If all goes to plan Crossrail should finally open in the first half of 2022. At Woolwich in particular, many major changes will occur alongside throughout the year across a wide range of areas.
Firstly we can expect progress on two projects that could transform the face of many areas of the town centre such as Powis Street and Beresford Square.
Many buildings across the town will see investment via the £3.8 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme, which was announced in September 2019. That followed the designation of Conservation Zone status across much of the town centre earlier in 2019.
Shopfronts will be improved as part of the project. Woolwich has long seen a wide range of buildings fall into disrepair.
A separate project will see public realm work along Powis Street and Beresford Street from the Future High Streets fund. Further details and consultation should be undertaken in coming months.
£17.2 million is to be spent via that fund.
Powis Street and Hare Street are currently a mix of a 1980s pedestrianisation and 1990s alterations that removed raised planters and re-laid paving.
Expect much change along these areas.
Other renders show permanent market stalls in Beresford Square.
The Royal Arsenal Gatehouse would become a café or bar.
Woolwich market’s current yard will be surplus to requirements.
Plans for a large development on this site were rejected last year. Expect to see revised plans and a new application in 2022.
One major project that is approved and will continue are Berkeley Homes’ towers. Two are now complete, and a further two now well underway:
These blocks bring hundreds of flats to the town.
Will we see Mast Quay towers complete in 2022? They made good progress throughout 2021:
A decision is also expected this year on 523 new homes above Elizabeth Line station. TfL and Berkeley Homes are working on this with plans submitted last month.
We’ve recently seen 300 student rooms at Catholic Club site submitted for planning approval. If approved it could well begin late 2022. More likely is the Catholic Club is demolished with work starting in 2023.
Over 700 homes at sites around Woolwich Tesco were submitted in 2021 after previous rejection. Greenwich planners seem happier with the revised block and so this could well be approved in 2022.
Nearby on General Gordon Square is the leisure centre and housing scheme whic will see over 500 homes. Housing design is unknown beyond general massing ideas and numbers.
We should gain much more detail this year, and the current Viscount House may see demolition commence. So far only the rear of the building has gone. Greenwich’s expected opening date has slipped a number of times necessitating short term maintenance at high cost in the Waterfront centre to keep it going. The current opening date is 2025.
There’s also the Island Site which has revised plans. We should see an application in 2022 but no building commencing.
Morris Walk estate build with 766 homes was approved in 2021 and the site now flattened. Building should begin in 2022.
Riverside House has had a number of plans for housing using Permitted Rights. The latest being conversion to 209 homes. It’s unlikely to start in 2022 given current use as studios for artists.
Another site where changes are coming but little expected in 2022 is Woolwich Exchange at Spray Street.
Approved in 2021, the site requires a large number of plots to be purchased including via CPO if necessary.
There may be some small-scale demolition later in the year, but most work will follow in 2023 and beyond.
The big unknowns, or unknown unknowns in the words of Donal Rumsfeld is what other changes will happen. All these developments bring vast sums of money, and expectations of improvements in many areas havn’t occurred, whether it be safer cycle lanes in Woolwich or estate improvements.
One thing is for sure, and that’s in 2022 transport improvements will be huge and the town will see much more change before the year is out. It’ll be an exciting time and one I’ll be covering throughout.