Is parking a problem for you in Eastcombe Avenue or the neighbouring streets? DI GAINES has been in touch about a petition that she and residents in the local area are organising, asking Greenwich Council to introduce a parking permit scheme in the surrounding streets.
Action is needed now and we have formed a residents group to petition the Council to obtain residents’ parking in the current free parking areas from Victoria Way, Eastcombe Avenue, Wyndcliff Road and adjoining roads.
We are one of the few areas in Greenwich borough without residents’ parking and although it is mainly one end of Eastcombe Avenue, Wyndcliff Road and Victoria Way that is currently affected we do not want to “push” the problem further into other roads and that is why we are campaigning for the whole area to have permits.
Permits are not expensive, currently £70 a year and visitors permits are easily obtainable. This works our roughly £1.35 per week, a cost we feel justified for piece of mind
It appears that the only consultation currently proposed by the Council is to existing permit holders. So we are taking action to present this petition at the next full council meeting on 27 March.
We are campaigning in the area but if we miss you and you would like to sign the petition or have any questions please email Permitsforus[at]gmail.com
Thank you for your support
Has has parking got worse in your street recently? Do you think a permit scheme is the answer? If you live in an area with a parking permit scheme in place, does it work? Let us know in the comments below.
Hyde has recently begun the early stages of consultation about its plans for the site, recently holding a meeting for community groups to discuss the scheme. As well as Maybank Wharf, it has also bought the Tarmac ashpalt plant and mixed industrial units along New Lyndenburg Street.
Interesting morning with Hyde Housing and community looking at their proposals for Charlton Riverside. Good to see lessons being learnt from the Rockwell proposals. Positive consultation in fairness pic.twitter.com/1JC18V8HRA
Charlton’s winter night shelter, at St Thomas’ Church on Woodland Terrace, opens its doors for the last time this evening. Since November, it has provided Friday night accommodation for homeless people as part of the seven-day Greenwich Winter Night Shelter network, whose programme for this year ends next week. Local Democracy Reporter TOM BULL met some of the shelter’s users, and the volunteers who help to run it.
Builders, chefs, and nurses are guests at the Greenwich Winter Night Shelter.
They are also rough sleepers.
The shelter has room for 15 of society’s most vulnerable to get a night’s rest. But more are waiting.
Volunteers are preparing for the “heart-breaking” final week knowing that the end brings uncertainty for clients and workers over where they will go next.
Guests, volunteers say, are people who haven’t chosen homelessness, they have fallen into it.
Their stories show the scale of rough sleeping in the country – one guest this year has been a student nurse, another a chef – one man last night needed a night’s sleep ahead of a job interview and had brought a shirt and trousers to be ironed by the volunteers.
‘No work, no money, no rent’
Rough sleeping in London has reached “inhumane levels”, one homeless builder told us last night.
The man, who didn’t want to be named, had his tools robbed nearly three weeks ago.
“No tools, no work – no work, no money, no rent. It’s simple ain’t it?” he said. He’s been sleeping rough for 16 nights, and this was his first time at the shelter.
“It’s been rough as f***. Last night was the worst. It’s so cold. You couldn’t sit down because you’d feel yourself freezing. You have to get up and walk – not a wink of sleep. If I was out tonight I don’t know what I would do.”
He knows that the shelter’s services are coming to an end, but he has no other choice but to take it up while he can.
“It’s inhumane how Britain is. It goes against human rights. If it wasn’t for here tonight, I’d be out there. These people should be given knighthoods.”
The shelter opened earlier than usual in this, its fifth year in operation, starting in November and working every night out of six different churches and a community centre.
One guest – who previously managed hotel kitchens – has got a job in a café during his stay. He had come over from South Africa in January looking for work and was pickpocketed at Waterloo station.
“I was sleeping rough, I had nowhere to go and I had no money. A woman walked past me and then came back. She asked how much it would be to get a night’s rest. I told her it was about £9, so she went and got me money – she gave me a hundred quid. It was beyond belief.”
The volunteers said they worry about what happens once the project finishes. Come Wednesday, some guests will have found housing, but others will be back on the streets.
A council snapshot in November found there were seven people sleeping rough. Last night, all 15 beds were booked out.
Between playing pool with guests and organising dinner, volunteers found the time to say how important shelters are.
One co-ordinator, Jo, has been involved with the project from the start. She’s seen a big increase in take-up, putting it down to increased awareness – but said it’s surprising who comes through the doors.
“Nobody here has chosen to be homeless,” she said.
‘It has cost me my marriage’
Sat next to his bed for the night, a 43-year-old father of two said that without the shelter, he didn’t know where he would be.
He said he’s been rough sleeping for six years, and on the housing waiting list for three. He said the council provided a two-bedroom flat for him, his wife and two kids. His now 15-year-old daughter is still sharing a room with her mum, and he’s now on the streets.
“That’s the overcrowding that the Royal Borough of Greenwich can’t sort out,” he said. “It has cost me my marriage and I’ve ended up on the road.
“I’ve been sofa-surfing with friends, but I’ve exhausted everything I can. Absolutely, people don’t get the scale.”
The dad said he is in conversations with a housing officer for a plan to be put in place before the shelter closes.
“My fate is in their hands – I don’t know where I will go. Day to day it’s a challenge.”
Last year, the shelter had 30 different guests who stayed from between five and 85 nights. At least 20 were supported into some form of accommodation. Others either went back to the streets or had sorted another arrangement.
It’s estimated the hours put in by volunteers, at minimum wage, would be the equivalent of £66k.
94 rough sleepers in Greenwich borough
In Greenwich there were 94 different people thought to be sleeping rough over the course of last year.
Councillor Chris Kirby, cabinet member for housing, said that the council is currently reviewing its homelessness strategy.
He said: “We have an excellent track record of demonstrating the strength of working with partners to support homeless people and make the best use of our skills and resources. This includes a Vulnerable Adults Pathway, which provides housing-related support for ex-offenders and/or people with a substance misuse history.
“Official statistics show that rough sleeping in England rose by 169 per cent from 2010 to 2018, coinciding with when the coalition government came to power. We are doing all we can to help those sleeping rough in our borough.”
The subway linking Bramshot Avenue with Siebert Road is to get a £50,000 upgrade as part of measures to mitigate the impact of the forthcoming Silvertown Tunnel on the area, Greenwich Council documents reveal.
The revamp of the 50-year-old subway is among an expanded package of measures to go with the controversial river crossing between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, which is due to open in late 2024 or early 2025. Work on the tunnel is due to begin by the end of this year.
There is very little for Charlton in the new package, but it does target some areas just outside – commuters who use Westcombe Park station will notice some difference by the time the work is finally done, which may not be until the tunnel is completed.
The new package includes £50,000 for improvements to Siebert Road subway, which links Westcombe Hill in Blackheath with Eastcombe Avenue in Charlton – a busy route for local schoolchildren and commuters using Westcombe Park station or buses to North Greenwich. It is partly aimed at making it safer for cyclists to use. Similar subways at the Sun-in-the-Sands roundabout already permit cycling.
Improvements promised include “lighting improvements to the entrances and within the underpass itself, “planting on ramp approach to tunnel to enhance public realm and slow cycles”, “planting and environmental improvements on Siebert Road side to make link more appealing to users”.
Another £50,000 will go on improvements to the footbridge over the A102 between Farmdale Road, east Greenwich, and Westcombe Park station. This will comprise of “lighting along the entirety of the bridge”, “resurfacing with buff anti-skid surfacing”, “repainting railings” and “planting where appropriate and minor bridge repairs”. 200m long 4m wide bridge.
Soap fans will recall the bridge from a 2005 episode of EastEnders…
The bulk of the extra cash, however, is going at the footbridge’s eastern end, with a £275,000 scheme to improve the approach to the bridge at Farmdale Road. Before the A102 was constructed in the late 1960s, this was the end of Westcombe Hill – and the road has barely been touched since it was severed decades ago.
Plans here appear to be encouraging a pedestrian and cycle route towards the Thames – arguably, this is something that perhaps should have been included in the Ikea planning agreements, which merely include signage along this particular route. They include “footway improvements, decluttering and planting on Farmdale Road”, “resurfacing of Farmdale Road”, “continuous footways on both Farmdale Rd and Aldeburgh Street”, “toucan/parallel [pedestrian/cycle] crossing shifted to ped/cyclist desire line into Aldeburgh Street”, “greening on both sides of the railway bridge”.
A further £75,000 is set aside for the decades-overdue screening of the western side of Farmdale Road from the A102 slip road.
Separately, a planned noise barrier for the Blackheath side of the A102 will be doubled in length so it runs from near Invicta School to the railway line at Westcombe Park, protecting neighbours of the dual carriageway in SE3 from road noise, following heavy lobbying from residents. No such protection is planned for the Charlton side, where there has been no lobbying.
City Hall’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman said on Tuesday: “I’m excited about that, because unlocking that town centre unlocks the cycle route down to Woolwich. We now have the funding for that cycle route and we are working with the borough to deliver that.
“The plans are working well, it is unlocking the next phase and the money is in place to do that. The designs are being worked up for that new route all the way down to Woolwich.
“The Angerstein roundabout will be part of that. Greenwich is working up an interim scheme to make it a bit safer.
“But, as part of the longer route from the town centre to Woolwich, that is a core focus. That and the Woolwich Ferry roundabout are two hotspots for road danger.
“I’m seeing initial plans to make that [the Angerstein roundabout] safer for cyclists and pedestrians, at the moment it is a horrible area. That work is ongoing, the new [council] leadership are really behind it, it’s very exciting.”
While the flyover dates from the construction of the Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach in 1969, the original layout of the junction featured a more complex arrangement with traffic lights and longer slip roads from the A102 to the south. The current roundabout dates from a reworking of the junction about 10 years later, which itself had traffic lights installed in the late 1990s.
The Friends of Charlton Park aren’t giving up, though – and are looking to get funding from elsewhere. If you’re a regular visitor to Charlton Park in the afternoon or evening, you can help them.
If you pass the skate park and gym between 3pm and 9pm, keep an eye out for how many people are using them – and please fill in this form.
The friends group hopes to be able to demonstrate what should be blindingly obvious – but needs underlining to people who can give money – which is that more people use the skate park and gym when there is light.
Want to help the Friends of Charlton Park put on Parksfest?
The group is also putting on a Parksfest festival around the skate park on Saturday 22 June – if you want to help raise money for it, there’s a Curryoke event on Saturday 16 March at 8pm at Cattleya on Charlton Church Lane. Tickets £25 are email elizabethrj001[at]gmail.com for details.
And if you can spare some time to volunteer on the day of Parksfest itself, feel free to drop the group a line too.
Sainsbury’s and Asda are likely to have to sell one of their Charlton stores if the two supermarket giants are allowed to go through with their plans to merge, according a report from the competition watchdog.
The two superstores are among 629 locations where a tie-up between the two companies could result in a “substantial lessening of competition”, the Competition and Markets Authority said in a provisional report on the merger plan, released on Wednesday.
The two supermarket giants announced plans for a tie-up last April, and it has been widely reported that the combined company would take one pound out of every three spent by UK grocery shoppers. But the CMA says a combination of the two firms could mean shoppers would “face higher prices, reduced quality and choice, and a poorer overall shopping experience across the UK”.
While the strength of the CMA’s concerns about the merger could force the two companies to abandon their plans, Sainsbury’s and Asda have said they want to go ahead with the tie-up.
The full report was made public on Thursday afternoon. As well as the two Charlton stores, the CMA has raised issues about stores in Lewisham, New Cross, Abbey Wood, Kidbrooke, Peckham, Deptford, Old Kent Road, Isle of Dogs, Bexleyheath and Belvedere.
Both retailers also have petrol outlets within close proximity of each other, as Sainsbury’s retailed the filling station from its former Greenwich store, now replaced by an Ikea. These outlets are also highlighted by the CMA.
As well as their two Bugsby’s Way superstores, Sainsbury’s also has a Local supermarket on Charlton Church Lane. This is not included in the CMA’s list of concerns.
The Charlton store only opened in 2015, and there have been anecdotal reports that trading has been slower than expected – one consequence of its move from east Greenwich was that the store was cut off from shoppers who would take a bus down the hill from Blackheath. But a new store could be attractive to a rival such as Morrisons, which lacks a store between Peckham, Welling and Thamesmead.
The full Competition and Markets Authority report will be released in April.
Instead, the council has suggested that the Friends of Charlton Park seek external funding for the floodlighting. “It was agreed in principle subject to public consultation, planning consent and that planning and installation costs being secured by the Friends Group that floodlights for the skate park and outdoor gym could be installed,” a report to be presented to next Wednesday’s full council meeting says.
“However, it was recognised that this could take a couple of years to achieve due to uncertainty regarding funding being secured.”
The Friends of Charlton Park has also been asked to monitor usage of the skate park and outdoor gym to demonstrate how busy they are.
Security in the park has also become a bigger issue after the break-in at the Old Cottage Cafe last month.
Greenwich Council is currently sitting on hundreds of thousands of pounds from developers of schemes nearby which could fund improved lighting. Figures released this month show that the construction of Primark and other stores on Bugsbys Way, for example, means £125,000 is available for public safety projects, with £41,752 for public realm projects (“30 Bugsbys Way” in this document.) Meanwhile, £53,000 is available for public safety projects following the construction of the new housing at the end of Fairthorn Road (“40 Victoria Way”) – a figure agreed seven years ago. (Those figures will be discussed at a cabinet meeting this evening.)