A massive creative district, complete with theatre and studios, is set to be built in the heart of Woolwich.
The grounds of the historic Royal Arsenal riverfront site, once the provider of more than 80,000 jobs in munitions manufacturing in its height during the First World War, is to be transformed into a location for the arts.
The £31million investment approved by the Greenwich council last night, March 29, will include a performance venue with seating for up to 4,000 people at the old munitions factory.
The 16,500 sq m creative hub will also include a 450 seat theatre, 600 seat outdoor amphitheatre courtyard, ten rehearsal studios, artist studios and office space.
The new Elizabethan line will provide transport to the creative hub, which will also include space for a café and restaurant overlooking the Thames.
It’s anticipated the new creative district will provide more than 400 local jobs in addition to new roles during construction.
Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Councillor Denise Hyland said: “For almost 300 years, the Royal Arsenal was a major employer and the backbone of the local economy. These exciting plans place the site at the forefront of providing local jobs once more.
“Approximately one in six people in London work in the creative industries; this proposal will create new skills and wide-ranging employment opportunities to open up these industries to residents and provide a massive boost to the local economy.
“This will cement Woolwich as a destination in its own right; with a direct Crossrail link, it will give even more reason for visitors to flock to the town.
“The benefits will filter out into the neighbouring areas in particular like Plumstead, Abbey Wood and Thamesmead and I am sure residents will really benefit from having such an attraction right on their doorstep.”
The Grade II listed buildings include the former cartridge factory, warehouse, laboratory, carriage mounting shop and the Royal Military Academy.
Confirmed resident tenants in the new creative district include Academy Performing Arts, Chickenshed, Dash Arts, Greenwich Dance, the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Protein Dance, and Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust.
Joyce Wilson, London Area Director for Arts Council England, said: “This is a tremendously exciting time for Woolwich, and I am truly delighted, and impressed, that the Royal Borough of Greenwich is such a strong champion for culture and heritage in the area.
“It is heartening that arts and culture remain so firmly at the centre of the borough’s work in Woolwich, and I am pleased that the Arts Council has been able to support this through our Cultural Destinations fund, ensuring that the development both celebrates the area and stays true to its community.”