Berkeley drops plans to demolish listed building for Crossrail development


Berkeley Group has withdrawn plans to knock down a grade II-listed building in Woolwich to make way for a taxi rank and cycle parking for a new Crossrail station

The developer has pulled the scheme by Gillespies to demolish an 18thCentury former officers’ block originally part of Woolwich Arsenal following a wave of protests.

The proposals had been described as an ‘act of vandalism’ by councillor John Fahy, deputy leader of local planning authority Greenwich Council.

The plans would have seen the officers’ building flattened to provide more open access to the new Weston Williamson + Partners’ Crossrail station, which won planning permission in September.

In a statement Berkeley Group: ‘We genuinely felt that the needs of future Crossrail passengers and residents of the Royal Arsenal would be best served by creating a new public square, even though that meant removal of a listed building.

‘However following extensive consultation we have listened to all the feedback and decided to withdraw the current proposals. Berkeley, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Crossrail, TFL, GLA and English Heritage now need to continue working together and deliver an alternative solution that meets the demands of future passengers whilst protecting the local community.’

The grade II listed former officers’ residence that developer Berkeley Group is seeking permission to demolish.

Berkeley had previously argued in documents submitted to the council that the proposals were necessary for the ‘efficient functioning’ of the new station and ‘represented excellent urban and landscape design, providing new flexible public realm which will benefit the appearance and character of the conservation area and retained listed buildings’.

Nevertheless, the developer conceded that demolition was not essential for the construction and operation of Crossrail and a heritage report submitted with its application said that refurbishment and fascia retention of the structure were valid options for the future of the building.

However the document concluded that demolition was ‘the most economical option’.

 

 

Readers’ comments

(1)

  • Seems so obvious just to push back the taxi pick up turnaround back a bit in order to retain the building. Its not like this part of the Royal Arsenal is desperate for public space.

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