Revisions coming to one of Woolwich’s best planned developments

Early plans are in to revise what is one of Woolwich’s best designed proposed developments.

The Island Site was to retain pretty much all buildings of merit, renovate while replacing some structures of limited value. Now revisions seek to retain those buildings.

Buildings would be renovated under plan

One issue with the previously approved plan was a very low number of “affordable” homes at just 20 per cent, though in terms of design it was hard to find much fault. A cinema was also proposed.

The site was put up for sale in late 2020.

Building on left will not now happen

The new plan seeks to revise 310 flats into 660 co-living units. They’re a bit like student dorms or HMOs – residents have their own room but share kitchens, living areas etc.

The new proposal mentions a shared gym, despite a new leisure centre to be built just over General Gordon Square and others in very close proximity such as Energie Fitness on Hare Street.

Overview of site

Some good ideas from prior plans remain including:

  • Retention of the same concepts from the approved scheme regarding site permeability and public realm
  • The Dance School remains as per the approved scheme

However some potential pitfalls are:

  • Retaining a larger number of existing buildings on the site compared to the previously approved scheme
  • Additional floors will be added to the some of the retained buildings. The elevations to the 1950/60’s buildings will be remodelled.
Blank frontage at Island Business Centre

That last one is crucial. The current Island building presents a blank frontage at street level. Retaining it also removes permeability from Wellington Street.

The original plan was space to access internal courtyards:

Original plan

In the render above a clear path towards the Woolwich Centre is evident. Retaining the Island Business Centre removes that view and link. Presumably in its place will be one to the side, though no information is evident on this initial first stage of information.

Another building due to be replaced but could now remain include this on Thomas Street:

Courtesy Google

This is the very early stages of revising the scheme and detailed plans are no yet evident. They will follow and be covered on this site when they do emerge. For now it seems a shame a scheme with few design downsides is changing. There’s no guarantee there will be any increase in affordable housing under altered plans, but there does appear to be an impact on access through the site and design. While they state the concept of permeability remains, the exact location of access will have to change if they retain certain buildings.

Click here to view details.

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J Smith

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.

    4 thoughts on “Revisions coming to one of Woolwich’s best planned developments

    • I skim-read the article so I may have missed it but developers are, in an attempt to reducing their carbon footprint, seeking to retain and reuse more viable structures where practical. This may be likely why they are retaining more structures than the previous application.

    • I favour the proposal to retain some buildings. The unseemly rush to bulldoze everything needs to be arrested.

    • I pass the Island Business Centre every day on my way to and from work and wondered when planning permission would be passed to allow the redevelopment of the site to begin.

      Retaining and refurbishing some of the existing buildings on this site is a good idea. However, I think any student accomodation as part of the development should be self contained bedsits with a small kitchen and shower room. As we are now in 2021 I personally think we should now be moving away from shared kitchen and bathrooms.Hygiene is not always the best in shared facilities.

      I also thought the original idea was to create some commercial space at ground level of the Island Business Centre. Will that still be included in any new planning appliactions?

      I hope new final plans are submitted and approved soon so work can finally start on the Isalnd Business Centre over looking Wellington Street and Thomas Street.

    • Not having commercial space is a good idea since the rent is often beyond what local businesses can afford. No point in having an empty unit for months on end when you sell/rent a residential space more readily.


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