‘Very encouraging response’ to animal park trustees appeal

An appeal for volunteers to help run Maryon Wilson Park’s animal centre has produced a “positive and very encouraging response,” Greenwich Council says.

As the Charlton Champion reported last Monday, an advert looking for trustees to manage the animal park was placed in this week’s edition of the council-run newspaper, Greenwich Time.

Under the headline “Maryon Wilson Animal Park Trust needs you”, the advert asks for people with “enthusiasm and commitment” to come forward to help run the popular animal centre.

Charlton’s much-loved animal park was one of the most high-profile victims of council cuts announced last year, prompting an outcry from local residents and schools who use the facility.

The council says establishing a trust will help to “secure a long term future” for the animal centre.

An education centre and cafe is planned to create new revenue streams, and work is apparently under way to form an alliance with Mudchute Park & Farm on the Isle of Dogs.

Councillor John Fahy, the cabinet member responsible for parks, told The Charlton Champion:

“I am very excited that this proposal will secure a long term sustainable future for the centre and we hope to encourage continued support by the 7,000 people who signed the petition submitted to the council earlier in the year.”

Anyone wishing to apply to be a trustee can do so by emailing Sam Eastop, Senior Assistant Director of Culture and Community Services at Greenwich Council.

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Buy a piece of Charlton drinking – and football – history


Fancy owning a little bit of a vanished Charlton pub? The sign from the demolished Valley boozer on Elliscombe Road has gone up for sale on eBay to raise funds for work in the local community.

The pub was opened in the mid-1960s by Charlton Athletic and England winger Harold Hobbis, who was its first landlord, and for many years it was a matchday favourite for Addicks fans.

But it fell into decline in its later years, and closed in 2008 following a robbery. It was demolished this summer to make way for a development of flats. However, work has stalled on the site following news that the developer has gone bust.

More happily, the sign at the front has been kept, and is now being sold by the Charlton Central Residents Association to buy plants and bulbs to make the following corners more attractive…

  • Junction of Nadine Street and Charlton Church Lane
  • Junction of Wellington Mews at with Wellington Gardens
  • Junction of Fossdene Road and Inverine Road
  • Front of St. Richard’s hall on Swallowfield Road
  • Junction of Nadine Streer and Gologolly Terrace

So if you drank in The Valley as a local or an Addicks fan, or know someone who did and fancy buying them an unforgettable Christmas present, then get bidding. And in case you were wondering, the big photo of the football ground inside the pub was sold a couple of years back.

The Charlton Central Residents Association represents people who live in an area bounded by (but not including) Charlton Church Lane, Victoria Way, Springfield estate and the railway line. People who live in adjacent streets can now apply for associate membership – if you want to find out more about it, here’s the latest members’ bulletin and newsletter.

Could you help start Maryon Wilson Animal Park Trust?

The following ad appears in this week’s edition of Greenwich Council’s weekly newspaper, Greenwich Time. For those who don’t get it, or don’t read it, here it is:

Setting up a trust merely gets the park off the council’s books – which was the aim of the funding cut all along. It then becomes the trust’s problem to find the £43,000 a year it costs to keep the centre open. Is anyone up for the challenge?

Of course, if the council and the embroynic trust want to find a way of communicating with local people in SE7 – they know where to find us.

Thames Barrier path closed for a fortnight


A quick warning if you walk, cycle or jog along the riverside path at the Thames Barrier – the section owned by the Environment Agency will be closed for a fortnight from today to enable the EA to complete security works there. It looks as if barriers are being installed throughout the site, making the place even less welcoming for visitors.

While the work’s being done, it means you won’t be able to get to the Barrier from the Anchor and Hope pub and the path there will effectively be a dead end. There should be a signed diversion route along Anchor and Hope Lane and Woolwich Road, for any walkers or cyclists not put off by the prospect of a mile-long diversion along dual carriageways.

Curryoke – sing, dance, eat, and help local children

It’s the first ever Charlton Curryoke on 2 December – your chance to sing your heart out, dance like a fool or eat your weight in Indian food (or all three) and help local children while you’re at it.

It’s being put together by The Big Red Bus Club, the new pre-school centre that has opened at the old Charlton One O’Clock Club, which lost its council funding earlier this year.

The Big Red Bus Club is free to use, and staffed by volunteers – so needs to raise funds to keep going. Its first fundraising night includes a disco, karaoke and Indian buffet. So the more tickets sold for Curryoke, the better.

Tickets are £15 in advance, and £16.50 on the door at Charlton Liberal Club, Charlton Church Lane from 8pm. For tickets, more information, requests or if you would like to donate a prize, email party[at]bigredbusclub.com or visit their Facebook page.

Charlton Rail Users Group – have your say on Southeastern


It’s the next meeting of the Charlton Rail Users Group on 23 November at the Liberal Club on Charlton Church Lane – come along and get the woeful state of Southestern off your chest. Someone from the company is due to be there, along with local councillors and a representative from London Travelwatch.

CRUG scored a success earlier this year when plans to cut rail services through Charlton during the Olympics were reversed – other local stations, sadly, were less lucky.

That Olympics service promises to be high on the agenda, as well as the cleanliness of the station, the unpredictability of where trains will stop on the platform, and – I’m sure – the current mysterious problem with trains regularly running short of coaches. Come along and have your say from 7pm.

Incidentally, there’s just two trains an hour from Charlton today, once again – all via Lewisham – thanks to mysterious engineering works. There’s also no DLR service at all. I’d get the Tube from North Greenwich if I were you.

To get you in the mood, I’ve discovered a video that will either induce feelings of cosy nostalgia, or will have you nodding off in seconds. Did you know we have the closest level crossing to central London?

’40 Victoria Way’ development – see exhibition here

Last week I mentioned a public exhibition of proposals to alter the planned development at the old Thorn Lighting site off Fairthorn Road – or “land at rear of Victoria Way” in planning parlance. This is a slightly squashed site between a storage warehouse (on Victoria Way), Gurdon Road, the Charlton-Westcombe Park railway line and the A102.

In case you couldn’t make it up there, here’s the exhibition boards so you can see the plans for yourself. The main proposal is to incorporate 20 family homes into the site, with gardens backing onto those in Gurdon Road. To compensate, the blocks of flats will be bigger, and Fairview New Homes still wants to have 160 car parking spaces.

Download the exhibition boards here (3.2MB PDF)

There’s also a feedback form which is due to be returned by 14 November, although I’m sure you can also just email Pavitar Mann at Curtin & Co (pavitarm[at]curtinandco.com) with your thoughts on the new plans.

This is all ahead of a formal planning application, which will be submitted to Greenwich Council early next year. The last scheme on the site was initially refused by Greenwich, but then allowed by a planning inspector. I’m sure the local councillors for the site would also be interested in what you think.