Work to renovate a number of buildings across Woolwich town centre is now underway as the First Choice cafe sees restoration.
The High Streets Heritage Action Zone project is funded by central government in conjunction with Historic England with a number of applications submitted over the past year covering a number of buildings.
First Choice cafe at the junction of hare Street and Woolwich High Street was the site of Burton’s first Woolwich store.
As this end of Woolwich declined they moved ever further east. Firstly to where TKMaxx now resides and then into a small unit on Powis Street.
Revisions to the first application has been submitted though changes seem pretty minor. Glossier materials and removal of mirror vinyls.
According to the original application for restoration: “The corner building was built in 1929 as Montague Burton’s first purpose-built shop in Woolwich, after the clearance of a large outfitter’s (Thompson and Jackson) for road widening.”
Woolwich could now do with some road changes at this end of town which severs the riverside from the town centre.
It’s proposed that when the Waterfront leisure centre is demolished a view of the Thames is once again opened up.
As covered a few times recently, this end of town has been improving in recent years. A new supermarket opened on Powis Street this week and Hare Street has more businesses and shops operating than it has for a long time.
Berkeley Homes have almost completed the third and fourth towers of an eventual six near the site that could bring more footfall. Balconies are now being attached to two blocks.
More people will hopefully mean more interesting little shops and bars this end of town, which could then attract more people to venture down from the town centre in a virtuous circle.
Though as welcome as improvements are at this end of Woolwich, until the dual carriageway is altered and the street less of a barrier it’ll act as a major drag on recovery.
It’s currently clogged with parking, clogged with traffic, ugly and pedestrian unfriendly.
Fix that – and Woolwich will reap the rewards.