Further details have been revealed on plans to spend £3.1 million on improvements Woolwich town centre as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone project.
A periodic trawl through council documents unearthed a letter from Historic England and a Greenwich Council document. Historic England are providing £1.7 million with £2.1 million from Greenwich Council.
A letter sent to the authority in April 2020 came with stipulations and sought further clarity on the bid, with Historic England seeking to “better define outputs” and “provide greater clarity regarding the nature of works to the old town hall and library”.
GLLaB are now based in the old library. An upgrade project for the site has previously been covered on this site.
The April 2020 letter reveals Greenwich Council and councillors were told to withhold information on the award “including press releases, social media and website updates from all partners and councillors” due to a desire to coordinate promotion.
Woolwich Front Room
Greenwich’s letter reveals an intention to: “Approve entering into a fixed term lease of a vacant unit from British Land on Powis Street to create a heritage and community drop-in centre to provide a space to engage with the area’s history and the personal heritage of
“A vacant unit on Powis Street will be used to create a heritage and community drop-in centre, which will provide a space to engage with the area’s history and the personal heritage of its residents. Within this space there will be a host of activities, exhibitions and displays drawn from material in the local archives, with an opportunity to meet and talk to the Greenwich archivist. It would also host engagement and participation events as well as opportunities to be used by local community groups for events/meetings.
This space will act as a ‘Woolwich Front Room’ by way of a focal point of the project and activities”.
Other plans include: “Grants (up to a value of £50,000) to local businesses and organisations to support the delivery of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone for Woolwich Town Centre” and “a programme of grants for improvements to shopfronts and facades will be provided to restore and reinstate historic features.”
The issue is whether certain building owners will maintain – and whether Greenwich will do anything if they do not. Some shops continue to leave less and clutter outside their properties on a daily basis. Despite numerous notifications to the authority and the impact on disabled pedestrians who are often blocked, Greenwich and their newly privatised enforcement team appear to do little to nothing as it continues unabated.
Until the authority can get to grips with basics such as many neglected buildings and some shops that couldn’t care less about their local environment, will these projects succeed? There’s little things like painting and general upkeep simply forgotten. Multi-million pound upgrade projects from the past now look tired. If they can get that right, the town will appeal. It’s already improve a great deal over the past 10 years.
Woolwich is also set to see £17.2 million from the Future High Street Fund, as covered here. The funding is partly coming from Section 106 funds from a huge range of new developments around the town. I recently covered many of them, which can be seen here.