Woolwich leisure centre and 500 home project: New details released

Greenwich Council have begun a consultation on long-delayed plans to build a new leisure centre and 500 homes at General Gordon Square.

Waterfront and its famous slide will close and a new centre constructed.

Goodbye slide

A new council page offers a number of images of the planned site – which will see just five per cent of 500 homes being new social homes.

Beside Woolwich Arsenal station

Here’s the current view:

The council are going big on “affordable” homes in marketing, yet in reality 24 existing council homes at Troy Court are being demolished. A total of 50 new social homes is just 10 per cent of the total, but only 26 of those are actually a net gain from what already exists.

All housing located to rear of site

That 26 net gain wont go far when last week the council’s planning board approved a council project to replace around 500 council homes at a Woolwich estate with just 167 social homes. That’s part of a three-estate Woolwich estate project that sees 1,000 social homes reduced to 378.

In July 2021 Greenwich’s household total in emergency and temporary housing grew to 1,528 from 1,340 the year before. An increase of 188 households. Just three years ago it was 700.

New build replacing Viscount House

The council has to find another £3 million to fund emergency housing costs beyond budgeted levels – which is a regular occurrence owing to a lack of social housing.

Housing to rear when viewed from General Gordon Square

Here’s the current view:

In that context, a net gain of 26 looks abysmal.

Towers planned also look pretty basic and blocky – though it is early days and we’ll need to wait if buildings with more merit are in the formal application.

Buildings will top out at 18 floors

A total of 26 council homes also appears a low number given the council sold plots at the former Waterfront car park for Berkeley Homes’ towers now rising and look set to sell the existing riverside site of Waterfront.

Waterfront car park was sold to Berkeley Homes

The council have partnered with a private developer Hill to build 450 other homes. It’ll be interesting to see what their profit total and margins will be. The council have not opted to use their Meridian Homes company for any of the substantial plot.


Other sources of funding for additional social homes could derive from grants announced by Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new fund (Greenwich saw a relatively low award for funding last month) and other rounds are due to follow.

Then there’s the millions being spent on buying existing homes at high cost instead of building new homes at a lower cost per unit – either directly or alongside a Housing Association.

Woolwich artist studios
Riverside House was sold by Greenwich Council in recent years. A developer now plans to use permitted rights to convert to housing. Under permitted rights no affordable housing needs to be provided

Greenwich Council also recently sold buildings in the town such as Riverside House.

Bull Tavern

The Tramshed and Bull Tavern are set to remain with Viscount house demolished. Despite the project being years behind schedule, shops are still trading in Viscount House.

Row of shops next to Bull Tavern look set to go. Only pub could remain

Demolition has been ongoing as seen in these pics taken on a recent walk:

To rear of Viscount House
Armstrong estate

A neighbouring estate is not in great nick. Plans see integration with the estate.

It’s hardly seen much benefit from all the previous new builds in the Woolwich area.

Armstrong Estate. Not a great welcome. A bin store? Better quality street furniture, entrance area and trees?

A car park will also be incorporated into the site. Parking was rather chaotic when visiting:

The leisure centre will include a 25 metre pool and a leisure pool alongside a café.

Good news! There’s a slide in renders.

Render of leisure pool

Greenwich have a track record of running way overbudget on recent capital projects so costs will be one to keep an eye on. Let’s see if the authority tries to keep it secret even from their own councillors this time.

Click here to view and comment on plans.

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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.

    5 thoughts on “Woolwich leisure centre and 500 home project: New details released

    • It honestly looks very similar to the Britannia Leisure Centre in Hackney.

    • ‘Greenwich Council have begun a consultation on long-delayed plans to build a new leisure centre and 500 homes at General Gordon Square.’

      I expect the “consultation” will give the council the outcome it wants but if not, the comments will simply be ignored.

    • There should have also been a paper consultation for residents of the Borough as not very one are able to or have access to the internet. including households on low incomes, elderly residents and disabled residents.

    • I hope the new Leisure Centre will improve the area around Woolwich New Road along side the Spray Street development as this area is in desperate need of regeneration and improvement.

    • Getting a new council swimming pool out of this would be nice, the mock-ups look pretty good. Riverside House is being used by SET Space at the moment and I do hope they can continue, it’s great to have artist studios in the area. If those were to all be lost to upmarket flats, with no social housing at all, then I doubt it would benefit the area.


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