Woolwich estate in Royal Borough left in squalor

Emails and messages often come in from readers stating its worth visiting this or that location and another came in this week mentioning an estate in Woolwich.

The estate in question is Maryon Grove which is part of the very long running One Woolwich project to replace homes at three council sites in a partnership between Greenwich Council and developer Lovells.

Off I popped to the site that featured 172 predominantly council homes. Blimey.

Numerous homes have been broken into

I’m rarely left as surprised as I was visiting the area, and for two main reasons. It wasn’t so much the general condition though it is in dire shape. That may be expected at condemned estates due for imminent demolition.

No, firstly, it was as this estate is completely open to the public. There was a couple of pieces of fencing strewn about but the vast majority of the site lays completely open.

Upper walkway. bent metal panels shows where homes broken into

I’d recommend go visiting. You won’t believe this is London in 2023 just left wide open beside Woodhill Primary School and existing homes.

Squalor. School on left

Most homes have had metal plates ripped off doors and windows. Whether this is an attempt by homeless people to move in, an attempt by some to strip homes of anything that may hold value or the mixture of the two, who knows.

It brings to mind post-war bomb sites. The thing economic development and safety laws long condemned to a distant memory. Except here.

A video showing just a small part of the site has been uploaded to my new Youtube page here.

A number of homes have been broken into and fires have taken place in a number. I really hope desperate homeless people aren’t living in homes on site.

Fire damage

Given so many are easily accessible it would be easy to get in.

Second, the condition may be less inexcusable if demolition was imminent with new homes set to begin rising.

Housing for hundreds now empty – and will be for years to come. Completely open to nearby streets

But that isn’t the case.

At a time when the borough’s homeless household population has more than doubled since 2018 to 1,611 in 2022 (including 855 in Emergency Overnight Accommodation EOA) residents have been evicted with no committed plan for new builds here.

Sharp rise in Greenwich borough’s homeless households as public housing blocks vacated of residents

There’s been no recent detailed consultation on future development at the Maryon Grove estate site let alone any detailed plans drawn up, let alone submitted.

The one Woolwich project sees three estate demolished (Maryon Grove, Connaught and Morris Walk) that featured just over mainly council 1,000 homes. In their place will be 1,500-homes with just 35 per cent “affordable”.

Garages beside school site.

The substantial reduction in truly affordable homes will be partially – though not fully – compensated after a recent decision to pay Lovells £87.5 million.

Making things worse is glacial progress. After 15 years of talk and 10 years after an agreement signed between Greenwich Council and Lovells, only one estate is fully rebuilt. Two out of three estates have already seen all residents evicted.

Fire damage

Straying away from the estate itself for a moment and surrounding streets are in a sorry state. Dumped rubbish is seen in a number of areas here.

There’s no dropped kerbs at convenient places for pedestrians to cross.

No dropped kerb at obvious crossing point

Guardrail lines residential streets showing vehicle-dominated design

Dated design

How Greenwich won an award for clean streets and flytipping remains a mystery to anyone who visits or lives in much of the borough – aside from select areas.

It’s all so very poor even away from the mess of the estate.

Health and safety officers would have a heart attack. Glass along walkways long gone

This is a council that loves to bang on about it’s “Royal” status and how millions are being spent in Woolwich, yet stray just a little beyond favoured areas and the whole landscape changes.

Greenwich will blame cuts. And that’s valid. In part. But Greenwich have been one of the more fortunate boroughs given huge levels of development bringing millions. Since austerity it’s one of the few sources of substantial funding for local authorities to mitigate cuts.

Greenwich have squandered much of that.

For those in certain areas , such as those living next door overlooking the Maryon Grove estate and parents taking children to school next to this site, there’s nothing Royal about this area. There’s no sign any care let alone money is doing the basic despite huge development across the borough.

Even worse is that homes for 172 people are now empty when people desperately need a place to call home.

Figures for those who are homeless are shocking in the borough. Thousands of people have been moved into temporary accommodation often miles from family, work and schools due to a lack of social housing.

Awful for those in such a position and costing taxpayers huge sums. Temporary accommodation is not cheap.

Former gardens abandoned

Yet in Woolwich social homes are being left to rot with no plan for replacement housing for years to come.

And when it does arrive, they’ll be less f them than previously existed.

Maryon Grove is symbolic of so much of what is wrong with housing in 2023.

I’m sure now this has come to light fencing will be erected. Why it already wasn’t says much.

Let’s just hope plans to rebuild here now do come along quickly rather than in another decade. There’s thousands of people who need – and deserve – good quality housing and an environment they can be proud to live in.

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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.

7 thoughts on “Woolwich estate in Royal Borough left in squalor

  • Couldn’t they have spent many thousands less on a fence in Woolwich town centre – blocking the main square – last autumn and spent it here instead?

  • Just ..how!?
    How have they let it get so bad after evicting all residents? All overseen by a school and residents. Is there no management of estates existing and former?

  • I used to live on glenalvon way (temporary accommodation) for 5yrs, then got moved 1 min up the road to maryon grove (also temp accommodation), I was there for 3yrs, and it was a knightmarish mould ridden dump, with a 1980s kitchen that was fallen apart, and a bunch of nob heads hanging around causing s**t every night. PA housing was my landlord while I was there, I believe they own them. While I was there waiting for council accommodation, PA housing wanted me out quickly as they did everyone. I think that PA housing got some crap building company to gut the empty property above me and cause a flood to force me out. I was left with water pissing down my wall for 3 days, and when they came back the builder (who was the one who was there 3days ago that caused the flooding in my property and can’t speak no English) came down and shows me a photo of the leak, (to make it look like it was someone else that did it) Basically they took the kitchen out, cut the water main under the sink, but rather than switching the main stop cock off by the front door first as in all the properties they BASHED the copper pipe flat, which didn’t hold the pressure, hence why I had an unwanted indoor swimming pool in my home. Considering they have gutted all properties there with no problems, mine seemed targeted somehow.

  • I moved into Trinity Walk (the land that was formerly the Connaught estate). The land behind in Brookhill Close is now being redeveloped. The pattern is the same. The landlords run down the existing housing usually over 10 years or so, saying the buildings are obsolete. They leave people living in squalor but at least the developers cannot be accused of land hoarding. Everyone gets really fed up. The Planning committees then argue they have local residents agreement. The new properties are for sale, with minimal social housing at ‘affordable rents’. The service charges are always huge because of the district heating system costs, substandard lifts and other fees. It is a developers dream. It increases social division and is social engineering of the worst kind because it causes rapid price inflation.

  • That’s greenwich council for you. They are useless assholes.

  • had some work there, There were still 2 families living there like this up until october 22. I hope they have gone now.

  • I got moved here after I got evicted out of glenavlon way. It was nice as my house wasn’t falling apart and full of mould.

    However the area was really dark and certain households were ruining the areas reputation, I lived around out of control kids and dogs, drug dealers and gang members who couldn’t fight their way out of a cardboard box.
    However, I had some really nice neighbours and new many more in the estate, stopping for a chat when I see them.

    There was a big problem with break ins too. Especially during the eviction phase, I had my flat broken into twice and my possessions in boxes stolen and new many others who had the same done.

    My house almost exploded too, there was a gas leak outside and the breaker box to the flat was on fire. The fire brigade said I was very lucky :0

    Overall, this estate is better off lost to time. I hope all is well for the residents that PA evicted.


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