Woolwich leisure centre replacement now rising

The first evidence of above-ground construction of a new leisure centre in Woolwich can now be seen from General Gordon Square.

Ground works have been ongoing for some time on the former site of Viscount House which housed a number of shops over the years.

Leisure centre upon completion

Now the first evidence of the building can be seen which will see a 25 metre, eight lane pool alongside a jacuzzi, play and training pools.

A green waterslide replaces the legendary green and yellow one seen at the Waterfront which briefly exits the building beside the Thames.

Proposed interior

They’ll also be ball courts, squash courts and a cafe.

Viscount House formerly stood on site with one its last tenants being Wilko.

Viscount House is no more

The building dates from the 1980s and housed a number of other smaller retailers over the years from Blockbusters to Barclays.

Waterfront site

Over at the existing Waterfront site work continues next door on the constructi0n of two further towers from Berkeley Homes as seen below.

New blocks rising beside Waterfront

These are the final two of six on this plot which was formerly the leisure centre car park.

When a replacement centre opens in 2025 the Waterfront centre will be demolished with housing-led development a certainty.

Waterfront sits beside towers

The big question now is with an ever-growing housing crises and the number of households in expensive emergency housing growing ever higher (from 450 to 1,880 in just six years) how will changes play out at the Waterfront from 2025?

Will Greenwich Council sell the land and see relatively little social housing on site while a developer captures their 20 per cent margins, or will the authority actively build directly either via Greenwich Builds or their Meridian Home Start venture which could be used to reinvest profit from private sales into greater council housing than selling land could provide?

New towers rising beside Waterfront.

A lack of council homes is causing vast and increasing amounts of public spend heading towards temporary and overnight accommodation as well as private landlords. It’s also seeing many households living in unsuitable and disrupted conditions.

A council report last October laid bare the crises with numbers without a permanent home at record highs and spending rising ever higher with budgetary pressures growing.

Housing at new centre

482 homes featured as part of development

Housing is also planned to the rear of the new centre along Viscount Road which involves the demolition of 26 existing council homes. Just 51 council homes are proposed out of almost 482 to be built leaving a net gain of 24; a total of five per cent of overall housing on site being social housing.

Given the sheer cost and problems seen with a lack of council housing resulting in millions being spent on temporary housing alongside paying high costs to now buy homes directly from developers after they’ve taken their twenty per cent profit margin (see the news about buying homes in Greenwich and Woolwich last week including one site metres away) planning so few homes on site seems a misguided and short-term move.

New homes a cert but will development benefit public funds long term and those in need of housing?

As for the housing behind the new leisure centre, there’s no sign of it starting yet.

Now we wait to see if the Waterfront site follows that same path seen at the the new centre with a development including few truly affordable homes – or whether the authority takes an active and direct role to alleviate current problems.

 

 

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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.

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