A major Woolwich town centre development that is set to bring hundreds of homes and a Picturehouse cinema in the covered market is set to begin in 2024 according to an update this week.
New council member for regeneration Aidan Smith gave an update on the project before the Regeneration, Transport and Culture Scrutiny Panel last Monday 4th July.
Greenwich Council are working with St. Modwen and Notting Hill Genesis on the project formerly know as Spray Street before branded as Woolwich Exchange.
Cllr Smith stated that ‘we’re in the process of buying the properties’, with a construction timeline spanning 2024 to 2029.
In regards to the Picturehouse cinema, Cllr Miranda Williams (Labour) raised the issue of paying the London Living Wage. Picturehouse, which is Cineworld’s premium brand, have been criticised for failing to pay the London Living Wage.
Staff have previously been on strike over low wages.
Cllr Smith responded to say it’s hard to state what will happen given opening is up to seven years away.
Meeting chair Cllr Lauren Dingsdale (Labour) asked whether too much emphasis was being place don Woolwich in regards to various projects. Smith responded to state that it’s a good time to capitalise on current changes, with the Arsenal site approaching completion and a need to tempt people over into Woolwich town centre.
Cllr Rowshan Hannan (Labour) also emphasised the need for investment and focus to be borough-wide. Cllr Smith responded that they do need to be ambitious for every area.
Woolwich Exchange is set to bring 801 homes to the area alongside shops and a small public square within the site.
It saw a difficult gestation as some business owners complained of being evicted with poor alternative sites being offered.
Initially a row of buildings were set to be demolished. That has now changed and most except the corner building will be altered with facades revamped and repurposed.
Here’s a render of how it should look. Note the corner does contain a new build:
Massing is heavily weighted towards the north east corner of the site, and this is one area CGI images released beforehand seemed less eager to promote:
Another view when approaching from Plumstead:
The meeting covered various other issues, including Community Infrastructure Levy changes which was covered in a post in recent days.
Back to Woolwich Exchange and the site still clings on. These are photos taken recently from a passing bus, with all that is visible set for replacement:
The vacant area on the right in the above photo saw a building literally crumble away. I recall taking photos of it way back in the late 2000s as it did so, though sadly I believe the photos like the building are now lost.
All buildings shown above will also come down, with work set to commence in two years.