The Riverside at Woolwich is set to become a serious rival to London’s Southbank Centre thanks to a massive £40million proposed Arts Hub close to the Crossrail station.
Not only will the development boost the Arts in London but it is anticipated that it will drive up Woolwich house prices in the area. There is a 160,000sq ft. space that will include a major music venue in what was the Royal Military Academy, which opened at the arsenal in 1741 as a training school for young Army officers and was a forerunner of Sandhurst.
There will be an open-air courtyard theatre, with the first productions planned for late 2018. The former munitions factory will become a performance venue with seating for more than 4,000 people. A new indoor theatre will seat 450 people and there will also be an open-air courtyard theatre. Space will be provided for individual artists to work, and for theatre companies across a variety of genres.
It is planned that when the buildings are fully refurbished and ready for use Greenwich intends to establish a Trust to run the venues. They are already lining up interested parties from the performing arts that are keen to participate. It is hoped that the first theatre productions will begin at Woolwich at the end of next year with the venues operating seven days per week.
There is already a vast complex of regeneration happening throughout the Docklands area, encompassing vast tracts of land that have been transformed and others that will follow on. The enlarged population will be a ready audience for this Entertainment hub and jobs will be a spin off as venues require support staff, caterers, administrators, over and above the participating artistes. Turning a wasteland into a thriving community focal point will help with driving further development and enrich the entire South London area.
Property values throughout the South London area will be improved by the inwards movement of people heading toward the work opportunities that are being generated.