The Woolwich cultural quarter now branded as Woolwich Works have revealed more images as work on converting buildings continue.
The project has seen an award of £984,000 from Central Government via the Culture Recovery Fund which assists projects impacted by the pandemic.
The completed project will include across a number of buildings on the Royal Arsenal site:
- a venue with capacity of 1200 seated or 1800 standing
- A courtyard with seating for up to 600 people
- five rehearsal studios
- artists’ studios and offices
- A cafe/bar
Greenwich Council are funding the project costed last year at £32 million. One controversial aspect was moving the borough’s Heritage Centre and archive off site at short notice. This greatly reduced access in terms of opening hours. The archive was moved to Anchorage Point industrial estate in Charlton. In December the council revealed they were looking to sell that site.
Further investment in Woolwich saw some complaints from the neglected east of the borough. We saw more evidence of that in recent weeks as a key document outlining the future of Abbey Wood & Thamesmead until 2041 failed to mention the majority of Abbey Wood. When it did, major mistakes were evident both during consultation and the final document a year later. It turned out two out of three Abbey Wood councillors (Denise Hyland and Clive Mardner) were not listed as respondents to the consultation (Cllr Ann-Marie Cousins did reply as did local MP Abena Oppong-Assare) and neither had Greenwich Council. Bexley Council and Newham Council did both respond.
Greenwich Council have tried to claim the Woolwich project will benefit Abbey Wood stating “It will also support the economic and social development of Woolwich and its surrounding communities, particularly those of Plumstead, Abbey Wood and Thamesmead“.
It seems a bit of a long shot to me, and doesn’t make up for ignoring deprived areas in crucial consultation documents. There may be some jobs on offer but a single new warehouse in Erith would trump that. Ultimately actions speak louder than words – and ignoring the east of the borough again is revealing.
Not that I feel it isn’t worthy to try to rejuvenate Woolwich, but to lump in ignored areas to the east instead of also pushing for substantial improvements there is a bit rich.
The Centre has an opening date of spring 2021.