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.

ROYAL BOROUGH ANNOUNCES CONFIRMATION OF SPECIAL TRUST FOR KEY HERITAGE BUILDINGS

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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Maryon Wilson Animal Park Summer Festival – Saturday 19th July

MWAP Summer Festival 2014

It’s Maryon Wilson Animal Park’s Summer Festival on Saturday 19th July, 11am – 3pm. From the organisers:

“Join Maryon Wilson Animal Park for a fun-packed family day out. Come along and enjoy:

  • A nature trail with prizes for everyone taking part
  • Animal tours
  • Meet the RDA ponies and get your photo taken
  • Meet our new Ryeland lambs and enter the competition to name them!
  • Story telling with Sandy Beach in the deer pen
  • Reptile Roadshow (hold a snake!)
  • Bouncy slide
  • Hold an owl with JambsOwls
  • Craft stalls
  • Face painting
  • Refreshments, food and ice cream

..and more!”

Address: Maryon Wilson Animal Park, Flamsteed Road, Charlton, SE7 8HT
Website: www.maryonwilsonanimalpark.org.uk
Twitter: @mwanimalpark
facebook.com/maryonwilsonanimalpark

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Late opening Wednesdays at Charlton Lido

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Good news for Charlton Lido swimmers as GLL announce that the main pool will open until 9.30pm on Wednesday, ‘until further notice’. It’s to be hoped that if this proves popular then late opening will be extended through the week (more publicity may help, though: this particular Better Swim member only found out by checking GLL’s website; an email to members would surely help raise awareness of what is clearly a positive development).

Check the full opening times here.

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Horn Fayre/Fair 2014 posters

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Yes, we are having a Horn Fayre and a Horn Fair this year.

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