Plans for a landmark £31m investment into a “creative district” in Woolwich have taken a major step forward.

Greenwich Council announced last year a significant redevelopment of five listed Royal Arsenal buildings – and planning permission has now been submitted.

The historic wartime buildings have been earmarked for regeneration into a creative area claimed to rival the Southbank Centre and the Battersea redevelopment.

Initial plans included a courtyard, rehearsal spaces, theatres and bars and community areas and space for pop-up markets similar to spaces in Madrid and Paris.

It is hoped the district will help Woolwich become more metropolitan, and boost the town’s night -time economy.

Councillor John Fahy, ward councillor for Woolwich Riverside, said: “We have a very strong vibrant group of creative organisations in the borough which need to be included in the future development of this exciting project.

“In general terms I support the development of the creative district in Woolwich helping to grow Woolwich as a destination of choice.”

The developments would involve work to the former cartridge factory, the old ammunitions factory, a laboratory, the military academy and the carriage mounting shop.

The scheme has been split into two phases – the first featuring temporary theatres and basic repair work to the historical buildings and then phase two which would include long-term upgrades.

Temporary tenants would move into the laboratory and factory buildings for up to five years before a more permanent transformation.

Part of the wider scheme would involve the demolition of the Firepower structure to be replaced with a theatre of around 400-450 seats plus a lobby and bar.

The ammunitions factory would be the largest performance venue, with room for upwards of 2,000 people, as well as serving as a space for pop-up markets and exhibitions.

There will be room for weddings and rehearsal studios, as well as community areas, bars, a theatre box and a “flexible cultural venue”.

Planning documents on the development confirm: “The Woolwich Creative District will contribute to the regeneration of Royal Arsenal and Woolwich, bring vacant buildings back in to beneficial use as performance and creative spaces, creating a cultural quarter that meets the strategic growth aims of the London Plan.”

If the plans are given the green light building could start later this year.