Welcome to the backstreets of Charlton

“One of the key proposals in this planning document is the downgrading of Woolwich Road.”

Antony Rifkin, Director at Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners

On Monday evening residents gathered in the Valley’s boardroom to view the presentation of the Charlton Riverside master-plan. Speaking at the exhibition were Allied and Morrison Urban Practitioners who’ve recently been working on plans for Southend, Lewisham, Bexleyheath and the Olympic legacy programme.

There wasn’t much for them to add that wasn’t already in the document but points were raised with questions from the public.

Discussions included ensuring Charlton riverside complemented the rest of Charlton. Better access to the river was touted and a green bridge that would link Maryon Park with Barrier Park. Concerns were raised that the arts scene that has shown signs of life in the area wouldn’t survive as rents increased. There was also a hint of embarrassment when one resident pointed out that the views of All Saints’ Church in Blackheath (proudly highlighted in the document) was actually St. John the Evangelist.

What the presentation did highlight which wasn’t apparent in the master-plan is that they’re hoping that the western part of Woolwich Road (from the Antigallican onwards) can be downgraded from and its A-road status.

This seems to be key to unlocking the barrier of Woolwich Road and join a more penetrable retail park onto the rest of Charlton.

The road looks set to have more crossings, better furnishings, broader pavements and more pleasant surroundings. Which will surely mean alterations to Charlton’s major traffic intersection and the re-routing of traffic along Bugsby’s Way.

The consultation period is set to end on the 9th of March and there’s one more exhibition at Woolwich Library on Saturday 3 March (10am-2pm).

11 thoughts on “Welcome to the backstreets of Charlton

  1. ThePirateKing February 22, 2012 / 10:02

    I did feel a bit of a ba****d pointing out the church thing in public, but I had already emailed about it and they were still claiming it as All Saints.

    I was surprised that men who could read maps should imagine that from the river you could see a church that is on the other side (half a mile?) of dead flat heath.

    It’s also the case that the document refers to the ‘Thames Barrier Park’ all the way through. (Pages 11, 13, 17, 18, 20, & 23.) I don’t think it means to. Thames Barrier Park is north of the river in Canning Town.

    I think the document means to refer to ‘Barrier Gardens’ and ‘Barrier Park’. Barrier Gardens, which is council land, only runs down to the old pub which is now a vets. The land on the other side of the pub (and garage), that runs down to the river, the green space and car parks, is Barrier Park owned by the Environment Agency.

    Page 32 has a photo taken in Barrier Gardens wrongly captioned as being in Maryon Wilson Park (where the animals are.)

    These are simple school boys errors, and they don’t give confidence in a document when you read it. It would have been a very good idea to have asked someone who knows the area to have proofed the Masterplan before they went public with it.

    As was discussed at the meeting and in your report, Charlton Station and the rest of Charlton (ie the village) are hardly mentioned in the plan.

    Also not mentioned at all is the fact that the proposed landscaping near the Barrier may well need to take into account the legal requirement whereby: “The land is protected from development under the Thames Barrier Act in the event of an emergency whereby working space may be required adjacent to the Barrier for repairs.” That might not be a problem, and the area required might be quite small, but it is certainly something that should be mentioned. (After the simple errors above I wasn’t confident that they even knew about the Thames Barrier Act that alone had factored it into their plans.

    I liked the two guys giving the presentation and they did a generally good job. I’m not sure they were quite prepared for the level of detail in the audiences observations and questions. Several specific questions met with answers that were a lot of hot air and hope. For example the question about why the period of consultation was one month for a plan that will take thirty years to come to reality. It was quickly obvious that there was no good answer to that.

  2. Paul February 22, 2012 / 10:11

    Nice post Matt. I was at the presentation too and was generally impressed with the plans and the answers given.

    Two things I would add. The impression I took from the questions about the Green Bridge was that, in the words of the ‘Urban Practitioners’, there is a debate in Town Planning about Green Bridges and the debate seems fairly well set against them. There was instead talk about how the pedestrian should be ‘king’ and it should be made easier for them to cross, rather than build ways around or over the road instead.

    The second thing is more vague but I was at a meeting last year – as were you Matt so correct me if I am wrong – where a member of Greenwich council was questioned about the possible downgrading of Woolwich Road in regard to the Sainsbury’s/M&S development. My recollection is that the council worker – who worked in the traffic dept or whatever it’s called – seemed fairly certain that Woolwich Road was not going to be downgraded. I just wonder how much weight the hopes of Urban Practitioners are going to carry given that there has been no sign of movement on this previously. But here’s hoping.

    • ThePirateKing February 22, 2012 / 10:17

      Yes, I did wonder where the traffic from the Woolwich Road was supposed to go in the Garden City vision of the future. Bugsby’s Way is already pretty busy. The Woolwich Road is a major major route into London.

      • Matt February 24, 2012 / 12:18

        Yes, I remember Nick Raynsford being very cold on the idea too. The chap from the highways dept. said that there were measures that could be taken but seemed to rule out a full-blown downgrade.

      • Matt February 26, 2012 / 12:41

        Following on from that I’m not sure Bugsby’s Way is that busy in the mornings. Time after time I’ve seen a jam-packed Woolwich Road only to walk the 100 yards and find a fairly empty Bugsby’s Way.

  3. Roy Tindle February 22, 2012 / 11:38

    I noticed that both the Charlton Riverside and the Peninsular West Masterplans seem to have disregarded, or not understood at all, existing River use, particularly the safeguarded wharves. I copied the plans to the Port of London Authority and received back letters that the PLA have sent to Greenwich noting the following:

    “The PLA considers that the production of this document is premature given that the final version of the Core Strategy will not be available until Summer 2012. The Core Strategy will then be the subject of an Examination in Public and the Inspector will publish his/her findings. The approach set out in the Core Strategy is a departure from that in the current UDP and there is no certainty that it will be accepted by the Inspector. As highlighted in Chapter 8 The Policy Context of the SPD, “SPD’s provide further detail on the implementation of particular policies and proposals contained in the Development Plan. SPD’s must relate to policies or proposals in the Development Plan and they may not be used to set out new policies nor to allocate or re-designate land for specific purposes.” As such the PLA would assert that the production of a masterplan document which accords with a draft Core Strategy runs the risk of producing a document which will require substantial changes as the Core Strategy progresses, could potentially confuse members of the public and other consultees and will result in consultation overload.

    The introduction to the document sets out how the Council is seeking to release a number of land use safeguardings for industrial land and wharves and explains how the SPD will achieve this. Unfortunately the SPD is not based on any sound evidence and neither does it accord with National or London Plan policy or guidance. As such the SPD is fundamentally flawed and unsound.”

    The PLA then goes on to give details of the serious flaws in both plans. It’s worth noting that the PLA is not just another objector but a statutory body which has to be consulted on Thames issues – within the Port of London area. These plans seem to be typical desktop planning that didn’t involve the planners actually visiting and understanding the areas concerned and, on that, they will fall. It’s also important to consider the loss of employment that this nonsense would produce, the added burden on water and sewerage and on a creaking transport infrastructure.

    Meeting tonight at Anchor and Hope pub, Riverside Walk, SE7 7SS – by the River, at the end of Anchor and Hope Lane and North of the Sainsbury’s depot.

    • ThePirateKing February 24, 2012 / 07:57

      Thanks for that, Roy. Very useful.

      Is there a way you could post the letters you quote from in full?

      • Roy Tindle February 26, 2012 / 20:11

        Happy to show them to you and to generally discuss but they are letters to L B Greenwash – aka Royal Robertsville – and I got them because I know the people concerned, at the PLA. If I post them there would be a chance that I would be off their Christmas card list – and no more letters!

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