Open day for the Charlton Parks Reminiscence Project

Earlier this year the Greenwich Mural Workshop were given a lottery grant to initiate a 15-month period of research known as the Charlton Parks Reminiscence Project. The idea for this project is to gather memorable stories from local people relating to Charlton’s various parks over the past 50-100 years (Charlton, Hornfair, Maryon, Maryon Wilson, Thames Barrier and Gilbert’s Pit).

In the run up to the Olympics they will be holding three events to gather more stories but at the same time display photos, maps, interviews and information they have collected already. This Saturday, the 1st of October, sees the first of these open days as Charlton House opens its doors. The Old Library will be open between 1 and 4pm and the public are welcome for the whole afternoon or just to drop-in. You can learn more about the project or even contribute yourself if you have your own story. They are also looking for volunteers to help in their research and undertake interviews.


Greenwich Sainsbury’s store plans move to Charlton

Sainsbury’s Greenwich food store will move 400 metres to a new plot within the Charlton retail parks if plans are approved. This Sainsbury’s, its flagship store, was opened in September 1999 by Jamie Oliver.

Original mock-up for Greenwich store (photo from Annette Ridelle's Greenwich MM website)

It was billed as the supermarket for the new millennium. Last year it was visited by President Zuma of South Africa and was also winner of the an RIBA Sustainability Award in 2000.

Chief executive Dino Adriano proudly announced at the time of its opening: “This store represents a watershed in supermarket architecture. We will learn from the energy saving features of this remarkable store and consider where we can use them again.”


A host of energy saving features were incorporated into its design such as solar panels, wind turbines, large windows for natural light, insulating earth banks and electric car charging points. Ironically one of its greatest technological advances is believed to be its downfall. A large underfloor radiator heats the store using waste heat from its own refrigerators. But this technology is said to have caused problems with flooding and has led to the store being closed on numerous occasions.

The land where the Sainsbury’s is currently located is now owned by retail developers LXB Properties. As well as owning the land for the proposed new site they are also behind the building of the new Travelodge which is due to be completed next year.

Plans to move the store to Charlton were released to the stock exchange in May and further details were given at a meeting with local residents last week.

The plot of land earmarked for Sainsbury’s (see picture below) is where Wickes and Dreams are currently situated. The former will be relocated at the old Lidl site and the latter will move further along the road into the Stone Lake Retail Park.

The new Sainsbury’s will be three times the size of the current store and will also be the centre of its online operations in the area, providing a base for home deliveries. It’s hoped the increased size will allow the store to develop and sell more of its non-food items. Planning approval is due to be sought from Greenwich Council later this year with an opening date pencilled in for 2013.

Sainsbury’s regional property development head Jamie Baker says the store will at least match the current outlet’s eco-friendly credentials:

“We believe this is a great opportunity to improve the Sainsbury’s offer to our customers in Greenwich and look forward to working with LXB to deliver what will be another flagship environmental store for us.”

Other plans include a creche for parents to use while shopping as well as a bus countdown screen at the store’s checkouts.

Vacant warehouses at proposed site

This announcement may leave some regular shoppers astonished at the move. However, the flooding at the current store and the increased footfall over at Charlton’s retail parks must be the two key reasons for the relocation.

Despite this there are numerous interesting questions this issue raises. What will the new Tesco in Woolwich make of this development? How will traffic alter in Bugsby’s Way and Woolwich Road over the coming years? How will public transport develop, with Charlton station now close to yet another large amenity? Will Sainsburys learn from the mistakes they have made with the peninsula site? What will happen with the plot of land south of this site linking it to Woolwich Road? What will happen to the small ecology park to the rear of its current site? What retailer would want to move into the empty peninsula building and how will they deal with the store’s capacity to flood?

No doubt all these issues will need to be addressed but one certainty is this development, if given planning permission, will have to take centre stage with the council’s long term plans for Charlton riverside.

Dirty windows and smelly bins – who can help?

Brenda asks…

I have some questions on boring household stuff – I am looking for a window cleaner for the SE7 area. I’m also after a reliable wheely bin cleaner. Not like the one I used before who turned up the second time and collected the money in the secret place without doing the ruddy cleaning. I’ve asked a few to call me back but no joy. My bins are kicking up a stink!

Can anyone help?