Greenwich Borough Hall added to “at risk” register for listed buildings

A jewel in the crown of Greenwich borough has been added to an “at risk” register as the buildings sits empty and abandoned.

The Borough Hall has been unused for coming on four years now since Greenwich Dance left. I recently took quite a lot of photos of both the Borough Hall and Town Hall in anticipation of changes.

 

A plan to bring west-end theatre and musicals fell through. I looked at the plans in 2019, though council document relating to the proposed deal have since been removed.

The plan would have seen a 640-seat theatre from Selladoor.

A treasure
Funding miss

Greenwich Council placed the building up for sale rather than fund redevelopment. Funding to do so from sources such as the Community Infrastructure Levy has been lacking as Greenwich sit near bottom out of all London councils for collecting income from developers. Now I know Community Infrastructure Levy isn’t a fix-all and cannot cover all ills, but when the boroughs lags council’s such as Brent by £80 million for income over the past decade, it’s hard not to see how it could and can achieve a great deal.

Home to the homeless

Just one example is a 300-room hotel approved nearby at the former Magistrates’ Court site. A reports in 2015 stated far more income could have been gained from developers compared to what Greenwich chose to pursue: “The updated appraisal for hotel development undertaken by BNP Paribas in October 2014 (CE6) shows that hotel schemes could absorb a maximum CIL of between £259psm and £501psm”.

Extract from 2015 report

Greenwich went for a much lower rate at £100 psm when submitting proposals to the Planning Examiner.

Greenwich rates – some of the lowest in London for zones 2-4

Housing developments nearby will also see far less income for the council than was possible. Directly opposite the Borough Hall sits a development from London Square. A two-bed flat is £710,000.

Borough Hall directly opposite premium new development which sees developer pay extremely low community levy rate chosen by Greenwich in 2015 – and never revised

A rate of £230 per square metre payabl;e from developers to the council was possible in Greenwich town centre itself according to a Viability Report drawn up in 2015. The council chose £70 psm. Great for developers. Not so good the borough’s residents and assets. You’ll find nowhere else in London in such a salubrious spot as Greenwich (a world Heritage Zone no less!) that allows developers to pay so little to benefit the wider community.

Detailing to die for

The council also went overbudget at Woolwich Works which doesn’t help finances. They long proclaimed it would cost £31.6m. It ended up at £45.6 million excluding covid costs.

The question now is who will buy such a venue? Perhaps conversion to housing – if at all feasible – is the future.

Extension planned for housing

A large part of the building already has plans for conversion and extension to housing – as covered here in 2021.

It’s a stunning building and something that lifts the spirits every time when passing. Hopefully something happens sooner rather than later, and the area retains such a wonderful venue.

 

As a private renter with a young family, the cost of living is extremely high.

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Thank you

John 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.

8 thoughts on “Greenwich Borough Hall added to “at risk” register for listed buildings

  • February 2, 2022 at 8:25 pm
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    Sacrilege if it just becomes yet more luxury apartments with zero community use. RBG cock up YET AGAIN!! Is there ANYTHING they handle efficiently?? Needs a petition to bring this into community use before its too late, its a valuable asset and needs a fraction of what was spent in Woolwich on W/Works. Covid with luck becoming endemic, and theatre/studio/dance/art use much more likely to be an investment opportunity again, and its a great site, architect school close, Greenwich Uni, WHC status nearby, transport connections excellent and ready made market of tourists to add to Londoners and locals use. Get your fingers out council before you’re voted out.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 1:17 pm
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    Great spotlight on how greenwich assets are left to crumble as a direct result of greenwich council incompetence in reviewing the levy charges and putting some effort into maintaining our community buildings. There is a real amnd massive cost to Greenwichs awfulness.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 4:29 pm
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    I think that John Smith has hit the nail on the head with the low level of these charges: it is a lure, not that it is needed in Greenwich, to attract the developers. Greenwich is not being incompetent more like a patsy for big business.

    @Mr. D. Small: however much we wish Labour’s misrule to end, it is simply never going to happen. The numbers are not there for a change of regime.

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  • February 3, 2022 at 11:16 pm
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    Anon, I disagree, but am not as certain as you appear to be that change will ‘never’ happen. That’s a big word in modern politics and I believe Labour here are underestimating the move to Green issues. They are living in the past and (like the Tories pandering to the right) pandering to the car owning suburbs in the south- they’ll ignore the wealth generating Greenwich centre, East and Peninsula at their peril. That’s my gut feeling, but as I say, I’m in no way certain, but neither should you be! Change by stealth could happen, starting with the boundary changes. Huge majorities have changed elsewhere and could change here, despite the fact that I like the idea of Sir Keir as a new leader for the nation. Many new young families and couples/singles moving in to an area which is a desirable green area still, despite some massive overdevelopment. A few councillors changing to L/Dem and Green could begin the changes. I hope so. It certainly won’t turn Tory haha, of that I speak with (almost?) certainty!

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  • February 4, 2022 at 12:13 pm
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    Such a shame seeing the Greenwich Borough Halls building falling in to a state of neglect and disrepair.

    This impressive building could be a great asset for the Borough of Greenwich for use by the Community to hold various events exhibitions etc.

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  • February 4, 2022 at 12:29 pm
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    Any new homes built on the planned extension of the Greenwich Borough Halls must be in keeping with the existing Borough Halls building.

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  • February 6, 2022 at 2:02 pm
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    ‘A few councillors changing to L/Dem and Green could begin the changes.’ I admire your optimism @Mr. D. Small, but out of the 51 Greenwich council seats, Labour holds 42. There would need to be one hell of a revolt. I agree with you that Greenwich will never be Tory. The Johnson factor has seen to that.

    @Graham: Greenwich cannot even install replacement windows ‘in keeping with …’. I lived in a pleasant low rise block on Westcombe Park Road and when the major works project was undertaken, the council went for the cheapest, nastiest windows. Mind you, they turned out to be commensurate with the work done. I have a file of complaints to the council liaison manager.

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  • February 7, 2022 at 7:27 am
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    @ anonymous 201481 you be are not wrong when it comes to using the cheapest replacement windows.etc

    My windows were replaced by the Council around the year 2000. My double glazing gap is so thin between the two pains of glass that they are so much colder and draughty than the windows they replaced. So the energy rating in my home must be quite low compared by today,’s energy rating standards.

    Reply

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