Riverside House in Woolwich may become 17-floor student block and 265-room hotel

Riverside House in Woolwich could become student accommodation in a block up to 17 storeys in height beside a 265-bed hotel.

Newly submitted planning documents highlight a potential “335 units of purpose built student accommodation” at the site which previously saw numerous proposals for residential conversion. The latest of which in 2021 proposed 209 homes.

Riverside House on right amongst other new builds

Formerly a Greenwich Council office block the council sold in 2017 (perhaps not the greatest idea given how much homelessness and resultant costs have rapidly increased including almost £1m a month on Travelodges alone) it was also home to HMRC.

The site sits around a large number of new developments including six towers from Berkeley Homes, who also propose 660 homes nearby along Beresford Street. That plan was submitted in March 2024.

In recent years Riverside House been used as artist studios.

Existing building’s core structures will remain

A document uploaded today states that the basic structure of Riverside House would remain but “the external envelope will be replaced”. It’s currently 14 floors but 17 is stated.

The application is an Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Report which is one of the first stages of the planning process.

Entrance to site

Changing buildings, stagnant streetscape

Riverside House’s location on both Beresford Street and Woolwich High Street is a less than enticing place and remains grim on foot despite substantial development all around.

Poor public realm severs town from riverside

Other nearby sites set for development include Mortgramit Square – covered last month – as well as approved student housing at the former Catholic Club now undergoing demolition.

Student housing is one of the main growth areas seen in recent years across London and other UK cities.

Proposed development at Mortgramit Square

Waterfront leisure centre also sits nearby and that too is set for demolition and replacement, with a new centre opening in 2025 on General Gordon Square.

Yet despite the many, many new developments recently built and others coming in thick and fast don’t expect any changes to better connect the river to the town centre and improve the areas neglected streetscape.

Chances wasted

Greenwich Council have many times ignored opportunities from development-related income to improve this area and reduce severance, and recent applications and decisions both in Woolwich and other major growth areas such as Greenwich peninsula differ little.

Poor crossings and dated vehicle-dominated design

Section 106 monies are likely to go anywhere and everywhere except public spaces save for some cursory and very limited changes (see the world’s saddest public realm at Callis Yard tower next door for an example). Tokenistic stuff at best in other words, while the council neglected to increase Community Infrastructure Levy rates ensuring revenue from that avenue will be far less than most – if not all – similar areas across London (and beyond) close to excellent transport links.

Strategic plans and utilising potential funds to enact them? Sadly not evident. Thousands more may live in the area and many more may visit hotels – but it’s not translating into improving certain key areas right in the midst of it all.


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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 “Riverside House in Woolwich may become 17-floor student block and 265-room hotel

    • Greenwich Council should have converted Riverside House to social housing rather than selling the building off for private redevelopment. Not a good move by Labour controlled Greenwich Council.
      However, has the Riverside House site was sold off student accommodation.would be a good use of the building being located close to the student accommodation being built on to the site of the old Catholic club.
      Does Woolwich really need a 265 bedroom hotel? Unless it is going to be used to provide accommodation.for the ever growing number of families on the Borough’s housing waiting list.
      I hope the site of the old Waterfront Lesuire Centre will be used for much needed social housing.
      Along with other Council own sites as they become available in the future.


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