Eltham town centre buildings added to Heritage List against owner’s wishes

Two sites in Eltham have been added to Greenwich borough’s Local Heritage List.

One site comprises buildings on Eltham High street including Eltham Arcade with the other site being Wellington House on Messeter Place.

UPDATE: Greenwich planners have just given approval to demolish Wellington House!

The due date for a decision to add to the list was 8th August, and Greenwich Planners gave approval for demolition on 8th August.

Eltham Arcade retains details from opening in 1930.

Courtesy Greenwich Council

According to a council report, “Support for the local listing of Eltham Arcade was received from four business occupiers who consider the Eltham Arcade should be added to the Local Heritage List since it is unique architecturally and because there are few arcades surviving.”

The owners however objected “The agent for the landowner of Eltham Arcade objected on the grounds that the site comprises nondescript utilitarian buildings which are incomplete and have been subject to significant alteration.

High Street frontage

“It is not an unusual or rare building type but is typical of suburban 1930s architecture without the architectural qualities of 19C shopping arcades across the UK.”

Wellington House is the other site which also features former stables and a cobbled courtyard.


Again the owners objected “The agents for the landowner of Wellington House objected on the grounds that the site is dilapidated and vacant, it is not an unusual or rare building type, it retains no architectural features of interest or significance, it is one of many such depot sites in London, and it is a low-key contributor forming an awkward and unvalued part of the townscape.”

The council’s report stated: “Assessment against the selection criteria for local heritage listing has found they both meet the criterion for architectural interest, since they both represent rare and unusual building types in the borough.

Courtesy Greenwich Council

Both landowner representations produced no evidence that there are similar building types in the Borough and this has strengthened the Council’s assessment.”

The Local Heritage List affords less protection than national listing, though the report highlights “that its conservation as a heritage asset is a material consideration when determining planning applications.

Both sites

“The decision maker must adopt a balanced judgement having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset.”

The decision came down to Cllr Aidan Smith who agreed to add them to the Heritage List.


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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.

5 thoughts on “Eltham town centre buildings added to Heritage List against owner’s wishes

  • Decisions like this can only be a good thing. The texture and variety of buildings such as this add to the character of many areas which are in danger of loosing local identity by removing structures with recorded history (such as photographs). Repurposing and restoring them – which is green in itself of course – encourages greater care of supposedly ‘mundane’ suburban areas. It’s all too easy to write off utilitarian buildings and 20th-century townscapes (especially Neo-Georgian) buildings. Unfortunately, planning offices experience a shortage of historically-informed planner officers who can counter the nonsense of developments, so in this case, well done Greenwich.

  • I’ve not visited there for years, but the arcade was always a part of my Eltham shopping trips back in the days when Tesco’s was still there and before Sainsbury’s. The fantastic DIY shop, the café, Tony’s I think was the clothes shop, the jewellers on the corner, the book shop…

    Was always my favourite end of the High Street with the fishmongers and wool shop along Pound Place. Showells Toys and Sports and the art shop just up from the arcade on the corner.

    Glad to hear it has been listed, so hopefully will be saved from becoming another bland box of flats.

  • Good news for Eltham’s heritage that both sites are now listed on the heritage list. Well done Greenwich Council.

    I like the Arcade at Eltham and now it is listed and it’s future is secure it will be good news for businesses located there and a much needed boost for Eltham High Street.

  • Excellent news. Well done Greenwich Council. I hope busines owners will feel more secure. Now let’s make more use of the Arcade and Eltham High Street and have shops open later in the evenings and open longer on Sundays to help save our High Streets as mentioned and help the evening and weekend economy and other local businesses like pubs restaurants etc in the hospitality sector..

  • Excellent News that the Arcade on Eltham High Street and the Wellington House sites have been added to the Heritage list.


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