Woolwich at this point.

  10. CDT

    Sim I agree with you 100%, Woolwich used to be a great thriving Town Centre and could be again with the right love attention and investment.

    At the moment it as sadly been allowed to become a no go area after falling in to decline and due to the anti social behaviour which affects most of Woolwich.

  11. HK

    I don’t know who Speak Out Woolwich are (i’ve not previously heard of them), so I can’t speak about them or their activism, but I can understand if there may have been some push back.
    As this will be a long term project it needs to be done right or it will eventually fail.
    Yes the area needs regenerating but just look at the other end of Woolwich with Tesco!
    It really hasn’t done anything positive in regards to anti-social behaviour and it’s an eye-sore.
    I now totally avoid Woolwich except if im driving past/through it!

    It really needs a management team to bring in the right mix of shops, up market shop fronts, better security etc

  12. CDT

    Unfortunately the Tesco development is not the most attractive in Woolwich. However, Tesco’s cannot be held responsible for the anti social behaviour.

    I agree with you comment about a Management Team for Woolwich I have said this numerous times that out Town Centres need to be better managed and invested in.

    I want Woolwich to be a safe place for people who live there or visit to shop or meet friends for a meal etc

    Sadly you hit the nail on the head when you said you totally avoid Woolwich except if your driving through it or past it. I hear so many people say this time and time again which is a real shame.

    We live in a great Borough and our town centres should be the Boroughs pride and joy rather than no go areas like Woolwich in particular.

    I am hoping the Spray Street development including the new Cinema and refurbished covered market will give Woolwich the kick start it needs to become a thriving town centre again. ,

    • HK

      Agreed CDT, Tesco can’t be held responsible for the anti-social behaviour but my main point was that despite the investment in that side of the town centre it hasn’t helped reduce the anti-social behaviour despite the claims that it will reduce it.
      The only way I can see this happening is if the trouble makers are pushed out of the area, but the problem is only moved out of woolwich to another area, and there will be cries of gentrification.

  13. Speak Out Woolwich

    It is a somewhat ironic that a ‘from the murkey depths’ posting has been used by a couple of people to have a sideswipe at Speak Out Woolwich. The posting itself does a great job of highlighting the changes to the original proposals for Spray Street, which have resulted in significant improvements to the plans.

    The whole point of getting developers to present their proposals to local people is to allow us to comment and suggest improvements. There is nothing to be gained by suggesting that residents should just roll over and let developers steam straight on regardless.

    The comments from SOW and other local residents reflect the views of lots of local people that Woolwich has a history which matters to us. Helen’s comments about the unique, now listed Market Hall and the key local landmark buildings giving the town centre a special character are spot on.

    These plans, while still having things which can be improved on, are very much better than the plans supported by those who just want the developers to flatten everything.

    It is our belief that local residents have a huge amount to contribute to local development schemes – and not just Woolwich residents but our neighbours in Plumstead, Charlton and the rest of the Royal Borough.

    Some plans do need to be opposed (such as the Tesco Tower) but others can see significant improvements (often by the community working in conjunction with the local Council). That is clearly the case with Spray Street.

    We will carry on campaigning to make our area and our environment better for all of us.

  14. I so agree, Speak out Woolwich. If the developers and Greenwich council had their way, Woolwich would be populated by soulless high rises that block out light and create an endless wind tunnel.

    It seems to me that the nay sayers are incomers whose money only went as far as a tiny flat in a gimcrack development.

    • Woolwicher

      Thanks for coming back Speak Out Woolwich – respect that response.

      I’ve read through your Facebook page and it doesn’t seem to me as though you really support much, but rather that you object to everything, but maybe lm wrong? I think you made quite a few enemies among people who were excited about new development happening by getting that old tin market listed due to its roof (wtf), it’s potentially a cool space but nobody really wants to pay for it to get renovated and maintained and it’s been lying closed and unused ever since you managed to get it listed. That objection felt dangerous and I was pretty worried we would get no development at all. We’ve also had to wait significantly longer but hopefully all’s well that ends well and it will work out eventually – pleased to hear you don’t plan on blocking the plans a second time.

      Personally I welcome the building of the new leisure centre as well, I really don’t see the problem, that square could be so much nicer.

      Agree that tesco tower was a bad idea so thanks for objecting to that. I’d like that space to be built on eventually to improve amenities around there. some of your objections were valid (too tall etc, aesthetics etc) while others weren’t – it’s not a gorgeous green space with thriving wildflower gardens, it’s some scruffy hills covered in minging pigeons.

      Maybe I need to be more balanced but it feels like you do too.

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