How Woolwich town centre upgrade work was shaping up before contractor collapse

A major project to change various areas of Woolwich town centre took a hit in recent weeks as contractor Osborne collapsed.

Just before it happened (and just after) I’d paid visits to see how things were looking with the intention of writing something up for the site, and the great shame is progress seemed tangible in the recent past.

Work seemed to have moved ahead on section of square

Beresford Square hadn’t seen much (visible) change in months until recently when work on the landscaped area appeared to have moved forward.

They’d been excavation, materials on site and services work seemingly progressing.

This image shows how it’s due to look when work is complete.

Woolwich market plans

Future cafe

Similarly, the former toilet block is set to become a pavilion and cafe with signs of movement there too.

Future cafe and pavilion site. Student block and 660-home Berkeley development coming at sites in distance

I could be completely wrong but excavations on the right seemed to have progressed.

Here’s what was on site before.

Formerly on site

Back on Powis Street and work at the western end had moved along reaching past Iceland towards its end point at the junction with Hare Street.

Western extent of work

Compare the above image taken at the end of April with this below taken on the 11th.

Woolwich town centre upgrade early April

While at the eastern end of Powis Street work had moved to areas beside the central “road” though progress here wasn’t as noticeable compared to a few weeks prior.

Work had started at eastern end near DLR station entrance

Now of course there’s no one on site and shops and shoppers will contend with limited space while seating has been reduced. A previous post’s comment highlighted how that’s impacted the disabled.

Greenwich Council are now in the process of securing a new contractor. As ever, the usual accusations of corruption start flying when it comes to local authority action without much evidence.

Looking towards Woolwich Arsenal DLR entrance

What happens now?

A contractor going under sadly isn’t unheard of – and certainly not right now with the building and construction industry in a pretty torrid state.

Could Greenwich Council have done more? We may well find out and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee could well take a look but a contractor going under is certainly nothing unique to Greenwich Council – and especially right now.

Appointing a new contractor could well see a cost increase and how that is funded remains to be seen. The project is mainly funded through a £17.2 million central government grant via the Future High Streets fund. The wider Woolwich town centre project sees supplementary funding from Greenwich Council and Heritage England.

Cut back on extensive landscaping? It’s an area of high footfall beside bus stops and near future housing so could make sense anyway

I’m somewhat dubious they’ll cough up more so it’ll either be cut back on scope (the pavilion/café or fountains removed?) or extra funding from Greenwich Council.

Greenwich could use Community Infrastructure Levy funding to do so – and having just paid off the Woolwich station Elizabeth line cost that seems plausible.

Dartford town centre

It’s not unheard of either; Dartford Council topped up a cost overrun at their town centre project recently using CIL funding due to high inflation.


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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 “How Woolwich town centre upgrade work was shaping up before contractor collapse

  • I hope works can be completed to plan as Wookwich does need regeneration and major improvements to public realm. As the area had been allowed to go in to decline witb lack of regular maintenance to public realm by Greenwich Council.
    If the administrators can find a buyer for Osbornes securing the jobs of the construction workers we do not know as yet.
    If not Greenwich Council will need to appoint a new contractor to complete the works. This process could take sometime.

  • Let’s hope works can be completed to plan so Woolwich gets the Improvements it needs to attract more people to the area for leisure and importantly to live in the many new developments in the area.
    Helping to improve the night time and weekend economy. As plans are to also events in Beresford Square.


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