50 council homes planned for 500-home Woolwich Leisure Centre development

Woolwich Leisure Centre render
The view from General Gordon Square of the proposed development

Fifty council homes are planned for the new Woolwich leisure centre development, which Greenwich Council hopes to open by the end of 2024.

Shops including Wilko and the Troy Court council block are to be demolished for the new development, which the town hall hopes will help revitalise a town centre battered by decades of decline.

Designs have now been unveiled for the public to comment on, but the council has held out the possibility of a reprieve for the Bull pub – which sits on the development site – by saying it is “exploring different options” for the building. If the Bull is demolished, a replacement bar is planned.

The council homes will form up to 10 per cent of the housing in the project, which will also include new shops, workspace and public spaces.

The Tramshed performing arts centre will be completely refurbished as part of the scheme, which will begin when the Wilko store is demolished in February.

Private housing will be used to help fund the new development, which will replace the 1980s Waterfront Leisure Centre and free up that riverside site for development.

Woolwich development site
The planned development

The council’s ruling cabinet, its main decision-making body, will meet on Wednesday to approve a choice of developer to build the residential part of the scheme, and to buy 50 homes for use as “affordable housing”. Councillors have said in recent meetings that this will be council housing. A report to councillors says this will enable a “right of return” to the residents of 23 flats in Troy Court who will be moved out to make way for the development.

Another 400-450 homes will also be built, with some for shared ownership and discount market rent, both of which are also legally defined as “affordable housing”.

The meeting will also approve a “scheme and estimate” to officially get the whole project under way, including buying up land for the development.

Public consultation has now begun on the design of the site – including the leisure centre, the siting of tall buildings and the housing and facilities on offer.

A 25m swimming pool will be provided along with a leisure pool, spa, and 250-station fitness facility.

The striking glass frontage contrasts with the brick Tramshed and the Grade II listed Equitable House opposite – and potential customers may have a view on whether they wish people in General Gordon Square to be able to see them in their trunks and costumes.

Much of the area around General Gordon Square and Woolwich Arsenal station could spend the coming years under redevelopment. Blocks of up to 23 storeys are planned close by as part of the Woolwich Exchange development – the old Spray Street Quarter scheme – while nearly 300 homes are planned for the old Thames Polytechnic Island Site on the other side of the square. Meyer Homes, the developer behind the rejected 27-storey Tesco tower scheme, recently told the council it plans to return with a 21-storey tower.

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