Latest look at Woolwich’s £25 million town centre changes

It’s been a few weeks now since this site last looked at changes across Woolwich town centre and it’s about time we took another look at what’s happening.

If you missed it the other day I looked at how the new leisure centre is rising on General Gordon Square but that’s not the focus today.

This post will look at upgrades on Powis Street, Beresford Square and a little look at renovating heritage buildings. It’ll be the biggest change since the last one in the early 2010s. And before that the 1990s.

Taken 2023 shortly before rebuilding begun

And before that the 1980s. Greenwich council will get it right one day.

So first then, Powis Street. The fencing was brought down over Christmas nearest the DLR station after the “road” was complete.

New “road” layout is in

Either side will see the lighting and benches installed in the 1990s removed alongside the 1980s setts.

In their place will new street furniture as well as landscaping.

Future

Beresford Square and market

Not a great deal has changed since the previous look at Beresford Square. The lighting installed just over a decade ago in the last major revamp has gone for scrap.

Paving lifted

The cobbles are lifted too. Some materials will be reused but much is gone for good at barely a decade old.

In time market traders will be located in a line along the left as seen in the above pic, with a water feature and landscaping to the right.

Looking towards Beresford Square market

I’ve long gone on about it but a bar/restaurant/cafe/pub in the Royal Arsenal Gatehouse’s ground floor could be the key to rejuvenate this square and connect the Arsenal and this side of town.

Woolwich market plans

However a Greenwich council-linked organisation based there don’t want to give it up though so a small gallery is about the best that can be hoped for. Nice, but in no way will that drive as much footfall and in turn frame the square bringing life and a spark other options would provide.

With so much being spent and the most recent scheme already being ditched it’s hard not to see that a major opportunity squandered.

Looking towards Poundstretcher. Toilets gone

The toilets are gone as previously covered. There’s not much really to see.

A pavilion is due to be built here.

Woolwich market pavilion. Landscaping looks faintly ridiculous in a busy area of high footfall

I’m still waiting for a redevelopment proposal for those buildings housing Poundstretcher. That must to be ripe for redevelopment.

Shopfronts

Alongside millions for public realm changes there’s money from Heritage England for shopfront improvements.

One such location now finished is a cafe near the Waterfront.

Cafe revamp

What you may have spotted in some photos is that parking remains a free for all in the town centre. All over the pavements and public space.

Putting it bluntly, Greenwich Council are crap at looking after areas even in major town centres. They’ve long been crap. They’re still crap. It’s why every decade they gain outside funding then never maintain what’s installed and things fall apart.

It doesn’t matter whether there’s austerity or not. Whether there’s no building in the area or an influx of new developments and millions flowing in (though it should be more as they cock that up to but enough of that now) they simply don’t have a clue what to do.

Will this time be different?

As I’ve walked around seeing the latest £25 million being spent it’s hard not to think they’ll let it soon fall apart given how things are. They didn’t look after much after the 2010s revamp. They didn’t it in the 1990s and 2000s. Much hope now?

Hope springs eternal and all that. Despite the place getting slated by many I love Woolwich. I really do. I’ve worked there. Shopped there. Spent many nights out there.

It has so much going for it. Wonderful buildings are everywhere. But please get some departments and a council that have half a clue how to look after it.

 

 

 

 

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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 “Latest look at Woolwich’s £25 million town centre changes

  • I agree with John. Greenwich Council have lost a great opportunity to increase footfall in the area by not opening a cafe restaurant or pub on the ground floor of the Gate House. This is a very busy area of Woolwich with a lot of people paying through on their way to the Woolwich Elizabeth Line Station.

    Also the cafe restaurant or pub would have also helped the night time economy in Woolwich.

    I am pleased Woolwich is getting a revamp but wish the Powis Street Scheme was also extended to cover Hare Street. As this scheme will help to improve Woolwich for businesses. shoppers and residents who
    Live in and atoud Woolwich.
    Greenwich Council now need to do more to tackle the car parking free for all as mentioned by John in Woolwich along witb the rat infestation. Then Woolwich will be a great place to live work and visit.

    Reply
  • The problem with Woolwich is the ‘urban shear’ that happens at the A206 as it passes Beresford Square. The high velocity traffic creates a pedestrian and use barrier. Unfortunately funds for sinking the road completely and creating pedestrian life nks, or even partially with minimally elevated pedestrian links would allow the dissonant urban characters of the Southern and Northern zones to blend, bringing some of the commercial character to toward the river, and the calmer, and residential urban character South. It is never good urban design practice to abruptly change urban uses at a hard barrier like a road, although it is unfortunately done all the time. This fractures the fragile, cohesive urban space of the street, especially on high traffic velocity roads like the A206. Better to create parallel transition zones beyond the first layer of buildings, which can remain porous to pedestrian traffic, and sometimes even to access parking structures behind the layer of building making the urban edge. Greenwich council, as evidenced by the chopped salad they’ve created in Woolwich over the years seems to not have the sophistication, or motivation to bring the subtlety required to the urban planning of Woolwich. The 25M will be spent and forgotten, and the ‘planting’ and concrete seating will after a few years resemble abandoned military anti-tank installations, ironical as it is.

    Reply

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