Heartless East Greenwich

Jon asks:

On the page here Greenwich Council states that construction of the “Greenwich Centre” is due to start in December 2010.
I’d heard of the plans to build the Centre but I don’t recall seeing that date before.
Do you know whether this is part of the Heart of East Greenwich development? If so, has that date been announced officially? Are there now committed plans to do something with that site?

Andrew’s been worrying about this since May:

Whilst walking past the “New Heart for East Greenwich” today – something struck me as I walked past the blue boarded up former hospital site – if the E.Greenwich site were really in need of a new heart – it would be dead by now!

Perhaps the site is on an NHS waiting list ?  I think it needs the kiss of life!

I truly have no idea what’s going on there. The Greenwich Centre  is the one-stop shop for council services intended to go in the large empty space where the hospital was cleared, but any ideas about actual delivery are at best twinkles in eyes as far as I know.

In her latest newsletter Mary Mills says that at the June meeting of the East Greenwich Management Committee (not sure who this comprises of)  it was decided there was “ clarification needed” for the New Heart of East Greenwich (God, I hate typing that name, it just sucks)  but it “is understood a newsletter will soon be available for a developer.”

In June, apparently, this mythical ‘newsletter’ was ‘in the process of being produced. No sign of it yet, which doesn’t bode well for a December starting date.

One of the major problems appears to be that it’s not actually down to Greenwich Council what goes on on the site. It’s managed by (or at least it was last time I looked, but these government quangos seem to change with the wind) the Homes and Communities Agency (HACA) who recently lost their commercial partner, First Base. They now appear to have gone to the HACADPP (Homes and Communities Agency Development Partner Panel for those of you who don’t live in a Douglas Adams-esque world of bureaucracy) to try to find new development partners, which are pretty thin on the ground just now.

For the past – what – five, six years, there’s been a big hole in East Greenwich where the only thing that’s happened is that from time to time a new set of expensively-produced signs have gone up as the quango in charge has changed. My favourite was the jolly yellow set where small children talked about their dreams for the space – “fountains everywhere” said one young chap, who is probably in his twenties now (though unless they were going to reproduce the Tivoli Gardens – now there’s a thought – fountains ‘everywhere’ might be a tad impractical…)

Frankly I think it’s pretty unlikely that anything’s going to happen soon. In the meanwhile, East Greenwich library reels from the loss of the Meridian Music Centre, the Arches get just that little bit tattier and Woolwich Road continues to languish. I understand that the HACA are refusing access to anyone who might want to use the land for temporary purposes – as a sculpture park, for example, or temporary allotments. I’m assuming because they worry they’d have problems evicting people if they did.

7 Comments to “Heartless East Greenwich”

  1. Euonym says:

    As they build on the only bit of green that people in Harvey Gardens SE7 had to look at, it seems perverse that the same agency is leaving such a huge site empty.

    A bit of an aside, but I have to agree with you about the Arches, I have now moved to a privately run gym because I couldn’t bear the conditions in the changing rooms any more.

  2. Phil says:

    Adding to the uncertainty, the HCA is also now earmarked fir destruction under the new arms length bodies review. Expect the site to be gifted to a developer any time now.

  3. Andy says:

    I’m not holding my breath. It would be great to just grass it all over.

  4. Steve says:


    Always thought that any derelict site should be levelled and turned into a meadow while redevelopment is arranged.

    And I also feel this site will eventually end up being a non-descript apartment block, albeit with one corner gifted to the Council for their ‘centre’.

    It’s a shame about Arches as I can’t help feeling its replacement will not have anywhere near as much character or facilities.

    Depressing thread, this!

  5. AndyA says:

    I agree – I’ve decided I’m moving away…

    Part of the reason for me moving to E.Greenwich was to have a new centre on the doorstep – gym, pool, creche etc…

    A load of new build cheapo flats will not be a nice sight to see each day.

    Goodbye East Greenwich….

    I really hope the council / HCA do the right thing – but I fear in the current climate of Government cuts – we’ll either have a load of cheapo flats or an empty space for a long time to come.


  6. Ivan Kapa says:

    The Tory wastebuster Philip Green says: bring back the quangos

  7. richard says:

    how can the so called royal borough of greenwich have such a dive as east greenwich. I dont get how they allow west greenwich to be so much ncier but allow east greenwich to get worse. I am an est greenwich resident and also want to move. there is too manu scums and chavs to ever make east greenwich nice.

    I agree put some grass in and open up the old hposital site until it redeveloped.