Woolwich for first-time buyers: shared-ownership homes for less than £100,000 in a south London town primed for a housing boom

Woolwich is in the throes of a revival, with Crossrail and 3,000 new and affordable homes set to transform this historic town.
About £1.5 billion is being lavished on rejuvenating Woolwich — but first-time buyers can find a home in the area for less than £100,000 through shared ownership.
You need faith, however, as Woolwich is not yet a thing of beauty. Even Tesco architects had problems finding much to inspire them — delivering a store that was quickly dubbed Britain’s ugliest new building last year.
But rejuvenation is a wonderful thing. In recent years, 2,000 new homes have been built in Woolwich’s key development zone, branded Royal Arsenal Riverside, with 3,000 more to come.


And, while prices for private homes beside the Thames have reached almost £2 million, the 75 one- and two-bedroom flats at Drummond House from Notting Hill Housing are reserved for low-income buyers priced off the private housing ladder.
A 25 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat will cost from £83,750, with a full market price of £335,000, while a quarter share of a two-bedroom home starts at £99,375, with a full market price of £397,500.
Priority will be given to people already living in Greenwich or its neighbouring boroughs, and the flats will be ready to move into early next year.
£83,750: for a 25 per cent share of a two-bedroom flat at Drummond House, part of the new Royal Arsenal Riverside redevelopment of Woolwich

Reaching its potential
There are few areas of London with a history as rich as Woolwich or a future more promising. The problem is what it is like right now.
Its history began when King Henry VIII visited more than 600 years ago and decided it would be the ideal place to build warships. Later it became home to the Royal Arsenal, where munitions were made to supply British soldiers for more than two centuries — and where workers formed what later became Arsenal football club.
Its 21st-century story is one of a new neighbourhood for London — and one with the crucial benefit of excellent transport links. Woolwich Arsenal DLR station is less than half a mile from Drummond House, and services from Woolwich Dockyard railway station to Cannon Street take 24 minutes.
The area will also be served by Crossrail, which means that from 2018 there will be direct services to Canary Wharf, the West End and Heathrow.
“This new express route is going to make Woolwich a real transport hub,” says Hopkin Man, head of sales at Notting Hill Housing.
“It is going to create demand for the area and turn it from what is really a forgotten corner of London into a new riverside community.”
But the magic of Crossrail is a few years away and, while a lot of work has already gone into Royal Arsenal, the town is still yet to fulfil its potential.

While new residents move in every week, there is not a huge amount for them to do locally other than to walk over to Greenwich. “There are shops, cafés and restaurants, but it is all quite new so it has not got that mix of independents and bigger firms that people really like,” says Man.
In the future, however, there are plans for a new cultural quarter with art galleries, theatres and museums, many more shops, a hotel, a town square, and new pedestrian walkways linking Royal Arsenal to Woolwich town centre.
Right now, while there are smart new homes plus some magnificent Victorian buildings — relics of the heyday of the Royal Arsenal — to admire, the area also has eyesores. Those who buy into the area are going to need patience.

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