Talk Brexit with Greenwich & Woolwich’s MP this Saturday

Direct Matin, 6 June 2016

France didn’t want the UK to leave, but…

Four weeks ago, most people who live in the four council wards that include Charlton voted for the UK to stay in the EU. The rest of the country didn’t follow suit, and the events that followed have been felt far and wide.

But what does that mean for us here in south-east London? Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook is organising a public meeting this Saturday:

In the days since the EU referendum, I have been inundated with correspondence from local residents concerned about the implications of the result.

In order to give everyone who lives in the constituency a chance to discuss and debate what happens next, I have organised a public meeting.

Date: Saturday 23 July 10.30am – 1pm
Venue: Building 10, The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, London, SE18 6FR

Numbers are limited, so make sure you RSVP here if you want to go.

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Charltemon: What to watch out for as Pokemon Go comes to SE7


Never mind the new cabinet, Brexit or whatever our new mayor’s up to, for some people the biggest news right now will be that Pokemon Go is available to download in the UK from today. You might not ever have attempted to catch imaginary monsters to train them to fight before – I certainly never had, here’s a handy introduction – but you will likely know someone who will be very keen to hit the streets of SE7, smartphone in hand, to collect as many creatures as possible.

In brief, Pokemon Go is an ‘augmented reality’ game: using the GPS tracker in your smartphone, you need to walk to pre-defined places in the real world to find things and meet goals in the game. We downloaded the free app, took a walk, and found that Charlton has its share of monsters and other landmarks.

You might have younger kids who want to play but you’re concerned about letting them loose on their own – the NSPCC has concerns about the game being played by unaccompanied children, for example.

We thought it might be helpful if you could decide a bit more about what the game entails before you make decisions about your kids playing, so we had half an hour’s wander around the Village, Charlton Park and Charlton Church Lane, and this map (obvious spoilers there for older Pokemon trainers) shows what we found.

There are a couple of things for Charlton parents and players to be wary of: one Pokemon gym can be found at the rope sculpture on the corner of Woolwich Road and Anchor & Hope Lane, next to the busiest road crossing in Charlton.  

When I was wandering around there were a couple of Pokemon to be found on a private road near Charlton Park, and I really didn’t feel comfortable loitering near a block of flats doing something that looked like I might be taking photos with my phone so I had to let those ones go.

On the other hand, if you do decide to make a family outing out of a monster hunt, it might be useful to know that the White Swan is a Pokestop.

Have you played it? Have you found other things to be found around here that you can share with the rest of us? Is there a Pokemon Gym outside your front door? Let us know in the comments.

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Charlton Athletic fans to be charged for using club’s own ticket office

Ransom Walk

Football fans who buy their match tickets from Charlton Athletic’s ticket office at The Valley face having to pay an extra £2.50, it has emerged.

The club – run by unpopular Belgian electronics magnate Roland Duchâtelet – has slapped the extra sum onto the cost of each transaction to encourage fans to buy their tickets online instead.

Duchâtelet’s management, led by chief executive Katrien Meire, is also levying a £3 charge on each ticket bought in the two hours before kick-off.

They say supporters can escape the charges by buying in advance and printing their tickets at home, or using a smartphone. Fans can order online and have tickets posted to them for £1, while telephone orders now also cost £2.50.

But fans, who invaded the Valley pitch at the end of last season to protest at the way Duchâtelet and Meire run the Addicks, have complained that the club’s ticketing website is unreliable and does not offer a full range of ticketing options.

The charge also affects casual supporters, such as people who live close to the club who may decide at the last minute to watch a match, or opt to buy in person because it is more convenient than using online methods.

Arrangements for away matches – which are supplied by the host club and cannot be printed at home – are also unclear. The club’s ticket office implied on Twitter this afternoon that the charge would apply for away tickets, but fans could escape the charge by ordering online and then collecting from The Valley. When asked to confirm this, the club did not respond.

It has long been believed that Duchâtelet and Meire are running down the club’s ticket office to persuade fans to switch to online ticketing, saving money and creating a potentially lucrative marketing database. It is already only open to personal callers on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

The club could be in breach of consumer law if it does not offer a way of buying tickets that does not result in an additional booking fee.

Fans uncovered the fiasco today as tickets for the first away match of the club’s League One season, against Bury, went on sale. Many may now just simply bypass Charlton and buy their tickets directly from the Greater Manchester club on 6 August, the day of the match, if they are available there.

Following the club’s relegation to League One, life at The Valley had appeared to be more stable since the appointment of new manager Russell Slade, a reversal of Duchâtelet’s past policy of employing “head coaches” who he was already familiar with.

But season ticket sales are widely believed to be well down on last season as fans boycott the club. Duchâtelet and Meire’s decision to levy extra charges on individual match tickets is expected to further hit attendances at The Valley, which were already set to drop to their smallest level for two decades.

The Coalition Against Roland Duchâtelet campaign group – whose eye-catching stunts included a funeral cortege down Charlton Church Lane to The Valley – is promising more protests in the new season. It is holding a fundraising party at the White Swan in Charlton Village on 23 July, featuring the launch of a specially-brewed ale, Roland’s Ruin.

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53 to be fixed: Whitehall bus link restored from 23 July

A 53 to Lambeth North

Good news for bus passengers in Charlton, as well as Plumstead, Woolwich, Blackheath and Greenwich – route 53 will finally run to Whitehall again from 23 July.

The daytime service was suddenly cut back to Lambeth North in January 2015 because of major roadworks on Westminster Bridge and, later, at Elephant & Castle.

Now Transport for London has confirmed the full service will be finally restored, 18 months after the original change was made.

The cutback was the subject of a petition from the Charlton Society in May 2015.

A motion was later passed by Greenwich Council on the subject, although it removed credit to the amenity group and inserted criticism of former mayor Boris Johnson.

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Open weekend at ‘refreshed’ Charlton Lido

Charlton Lido are holding an open weekend on Saturday 23rd  and Sunday 24th of July, with special offers on membership, and a chance for non-members to try out the facilities – including the recently ‘relaunched’ cafe. They’re also looking for local businesses who may wish to take a stall over the weekend.

As an aside, we’d suggest that if Better are now describing the lido as ‘Charlton’s best kept secret’ it might be time for them to do a bit of proper advertising and promotion…


PS. Tried the cafe since it reopened? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments below.

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Grow Well, Feel Well Open Day in Maryon Park on Saturday

Maryon Park Community Garden

Tim Anderson from Maryon Park Community Garden would like a word…

Maryon Park Community Garden has been chosen to take part in the Capital Growth Grow Well, Feel Well Open Day on Saturday 9th July, from 1pm to 4pm.

The attractions will include: 

• Drop-in Tours and Talks on the health benefits of organic gardening and growing your own food.

• Outdoor Art Taster Workshops at 1.00, 2.00 and 3.00 run by COATS, the Community Outdoor Art Therapy Service. (Early arrival recommended as the maximum number is 8 participants in each session.)

• Refreshments including herb teas.

To find the garden, which is behind the park fencing, enter Maryon Park via the main entrance on Maryon Road, SE7 8DH and walk past the Park Lodge or walk south through the park from the Woolwich Road entrances.

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All change by the river as Second Floor Arts becomes Thames-Side Studios

Second Floor Arts open studios

Second Floor Studios & Arts, the thriving art community on the Charlton/Woolwich border, is now operating under a new identity, with its two directors moving onto a new project in Deptford.

Since opening in 2010, Second Floor has grown to become London’s largest affordable studio space project for artists and makers, with 450 members. Its twice-yearly Open Studios weekends are a highlight of the local calendar.

Now the Warspite Road outfit has been renamed Thames-Side Studios after directors Matthew Wood and Nichole Herbert Wood took out a lease on 75 new studios in the under-construction Deptford Foundry development in Arklow Road, close to the railway junction between Deptford and New Cross stations. The Second Floor name is moving with them, along with the No Format gallery name.

Thames-Side Studios is now in the hands of the building’s freeholder, which says on its website it is “committed to the continuing provision” of spaces for artists. With work on extending the Thames Path past the studios’ front door due to be completed by spring 2017, there’s potential for the site to get even more popular- particularly if the Open Studios weekends continue.

While the whole riverside area is scheduled for redevelopment in the coming years, Greenwich Council has signalled that it wants to see the buildings kept and used by creative industries.

While they’ll still be based reasonably locally, the Second Floor team will be a hard act to follow. With grandiose plans under way for a “creative quarter” in the Royal Arsenal development, their departure across the Lewisham border is a big loss to Greenwich borough as a whole.

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