It’s an asset – Greenwich Council acts on Charlton’s White Swan

White Swan, Charlton, 12 December 2013/ Nikki Coates

The White Swan pub in Charlton Village has been declared an asset of community value by Greenwich Council after a successful application by the Charlton Society.

It means if the building is sold for development, the local community will be asked if it wishes to put together a bid. If it does, then the sale will be put on hold for six months to allow a bid to be put together.

The pub’s currently on the market, but the designation will encourage owner Punch Taverns to sell it as a going concern, rather than as a site for development.

Now the Charlton Society’s looking to repeat the process for the village’s other pub, the Bugle Horn.

“We’re delighted to see the ACV application be granted,” the society’s Andy Donkin told this website. “It’s vital that Charlton keeps two thriving pubs at the centre of the village.”

The pub’s recently reopened, although things still aren’t ideal – when a Charlton Champion drinking party popped in last Thursday, it was told that only Fosters was on offer.

But with a Facebook group dedicated to its future topping 200 members, hopefully better days lie ahead for the White Swan – so long as it can find a sympathetic buyer. Who will step forward?

Two pubs in Plumstead, the Star and the Plume of Feathers, were given ACV status by Greenwich last month, while another Punch pub, the Dutch House, near Horn Park, has also joined the Swan on the list.

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Do you have photos of the Charlton Park prefabs?

54/366 Palaces for the people?

An interesting museum has opened in Catford – the Prefab Museum, which is open until May on the Excalibur Estate and recreates the atmosphere of these temporary homes erected in the 1940s. See the Prefabs – Palaces For The People website for more.

But while the Catford prefabs survived for decades, those in Charlton are long gone. Carol Kenna of the Charlton Parks Reminiscence Project has a question:

“The CPRP project was told about the prefabs that were along Canberra Road backing into Charlton Park this was up to the end of the 1950′s. During the project we could never trace any photos of this. I have now been contacted by a gentleman who lived in one of the prefabs asking if we had any photographs.

“Could you ask your other readers if they have any, whether they would accept them – if they do – being passed on and also added to the Parks website.”

If you have any photos, drop Carol a line via the project’s website.

(Photo of Catford’s Excalibur Estate courtesy of Clare Griffiths on Flickr.)

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Charlton Lido: weekday opening resumes

20140324-074352.jpg

Charlton Lido – South East London’s only heated, outdoor 50m pool – resumes weekday opening  from today. The pool (and ‘sun terrace’ – from which the photo above was taken) has been open on weekends through March, while the new gym facilities opened in early February. The cafe is expected to open around Easter.

Current pool opening hours are:
Monday – Friday: 7am to 6pm
Weekends: 9am to 5pm.

Check GLL’s website for the latest opening hours.
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An ‘affordable’ one-bedroom flat in Charlton? Just £216,000…

Fairview New Homes mailout
I can’t help get the feeling that Saturday’s bound to be a heartbreaking day for home-hunters looking for a berth in the new flats going up at Fairthorn Road.

They go on sale on Saturday – with just 31 of the flats going on sale as “affordable” housing. Even then, that section of the development won’t exactly be within reach of many buyers, with one-bedroom flats starting from a stonking £216,000. Or, as developer Fairview New Homes calls it, “only £216,000″, according to an email sent out yesterday, with Fairview holding 20% in equity for 25 years.

Mind you, at least Fairview isn’t claiming the flats are in Greenwich, although they’re much closer to the muck and noise from the A102 than they are Victoria Way.

“Greenwich Council wish to prioritise the sale of these homes to households with incomes of less than £55,147 as of December 2013,” the small print says, adding that priority will go to residents from the five south-east London boroughs.

The development, on the site of an old light bulb factory, has had a troubled history, with a planning inspector approving the scheme in 2010 after Greenwich Council originally threw it out, partly on air quality grounds.

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What’s on in Charlton: March

St Luke's Church - photo by Andrew Donkin

St Luke’s Church – photo by Andrew Donkin

Dates for your diary
A round-up of March events we’ve found in and around SE7. What have we missed? Let us know in the comments below or email neilclasper[at]gmail.com, and we’ll update the post as we get the chance.

28th Feb, 1st & 2nd March: Art exhibition in aid of the restoration of paintings owned by Charlton House. Charlton House.
[We note that the Charlton House events website hasn't been updated for a while - if any of our local councillors know what's going on here, we'd be grateful for an update]

2nd March: Charlton Community Gardens Gardening Party, Charlton station, 2-4pm.

7th March: International Women’s Day Celebration, Charlton House, 5-10pm. “Food, music, theatre, poetry and dance, a truly international evening of female talent”.

8th & 9th March:Charlton Lido Open Weekend: free swimming and barbecue. Swimming 9-5pm; Barbecue 12-5pm on the Saturday (we recommend checking the Better website for exact details nearer the time).

15th March: Charlton Society talk on ‘The Art of the Folly‘ by Russell Bowes. Charlton House, 2.30pm.

16th March: ‘SE7: Music From Around The World’. Cattleya, Charlton Church Lane, 7.30-10pm. ‘An evening of music from Central Charlton’s own resident band‘.

20th March: Charlton Pub Quiz – Rose of Denmark, from 8.30pm.

22nd March: Big Dig Day - Maryon Park Community Food Growing Garden, 10am-4pm.
- Help your local community garden get ready for the new growing season.
- See how the garden has developed since last year.
- Help to seed a wild flower meadow bank.
- Refreshments provided.

22nd March: Charlton Park Riding for the Disabled Association Open Day – “Join us for pony rides, fun & games!”. Charlton Park RDA, 11am – 4pm.

29th March: Charlton Toy Library Easter Party. Charlton Assembly Rooms, 2-4pm. £3 per person (under 12 months free) – tickets on sale at sessions at Charlton Toy Library, Charlton House (Tues, Thurs and Fri 09.30-12.30). Face painting and a raffle with fantastic prizes also available. All funds raised go to supporting Charlton Toy Library’s ongoing work at Charlton House, providing a safe and fun place to meet, play and borrow toys, books, games safety equipment and lots more”.

30th March: Live Music at Cattleya with Gus Glen. Charlton Church Lane, starts 8.30pm

Friday Lunchtime Concerts, Charlton House.

Disclaimer: These listings are up to date to the best of our knowledge, but we advise checking  details with the event organisers before attending any events.

Photo feature
Have you got a Charlton photo you’d like to share with the world? A shot of your favourite part of SE7, or a recent event? We’d love to feature some readers’ photos in our monthly diary round-up. Send your image to neilclasper[at]gmail.com with a title and – if you like – some words to tell us what the picture means to you (don’t worry: we’ll attribute the photo as you wish, and you’ll keep full control of copyright).

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Charlton lido: open weekend and pool re-opening

Charlton Lido, 9 August

Charlton lido’s heated pool will re-open with an Open Weekend, featuring free swimming and a barbecue on the weekend of March 8 and 9. Open Weekend swimming times are 9-5pm, with the barbecue running 12-5pm on the Saturday. The pool will then open during the remaining weekends in March, with ‘full’ opening starting in April.

The pool closed in early November 2013, with GLL citing a lack of members making year-round opening uneconomical. In the meantime the refurbishment of the wider premises – including a new gym, studio and indoor changing rooms has been completed, with the gym opening at the start of this month.

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White Swan: Community asset process gets under way

White Swan, 15 February 2014
Thursday update: The pub has reportedly reopened this week. So if you’ve got a thirst on, pop in and see what it’s like, and let us know.

The Charlton Society has formally asked Greenwich Council to make the White Swan pub an asset of community value, days after the pub suddenly closed its doors once again.

A nomination form has been sent to Greenwich Council, together with a 110-name petition (88 online, 22 offline) to ask council officers to designate it a community asset, a legal process which would make it harder for the pub to be sold.

The council has also been asked to consider making a planning direction to ensure the current owners cannot change its use.

Greenwich Council officers will now study the application to decide if it is valid. If it is, a decision should take place within eight weeks.

If the council designates The White Swan an asset of community value, then if the building is sold for development, the local community will be asked if it wishes to put together a bid. If it does, then the sale will be put on hold for six months to allow a bid to be put together.

The White Swan, 15 February 2014

The Charlton Society acted after the pub shut its doors suddenly last weekend – with bar fonts and lights still switched on. Financial problems also continue at owner Punch Taverns, now £2 billion in debt. If you’ve not signed it yet, the petition stays open

Here’s what the application to Greenwich Council says…

The White Swan is one of two pubs in Charlton Village, a distinctive retail and commercial area of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, with a unique history of its own. It’s both a local landmark and a heritage asset, and for many decades, it has served both the local community and customers from further afield heading to football matches at Charlton Athletic.

With the growth of tourism into the borough and London as a whole, the pub should have a bright future, with space above which could be used as rooms for visitors.

However, recent events have made us worry for the future of the building. In the past three months, the pub has been shut suddenly on two occasions for lengthy periods (in December 2013, and in February 2014 – it’s believed to have closed on 9 February and has not reopened).

Individuals have come forward to try to run the pub, but have found the financial demands from Punch Taverns (£43,000/year in rent) onerous. Punch itself is in financial trouble, owing over £2billion, which leads us to fear for the long-term future of the pub.

Yet there is interest in seeing the pub continue. A Facebook group, founded in December 2012, currently has 194 members. And in just two weeks, a petition lauched by the
Charlton Society has gathered 110 signatures (88 online plus 22 on paper) – with the vast majority of signatories coming from Charlton itself.

So, on behalf of the local community, the Charlton Society would like Greenwich Council to declare the White Swan an Asset of Community Value, to help safeguard its long-term future. We note that Greenwich Council’s core strategy supports the retention of pubs as a community resource, so we hope the council back this up by acting to protect the White Swan.

We would also ask Greenwich Council to consider making an Article 4 Direction to prevent a change of use to the building. This was used
successfully by Lewisham Council
in April 2013 to prevent the Catford Bridge Tavern from becoming a supermarket.

In light of Punch Taverns’ financial problems, we hope you can act quickly on this to protect a valuable community resource for the people of Charlton.

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