Woolwich General Gordon Square IS shut due to firework issues

Greenwich Council have confirmed that General Gordon Square in Woolwich has been fenced off  due to groups launching fireworks at each other and, public and police.

Fencing appeared around the middle of last week with no confirmation as to why. It’s now confirmed that ongoing disorder is the reason.

However it appears to have had no impact as last night saw numerous serious incidents and at least one injury.

In addition, according to people in the area, they were placed at greater risk last night as fencing penned them into smaller areas such as the stretch outside Woolwich Equitable pub preventing options to move away when fireworks begun being launched.

Sign of failure?

It’s quite something that the main civic heart of a major town centre been fenced off, and symbolic of wider issues given similar events have happened annually in recent years.

Police were lacking and these measures, which impact everyone for the actions of a minority, appear a symptom of insufficient numbers.

Despite pulling in officers from a wide area last night they were easily outnumbered.

Though perhaps more relevant were tactics which often consisted of standing in certain parts of the town centre merely observing. Quite a few locals stated that a lack of proactive action from police encouraged groups.

Police did move some groups but in a limited manner. There was the odd chase of a suspect though this was sporadic.

A number of locals were critical of limited police action, though relatively few police would have contributed to tactics.

Given this is happening almost daily, and for some years now, current tactics clearly aren’t working.

If fencing was intended to limit options and minimise escape options for those responsible it had little impact, as groups could often operate with apparent impunity and simply run off in any other direction without any real pursuit.

If last year was any guide, they’ll be more of this over coming days.

In the meantime business will suffer as some give the town a wide berth.

Fencing off the square does not appear a fix for these deeper problems.


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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.

    9 thoughts on “Woolwich General Gordon Square IS shut due to firework issues

    • A ridiculous “solution” to the problem. Anyone know of any other town that does this?

      The optics are terrible too. We have to close a square as we can’t control issues happening with alarming regularity.

      One major problem is Woolwich so often feels dodgy and a place normal rules don’t exist, from shops doing what they want to hate preachers allowed to spout things. Once in a blue moon authorities may step in but the whole town appears a free for all at times.

      So of course that encourages those who want to cause issues. Videos on Facebook and Instagram show police doing very little as groups ran riot near Parry Place and Spray Street that is simply another area authoritiys often allow to go unpoliced and is a chaotic area.

      Woolwich now has a reputation for being a place you can act with impunity with a hands off approach which culminates in nights like last night. A few fences is laughable.

    • Not sure what that fence is supposed to do! It only seems to stop people going onto the square but doesn’t prevent people letting off fireworks at bus stops and the surrounding shops!
      Another typical waste waste of money measure by the council(?)!
      I simply haven’t visiting Woolwich town centre in over 2 years! It doesn’t matter how much money is spent on it when a significant minority are causing mayhem.
      Building more and more high density flats is only going to add to the problem as where are the children going to go when they don’t have gardens to play? They end up wandering the streets!

    • Agreed Bob, it’s ridiculous!
      The police and locals must know who are causing the majority of the problems?
      We have to find out how these trouble makers are getting involved in these actions in the first place and work with local community leaders to help prevent them falling into gangs and anti-social behaviour in the first place because the council & police can’t seem to enforce the laws!
      It’s also interesting you mention that shops doing what they want without the authorities getting involved! I’ve had problems with a neighbour’s/landlord’s building works, complained to the council and they are trying to wash their hands of it, yet we had our extension done through all the correct channels, paid the fees etc, got all the correct paperwork at significant expense and hassle (our MP is now getting involved). Now I think why bother?! It doesn’t pay to do the right thing these days and that’s a dangerous mindset to create!

      *but they may not access public spaces during festive periods

    • RBG are blaming delinquent school children it seems and have asked parents to make sure their children go straight home tonight. Very disturbing to see so many youths running amok in the town centre like that, you can only imagine what they are like when in school!

    • This is the Woolwich to which people are hoping to attract new and better businesses. I don’t think so.

      • It’s poor PR of course but Woolwich has a lot going for it and getting better.

    • What does Woolwich have going for it other than crossrail?

    • Pingback: Fencing off public spaces – one of the emerging legacies of the coronavirus crisis? – FestSpace

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