Murky Depths

News in London and beyond


What happened to building upgrade as part of Woolwich Sports Direct approval?

Recently opened Sports Direct with stained canopy above

When Sports Direct gained approval to open a new branch in Woolwich part of the application stated the building would be improved.

To be specific, the application made in approved over seven months ago stated: “The existing concrete canopy will also be retained, cleaned and made good”. Click here and view it in the Design & Access statement.

Looking down Hare Street. Building looked like this for more than a decade

The shop has been open for some months now (excluding current events naturally) yet the canopy appears to have minimal, if any, work carried out.

Now I’m sure some will say it’s only a small thing, but in Woolwich many small things add up to a town centre that appears unloved and on the decline.

Tiled building to be demolished under submitted plans

As I covered last week, just over the road on Hare Street are some solid Victorian buildings which were due to see cleaned up stonework when applications were submitted for improvements. Instead the stonework has been painted over and to my eyes looks pretty nasty.

Stonework now painted over

Who is keeping tabs on these issues in the authority? Management is lacking. Many town centres leverage money from large businesses to oversee management and funding. This does not happen in Woolwich. The authority recently spent £120,000 of developer income replacing a screen in General Gordon Square while buildings  decline.

Buildings in decline

Where’s the notices to owners to upkeep maintenance? What we are good and characterful buildings left to rot then in line for demolition due to neglect and lack of enforcement. This is happening at the MacBean Street site:

MacBean Street site building in poor condition – yet could look great refurbished

For all the billions being spent on major developments, until someone gets a grip on the small stuff the area is at risk of continually sliding backwards.



  1. Graham

    Totally agree Murky. But that is Greenwich Council for you !!! They have a serious lack of management of their Town Centres.

    They need Town Centre Managers with drive enthusiasm and imagination to revitalize our town centres encourage new businesses in to them and create much needed jobs in retail, Leisure and hospitality.

    However, unfortunately I cannot see this happening at Greenwich Council under the current administration.

    • Ashley

      Totally agree with Graham

      It’s a pity Greenwich Council lacks any kind of substance and leadership in our town centres. We do need strong decisive Town Centre Management teams to restore trust, building a better report, subsequent changes to rejuvenate and upkeep of our town Centres and to make them more desirable for the residents and visitors of this Royal Borough.

      A stronger enthusiasm on enforcement and those who require notices for maintenance to.

      So much more could be done, but unfortunately I cannot see this ever happening under this current tired administration.

  2. Greenwich council lets far bigger infringements slide. It is hardly going to bother with this.

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