£31m Woolwich Royal Arsenal regeneration gets green light


Planning permission has been granted for the first phase of a multi-million-pound restoration of historic military buildings at Woolwich Royal Arsenal.

The Council has approved plans which will create a 15,000m² heritage complex of theatres, dance studios and restaurants.

Phase one will involve the conversion of three of the Grade II Listed former Royal Arsenal munitions buildings, known as 17,18 and 19, to change their use to performance and creative space. The final scheme will include a 450-seat theatre, 600 seat performance courtyard as well as rehearsal studios, offices, restaurants and space for community hire.

Councillor Miranda Williams, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and the Third Sector said: ‘This is a significant milestone for Woolwich and the revitalisation of a historic site that will create a destination for the arts.

‘The Royal Arsenal symbolises the connection we have to the military and the heritage of successive generations of our residents who laboured there.

‘With the opening of Crossrail, visitors will be flocking to the Royal Arsenal and it will once again become a major employer providing 400 local jobs, opportunities and attracting investment to the area.’

Work on the Woolwich Creative District is planned across two phases. The first featuring temporary theatres and repair work to three of the historic buildings, to accommodate a temporary tenant, and permanent works to the two remaining buildings.

A further phase will complete the long-term upgrade for a permanent performing arts tenant and, for building 18, a future return to the Royal Arsenal for the Greenwich Heritage Trust.

The next Planning Board will take place in October 2018.

The council says a number of international arts and performance companies are looking to make the Woolwich Creative District their new home and discussions are underway for a place-making show to launch the site in 2019, which will stand near the soon-to-open Woolwich Crossrail station.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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