Look up – nine-storey tower planned for Woolwich Road

A CGI from architects Chassay & Last showing the  view from the BP petrol station
A CGI from architects Chassay & Last showing the view from the BP petrol station

Would you want to see this on Woolwich Road? Developers want to knock down a derelict office block on Woolwich Road, next to the new Sainsbury’s/M&S development, and build 74 new homes plus a retail unit on the site, crowned by a nine-storey tower.

The old office block – most recently called Valley House – has an odd history of its own – it was once Sykes House, home of Sykes Pumps; then it was taken over by Greenwich Council and renamed Guy Barnett House after the late local MP; but then that name was withdrawn when it had the bad luck of being the place where it tried administer the poll tax from. The council pulled out a few years ago; this website understands Metro Bank had been eyeing up the site for a branch, but that came to nothing.


So instead, it becomes the first concrete proposal for housing development north of the Woolwich Road since the Charlton Riverside Masterplan was produced. It looks smart enough from the renders, and London needs new homes, but is nine storeys too high for the Woolwich Road? The Charlton Society has voiced its disapproval*, you, however, may have a different view.

This has been going through planning for a while – it’s now at a “reconsultation” stage, and comments need to be with the council by 10 March. If you want to find out more, go here or enter 14/3258/F on Greenwich Council’s planning search.

(*Declaration of interest: I’m on the Charlton Society’s committee, but I’ve no strong view on this building.)

10 thoughts on “Look up – nine-storey tower planned for Woolwich Road

  1. Jonathan March 2, 2015 / 18:12

    Thanks for history of the site, I had wondered what it was for. Thanks too for the link to the masterplan, according to that it sits in the ‘education’ sector, not residential.

    Although the peninsular has 9-storey buildings, the area around here is low rise and will lead to most properties along Troughton Road and surrounding areas being overlooked (mine included I should add). This makes me wonder if this will be the start of high rise near the station. And yet more building work and lorries for the area just when we thought we were seeing the back of them with Sainsbury’s nearly complete.

    It’s hard enough getting on the 472/486 most mornings (unless you’re lucky enough to get one of the 472s that start there) so adding more residents won’t help.

    It’s good that they want to do something with the site but I think it’s inappropriate for the area.

  2. Jonathan March 2, 2015 / 18:14

    ‘retail’ sector, not ‘education’. Either way, not residential…

  3. fromthemurkydepths March 2, 2015 / 18:29

    Looks decent enough. I think the masterplan had this as retail only which was silly in the extreme. As I wrote about recently, London’s population is soaring, housing is in dire need and having vast swaths designated as retail only near to railway stations (especially in zone 3) makes no sense at all.

    Nine storeys is not a big problem as the road seems wide enough. London needs more height and more density, providing the designs are of a good enough standard, particularly around stations. It’s just a shame M&S, Sainsbury’s Ikea, and the other new retail park with Aldi, Next etc coming soon all waste so much land.

  4. Spoontaneous March 2, 2015 / 18:35

    The new building is a bit bland but it looks much, much better than the current derelict one. The area is certainly changing for the better, with the new Sainsbury’s, this new development, etc, etc. Most new buildings alongside the Woolwich road are that height or higher and I don’t see a problem with that. The trend now in London is to build higher. Posh people are finally embracing high rise living; it is no longer a privilege of council tenants.

  5. clogsilk March 3, 2015 / 09:29

    Have they not read JG Ballard…?

    • LadyB March 4, 2015 / 20:19

      Indeed. Super Cannes outlines what happens in a closed, privileged society with money and leisure to indulge in whatever it needs. I would say the only difference between Ballard’s world and the luxury high-rise developments now blighting London is that these apartments are largely uninhabited.

  6. Chris March 3, 2015 / 22:36

    Yes, thanks for the background to the site, I’ve often wondered just because of the appalling look of the block.
    I do think that the solution for a lot of London’s housing problems is up. Anti-social tenants are anti-social whether on the ground floor or the 50th. I lived in Asia for nearly 10 years and the lowest floor I lived on was the 19th. No problems.
    I too have no strong feelings about the new building per se. Have they thought about cars, schools etc?

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