Revisiting the “Greenwich folly” viewing deck five years on

One of developer Knight Dragon’s placemaking initiatives dreamt up some time ago was the idea of installing a small wooden structure on Greenwich peninsula offering views across the area in an ongoing attempt to bring a bit of interest and life to the area.

Installed almost five years ago – and covered here – the folly/pavilion always seemed closed upon passing over recent years. Upon opening there was also always someone employed to watch the site and given it always seemed to have no one was on it nor any staff for years accessibility looked to be denied.

When new in 2018

Having some time to kill in the area a wonder over showed it is still possible to go up there. They’ve ditched the pointless staff member.

It’s lost that shiny new appearance under the wet UK climate since 2018.

Looking down from top floor

Compare to when just opened –

New in 2018

The view from up top is hardly the Eiffel tower (it’d be a disappointing date) or one of the many viewing points London now has, but if passing it’s worth a brief scamper up.

Designed by Studio Weave it also does a good job showing how slowly development has passed in the 25 years since construction work begun on the Millennium Done let alone in the five years since it opened. The area is still a sea of vast car parks.

Car parks and more car parks

This always strikes me as a massive scandal. London has seen nigh on two million more people since the 1990s. There’s housing crises everywhere you look and here we have a huge area in inner London given over to parking.

We can see quite a few more towers over on the Isle of Dogs, but south of the river much of the area is still given over to parking.

Design District


Not that there hasn’t been some changes in the five years since it opened. Looking back it’s interesting to see how the Design District was a hole in the ground –

Taken October 2018

Not that it was parking before. It was a green space. Parking seems sacrosanct here.

Now it’s like this –

Design District


One of the bigger changes since 2018 is looking over the Thames to the Isle of Dogs where quite a few new towers have added to the cluster.

Canary Wharf cluster has extended out

Note that south of the Thames there’s more parking to the left of the Design District in the above photo. Acres and acres of it across the area.

Knight Dragon have submitted some plans to build around there but have a track record which is, shall we say, leisurely.

Mind you there is one residential site visible from up on the “folly”.

Looking south

Yet more parking is visible here that wasn’t there in 2018 but we can also see those red cranes.

They’re building these blocks –

Plot 19.05

The snappily named Plot 19.05 is set to see 431 homes. That’s an increase from 281 in an earlier plan.

That sums up Knight Dragon. They’ve been very good at submitting and gaining approval to increase overall homes across the peninsula but pretty awful at actually then building very many homes.

Decades of housing failure in one photo

The folly is all well and good at placemaking but it’d be nice to have more people living there to actually enjoy it.

As it is, it remains a good viewing spot to view decades of failure to build much needed housing while the car remains king.


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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 “Revisiting the “Greenwich folly” viewing deck five years on

  • It’s an absolute pointless feature in the area. Alongside the Hirst piece by the cable cars. It’s a small piece of land but it would make more sense if a food cart or coffee cart was given the space to function from there. I’m a local resident and business rates prevent independent businesses from setting up in the area. We had the promise of a local bakery which fell through and now it looks like the only new incoming business is a Sainsbury’s Local opposite Tesco.


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