You know the drill. You’re minding your own business, walking down the road, then a car pulls up. The window winds down, and a confused face appears.
“‘Scuse me… do you know where Bramshot Avenue is?”
Thousands of vehicles pass through the Charlton car pound each year. It sits right at the end of Bramshot Avenue, on the site of a former railway yard, where the Metropolitan Police runs its vehicle forensics service.
Yet despite it being in an obscure corner that most local people will never even have set foot in; there’s no signs at all pointing to a location that many people have to find through no fault of their own.
If someone approaches you almost anywhere between Greenwich and Woolwich asking for directions, chances are they’re looking for the pound. Over recent months, I’ve been stopped as far away as the Thames Barrier, Old Dover Road in Blackheath, and Vanburgh Hill in Greenwich. I can never work out whether the Met gives them duff directions, or if a scary proportion of London’s motorists are completely clueless with a map.
Yet it’s so tucked away, it’s pretty tough to give verbal directions for – there’s few direction signs of any kind to refer to as a reference and so you’re stuck trying to work out how many streets away Eastcombe Avenue, by which time the confused motorist is even more lost.
It’s tempting to think “sod them, they’re only idiots who can’t park properly”, but this is where many of London’s stolen cars end up – even if you find your vehicle parked up around the corner, it’ll end up detained in a forensics yard for a spell.
It’d make all our lives just a little easier if the Met Police or Greenwich Council could put a few signs up pointing to the pound – otherwise Charlton will continue to contain more lost souls than most other parts of London.