Greenwich Council eyes ‘Charlton Garden City’

Greenwich Council has launched its draft masterplan for the Charlton riverside area, and is asking for public comments.

It covers the area north of the Woolwich Road from the SE7/SE10 boundary right across to the Westminster Industrial Estate, just inside Woolwich.

The big idea…

“By 2027, Charlton Riverside will be transformed into a new urban quarter connecting Greenwich Peninsula to Woolwich town centre. It will comprise of a sustainable mix of uses including substantial residential use in a high quality environment focussed around an enhanced Thames Barrier Park.”

Ideas include a revived riverside transport scheme (a successor to the axed Greenwich Waterfront Transit), a creative quarter around the Westminster Industrial Estate (“along the lines of Fish Island [in Bow] and Hackney Wick”), keeping industry around the wharves at Lombard Wall, a new primary school and “rationalising” the retail parks. this curious plan…

“Charlton Garden City: The area will draw on the principles of a garden city with a strong landscape theme. The Thames Barrier Park will double in size and new development will take the form of a contemporary version of a traditional Georgian terraced development, for example as shown in the Olympic Legacy Masterplan with some mews style development. The area will be new build with a new secondary school.”

Want to know more? There’s an exhibition at The Valley on Monday 20 February (3pm-8pm) as well as at Woolwich Library on Saturday 3 March (10am-2pm). You can download the plans via the council’s website.

54 thoughts on “Greenwich Council eyes ‘Charlton Garden City’

  1. ThePirateKing February 13, 2012 / 10:37


  2. Ashleigh February 13, 2012 / 17:49

    I was down at the industrial estate this afternoon. Thriving local businesses, artists workshops, sports facilities like The Reach climbing wall and Pyramid Marshal Arts.

    From Greenwich’s website – “The delivery of high value residential development will be dependant (sic) on the educational hub going ahead and the early delivery of the widening of the Thames barrier Park to enhance the landscape environment and setting for that new housing. The new housing will generate developer contributions…”
    “…the ability to raise investment capital early will be critical to success…”

    Have these administrators not heard of the property bubble collapse? Where will these ‘high value’ residents work? What about social housing? Greenwich has more mortgage repossessions than most of London already. This is destruction not sustainable development and we need to act now.

  3. Paul February 13, 2012 / 23:46

    Garden City… I’ve been to Welwyn and thats nothing to shout about

  4. Matt February 14, 2012 / 09:46

    Seems a little mean only having a month for the consultation. Especially as this is something that will affect the area for centuries.

  5. Ashleigh February 14, 2012 / 10:50

    On further reading the ‘creative quarter’ east of the Thames Barrier is kept, as is the Sainsburys depot – this is called industry – but all the rest of our manufacturing, craft and scrapyard sites are threatened. We are the ‘missing piece in the jigsaw’ of riverside development. When I talked to Greenwich councillors after the first wave of consultation last year I was told if we tried to keep more of our industrial sites it would be overruled higher up. This document keeps a lot less, and even the Mayor of London’s Industrial Capacity Plan – – suggests more. In the developers’ eye the problem seems to be the area has low rents, not low productivity. Long live low rent, I say. I’ve set up an email – charltonworks? – to try to get some community ideas and action for this.

    • ThePirateKing February 14, 2012 / 20:53

      It seemed to me when I studied the ‘Masterplan” that the buildings housing the arts studios, and the Reach, etc were remaining so I’m not sure you need to panic on their behalf.

      • Ashleigh February 15, 2012 / 10:08

        That would be the ‘creative quarter’ and yes on further reading much of it stays, but residential development is planned there too. And I hear the studios have a short lease – will their rents go up? Cory Barge Works is protected, but isn’t the Sainsburys depot site going to be a car park until after the Olympics? The Anchor and Hope have lost a lot of regulars since it was knocked down. My favourite pub, by the way.

  6. Brenda February 14, 2012 / 12:55

    Ill have to have a look at the plans later but am assuming the Anchor will still remain?

    • ThePirateKing February 14, 2012 / 20:51


  7. charles February 14, 2012 / 19:30

    I think thats a great idea for the regeneration of the area. This will be the only change that happens in our lifetime.

    I would just add that i would prefer it to be more west side i.e. lets get rid of the murphys waste site and keep the historical sites where they currently are

    Look I am open minded and wont take sides



  8. Chris February 15, 2012 / 13:20

    What have people got against the Murphy’s site? It employs people here and on the river and I think the conveyor belts, heaps of aggregate and whatnot add character to the area far more than those wretched-looking apartments half a mile away.

    The site is a reminder of this area’s past. Here is a place where workers get their hands dirty. Blimey local blogs are full of ‘remember the docks, weren’t they marvellous’ type comments. Well here’s some muck and brass on your doorstep.

    So Charlie, what would you put in place of the Murphy’s site?

    As to the ‘regeneration’, well yesterday I was on the Westminster estate supporting one of our excellent local businesses that thrive there. The estate aint pretty, but it’s functional. Surround it with trees if you want, but don’t drive the artisans out.

  9. Charlton Lane Dave February 15, 2012 / 16:37

    Not before time. Just a pity it will take 15 years to accomplish and completion estimates are usually ambitious….

  10. IG February 15, 2012 / 19:20

    I would echo all of the comments made by Andrew Lainton in his article linked into this site:

    On the whole I think the plans provided by Greenwich council are positive, however I do have concerns over leaving the Murphy’s site where it is. The masterplan document itself talks about the benefits of moving heavy industry elsewhere in order to create more space for light industry – I wouldn’t class a giant aggregate recycling facility as light industry myself. Removing this site would allow for an extension of the green space down from the peninsular and generally allow for better integration of houses and transport infrastructure between what are currently two completely alien sites. At present, the remodeling of New Charlton as a garden city is pure spin and raises false expectations – if green is the mandate, then why not deliver on that?

  11. Chris February 15, 2012 / 21:35

    IG – see my earlier post.

    Remove it where?? How? Who pays? What about the people who work there?

    You talk of alien sites, but which was there first?

  12. Simon February 15, 2012 / 23:53

    I am the Chair of the Charlton Riverside Action Group. We have recently been working with the Developers for part of the Charlton Riverside development (LXB) to attempt to make the plans more reasonable and fitting to the local area. It is very disappointing, particularly given the fact that at our meeting before Christmas we had local Councillors, our MP, officers from the Council, local businesses, and local residents present, that we were not afforded the courtesy of being informed by the Council that the Charlton Riverside Masterplan was being published and consulted upon.

    If you have tried to make sense of the plan it is very difficult to read and can’t be printed from the website. I also find the typeface hard to read and the pages won’t fit on a computer screen without constant scrolling.

    Given the lack of publicity, and the problems with accessing copies of a readable plan on which to comment, I have asked the Council to extend the 6 March deadline for comments. CRAG and the Charlton Society wish to organise a joint meeting of local residents to discuss the plan and put forward our opinions to the Council. It will be hard to do this to such a tight timetable.

    Please do make your views known, here and to your local representatives. They are there to work for and with us after all! I do wonder why the plan’s publication has been so low key, and why it was produced in such a format as to make it extremely inaccessible to local residents. I suspect incompetence rather than anything conspiracy, though.

  13. Ashleigh February 16, 2012 / 01:14

    Please ask yourself – does it make economic sense to replace working industry with ‘high value residential development’? This is the explicit premise of the whole masterplan document. It seeks to create another dormitory for Canary Wharf, instead of a place where local people can afford to live and work. Mortgage repossessions are particularly high in Greenwich – people are being forced to work longer hours, use childcare rather than spend time with their children, and commute longer distances. This goes against common sense, it even goes against government policy and the Mayor of London’s Industrial Capacity Plan, and the net effect of it all is far from green. How can this be sustainable when the main problems with the economy are lack of real production and too much financial speculation?
    The previous Local Development Plan, which was consulted on a year ago as the basis for this masterplan, had more industrial space preserved, and I didn’t think that was nearly enough. We are lucky to be the ‘missing piece of the jigsaw’ so far – all the industry has gone or is going from Deptford because the DLR has made commuting easier and the property developers have moved in to make a fast buck. Ordinary people like me can’t afford to live there any more. Woolwich doesn’t have much industry left, but Charlton does. I have grown to love Charlton because I don’t feel like its soul has been destroyed every time I walk by the river. The technical college sounds like a great idea, but where are the apprentices going to get their work experience?
    Simon, I was at that Charlton Riverside Action Group meeting. You ask why wasn’t the plan mentioned? Some councillors don’t seem to like what is happening, but we have a cabinet system and the ones in charge are the ones that do. They are all in the Labour party and they have to do what they’re told. Since the promotors of the scheme are supposed to know what they are doing, does incompetence really seem like a valid excuse? If they are that incompetent it calls the quality of their research and analysis into question doesn’t it?

  14. Mary February 16, 2012 / 09:29

    I am really interested in this discussion – and this is a note just to say that. I can happilycheck things out factually if people want …..just get back to me and ask …. not sure if other comments would be appropriate at this stage….. thats all really.

  15. 58frankh February 16, 2012 / 10:00

    Don’t understand why Simon says it can’t be printed from the website. Tends to come out a little small, even with the printer set to landscape. Or you can copy and paste the text.

  16. Paul Webbewood February 16, 2012 / 10:17


    You are a councillor. You are also extremely knowledgeable about the area. People want to hear your views. Why are “other comments not appropriate at this stage”? Are you afraid of Chris Roberts and Denise Hyland?

  17. Mary February 16, 2012 / 10:30

    Paul – that’s daft, of course not. I’ve thought about it a lot – but I think my role is to listen, and try and see that what I hear gets into the system. I think the key word is ‘represent’ in a councillor’s role. Sorry.

  18. charles February 16, 2012 / 20:49

    Great discussion here


    Now we are finally talking

    Lets get pro active for CHARLTON

    I have never been in favour of murphys, however i take your points on board.

    Now we need to keep discussions going and broaden the base

    Maybe an active campaign and get local politicians on board.

    Campaign on the public opinions


    PS: thanks all who responded – great discussion and thanks ok

    Viva Charlton

  19. charles February 16, 2012 / 20:55

    I used to be a marathon runner (over 100 marathons run)

    I want the waterfront at charlton to be able to have a weekly time trial (8 km run or 5 mile run) and have a charlton road runners club based on the riverside. I dont like the pollution in charlton created by the industry here.

    Please consider my plea.

    Feel free to have a go but do please consider the future of charlton for all its inhabitants.

    Lately i have noticed more sporty individuals in charlton jogging.

    Whats wrong with that?

    I want toi start a club maybe based at greenwich yatch club?

    Please support my campaign


    • ThePirateKing February 17, 2012 / 10:48

      I think the conveyor belts of Murphy’s are fantastic. Huge steel dinosaurs of industry.

      Do they really add that much more pollution to the area as compared with the cars and traffic on the Woolwich Road? I would have thought that was the worst offender.

      I’d love to see any ‘Masterplan’ for the riverside open up the path to the east of the Thames Barrier – there should be a public path all the way along the riverside – not the horrible grey inland detour that is in place now..

    • Chris Taylor February 18, 2012 / 14:37

      That can surely happen already? Not my main pastime but it would be nice to see Charlton Runners vests going through The Village in April!

      When I was training for the London Marathon a few years back I loved running along the Thames Path from the Barrier, round the Peninsula, seeing the changing uses of the waterfront, both historic and present day.

      This was in 2008. Now I can’t make that same run due in part to the appropriation of part of the Thames Path at Lovells Wharf (see details on 853, etc). I may be ultra-cynical here but I have serious reservations on any proposed riverside residential development preserving the Thames Path when push comes to shove. I appreciate that there is already that problem with the Westminster Industrial Estate but the point, I think, remains.

  20. Paul February 16, 2012 / 21:52

    I am waiting for the obligatory “I’d love to see a Waitrose comment”.. always makes me laugh

    • ThePirateKing February 17, 2012 / 10:49

      Stuff Waitrose – where’s the Forbidden Planet?

  21. Ashleigh February 17, 2012 / 10:30

    I’m listening to Vanessa on BBC Radio London – ‘surely it’s not too much to ask them to move a few miles up the road?’ – is the question, as people find they can no longer afford central London rents. I moved here for that reason from Deptford 15 years ago when I was evicted by Lewisham council because they wanted to develop the next door site. Where’s the social housing in this scheme? Is it even further down the road?

    • Ashleigh February 17, 2012 / 21:44

      Whoops – should have said these are the Mayor of London’s comments on the plan – bit of role reversal there, what?

    • ThePirateKing February 17, 2012 / 21:50

      ANy idea why there’s been such a big change in the objectives?

      Regarding the Skatepark – I know that you said the timing was vital ie you had to move quickly if you were going to get Olympic related funding while it was still around this summer. With the level of uncertainty over Barrier Park etc, will you know look to place it somewhere else?

      It seems to me that the proposed changes in the ‘Masterplan’ and the uncertainty they create would make it very very hard to raise money against the Barrier Park site and that you’d be better off finding another site (without a Masterplan hanging over its head) ASAP if the Skatepark is going to happen in the near future.

  22. Ashleigh February 17, 2012 / 22:33

    Well the skatepark is written into the masterplan, isn’t it?
    A lot of our funding depends on the Mayor’s Fund for playspace. We need playspace whatever happens, and we intend to see it through.
    If Greenwich Skatepark Co-op didn’t do the work, the council will still be obliged to build a free community skatepark, otherwise they would be letting the young people of Woolwich down very badly.
    Obviously, at 46, I don’t want to wait, and skateboarders are an imaginative bunch – we will always find somewhere to skate. A bit of sand and cement goes a long way…

    • ThePirateKing February 17, 2012 / 23:02

      There’s a skatepark in the ‘Masterplan” but not in Barrier Gardens, hence my question.

      I’m not really sure what your answer means (sorry – I’m probably being dim) so I’ll try and ask more clearly.

      1/ Is the Skate Co-op intending to try and push ahead for a skatepark this year in Barrier Park despite the emergence of the ‘Masterplan”.


      2/ Are you going to look at other sites without a ‘Masterplan” hanging over them, with a view to getting funding this year?


      3/ Are you going to wait for the skatepark that is planned in Phase 4 of the Masterplan?


      4/ Something else I haven’t yet conceived of.

      Thank you.

  23. Ashleigh February 18, 2012 / 02:02

    Our intention is to put in the planning application that we have prepared, and to apply for funding on that basis. We are honest people, and make democratic decisions.

    • ThePirateKing February 18, 2012 / 07:22

      Thanks for your answer, Ashleigh.

      For what it’s worth (nothing) I suspect it might be very difficult to get funding for anything in Barrier Gardens (etc) with the rebuilding ‘Masterplan’ announced.

      From my POV, your intension to put a skatepark there isn’t anymore or any less democratic than the council’s ‘Masterplan’. Neither have been voted for by the people who live around the local area. Just a thought.

  24. Ashleigh February 18, 2012 / 12:13

    That sort of thinking is why a lot of skateboarders have had to resort to diy over the decades.
    I worked my socks off to make the skatepark fit with the landscape and not destroy the Green Chain, and I have spoken to all except 2 of the neighbouring business, with overwhelming support, including the people at the Barrier Animal Care centre – the vet there is the only person who lives nearby and he supports us too. Local feeling from people who live in Charlton is also mostly favourable.

    You may be right about the planning permission, I don’t know. We can’t afford a second planning application from donations so far, so we will have to think this over carefully at our next meeting on Monday. My personal loyalty is to Charlton as well as to the skatepark, but I am only the secretary of the skatepark co-op – I don’t make decisions, I abide by them. We do have rules that mean the people who work for the co-op have a bigger say than people who don’t, but I am well aware of the responsibility this involves and I am not trying to push my personal agenda. Our founding principles are for free to skate quality parks. To build a quality park in Maryon Park would probably need a few more large surrounding trees to be cut, by the way, for visibily, sustainability and practical maintenance.

    If we do decide to change the site we don’t know whether our main funding application will be messed up. Do you think it would be democratic to let the people who will be brought in to build and buy new homes in ‘Charlton Garden City’ influence the decision? I don’t. If I had ‘politically’ kept my mouth shut about my feelings for the riverside, because of the skatepark being on the line, I would not be true to myself, and I don’t think anyone should be expected to act like that. I doubt whether it would have helped our cause either. Once people know you are willing to compromise they tend to walk all over you.

  25. Ashleigh February 18, 2012 / 12:29

    And deepest thanks, by the way, for pointing out the word ‘Phase’. Perhaps stupidy, I hadn’t consciously spotted it and realised the implications. I was trusting what was said face-to-face and shaken on.

    • ThePirateKing February 18, 2012 / 20:15

      My reading of the plan seemed to suggest that Phase 4 was estimated as being about -7-8 years to 15 years in the future.

      Obviously that’s their guess.

  26. Nikki February 18, 2012 / 14:26

    I’m someone who works in the service sector in Canary Wharf and lives in Charlton so you’d think that this would be right up my alley, but I have very mixed feelings about this.

    I like the increased park space (though isn’t the Thames Barrier Park the thing on the other side of the water?), and the idea that space will be provided for new start-ups, though I have my doubts about this idea that ‘the creative industries’ will establish themselves in the area just because we want them to. I like that there will be schools there and I do think that SE7 sorely needs some more places to eat so perhaps the ‘food and drink’ businesses suggested will be okay too.

    What I’m sorry about is that the planners have correctly recognised that the riverfront is one of our greatest assets but then come to the conclusion that the best way to make use of it is by taking it up with a lot of private housing. It may be that the rest of the improvement can only be paid for if this is the case, but I do think it’s a shame. I’m not convinced that continuing to build ‘high quality housing’ all over the borough on the assumption that the financial services and particularly those based in Canary Wharf can continue to grow at previous rates is particularly sane given the outlook for banking over the next few years. I note that there’s a suggestion that a marina could be provided – so the target property buyer is someone who works in the service industry, owns a boat, but doesn’t mind getting a bus to Woolwich or N Greenwich to get to Canary Wharf? Not sure there’s that many of those people. There is talk in the document about sustainable development being important here – but 3-5000 new households are, I think, going to need something a bit better than a new Clipper pier and hopper buses to Woolwich.

    I love living in Charlton – and one of the reasons I do is because there is a mix of people and things that you don’t get elsewhere: big houses and local authority flats, Jacobean mansions, parks and aggregate works. The report talks about Charlton being part of ‘a rapidly evolving part of London that is already changing for the better’ What does ‘better’ mean here? More affluent people live in Greenwich borough? That’s not an unalloyed blessing if it just means we have greater inequality. It also talks about ‘transforming the image of Charlton’ – fine, but into what?

  27. Chris Taylor February 18, 2012 / 14:44

    Further to my post above, I have nothing against regeneration and revitalisation of the riverside areas of Charlton but replacing businesses that are employing people with (mostly) properties that are likely to become the next Canary Wharf commuter pod seems to be taking the most obvious route.

    I also wonder how much of an ongoing boost to the local economy there would be from more service sector workers occupying properties here. I think people tend to socialise a lot of the time nearer their place of work. Canary Wharf would be near enough that people could stay after work, have a meal, a few drinks, do some shopping, before popping home.

  28. Charles Osiecki February 27, 2012 / 08:50

    Hello all

    I will do my best to attend the meeting at the liberal club

    Encourage all here to do so too


  29. charles April 26, 2012 / 19:43

    Ummm Murphys site may be responsible for the high levels of polution in the area and I disagree that Murphys should remain

    It needs to be dismantled ASAP


  30. charles April 26, 2012 / 19:46

    Oh by the way I am now building a collection of pictures of the site (Murphys)

    Some may be asleep but Murphys spews out the pollution.

    Can anyone tell me what is it that comes out of the chimney ? is it steam or water vapour ?

    would like flats by the riverside

    Yes I call it progress


  31. charles April 26, 2012 / 19:48

    Yes I am stirring, but I need answers because if you try to contact Murphys – good like to you – u cant OK

  32. Chris April 27, 2012 / 12:13

    Okay, troll bait taken.

    I reckon that thousands of cars queing to get into the Blackwall Tunnel cause more pollution than Murphy’s. Murphy’s certainly provides more jobs.

    My idea of progress is not building hideous yuppie flats and depriving people of their work..

    Also, aren’t steam and water vapour somewhat tautological?

    • Jane D SE9 August 29, 2012 / 10:43

      I work in one of the towers at Canary Wharf and can regularly see an orange mist over the A102/Blackwall tunnel approach. Keep our manufacturing industry and small businesses, we need a mix of jobs in London

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