Residents and businesses have claimed they’ve been left out of the loop by council plans to relocate the Woolwich Leisure Centre.

The comments came during a meeting of Greenwich Council’s cabinet, where members approved a proposal to continue the relocation of the centre to a new premises facing General Gordon Square.

The move could see a council housing block, pub and other businesses along Vincent Road knocked down for the leisure centre and new housing.

The proposals have drawn the ire of some residents of Troy Court, a council housing block for people aged over 55, which faces being demolished.

Addressing cabinet members ahead of their vote, one long-term resident, who has lived at the property for 22 years, claimed they “haven’t been consulted at all”.

His views were echoed by a representative from community group Speak Out Woolwich, who said the plans “felt like a kick in the stomach” for residents.

While the council did a door knock of Troy Court residents in September last year to talk about the plans, the speaker rejected that this meant they had been “consulted”.

“They don’t think they’ve been consulted at all – they think your officers have knocked on the door and told them to go,” she said.  

The Speak Out Woolwich member, who doesn’t live at Troy Court herself, said businesses along Vincent Road which faced being demolished didn’t know what was happening either.

While the council commenced negotiations in January 2018 with Vincent Road businesses about the possible acquisition of their properties, the speaker pointed out this only applied to “occupiers who have approached council”. 

Another nearby resident said his mother’s elderly friend who lived at Troy Court couldn’t speak English and couldn’t read a council letter sent to her address about the proposal.

“She speaks Bengali, when the letter was sent to her, she didn’t understand what this is about,” he said. 

“She feels like she’s been pushed away without being respected.

“She is very nervous about what is going to happen to her.”

Councillors moved to ease concerns about the development, which will see the leisure centre also move into the building currently housing the Woolwich Wilko.

Member for regeneration and growth, Cllr Sizwe James, said the move was a “good news” story for the borough.

“I am convinced this will be in the wider public interest and (will have wider) social economic community benefits,” he said. 

He added the project would see “at least double the number of council homes” built, while bringing a new facility into Woolwich’s town centre.

“I think it’s a very good news story for Woolwich,” he said. 

Cllr Jackie Smith (community services and children’s safety member) said consultation hadn’t been as advanced because formal decisions were yet to be made on the proposal. 

“What people  were saying tonight about consultation could not happen until there’s a cabinet decision tonight where we progress to look at partners and designs,”  she said. 

“There’ll be no loss of social housing – we need this decision tonight to move from one decision to another.”

In finishing, council leader Danny Thorpe said the council would aid residents facing relocation from Troy Court.

“I’m guaranteeing you, you’ll have the council down to talk to you about what this means to you,” he said, adding there was a “whole heap of options available” for them. 

Council initially held a public consultation across February and March 2019 on the wider leisure centre plans, which drew more than 2,000 responses.

The authority will now progress with plans to build the centre, including appointing a contractor to build at the site.