Fancy running Charlton’s Bugle Horn pub?

The Bugle Horn - © Chris Whippet and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The Bugle Horn – © Chris Whippet and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

After all the kerfuffle over the White Swan, Charlton village’s oldest pub, the Bugle Horn, is looking for new management – the current bosses are stepping down next month.

A beautiful building in a decent location – you could be onto a winner. Although you’d have to work with Punch Taverns, which owns the place.

And the listing doesn’t really go out to sell its potential…

“An authentic village pub in the heart of south-east london. Set in a part of the capital with a genuinely ‘villagey’ feel, the Bugle Horn is a favourite with fans of Charlton Athletic. The pub was formed from three 18th century cottages were melded to make a public house, but it has a much more contemporary feeling today thanks to fresh paintwork and signage – the colours hint at the allegiances of the pub…”

A pub that’s only going to get customers for 25 days a year, then?

“The incoming operator will be looking to establish a more balanced ‘rhythm of the week’ that will attract families, after-work drinkers and occasion diners to sample the pub’s wares, in terms of food as well as ale.”

That’s more like it.

“There’s a function room which could be promoted to better effect, in conjunction with the commercial kitchen, and the 15-space car park is a real boon in a part of town where parking can be at a premium.”

I can think of better things to do with the car park than have cars. Host a market?

“However, the new angle for the Bugle Horn should be an appeal that goes beyond sport: there is the opportunity to drive a food-led push, so an operator with experience within catering will see ways in which to turn their ideas into reality. Charlton is a pretty part of London with a real village feel to it – there is a heated lido and sports centre for fun and fitness and the housing is varied and affordable – for now. The area is undergoing an explosion in popularity which is attracting more affluent folks to the area – and as that continues, they’ll be pleased to find a spot to eat, as food outlets are thin on the ground in Charlton Village. Transport-wise, you can be at London Bridge Station in less than 20 minutes.”

With the White Swan poised for new ownership, and the Bugle looking for new management, are we about to see big changes for our local pubs? Or will things stay no more imaginative than karaoke and football on Sky? Your thoughts on what the Bugle could offer would be appreciated.

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Greenwich Council bungle renames Charlton’s Sutlej Road

Sutlej Road, 14 April 2015
“Lads, we need some new road signs for this street in Charlton – you know, we need to tell ’em we’re now a royal borough and all that. Can you sort that for me?”

“Of course, boss, what’s it called?”

“It’s called Sutlej Road. Runs between Marlborough Lane and Canberra Road.”

“How do you spell that, then?”

“It’s S-U-T-L-E-J.”

“Got that boss – leave us to it.”

“Good. And remember – it’s Royal Borough of Greenwich now.”

Sutlej Road, Charlton, 14 April 2015

(In case you were wondering, Sutlej is a river in the Punjab. Thanks to Adham Smart for the tip-off.)

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Meet the candidates: Charlton Society confirms general election hustings on 25 April

Greenwich and Woolwich candidates

Confirmed candidates so far (clockwise): Ryan Acty (Ukip), Abbey Akinoshun (Green), Lynne Chamberlain (TUSC), Matt Pennycook (Labour), Tom Holder (Lib Dems), Matt Hartley (Conservative)

With 7 May’s general election getting closer, the Charlton Society has confirmed it will be holding a hustings for the Greenwich & Woolwich constituency (which covers most of Charlton) at the Assembly Rooms, Charlton Village on 25 April at 2.30pm.

It’s open to all, and all six declared candidates have agreed to take part. They are:

Current MP Nick Raynsford is standing down after 23 years in the post. A full list of candidates won’t be known until after the nominations have closed on 9 April.

There are other hustings across the constituency, mostly aimed at special interest groups, but another open to all will be held by the Blackheath and Greenwich United Nations Association at Mycenae House, Blackheath, at 7.30pm on 15 April.

The Charlton Central Residents Association is also holding a hustings at St Richard’s Hall, Swallowfield Road on 27 April at 7.30pm (members and associate members can reserve a place by contacting CCRA).

Details of other hustings would be appreciated, including those covering the Eltham constituency, which covers streets to the south of Charlton Park.

PS. Are you registered to vote? If you’re not sure, contact Greenwich Council’s electoral services to check.  You can now register online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. The deadline is 20 April.

Other hustings for Greenwich & Woolwich: Friday 17 April, 6:30pm, Greenwich West Community Centre (organised by Breast Cancer Care – register for free ticket); Sunday 19 April, 11.30am, Greenwich Dance Agency, Royal Hill (Christian Life Fellowship); Wednesday 22 April, 1pm, Greenwich Community College Plumstead campus; Thursday 23 April, 7.30pm, Christ Church East Greenwich (local Church of England churches); Tuesday 28 April, 6.30pm, Forum at Greenwich (Greenwich NUT); Wednesday 29 April, 6pm, Forum at Greenwich (Greenwich Association of Disabled People).

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Ikea coming to Greenwich – can we stop it grinding Charlton to a halt?

Ikea plan
As you may know already, Ikea has planning permission to build a store on the site of the old “eco” Sainsbury’s in Greenwich – a prospect which has flat-pack furniture fans five miles already reaching for their car keys, and residents who live a mile away groaning.

Campaigners against the store recently switched to a strategy of damage limitation after being advised that a legal challenge would be unlikely to work, since Transport for London had agreed with Ikea’s claim that the development would not add extra traffic to the area.

The new Ikea will come on top of a relocated Sainsbury’s plus M&S at Gallions Road, another an expanded retail park close to the river, and a relocated Matalan on Woolwich Road.

For its part, Ikea has been talking to local residents’ groups, including the Charlton Society and Charlton Central Residents’ Association.

The Charlton Society says:

“How can we make the best of this situation? What do we, as neighbours of the proposed store, want to see to prevent Ikea grinding local transport to a halt? What do we think the store should look like? And what part should Ikea play in the local community?

“The Charlton Society’s planning committee is talking to Ikea about the future. We’d like to hear your ideas. Should the road junction at the Woolwich Road flyover be altered? How can we make it easier for people to have goods delivered? What extra public transport would you like to see? And how can we improve on Ikea’s trademark blue box?”

Ideas include emulating the new-ish Ikea store in Altona, Hamburg, which is aimed at attracting a 50/50 split between car drivers and those coming on public transport, on bike or by foot.

Do you have any ideas you can feed into the process? Let the Charlton Society know.

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Look up – nine-storey tower planned for Woolwich Road

A CGI from architects Chassay & Last showing the  view from the BP petrol station

A CGI from architects Chassay & Last showing the view from the BP petrol station

Would you want to see this on Woolwich Road? Developers want to knock down a derelict office block on Woolwich Road, next to the new Sainsbury’s/M&S development, and build 74 new homes plus a retail unit on the site, crowned by a nine-storey tower.

The old office block – most recently called Valley House – has an odd history of its own – it was once Sykes House, home of Sykes Pumps; then it was taken over by Greenwich Council and renamed Guy Barnett House after the late local MP; but then that name was withdrawn when it had the bad luck of being the place where it tried administer the poll tax from. The council pulled out a few years ago; this website understands Metro Bank had been eyeing up the site for a branch, but that came to nothing.

valley_house_site01

So instead, it becomes the first concrete proposal for housing development north of the Woolwich Road since the Charlton Riverside Masterplan was produced. It looks smart enough from the renders, and London needs new homes, but is nine storeys too high for the Woolwich Road? The Charlton Society has voiced its disapproval*, you, however, may have a different view.

This has been going through planning for a while – it’s now at a “reconsultation” stage, and comments need to be with the council by 10 March. If you want to find out more, go here or enter 14/3258/F on Greenwich Council’s planning search.

(*Declaration of interest: I’m on the Charlton Society’s committee, but I’ve no strong view on this building.)

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Charlton Lido’s spring 2015 opening hours revealed

Charlton Lido

The sun’s out (sort of), it’s getting warmer (sort of), so what could be better than a dip in a nice heated open-air pool?

Thanks to Vicki Butler at Charlton Lido for getting in touch with the spring opening hours, which begin from 30 March, and the customer forum (on 10 March):

I thought you and your readers may like to know that the Charlton Lido & Lifestyle Club pool programme for the Spring has been published and it has some extended sessions.

You can pick up the timetable from reception on your next visit. The Spring timetable will commence on Monday 30th March (the start of the school Easter holidays).

In short, it is :
Monday 7am-2pm
Tuesday closed
Wednesday 2-8pm
Thursday 2-8pm
Friday 7am-2pm
Weekends 9am-5pm.

An email to members has also been sent this afternoon regarding the next customer forum, if you want to receive the email and have not, please notify reception who can add you to the database.

The team look forward to seeing you and your followers at the Club soon.

Current winter times are 7am-2pm Mondays and Fridays, 2pm-8pm on Wednesdays, 5pm to 8pm on Thursdays and 9am-2pm on weekends. You can also check the (unofficial) Twitter feed or the Charlton Lido website for more details.

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Help secure Maryon Wilson Animal Park’s future, council leader urged

Greenwich Council needs to step in to secure the future of Maryon Wilson Animal Park, its leader Denise Hyland has been told by park users.

The running of the park was handed to to a charity after the council announced plans to withdraw funding four years ago.

But Maryon Wilson Animal Park Ltd is struggling to raise the £100,000 per year it needs to keep the park going – leading to the Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks to ask Greenwich to consider taking it back into council ownership.

In an open letter to Cllr Hyland, the Friends group proposes the council takes on the costs of running the animal centre, with MWAP Ltd acting as an independent fundraising body to help pay for animal feed and improvements to their acommodation.

Greenwich taking back the park would also end the issue of part of a public park being leased out to a third party for 30 years, the Friends group says.

The letter reads:

For the Friends group, the best solution is for the council to own and run the Animal Park, and for the charity, MWAP Ltd., to act as fund-raisers to help pay for the animal feed and improve the animals’ living conditions and care. If the charity becomes successful then they could also help pay for the council staff but not line manage them.

The charity could concentrate on running events and developing an animal education service for schools and young people. The Parks and Open Spaces staff can then continue to run the Animal Park on a day to day basis, maintaining the established high standards of Health and Safety needed for managing the combination of animals and child visitors.

Such an arrangement would also avoid any unwelcome issues with leasing the land and losing significant sections of a public park from the public domain.

The suggestion above seems to us to be something that respects everybody and is a much more sensible, realistic, and sustainable financial arrangement than the current plans.

It would be fantastic for the new council administration to agree a new solution that secures the Animal Park’s long term future.

We ask that you take the Animal Park back into the council’s long term care whilst continuing to work with the dedicated people at MWAP Ltd. to improve the park’s animal welfare and educational facilities.

The council’s 2010 budget savings document put the park’s annual running costs at £43,000. But it’s understood that this was massively under-estimated, as it didn’t include staffing costs as well as other outgoings such as paying for park rangers to run tours.

While some sponsorship has been found from developer Durkan and supermarket Sainsbury’s, making up the shortfall has been a tall order for the charity.

Regular events at the park include its annual Easter egg hunt, which takes place this year on 29 March.

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