Maryon Wilson Animal Park open day this Saturday

Andrew Donkin of the Maryon Wilson Animal Park Trust would like a word…

If you could talk to the animals… well, now you can, on Saturday 26th May, it’s the Maryon Wilson Animal Park Open Day again.

Last year, about a thousand Charlton locals attended the free event that runs from 10am to 4pm. This is a chance to get up close and personal with both the park’s big animals such as the deer and sheep, as well as getting some touchy-feely time with the smaller residents like the rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, and chinchilla.

As well as the animals, the Open Day promises free face painting, birds of prey display, sheep shearing and woodcraft demonstrations, and an hourly story time and sing-along to help parents entertain the kids.

At noon, there’ll be a children’s show from PJ the Magic Clown. The Friends of the Park will have a stall, and there will be guided Tree Walks around the park at 1.00, 2.00, and 3.00pm.

The embryonic Maryon Wilson Animal Park Trust will also have a presence at the Open Day. MWAPT is the body that is trying to save the Animal Park after Greenwich Council announced that they were withdrawing their funding.

The Trust could really do with your help to make sure that this fantastic local resource survives. If you’d like to get involved, either on the fund-raising side or to volunteer to help care for the animals, then come along to the open day and seek out the Trust’s stall, or email MWAnimalPark@hotmail.com for more details.

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Open meeting this week to discuss Sainsbury’s and M&S plans

The consultation period for the public to put forward their views on the proposed Sainsbury’s and M&S development ends on May 29th.

You can comment yourself by following this link.

Following on from our last open meeting, the Charlton Riverside Action Group have arranged another get-together that will allow people to chat with the developer behind this project.

It’s short notice, but it will be held at the Charlton Liberal Club (non-political), 59 Charlton Church Lane, SE7 7AE on Wednesday 23rd May at 7.30pm.

We’ll have a representative from LXB who will talk in detail about the application and can answer any questions you may have. We’ll then urge everyone to send in their own feedback before the end of the month.

And just in case you didn’t know already, CRAG is a non-political group made up of concerned local residents that have come together to try to improve the local area. We’re concerned about traffic, pollution, improving public transport and cycling routes, and ensuring that one of the last underdeveloped areas of river-side in London is used for the benefit of local people.

We are all local residents and hope that we can re-establish a greater sense of community to improve our area jointly – in partnership with the council, local businesses and developers.

We’d love you to get involved too.

You can contact CRAG at charltoncrag[at]gmail.com

Royalty comes to the Charlton stage

The Alexandra Players, Charlton’s amateur theatre group and “the borough’s best-kept secret” are presenting their summer production on 7, 8 and 9 June. In this Jubilee year, and in recognition of the Greenwich’s newly acquired royal status, the play is Crown Matrimonial by Royce Ryton. This play, first performed in 1972 takes a look at the 1936 abdication crisis, with the King’s (or should that be Kings’) mother Queen Mary firmly at the centre of the action.

Recent years have seen an influx of new talent to the Alexandra Players which will be on display in this production, as well as some of the familiar faces of the group.

Performances are 7, 8 and 9 June at 8pm and tickets are £8 (£7 for concessions). You can book at alexandraplayers@gmail.com, or leave a message with you name, contact and how many tickets for which night on 07867 627 987.

We’re always looking for new members, either onstage or backstage, with or without experience, so if this sounds like something for you, send us an email.

Plenty of space to park at Charlton’s new Wickes

The new Wickes DIY store in Charlton opens later this month. It means a move over to Bugsby’s Way at the northern end of the retail park from its current home facing onto Woolwich Road.

Here’s a first glimpse at what it looks like from the outside. Just look at that car park – plenty of room.

Luckily, there’s more car parking than we used to have when it was a Lidl. Looks more than there is at the current Wickes, which must be a good thing as it’s always jam-packed.

Can’t see any trees, but that surely means more room for cars. With increased gate receipts at Charlton Athletic after their recent promotion, surely match day parking won’t be a problem anymore.

Thumbs up all round.

Wonder how the developers will fare with their next project.?

Application in for new Charlton Sainsbury’s and M&S

View of Sainsbury's from Gallions Road

Detailed plans were released this week for the proposed Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer stores, set to be located within Charlton’s retail park.

These images form part of developer LXB‘s application to Greenwich Council. A planning board will then decide whether to approve or reject these plans – likely to be some time in June.

View of M&S and coffee shop from Woolwich Road

There’s several elements to this application including an impact assessment on retail in much of south-east London. A thorough report by consultants WYG states that:

“The enhancement of the retail facilities at Bugsby’s Way will not affect Woolwich’s status as a Major Centre, nor its prospects of being re-designated as a Metropolitan centre in the long term.”

Their reasoning behind this are the new developments in Woolwich, such as the Tesco, that WYS believes will regenerate the SE18 area, keeping shoppers from getting into their cars or straying onto a bus and travelling over to Charlton.

Another talking point recently has been the downgrade of the western end of Woolwich Road (from Charlton station to the flyover) and how these new developments will impact on the near 24,000 vehicles that use the road on an average weekday.

An equally in-depth report by transport specialists Vectos makes no mention of this, however. It references the draft supplementary planning document that appeared in January. But doesn’t take into account the changes made for the finalised version that states clearly a wish to downgrade the road.

This website understands the developer LXB have been told by TfL and the council’s highways department that alterations to plans won’t be considered until the road has actually been downgraded.

Meaning, the proposed reshaping of Woolwich Road for deliveries and customer access (including current work being undertaken for the Travelodge) don’t take this downgrade into account.

This agreed Charlton Riverside Masterplan also calls for an upgrade to Charlton station which would surely mean a re-think on the junction next to it.

Would it be outrageous for me to suggest that a coherent plan for Woolwich Road, using a bit of foresight, might save a lot of time, money and upheaval in the future?

Two different diagrams highlighting proposed changes to Woolwich Road

The old retail barns that currently occupy this site lay dormant, aside from the odd illegal rave. Wickes is the last store still operating and is believed to be moving into its new home next to Matalan in the next two weeks.

If approved by the council’s planning board the new Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer would be looking to open before the end of 2014.

Members of the public can comment on these proposals and view all the documents by visiting Greenwich Council’s planning website.

Second open meeting for Charlton’s community garden

After a successful meeting back in February, plans for a community garden on Highcombe continue to gather pace.

A steering group has been formed that meet regularly and they’ve just announced their second open meeting.

It”ll be taking place at 8pm on Thursday 10th May at Alexandra Hall on Bramshot Avenue.

That evening they’ll be updating people with details on how they’re negotiating for the land, what the group’s constitution will be and what funding they have applied for.

They’re also urging people to bring spare seeds, seedlings or plants to swap with your neighbours. As well as announcing an edible window box competition to be judged in late summer.

If you need more details then you can email Judy at charlton.community.garden[at]gmail.com.