17 hours up a tree: Burglary suspect halts Charlton trains

Police are playing a waiting game this evening as they try to coax down a burglary suspect holed up in a tree by the railway line at Barney Close.

The man’s been up there since 2am after fleeing from police following an incident at Stone Lake Retail Park.

One passer-by at the scene said the man was 32, from north London, and had tried to rob Currys.

Police have sealed off the back of Barney Close while they wait for him to come down.

All London-bound trains have been diverted, though some Kent-bound services are inching past the scene.

Here are some photos taken at about 6pm. Paramedics were seen walking to the scene at about 6.50pm and the British Transport Police tweeted that it hoped to “have things back to normal as soon as possible”.

8pm update: The suspect has now been taken down and arrested.




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Will Charlton’s old Conservative Club face the bulldozer?

Charlton Conservative Club, 5 August 2014

Charlton Champion reader Susie Goss has been in touch with concerns about a planning application to turn the shut-down Conservative Club on Charlton Church Lane into a number of houses and flats:

After a recent successful application to reduce the size of Charlton’s Liberal Club and turn the remainder of the site into flats, neighbours have now received notification of a drastic planning application which would see the Charlton Conservative Club, just a few doors away, demolished.

The plans, which would see the site flattened and replaced by six three-bedroom social houses and 10 flats for the commercial market, have caused horror amongst some local residents. Not only would an attractive building, which previously provided a social space in the area, be lost, but neighbours feel that the proposed development would completely overshadow existing homes and their gardens.

Without doubt the Conservative Club, which closed its doors in August 2013, needs care and attention to bring it back to life in some form but this application is a radical and unwelcome proposal for many local residents.

The project appears to be entirely financially motivated and shows little care or consideration for existing residents or the wider community.

Details of the plans are available at on Greenwich Council’s planning website, reference 14/0760/F.

Charlton Church Lane planning application

The proposals show a large block facing Charlton Church Lane with homes squeezed in behind them on what’s now the back yard of the former club. With the Liberal Club downsizing, there’ll soon be a lack of community space on that stretch of Charlton Church Lane – is this plan for the Conservative Club the right one?

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Could Charlton get a ‘green bridge’ over Woolwich Road?

MIle End Park

The green bridge over the A11 at Mile End Park (picture: Tower Hamlets Council)

There’s been some talk over the years about a possible “green bridge” over Woolwich Road – effectively, a park which would run over the A206 between Maryon Park and Barrier Park, the small green space opposite.

There’s an example of how it could look over the Thames, where a green strip crosses the Mile End Road, linking green spaces either side of the A11.

The idea’s been mostly pushed by Greenwich & Woolwich MP Nick Raynsford, who is due to step down next year. Labour candidate Matt Pennycook (who is also councillor for Greenwich West) has picked up the baton and launched a petition to make sure the green bridge gets into Greenwich Council’s Charlton Masterplan, which envisages residential development to the north of the A206.

Here’s why he’s backing the idea…

The concept of a ‘green bridge’ linking Maryon Park to an enlarged Barrier Park and the river beyond has been around for some time. Yet despite a number of supportive references in the Council’s Charlton Riverside Masterplan, there is no guarantee it will be realised.

There is widespread recognition that the busy and fast-moving stretch of the Woolwich Road between the Antigallican and Warspite Road presents a significant barrier to improved connectivity between Charlton and the river, but nothing that requires it to be overcome through the construction of a green bridge.

Yet the case for such a bridge is strong. An attractive green bridge would provide the majority of local residents that live on the southern side of Woolwich Road with a strong, safe, and environmentally beneficial link that would also expand opportunities for the pupils of nearby Windrush Charlton Primary to more easily utilise the beautiful settings of nearby Maryon Park and Maryon Wilson Park.

Securing such a bridge will be a challenge, not least in securing sufficient funding to cover its cost, but it’s clear from the conversations I’ve had with local residents over recent months that the idea is incredibly popular. To bring the idea a step closer to realisation we need to show that it has strong support in the community.

That’s why I’ve launched a petition calling on the Council to do all it can to ensure that a green bridge linking Maryon Wilson Park and an enlarged Barrier Park is built as part of any future development in the area.

I hope you’ll consider signing and supporting the campaign.

Thanks to Matt for writing for us. What do you think of the idea? Share your thoughts below…

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It’s Your Charlton: Community Council campaign kicks off at Horn Fayre

It's Your Charlton website

A campaign for Charlton to get its own community council will launch at the Horn Fayre in Charlton Park on Sunday – and you’re very welcome to come along and find out what it’s all about. Other events are due to be held later in the year.

As reported here in January, the Charlton Society has been given some funding to explore the idea of a community council- the level of local government closest to residents. They’re common in the rest of England, and new laws mean they can now be introduced in London.

The first community council in London, in Queen’s Park, north-west London, was elected in May.

In Charlton, a community council could work with Greenwich Council and other bodies to attract funding and bring lasting improvements to the local area.

Councillors would be volunteers, and a council would be non-party political.

Campaigners need one in 10 SE7 residents to sign a petition to get the process of starting a community council under way.

Since January, the idea’s had some local press coverage, and some of the people who responded to that have been meeting in recent months to work out just what a council would be for, and what the next steps should be.

Now the It’s Your Charlton campaign has launched a website, and will have a stall on Sunday to explain what it’s all about.

The theory is that a community council would bring decision-making closer to you. There would be a cost – the Queen’s Park council is charging an extra £3.70 per month on Band D council tax bills – but a community council would be able to apply for grants and other funding, so that money could go much further.

All this would depend on who gets elected – would you consider standing? Or do you have skills you could lend the community council campaign?

It’s a big issue, and there’s a lot of work to be done yet – but you can be among the first to find out more at the Horn Fayre (that’s the Charlton Park one) from 11am to 4pm this Sunday.

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Greenwich Council planning Charlton Park skate park

Charlton Park Lane, 2011

A skate park could be built on the left, if cabinet members back the scheme on Wednesday

Greenwich Council is considering plans to build a skatepark in Charlton Park, according to papers to be presented to the council’s cabinet next week.

The skatepark would replace one at Royal Arsenal Gardens, Woolwich, which is being destroyed as Berkeley Homes prepares to build tower blocks on the site.

Plans by the Greenwich Skatepark Co-op to build one close to the Thames Barrier fell through after the council decided not to make a decision on a planning application put forward by the group.

Now Greenwich Council is planning to build one in Charlton Park with £365,000 of money from Berkeley Homes, given on the condition that the park is built within two miles of Woolwich.

Two sites in Charlton Park are being considered; one next to the children’s play area on the north side of the park, the other in the corner next to the junction of Charlton Park Lane and Cemetery Lane.

Council officers also looked at sites in Barrier Park, the north side of Maryon Park and at Hornfair Park, but recommended against using these. No sites outside Charlton feature in the report to be presented to the council’s cabinet on Wednesday.

Hornfair Park already has a BMX track but council officers dismiss the site, saying it is the furthest away from Woolwich.

“Among the other disadvantages of this site are that it is less well-connected to Woolwich than the other sites by bus, and is the furthest from a national rail or Underground station. It is also very close to a residential area, from which there is direct access. There are no public toilets on site,” the report says, adding there is a risk it “may not be well-used”.

The report says of Charlton Park: “The infrastructure needed to support it is largely in place which would minimise revenue costs. There is continuity in having a skateboard park in proximity to other outdoor sports facilities, adding to the appeal of Charlton Park as a centre for recreation and sporting activities. Moreover, there is a choice of locations within the Charlton Park, proving some flexibility to adapt proposals in response to consultation.”

The site at Charlton Park Lane is away from homes – opposite Meridian Sports Club – but is popular with local dog owners and is across the other side of the park from the mini-gym and other facilities. There’s been no consultation on the issue so far, but one would begin if the council’s cabinet backs the scheme, which envisages work starting at the end of 2015.

What do you think? Should there be a skate park in Charlton Park? Is there a more suitable location?

Let us know your views (and your councillors might want to know, too.)

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Do you use urgent care services? Talk to the NHS at Charlton House

NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group is currently consulting on the future of urgent care services in the borough. It’s holding a session at Charlton House on 30 July – you’d be very welcome to come along…

NHS Greenwich

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Charlton House transferred to new Heritage Trust

Charlton House

Charlton House

Yesterday brought an announcement from the council confirming that a number of local assets – including Charlton House – have been transferred into a new Heritage Trust.


The Royal Borough of Greenwich Heritage Trust has officially transferred services from the council and has begun its work to ensure the borough’s much-loved assets continue to be protected and enhanced for the benefit of residents.

The Trust has also officially registered with the Charity Commission.

Royal Greenwich has a wealth of heritage assets, ranging from buildings of great historical interest to war memorials. The not for profit trust will make it easier for residents to have a greater say in the futures of these buildings.

The Trust has been set up specifically to look after the buildings under its care. It will also make it easier to access different types of funding to help maintain and enhance the buildings. The Trust will be led by a Board of Trustees who have been recruited from various fields in Heritage and Architecture.

Some of the borough’s treasures will now be under the care of the trust including Charlton House, the Greenwich Heritage Centre and The Tudor Barn in Eltham.

The Trust will also take on a Custodian role in relation to some of the war memorials of Royal Greenwich, which means they will be first point of contact for enquiries relating to these.

Local war memorials are currently undergoing a programme of conservation and repair during the period of commemoration of the Great War. The programme will take place throughout 2014-2018.

Councillor Miranda Williams, Royal Borough of Greenwich cabinet member for Culture and Creative industries said:

“We are extremely proud of our historic and heritage legacy here in the Royal Borough. Not only are we honoured to have such a rich selection of historical buildings and memorials here, we know they are a huge asset to the borough in terms of attracting visitors from around the world.

“We welcome the establishment of a Heritage Trust which has been shown to work well in other parts of the country.

It should also make it easier to access different types of funding to help maintain and enhance our buildings.

We look forward to working with the Trust to both protect and enrich our heritage and to enable the local community to play an increased role in looking after and learning more about these historical buildings.”

Heritage Trust Trustee, Jonathan Louth said: “We would hope, there will be little change to the services people enjoy and we are keen to engage with the local community as we develop, as we believe their support is essential to our success”.

Trust Chief Executive, Tracy Stringfellow said: “As a Charity, fundraising will become easier and that is vital to the sustainability of heritage services like ours in these times of reduced central funding.”

A list of the trustees (which include Charlton ward councillors Miranda Williams and Gary Parker) can be found on the Charity Commission’s website.

After a period of uncertainty (and, in Charlton House’s case, dashed hopes of a stand-alone heritage trust), it’s good that this move is now out in the open. Few people would argue that Charlton House has been managed to its potential in recent years, and it’s possible to see that a change of management could be a very positive development (even if the council’s press release hardly zips with excitement).

Plenty of questions remain, though:
– exactly which assets are included in the Trust?
– what is the role of Greenwich Heritage Trading Ltd (company registration no. 09021486, incorporated 1 May 2014) in relation to the Trust?
– how will the Trust be scrutinised?
– who was included in the consultation (we understand that the Charlton Society weren’t involved, for example)?
– how exactly will residents ‘have a greater say in the futures of these buildings’?

Cllr Parker has indicated on Twitter that a new consultation will commence soon:

Hopefully the details of this process will be clear soon, and some answers to the questions above will emerge.

For Charlton House in particular it will be interesting to find out what will change day-to-day: what is the new management’s vision? Will there be better engagement with local residents? Can we look forward to an invigorated programme of events, a regularly updated website – or maybe even weekend opening for the tea rooms?

(Charlton House’s Twitter followers may have been bemused to see the account recently singing the praises of a ‘magical community venue for Sunday morning coffee’…in Dalston).

What direction would you like to see the Heritage Trust take with Charlton House? Let us know in the comments below (and we’ll pass on any details of the Trust’s consultation process as soon as we have them!).

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