Woolwich wall: Now Greenwich Council mounts a cover-up

Attention drones! Your council has replaced your “graffiti” with educational messages! Remember: “Greenwich will be a royal borough from January 2012. A third of Olympic and Paralympic events…”

Puts Greenwich Council’s distancing itself from the painting-over of the wall in a different light, doesn’t it? Instead of talking to and listening to Woolwich residents, still shocked from seeing their town centre burn three weeks ago, Greenwich Council chooses to hide behind slogans.

As for “back to business”, it’s anything but at one of Woolwich’s oldest businesses, just yards from the wall, still shut because of riot damage:

Where were the police that night? What is the council doing to make people feel safer? Where are the skilled jobs and affordable housing people will need instead of jobs stacking Tesco shelves and “investment opportunities” behind brick walls? Never mind. You don’t need to know. Say after me: “Greenwich will be a royal borough from January 2012. A third of Olympic and Paralympic events…”

Still, according to this letter in this week’s Greenwich Time, we know who to thank

(Full coverage of events in Woolwich since the riot.)


  1. Come on Dolly, you know what to do…..

    Thanks for a glimpse of that letter (I don’t get Greenwich Time delivered, even though I pay for it), as marvellous an example of sycophancy and arse-licking that one could ever wish to see.

    The New Wine Church? Perhaps the good Minister had just participated in a right rollicking communion!


  3. Travelodge is going to be the old COOP Department Store more low paid jobs at minimum wage have you stayed at a travelodge they are truly awful places to stay in my personal opinion.

    the police and the council can self pat on the back but really the police in Greenwich should be ashamed for what they allowed to happen to Woolwich and the council should be ashamed for behaving like some tin pot regime towards the people living here

  4. I would say the leadership is a lack of from the council. They reacted to the events after they happened a bit like shutting the door after the horse has bolted.

    The riots were amongst the worst devastation and looting and arson in the whole of London yet the police did nothing to prevent it. Ineffectual policing and a council keen to down play what happened to Woolwich

    As for Woolwich back in business really. Blue Inc Closed, Game closed and not reopening, Birts closed, Wimpy Closed, Pound Mart Closed, Ladbrokes, Closed, Wetherspoons closed, JD Sports Closed, T Mobile Closed, Carphone Warehouse closed – Back in business alright – sure it is

  5. Maybe people need an honest discussion about Woolwich, and get a few things off their chests? I walked down Hare Street this evening and realised it’s the only town centre in London I know where there’s *trees* growing out of the buildings in one of its shopping streets.

  6. Personally I’d rather people got things out in the open rather than sticking their fingers in their ears and going ‘la la la Woolwich is great I can’t hear you’.

    Because it isn’t great. It’s died a slow, lingering death over the last 30 years and all I can hope it has hit rock bottom. I don’t live in Woolwich, but I’ve been going there to shop all my life. In that time I’ve seen the MoD flee north, Morgan Grampian House turned from offices to flats and Thames Polytechnic (as was) clear off to Greenwich. The Woolwich scarpered, merged and disappeared. Cuffs, the Co-op, Safeways… all gone. Sainsbury’s gets ever more tired. M&S has been downgraded to an outlet store. The Primarks and Boots are the shabbiest I’ve seen. The market is a shadow of its former high pavement self.

    The Arsenal development is nice but is it really connected to the town centre? Tesco’s may bring in more shoppers but will it suck even more life out of the dying Powis Street? I wonder whether pedestrianisation actually hindered rather than helped in the long term. Buses now stop a ludicrous distance from the supposed main shopping street. OK, the DLR is a boon but it seems more useful for getting out of Woolwich than bringing people in when there’s no decent shops or employers of note.

    It doesn’t give me any pleasure to say any of the above. But there’s nothing to be gained by not facing up to what’s been allowed to happen. I’ve been going to Woolwich less and less. Now I’m not sure what reason there is to go back.

  7. Indeed. I suspect one of the things that the Council disliked about the wall was the proportion of unhappiness on there. Woolwich used to be a thriving town, even with the upward trend recently it’s a shadow of its former self. The things that make Woolwich loveable are not the usual High Street measures. The value of the town is not counted in big name branches… Although these things help. I was in Aldershot yesterday and it felt like Woolwich does, only worse. I love Woolwich, but it is certainly true that my beloved is a bit depressed at the moment.

  8. Well said Ned, an honest discussion is needed. I can’t even comment on the council’s propaganda and preaching at us, rather than talking to us..

    As for the Church leader’s letter… Good gracious…I am just speechless.

    No political party should run a council for decades, regardless of their leanings. Familiarity breeds contempt.. Contempt of us!

    I rarely find reasons to visit Woolwich but wish the best for it

  9. “I rarely find reasons to visit Woolwich but wish the best for it”

    I did try to find a place to watch the football and rugby but find anywhere. In Fairness I didn’t try the Elephant & Castle but I did try 4 others but to no availb

  10. @Brian

    I don’t wish to be talking Woolwich down because I like the architecture here and the character of the people but it does seem it’s been neglected for a long time. I have to agree with the writer of the blog that mc jobs at Tesco and Travelodge won’t really help those looking for well paid skilled employment and are with this government’s continuity of Labour’s policies jobs that will go to East European or immigrants.

    Sainsbury’s on the other hand is being done up. If anyone has been in there recently there is scaffolding in the store and if some of you read the planning applications for Woolwich Riverside and Woolwich Common you can see changes being made to the town.

    Sainsburys don’t plan on pulling out of the town once Tesco opens because they have a long leasehold on the property at a competitive rent and the building is fairly cheap for them to rent and besides not all of us want to shop at Tesco I don’t.

    Sainsbury’s is dated tiles that I remember from the 80’s and a lack of investment in the store which is the same at M and S again it must be one of the oldest stores I have seen in an M and S estate.

    I think Woolwich does have potential if the council and the other stakeholders and that includes Powis Estates work with the community and those that are a long time part of the community.

    The Travelodge in the Coop “Scottleys” building starts next month and GStar the former Burton and DP store is also closing, again the redevelopment of that empty row of shops got planning permission a few months back and the Greenwich Labour offices have already closed and relocated to the Woolwich Centre in Wellington Street.

    It shows how desperate those empty shops need doing in Hare Street. I even was able to make out the outline of what was Halifax Building Society offices now Halifax Bank as the marble is still there and the faded lettering. I hope that the Warmsley Furniture chain will stay in the town but it looks as if they will go elsewhere.

    Today, I noticed more shops are preparing to re-open and as I said previously Deichmann Shoes purveyor of value shoes have applied for planning permission for a new shop front for both the former Body Shop and Game units near to 02 and they are actually a good chain to have to attract people.

    But it would be good having walked around the back of Powis Street behind the old demolished school in Union Street there is so much wasteland that with common sense by the landowners or Powis Street Estates could provide a nice and modern shopping centre for people of Greenwich as a borough to keep people shopping local.

    I heard someone complain the other day that Superdrug and Boots never have what they want and the answer from the Manager is the stores are too small. I rarely shop in M and S here preferring the simply food in Greenwich or Eltham store and again with Sainsburys because most of what I want isn’t sold here.

    I hope that when Sainsburys is done up they will sell more variety of goods. It’s great to shop local but you can only do that if the local shops sell what you want and they don’t in Woolwich and that is a shame.

    Even the night time economy is pretty dire. No Wetherspoons, no cinema, no proper theatre, no wide selection of restaurants. More could be acheived but the council needs to bring jobs here that pay reasonably well that local people get to have a crack of and then the town may attract better retailers to the town centre.

  11. Anyone clear this up? I thought the travelodge was going to be on the old council offices / bakery site… its what the planning application says.


    Can see plans for refurbishment (Approved) of the Powis/Hare corner shops, but nothing for the art-deco Coop – anyone tell me different?

    So thats 3 hotels planned (allegedly) for Woolwich in the next three years; this on Powis Street, another above the DLR and the ‘Royal Arsenal’ development announced last week http://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Venues/Mid-market-hotel-to-be-built-on-Woolwich-riverside

    Got to have hope in terms of the potential (for someone/those who can to have vision and faith (financial) in Woolwich’s future – some amazing buildings in Woolwich centre that could look and be used – the old library, the old woolwich hq on the square, and the coop to name just a few…No plans for any of these at the moment sadly as far as I can tell…

  12. Plummer,

    The Travelodge has been approved for the Scottley’s building there is a decision that was made with regards to that is that not the art decor Co-op Department Store?

    The Old Library is to become the re-located home of the Greenwich Labour organisation who have moved from the Powis Street site that is to be refurbished and let allegedly to a national retailer not represented in Woolwich ( apparently 50,000 sq feet over three floors).

    If you refer to the planning application as above it should mention that plans were submitted for a travelodge and even Greenwich Council are not that thick to annouce a Travelodge if it hasn’t been approved.

    So is the Scottley’s building the art decor department store or is it the lovely Royal Arsenal Coop building opposite.

    The Travelodge will be in red terracotta tiles as I understand the Coop isn’t listed and of limited architectural value according to the planners.

  13. I believe Plummer is right – the Travelodge is for the older Co-Op building; the Art Deco one (Scottley’s) remains empty.

    Wouldn’t the old library be better as a restaurant or bar than an office?

  14. ps I am referring to Greenwich Council’s approval of plans for 114 to 130 Powis Street read the design and access statement. planning application Woolwich Riverside with no dates on the Greenwich Council Planning search engine with application number 11/0875/F (this is for 125 – 157 Powis Street and includes for change of use of buildings from offices to hotel and retail uses, new shop fronts, installation of mechanical plant, landscaping and formation of a 105 space car park. Also demolition of a bakery building and external and internal changes to accommodate a hotel (also approved by Greenwich same address) application number 11/0876/L.

    I can’t find the application for 114 to 130 Design and Access Statement but it was on the site and has been approved. You can google Powis Street estate with 114 to 130 powis Street and it should bring it up then.

    PS: I didn’t realise a Tesco Express was opening at the Arsenal. Again approved.

    One way for people to influence planning in Woolwich and Greenwich elsewhere too is to comment on planning applications and object if your not happy.

  15. Apparently, I mistook the Travelodge for the Scottley’s named store site. It isn’t Plummer is right it is on the other side of the road. Whilst the building externally will remain much the same apart from the bakery, it will be sympathetically converted to a Travelodge if that’s possible and shops at ground floor level as the building is grade 2 listed and can’t be demolished anyway.

    I think the Scottley’s building will form part of the new store that Powis Street are proposing.

    Daryl, may be I will attend.

  16. Having walked past Woolwich DLR station today to go to Costa’s it seems that the hotel to be built at DLR isn’t a boutique hotel on Woolwich New Road but a Premier Inn as Whitbread had a notice showing they had applied for a licence to sell alcohol.

    At least that will no longer be a vacant site but does seem a strange place for a hotel though.

Comments are closed.