Greenwich Council are seeking help from the Mayor with the struggling Woolwich Works venue.
The venue has already seen a £2 million emergency loan given which saw £1.8 million quickly drawn down. Greenwich Council’s leader blamed central government last week for problems, though a number of other major issues are also impacting the building.
The full council meeting heard (at the 1hr 12 mins mark) council leader Cllr Anthony Okereke say in response to Conservative leader Cllr Matt Hartley that they are building partnerships and raised meetings with the Mayor.
A written reply also highlighted that the mayor is being asked for support.
One issue heard at a previous Scrutiny Panel meeting are high costs to operate, with a previous council meeting hearing that part of the venue isn’t always suitable for its intended purpose of holding live events. How that wasn’t picked up before work carried out is odd.
Others included basic errors such as failing to capture bar revenue during private events. Advertising and simple elements such as building signage have been extremely poor from day one.
There’s also the ongoing sheer lack of events. While the live sector undoubtedly has difficulties, a glance at other venues across London and other UK cities often shows a far stronger mix of events, both in terms of number and choice.
A glance at Woolwich Works’ website for a long time has shown the line up to be extremely lacking. People are just going to lose the habit of checking if so little is ever on.
No venue will succeed with such basic issues including a paltry line-up of events. Other venues in London and beyond are still managing to get the basics right.
They used to blame the Elizabeth line being delayed. Well now it’s been open since May 2022 that excuse seems on the backburner.
The venue does now have a new Director who previously worked at Perth Theatre and Concert Hall in Scotland. A number of Christmas events have now been revealed.
Hopefully that offers a jolt in the arm for the beleaguered venue which can go from strength to strength.
That’ll be in everyone’s benefit, from local residents with events to enjoy, performers with a place to put on work and the public who have seen so much council funding invested in the space.