Early renders
Early renders

Greenwich Council’s plan to sell off the indoor market as part of a large mixed-use development has taken a step forwards. Council documents reveal plans for a cinema, up to 650 homes and a new public square.

St Modwen and Notting Hill Housing Association were selected as preferred bidders for the wider Spray Street Masterplan site development in December 2014. Greenwich Council’s cabinet are now looking to ratify that decision, and note that:

“The ‘partnership’ of Notting Hill Commercial Properties Ltd and St Modwen Developments Ltd have decided to form a ‘special purpose vehicle’ specifically for the purpose of developing the Spray Street Quarter.”

The planning conditions reveal what will replace the decrepit market and crumbling buildings on the wider masterplan site:

“The Planning Application should include a minimum development criteria of not less than 3000 sq. metres of ‘A’ Class Uses (retail), a cinema of not less than 600 sq. metres, 1000 sq. metres of other commercial uses, 800 sq. metre of public realm and between 550-650 of residential units of which 35% should be affordable and high quality public realm including a new square of not less than 800 sq. metres.”

If a planning application is not made before December 2017 the council can terminate the agreement.

In theory this plan should be a big boost to Woolwich. It finally regains a cinema and more badly needed evening entertainment options. A re-orientated market should better connect with the existing outdoor market and provide a boost to both.

This site also links the newer Arsenal developments and Crossrail station with the DLR and Southeastern station, which is likely to be operated by London Overground by 2018.

The extensive Spray Street Quarter site
The extensive Spray Street Quarter site

It does again raise questions of why the DLR over-station development just to the south has stalled for so long. TfL are once again trumpeting their new found enthusiasm for partnerships with developers on land around and above stations. They have been making a big deal of this in regards to new Mayor Sadiq Khans housing aspirations.

woolwich oakmayne

Woolwich DLR was supposed to be a trailblazer, but 8 years on nothing has appeared on a large expanse of land both above and around the station box. Here’s what was said back in 2008:

“The sites – the airspace above the two DLR station entrances and a former works site – form part of the new DLR extension to Woolwich centre due to open during the early part of 2009.

Oakmayne were selected over Berkeley Homes, Cathedral Group and First Base as TfL’s partner for the sites as a result of their ‘design-led approach’ and ‘comprehensive residential regeneration experience in the South London market,’ it said.”

Let’s hope the crucial development at Spray Street does not become bogged down in development hell. The council have stipulated a number of terms to ensure it should proceed quickly. Why TfL did not ensure timely progress is a mystery.

EDIT: Just after posting I found this page which shows that Oakmayne (Woolwich) Ltd was incorporated on 18th May 2006. Exactly 10 years ago today and nothing to show for it.