Charlton resident Chris Seaden – who is part of the Charlton Parkside Community Hub – has emailed one of Greenwich Council’s cabinet members about the future of the area, and shared it on social media for everyone to see.
I thought I’d reproduce some of his email here to see what you think of what he had to say in his correspondence with culture cabinet member (and Charlton ward councillor) Miranda Williams.
I help run www.cpchub.org . There’s a lot of non-political grass roots community activity going on in SE7 nowadays.
We spoke on Twitter ( I am @mr_chas ). You expressed a desire to hear more of what I had to say.
Charlton retail / leisure / services (and by that I mean the Y shape that is up Charlton Church Lane from the station left into the village, right to Cherry Orchard) needs a proper co-ordinated REGENERATION PLAN.
It has so much potential, but without a defined strategy it isn’t going to happen. Empty shops, dying pubs, Floyd road is not pleasant after dark, I could go on.
If you look at what has happened in Brockley, Honor Oak, Nunhead, Forest Hill and places like that it’s just not happening in Charlton.
I have a degree in urban geography so I am particularly interested in zone 3 regeneration and stuff like that.
Charlton’s big problem is that the station and the village are not in the same place. Were that so it would be a mini Blackheath. An RBG strategy might help bridge the gap. An overarching plan is needed.
Would you like to discuss this?
The council needs to take action before we lose out even more to other local retail/leisure/service nodes and the village dies.
Well, it needed to be said. The curious stagnation of Charlton comes up again and again, but few actually stick their head above the parapet and say something, and even fewer come up with ways to do something about it.
So why is Charlton floundering when other areas are thriving? Slightly trickier transport links are a factor, certainly; council disinterest and grotty public realm in areas outside the Village also contribute, but certainly aren’t the full story. The last thing Charlton needs is to be another Blackheath, and it’s unfair to dump everything at the council’s door.
But let’s stick with this for a minute.
My own thought is that the area’s just waiting for a spark – a destination pub, or a new shop that takes off like a rocket, and then the rest will start to follow. The Bugle/Swan shenanigans of the past week don’t offer much hope at the moment – but things can change quickly, as we have found.
There’s certainly a role for the council in making the area more attractive – not just the conservation area around The Village, but thinking more broadly as Chris says, down to the station and along past Charlton House to Cherry Orchard Estate. But what would that entail? How to convince councillors that this would create jobs rather than increase a few people’s house prices?
Personally speaking, my own priority would be to try to sort out traffic – eliminating backstreet rat-running in residential roads (do we include Charlton Church Lane in this?) and slowing vehicles passing along Charlton Road and The Village, perhaps banning HGVs from the whole B210. Just making the area more liveable should provide a decent nudge, and wouldn’t cost a fortune.
But others have a role to play here, such as the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, which now owns Charlton House and the old summerhouse/ public toilets next door.
And if you live here, you have a role to play too, by making your voice heard. So does Charlton need a boost – and if you think it does, how would you do it?