Plans are in for the Royal Arsenal gatehouse in Woolwich with conversion to exhibition space proposed.
In some ways this is disappointing given long stated aims to improve Woolwich’s nightlife.
It’s just weeks since Woolwich was designated as a night time enterprise zone targeted at improving nightlife and the evening economy. Something Woolwich badly lacks.
Greenwich Council are proposing an exhibition space with external alterations to the structure.
The Gatehouse site appears absolutely ideal as a small pub/bar to bring additional footfall and life to Beresford Square both day and night, and act as a link to the Royal Arsenal into Woolwich.
Something akin to the Euston Tap would be brilliant at linking the two sides of town.
It’s location would help frame the space particular into the evening hours.
It’s currently used to lease office space to the Greenwich Enterprise Board with extremely close links to Greenwich Council, but is that likely to generate more life and buzz to Woolwich than a bar/restaurant/pub?
Limited office space could be relocated elsewhere in the town centre freeing up a building which could be a huge asset. Instead Greenwich Council seek to retain that use upstairs.
The Gatehouse is listed but sensitive changes could be made, as we’ve seen at many other sites.
Indeed, in the 1990s substantial internal changes were made to the listed building.
Greenwich Council do plan a café in a new pavilion type building nearby, but it won’t stay open late.
The Gatehouse itself was in line for demolition with dual carriageway plans in the 1960s. Many other buildings were flattened though it gained listed status, forcing the dual carriageway to run to the north where it remains.
It’s not hard to imagine it as a key hub and attraction for Woolwich both day and night. As much as change of use is welcome, does it really capture the potential of the building and its location?
To the north of the building raised planters are proposed which could inhibit space for a future segregated cycle lane.
You can read about changes to Beresford market next door here, which includes plans for a water feature, extensive landscaping alongside market stalls relocated outside Poundstretcher.
Proposals for a pavilion building have also been covered here.