Work starts on the Greenwich Centre

On Thursday evening Greenwich Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee was informed that initial work had started on the Greenwich Centre (to be based on the old Greenwich Hospital site). 


The Committee was informed that plans for the new centre include:-


·        645 homes in 5 blocks (of which 314 homes will be affordable & 53 will be family homes).

·        A new library

·        Two new swimming pools and leisure facilities

·        A new service centre

·        A new Health Centre


Although the report suggested that work on the new centre would start in 2012, officers informed Councillors that holes were already being dug and the centre should take around 27 months to complete. 


In answer to a question from Labour Councillor Janet Gillman, Officers made clear that they expected the Vanbrugh Practice to remain open while work was ongoing, but there were negotiations about the precise arrangements.


Conservative Councillor Spencer Drury asked several questions about the project focused on:-


Ø      Whether the work schedule would be disrupted by or disruptive of the Olympics.  Officers suggested that the programme had been agreed to take account of the Olympics and they expected that lighter work would be timetabled during the Olympics.  Officers were also confident that there would be few heavy lorries on the road during the Olympics so that the games were not disrupted.

Ø      How the project was going to be paid for.  The Council’s share of the costs comes to £30.4m, which was clearly itemised in the report, however, there was little attempt to lay out how the new centre was going to be paid for beyond “a combination of property disposals and Section 106 payments”.  Officers promised to put together a formal schedule of funding and circulate this to members of the committee.

Ø      The closure of the Arches and East Greenwich Library.  The report made quite clear that the East Greenwich Library and Arches Leisure Centre would be closed and they are expected to be sold off to pay for this project.  In section 3.5 the report stated that “It (the centre) will replace the current East Greenwich library.”  Cllr Drury asked whether any consultation concerning the closure of the Library had yet taken place and was informed that this was not the case.  Cllr Drury followed up to ask if the Library had any restriction on its use, but was told that officers were not aware if this was the case.