Woolwich gains funding for late night events and new lighting

The Mayor of London’s “Night Czar” has announced that Woolwich will receive money to put on events in the evening.

On the face of it it’s something to be applauded. Much of south east London’s nightlife is pretty dire, lacking good clubs, late night pubs, restaurants and music venues.

The total for Woolwich from the Mayor is £130,000.

However recent experience may lead one to be a tad wary. Why?

It’s one way to present yourself to the world

Well, £166,000 was also recently awarded for Greenwich town centre. It clearly stated late night events was one aim. Except one big event put on ended at 9pm. That wouldn’t be late in a rural hamlet let alone a busy town in a major world city.

And then last night Greenwich Council hosted a lantern parade in Greenwich town centre which saw entertainment plus the Christmas market lights switch on – yet only ran from 4pm to 6 pm thus excluding many who may have wanted to attend after work.

Back to business as then usual with early closing.

Woolwich lighting

Maybe the authority will put something on in Woolwich when not fencing off the town’s busy main square and in effect telling the world its not a safe place to visit. Guess we’ll see.

Attempts to get people from here to town centre

The “Night Czar” (a truly terrible name) also stated a “new lighting scheme connecting the town centre and Royal Arsenal”.

All a bit odd as the town’s forthcoming multi-million upgrade already plans to rip out some nice continental-style lighting put in just 10 years ago at Beresford Square for new lighting as part of a multi-million public realm project.

Lighting above square to be removed

The bigger issue by far when it comes to each side of Woolwich is the bloody great road that splits the town.

A major obstacle

The road which has seen numerous developments built and approved either side with no money to improve links between each side of Woolwich.

Ample space for reworking street. Woolwich Exchange development approved on right. No plans to use related income to improve road.

Woolwich Exchange is to be built on the southern side:

Woolwich Exchange plans approved

On the northern side of the road we see plans for Armourers Court:

New builds at Armourers Court

Like many other projects in Woolwich which have brought substantial income to council coffers, next to no thought has been given to reducing the impact of this road on linking two sides of the town.

Road through Woolwich

Severance was actually increased when they placed guard railing along the middle of the street ensuring it resembled a rural A-Road to an even greater extent.

Landscaping was ripped out having never been cleaned for years.

Central reservation was landscaped and then removed about three years after being installed

Another way to limit severance between the two parts of Woolwich could be to bring some life to the Royal Arsenal Gatehouse to create a focal point for Beresford Square.

It’s a prime spot just over from the Arsenal entrance.

This was included in the original idea of Beresford Square last year, then removed when plans were recently submitted.

Inactive ground floor frontage

Now you’ll have to excuse the dazzling graphic design prowess on display here – and no all windows would be possible – but this could be a real asset to the area bringing footfall.

It’d be great to see a little bar or coffee shop at ground floor level bringing life to the area.

There’s similar space the other side of the structure. They’d also be far more “natural surveillance” of the area into the evening with such a venue.

A cool little bar or pub could do much to help foster a late night economy and perhaps bring about those hopes of nightlife in Beresford Square seen in 2011 renders:

How it was supposed to look back in 2011

Now the vast majority of what was installed just 10 years ago at great cost is to be ripped out at part of the £20 million Future High Streets project, but have the authority really learnt much at all in how to create and maintain an area people want to visit and spend time in both day and night?

Anyway I’ve gone way off-piste again, but Woolwich is chock full of potential.

I will contact Greenwich Council for comment on their lighting plans, but as they dislike scrutiny they now flat out fail to respond to queries. Still, will try again.


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J 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.

    One thought on “Woolwich gains funding for late night events and new lighting

    • Woolwich looks so neglected , After hours the town centre looks quite eerie, apart from a few eating places.vast improvement like having buses at all accessible parts would help the local economy plus having toilets facilities . Other areas with a lively high street, presenc have buses which is great, especially with mobility issues and easy access to shops etc. Noticeable that road signage off the beaten track have no Royal Borough . All in all a sad decline.


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