Woolwich leisure centre: 22-storey block set to feature in 530-home development

Woolwich Leisure Centre render
An early design of the leisure centre shown last year (without towers)

A 22-storey high tower is likely to feature in Greenwich Council’s plans for a new leisure centre in Woolwich, according to early planning documents lodged with the town hall.

Up to 530 homes are planned in five blocks off General Gordon Square, along with shops, offices and a new complex to replace the Waterfront Leisure Centre.

Only the most basic outline of the scheme is contained in the documents, submitted last month and published this week, stating plans for “five residential buildings of heights up to 22 storeys”. Further details will follow when a full planning application is submitted.

However, the current documents reveal that the Bull pub on Vincent Road will be retained as part of the development, which will see the demolition of Troy Court, a small block of council flats, and a 1990s block containing Woolwich’s old Wilko store.

The residents of 23 flats in Troy Court will be offered accommodation in the new development, which councillors have said will offer 50 council homes.

Woolwich New Road
This 1990s block in Woolwich town centre will be demolished

Many of the new homes will be offered privately to pay for the new leisure centre; no numbers have been confirmed although London planning policy says that only half of homes built on public land should be offered at market price.

Two blocks closer to General Gordon Square will be built first along with the leisure centre, with three at the rear of the site following.

While the appearance of towers may come as a surprise to those who saw the early designs for the leisure centre, a consultation carried out last December said that there was an “opportunity for taller buildings” close to the Armstrong Estate, alongside four 11-storey blocks built in the mid-1960s.

A plan of the proposed development

Although Woolwich residents will already be familiar with the towers built by Berkeley Homes by the Thames, the latest council plans show a willingness by the council leadership to build high close to Woolwich Arsenal station.

In May councillors approved five towers of up to 23 storeys in the 801-home Woolwich Exchange development on the other side of the station.

Across General Gordon Square, Meyer Homes is hoping to build a 15-storey block in front of Tesco after its original 27-storey tower was rejected by a planning inspector last year.

Elsewhere in Woolwich, plans to convert the former Riverside House office block into 209 homes have been submitted by a developer.

Marson Property says that the 14-storey block, built in 1963, will include 22 flats for London Affordable Rent and 51 for shared ownership, hitting the council’s target of 35 per cent “affordable” housing.

The scheme is likely to be approved without going to a planning committee because of government policy on “permitted development rights”, encouraging the conversion of office blocks into homes.

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