Catholic Club development render
The developer’s view of the new block from the Royal Arsenal

The long-closed Woolwich Catholic Club could be replaced with a 14-storey block of student accommodation under revised plans submitted to Greenwich Council.

853 revealed in May that developers were looking to build a “co-living” scheme on the Beresford Street site. Co-living developments have en suite bedrooms and shared kitchens, blending elements of living in a bedsit and a hotel, and are usually aimed at young professionals.

Now those plans have been replaced with 298 rooms for students. B Woolwich Ltd, which is developing the site, plans to capitalise on the lack of student accommodation locally. It would also include a ninth-storey roof terrace and community space on the ground floor.

A previous plan for an 11-storey block of flats was approved in 2017, but that permission has since lapsed. While the new building would be 14 storeys at its highest, B Woolwich says it would only be three metres higher than the previous scheme.

Catholic Club site render
The development would replace the Catholic Club. The hazed-out buildings are other planned schemes. Beresford Street is on the left

Of the 298 rooms, half would be self-contained studios while the other half would be “cluster” rooms with shared kitchens.

Some 104 rooms – 35 per cent – would be designated “affordable student accommodation”, which would be allocated to students considered to be “most in need of the accommodation” by their university under City Hall planning rules. Another 45 rooms would be classed as “premium”.

“This proposal will deliver an exciting mixed use development within Woolwich town centre, enabling a diversification of uses within an area dominated by residential and commercial uses and serving to release private rental housing currently occupied by students, due to a lack of purpose built accommodation, back into the market,” the developer says in its planning statement, promising “flexible community floorspace, with associated public realm improvements”.

B Woolwich says it is aiming to address a shortage of student accommodation in Greenwich borough and across the east of London more broadly, which is gaining a cluster of campuses around the Olympic Park at Stratford. There are nearly 10,000 students in Greenwich borough but only 3,000 rooms for them.

“Crossrail and wider regeneration of the Woolwich Arsenal area will make the area more attractive to a much greater number of students,” a report included with the application says, adding that the Elizabeth Line will cut travel time to University College London in Bloomsbury to 32 minutes.

Woolwich Catholic Club
The Woolwich Catholic Club has been closed for over a decade

It adds it has been in discussion with the University of Greenwich, Trinity Laban and the University of London about their students taking up space in the building. It would be run by the company Host, which already runs student accommodation in Bermondsey, Bethnal Green, King’s Cross and Vauxhall.

Most of the borough’s student accommodation is dotted around Greenwich itself, as well as the Avery Hill campus of Greenwich University, although the biggest single site is McMillan Student Village in Deptford, which houses nearly a third of all the rooms in the borough.

Lewisham town centre has recently become a hub for student accommodation, with the 35-storey Vita development on Loampit Vale, which can house 758 students, opening at the start of this term. Around the corner on Thurston Road, the nearby Chapter building can house 611 students.

Detailed plans for the Woolwich scheme can be found on the Greenwich Council planning website.

  • Elsewhere in Woolwich, developers behind the nearby Island Site, the former Greenwich University campus, are pressing ahead with plans for a co-living development. Greenwich Council has already given permission for 310 flats there, but 853 reported in May that developers wanted to switch the plan to 660 co-living rooms, which would make it one of the world’s biggest such schemes.

    Now the plans have been revised to “about 500” co-living spaces and 20 homes. An online consultation session is taking place on Saturday morning. Interested residents can find out more and sign up at

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