New lease of life for Woolwich

New lease of life for Woolwich

Woolwich town centre has been chosen as one of the lucky recipients of a multi-million pound scheme, giving the area a “new lease of life.”

Around £3.8 million will now be spent on empty and run-down buildings in the area, transforming and restoring them into creative spaces, retail outlets, offices and housing. The funding comes from the Government’s £95 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme.

Woolwich is one of 68 high streets across England set to benefit from the programme, with just four other chosen areas in London.

Working with Historic England it will be up to Greenwich Council to spend the funding, which they say will allow them to “regenerate the area and restore its cultural heritage.”

The regeneration and conservation of historic shop fronts and facades is one of the ways it hopes to achieve this.

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Cllr Sarah Merrill, council cabinet member for regeneration and growth, said: “If there’s ever been a time when our high streets need a boost it’s now.

“Improvements such as restoring shop fronts sound simple enough, but the impact on the appeal of Woolwich town centre to residents and visitors will be big.

“Not only that, but the area has a rich cultural and historical heritage, and this project will encourage people to get involved and guarantee its future for generations to come.”

The project will stretch over four years, and the Royal Borough of Greenwich Council added that their priority was to “ensure the sustainability of heritage buildings by improving and enhancing the town’s architectural assets.”

A cultural programme is also being established, with the focus on working with residents, businesses and local cultural organisations to develop events designed to encourage local people to engage with local heritage.

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This will include original, positive and culturally inclusive events that foster local pride and promote Woolwich’s diversity, its communities, local history and aspirations.

The funding will come from a Grant Funding Agreement between Historic England and the Royal Borough of Greenwich of £1,766,134, and a match funding contribution from the council.

The council’s match funding contribution of £2,040,166 is made up of capital budget and contributions from Section 106 agreements.

Richard Parish Historic Places Adviser, Historic England, said: “Every high street has a distinctive history that can be harnessed to help it achieve a prosperous future.

“In Woolwich, the £1.7m Government investment and generous match-funding will unlock the potential of the high street and help it thrive again.

“We’re excited to help deliver a High Streets Action Zone that will restore shop fronts and facades, and explore how historic buildings can be repurposed – looking after and celebrating the places at the heart of our communities, and the buildings and public spaces which define their character.”