The Council’s ambitious plans to create a landmark destination for the arts in Woolwich’s Royal Arsenal has moved another step closer. Planning permission has been granted for the first phase of a multi-million pound restoration of historic military buildings, to create a 15,000m² heritage complex of theatres, dance studios and restaurants, all set between the Thames and soon-to-open Woolwich Crossrail station.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich has approved plans, as part of phase one, to simply and sensitively convert three of the Grade II Listed former Royal Arsenal munitions buildings, known as 17,18 and 19, and change their use to performance and creative space. Pictured above is an artist impression of what the foyer of the new theatre complex at the Woolwich Creative District will look like.
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.”
The Woolwich Creative District comprises five buildings that benefit from extensive natural light and excellent acoustics for unamplified sound. 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.
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.
A number of international arts and performance companies are looking to make the Woolwich Creative District their new home and discussions are underway for an exciting place-making show to launch the site in 2019.