The first organisation to take residency at Woolwich’s proposed £31m creative district has been announced.

Theatre company Punchdrunk has now formally been confirmed for what Greenwich Council hopes to be a landmark cultural destination rivalling the Southbank.

The Woolwich Creative District will have five historic wartime buildings redeveloped into artistic performance spaces, a courtyard, market area and exhibition zones.

The final scheme will include a 450-seat theatre, 600-seat performance courtyard as well as rehearsal studios, offices, restaurants and community spaces.

Punchdrunk has been confirmed as the first act to move in, coming with a large international following.

MORE - £8m of cuts in Lewisham Council's 2019/2020 budget

Council leader Danny Thorpe said: “The development of Woolwich Creative District begins a new chapter in this history of Woolwich and will make the town a destination for Londoners and visitors from across the country.

“Punchdrunk is a truly world-class organisation and I’m thrilled that so many internationally renowned artists and companies are making Woolwich their home; cementing its position as a new cultural hub, which will benefit communities across the wider borough.

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring local people feel the effects of this development by embedding community benefits into leases and contracts across the board.”

It is hoped that the £31m creative quarter will kick-start regeneration in the riverside town.

MORE - Hundreds of homeless placed outside of borough

The final project will have converted the old munitions buildings into a 2,000 capacity music hall, exhibition space and an improved courtyard.

Bars and cafes have also been included in the project, along with rehearsal and dance studios and space for an outdoor market.

Despite plans progressing over the last year, opposition councillors pressed cabinet member Miranda Williams over the cost of the scheme and the strength of its business plan at a full council meeting last month.

Councillor Matt Clare wanted reassurance that the scheme would deliver financial benefit considering the expensive nature of the scheme.

Cllr Clare said: “It’s an extremely high amount of money. We recognise there are financial challenges for the council as a country as a whole.

“This is an eye-watering amount of money, we were shocked by the flimsiness of the business case and the lack of commitment to concrete revenues.”

Cllr Williams said: “I’d like to reassure the council that I take ownership of everything in my portfolio, I don’t need to be asked to.

“It will deliver for the whole of the borough, we need to be an outward looking borough in these troubled times. Residents will benefit from this for decades to come, it will be one of the best cultural hubs in London.”