Woolwich building restoration project underway

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.

Proposed frontage

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.

Cafe at junction of Hare Street and Woolwich High Street

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.

Cafe restoration work underway. View of Thames ahead now blocked

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.

Looking down Hare Street. TKMaxx on left also another former Burtons’ shop

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.

Towers facing Woolwich High Street

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.

Poor public realm severs town from riverside

Fix that – and Woolwich will reap the rewards.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Woolwich building restoration project underway

  • Looks a lot nicer with shutters removed alone, but will they consider security an issue and replace the ugly eyesores of shutters again, or will that be disallowed under heritage buildings protection. Ugly shutters are a real sign of dying high streets and crime ridden areas. Alternative security measures are far better, and a street community police presence once again a must, not just daytime.

  • The council could do with having a word with BT about the two phone boxes outside the cafe. I have never seen them used, and they clutter the pavement, so could be removed.


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