Does Charlton need a regeneration plan?

Charlton Village: Could it be so much more than it currently is?

Charlton Village: Could it be so much more than it currently is?

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?

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About Darryl

Journalist, SE Londoner.
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46 Responses to Does Charlton need a regeneration plan?

  1. Michael says:

    He has eloquently expressed what so many of us have thought for years – the separation of village and station is an issue, as well as the fact that The Village isn’t immediately surrounded by expensive Victorian terraces means it doesn’t benefit from constantly passing commuter trade and at-home parents who prefer to use blackheath standard.

    Now that might also include the new M&S cafe or the new Costa too. They have the free and easy parking that the village clearly lacks; the car parks behind the village shops are awkward and with very narrow width restrictions. Hither Green doesn’t have any of these challenges.

    An action plan is essential.

    • Charles says:

      Hello

      I agree there needs to be redevelopment.

      Also having the 486 busses spewing out black diesel up Charlton Church Lane and every where else is also an issue.

      The Charlton Church Lane is a problem as ever since Sainsbury Local has opened, the bread trucks and Sainsbury trucks come down the road from the village and leave by going up the lane to the village every morning and the make a racket. Could they not access and leave from the bottom end (Woolich road)?

      I would like top see the village and the shops in Charlton Church Lane spruced up as they look very shabby.

      Charles

  2. Gemma Mackenzie says:

    I moved to Charlton just over a year ago after a few years of renting in Wimbledon due to the more affordable house prices. At the time I saw the new greengrocers shop and Charlton House and thought this village could be great, it just needs a few more decent shops. Unfortunately, nothing has changed in the year since I have lived here and I rarely, if ever, go into the village (apart form the greengrocers on my way home from work). If there was a decent pub/deli/coffee shop/butchers I would visit every weekend. But as is stands I mostly visit Blackheath for these things. There seem to be a lot of shops up for rent or with ‘under offer’ signs on them in the village, but they seem to have had signs on them for months with no signs of change. The same goes with Charlton Church Lane – a kebab shop that is never open (but perhaps on match days?) a few shops boarded up (what was the coffee shop) and one other for rent. If I had some money I would give one of the above a go myself, but unfortunately I don’t.

  3. Sarah says:

    Completely agree with Gemma above. I also moved here a year ago and my husband and I were very hopeful of the potential we saw in Charlton Village. Unfortunately though it has remained the same over the past year. A nice pub and perhaps a decent coffee shop would make the world of difference to the area. I think there would be enough custom as the area is definitely crying out for it!

    • JJNSE7 says:

      Sarah and Gemma, do give the Old Cottage Coffee Shop in Charlton park a try if you haven’t already (its in the actual park near the outdoor gym overlooking the cricket pitch). It is quirky and a little bijou inside but has tables outside and is a lovely spot for a coffee or tea (some very good Japanses teas there) and a piece of cake.

  4. Barbara says:

    I’ve lived and worked in the Borough for more than 30 years and have seen a lot of changes. I too have wondered why this area of Charlton has struggled to thrive. Opportunities for redevelopment and regeneration are much more limited here than we’ve witnessed in Greenwich and Woolwich, giving the perception that Charlton has been ‘by-passed’. Change takes time and making it happen takes commitment from a whole range of ‘stakeholders’, including us as Charlton residents and local organisations, as well as the Council.
    Has there been any interest from Cllr. Miranda Williams in setting up a meeting or other forum to begin a debate? Without some indication from the Council of a willingness to listen and promote a regeneration plan for the area, I don’t know how far we would get.
    I have some experience in planning and regeneration and know the area well and would be willing to be part of any debate. So where do we go from here to make things happen?

  5. junkmale21 says:

    I don’t think ‘eliminating rat runs’ would go down to well if you live in the area between Maryon Park and Frances St. Access is already restricted by the fact that there are only two ways to get in to this area from the A206 low road (the railway crossing and Frances St.). In fact, I do not think Charlton Church Lane is used as a rat run anyway, although I can see Network Rail leaping on this as an excuse to close the railway crossing.

  6. junkmale21 says:

    A major obstacle is the opening of the Sainsburys Local. This will destroy the local shops and disincentives any other local non-chain shops from opening. This is about the council’s willingness to bend over for corporations. We are all living in a retail park now, not a community. The lack of support from the council for The Swan is a disgrace. Everything is going into Woolwich, with nothing coming to Charlton. Woolwich definitely needed it, but Charlton is a mess right now.

  7. Very recently, in the east of the borough at Plumstead and Abbey Wood, groups and meetings have been established where MPs (and possibly councillors) have attended which look into the type of issues raised. There are some local groups already established in Charlton so perhaps they are already filling this function regularly?

    Though apparently in Plumstead, Greenwich council wanted meetings at Plumstead kept to certain ‘stakeholders’ such as businesses and school only. Understandably they did not want huge numbers turning up but those in charge of community groups like Plumstead People only found out at the last minute. Something additional could be in the works for Charlton though few are aware?

    Subsequently in the east of the borough there’s been more meetings I believe which were open to local residents. If groups such as the Charlton society are not fulfilling this role perhaps a few locals could start asking cllrs and the MP for a local meeting that could get the ball rolling.

  8. Neil C says:

    Visiting relatives in another corner of the country this weekend, I saw a leaflet through their door inviting all ward residents to a regular open meeting with their three councillors (2 Labour, 1 Lib Dem) to discuss issues affecting the local area. More of that kind of thing would be welcome in Charlton.

  9. JJNSE7 says:

    I very much agree with Chris that some sort of regeneration plan would be a good idea, the area has some real potential but does seem to need a put of help to realise this. There are some good examples like the Old Cottage coffee shop, the new Greengrocers and Cattalaya as well as the odd (very) hidden gem like Bowes (go beyond the frankly bizzare assortment of shoes in the window to find an extreemly good and very reasonable shoes repairer), but otherwise like others above i tend to find myself heading on to Blackheath Standard or Village.

    There are some good examples of gentle improvement in places like Brockley and Forrest Hill that could provide some pointers. As Chris observes the seperation of Village and station doesn’t help the post work passing trade but, while a little scruffy, the Village in particular is attractive with a good basic infractructure. The little cark parks are awkward but noting that moving the entrance bollards couldn’t fix.

    I believe that the council owns the shops on the Charlton park side of the Village, perhaps they could allow pop up shop leases with cheaper initial rent and rates to allow potential business owners to try to the water. I believe Lewisham have done this with some success.

  10. Paul C says:

    It’s a welcome debate started by Mr Chas. A personal gripe of mine – referred to above – is that our local councillors do not do themselves any favours by being so poor at communicating. As far back as last May I bought the communication issue up at a council election hustings and was told (by Gary Parker I think) that something may happen. I followed it up on social media in the weeks after and both Gary and Miranda made initially positive noises but then absolutely nothing. In this day and age is a (free) blog with a monthly round-up of what our councillors have been up to too much to ask? I don’t doubt they work hard but when issues like this come up and are met with the usual deafening silence it is easy to suspect otherwise. Save The White Swan? Silence. Controversy over the Skate Park? Silence. Village Regeneration? …

  11. The Hebridean says:

    I used to visit relatives living on Charlton Church Lane and in their day the street had plenty of shops to cater for people walking up the hill from the station as well as the locals. There was the Post Office, a bank, three newsagent-cum-sweet shops, a butchers, a bakers, two greengrocers, two haberdashers, two chemists, a hairdressers, a shop where the owner did French polishing and upholstery repairs, a florists, an off licence, a three department Coop and another independent grocers. Over the years most have gone, and in the last few months two of the shops on the parade between Wellington Gardens and Nadine Street have been turned into flats. How many more will follow? It seems inevitable that with online shopping and the arrival of the large supermarkets, other shopping facilities deteriorate.
    As for Charlton regeneration, read Greenwich’s Core Strategy and you will note that the focus for the next 20 years or so is on major opportunity and intensification areas such as Kidbrooke, and the sites all along the Thames. Charlton will figure later. Be very careful what you wish for.

  12. Raymond says:

    So what can we do collectively, as a group of like-minded individuals? Having lived in Charlton for four years I thought it had tremendous potential, but now the area is sadly lagging behind Lewisham, Deptford, East Greenwich and certainly Woolwich when it comes to regeneration, investment and urban planning. I always thought the disconnect between the village and the station would mean that Charlton Church Lane would see the first signs of, dare I say it, ‘gentrification’, however it stubbornly refuses to improve.

    But as said previously, we’re all saying the same thing on here, and complaining about things won’t get us anywhere. It really is time for a plan of action, whether that’s further engagement with councillors or Pennycook etc, or/and a collective strategy from Charlton resident groups and volunteers.

  13. Richard says:

    I have lived in Charlton for just over a year and it strikes me that Charlton needs a Neighbourhood Plan. It is a strong policy tool created by a local community and actually forms part of the Council’s planning policy framework once it is fully in place. It’s a lot of work, but it would ultimately have more planning weight than the Council’s own Charlton Riverside SPD. Council’s have a duty to help prepare it to (provide guidance, etc.). More details are here:

    http://www.pas.gov.uk/neighbourhood-planning

    • Darryl says:

      Interesting idea, Richard. I think East Greenwich Residents Association is looking at that for their area.

      A group called A Better Lee Green is also pursuing a neighbourhood forum (here it’d stretch across both Greenwich and Lewisham boroughs):

  14. Cllr Gary Parker says:

    I am interested to read these comments, some things are in train that I will report back on in due course,for example the council is conducting a review on community engagement,I will report back on this in due course and its implications for Charlton, but I am actively lobbying for an area based community engagement forum as part of the process.
    The Charlton Riversdide master plan will also be subject to updating and further consultation in the next few months and this will give some opportunity to raise these issues particularly around synergy between the station and the Village .
    I will be making a more substantive report on some of these issues,on this site in the next few weeks

    • Diana says:

      It’s very heartening to visit this site for the first time and hear so many voices crying out for action. The phrase ‘in due course’ doesn’t seem to be responding to the sense of urgency we’re all feeling as we watch other areas develop whilst ours stagnates and hopeful new residents grow despondent. How can such a potentially attractive place – a ‘heritage’ village with a Jacobean house, a coaching inn and a church – not be at the forefront of Greenwich’s plans for development? I’ve lived expectantly in Charlton for over 30 years! Please call a meeting.

  15. Spoontaneous says:

    We have lived in Charlton just over a year and have lived in London for over 20 years (mainly in Westminster). Frankly, we didn’t even know Charlton existed until we saw it on ‘Right Move’ as the cheapest zone 3 place (with Catford) to buy property. We don’t like Catford (at all), visited Charlton and loved the parks and our flat to be. We soon realised there was nowhere to have coffee or lunch (save for the Old Cottage Coffee Shop, which we treasure). Charlton’s proximity to Greenwich and Blackheath made up for the lack of local amenities and we love it here.

    Forest Hill, Brockley and all the other places mentioned here are all on the DLR. All of them were a dump before the arrival of the DLR. I lived in Forest Hill in 1996 and it was awful, Brockley was much worse, I won’t even mention Depford and I got mugged in New Cross (with a knife)!!! I made a promise never to come back to South East London. Financials made me break my promise 🙂
    Charlton’s main problem is transport. Try, for example, traveling to Croydon. We need to go first to London Bridge and then back out again to Croydon (and pay for the ticket to get to zone 1!!). Most people don’t like using buses, specially affluent punters. I had friends for dinner last night and it took them well over an hour to get back to Beckenham!! Only 2 trains an hour to Lewisham and the 308 leaves you not at the Station but at the shopping centre, handy… (not) All the streets around HornFair Road etc are quite far form the station and that makes commuting a bit of a nightmare limiting the appeal of the area.

    The other problem in Charlton is that most people don’t even know where it is!! And once they find out, they don’t know how to get here or it is just too inconvenient. I recently saw an episode of ‘location, location, location’ where there was a couple with £600,000 wanting to buy a place within 30 minutes commuting distance of Canary Warf. They knew and liked Blackheath but it was too expensive. Where did Phil suggested they looked? The slopes/ Charlton? No… he suggested Woolwich, far from the station which the couple didn’t like at all… and they ended up buying a place in Sevenoaks!!! I honestly think Phil Spencer never heard of Charlton. Nobody has! Charlton needs to be on the map and it isn’t, -probably because the awkwardness of transport links-.

    And finally, In my view, there is a lack of constructive criticism. For example, I can’t remember the amount of negative comments I have read about the reptile shop in Charlton Village. I struggle to understand what is wrong with that shop (even if you don’t like toads or snakes), and whether people prefer to have a derelict/ empty shop instead. there are countless examples like that in Charlton and around Charlton with projects to be, where there is just opposition with no constructive criticism and where the alternative is some empty derelict building fit for the set up of the MadMax remake.

    Summarising:
    Bring the DLR to Charlton
    Put Charlton on the map
    Constructive Criticism (please)

    or…

    Buy a Nspresso machine and relax in your own garden with your lovely neighbours, it’s not so bad here. 😉

  16. Neil Sharman says:

    I completely agree with all of the above, I am an architect with strong interest in the urban planning of London especially that of where we live.

    We moved to Charlton [slopes to use this estate agent terminology loosely] and I am still finding myself in complete shock at the amount of stock of houses with potential value really not being accelerated in there growth value. We have seen movement in Delafield, Wyndcliff and Eastcombe in recent years however.
    For me however it is the upward progression and use of The Standard and how this can be maximised especially with Charlton Village, an area constantly picked up in the pages of the Evening Standard and estate agents papers.
    Young FTB are now focusing on the likes of Leytonstone and beyond, the promised land of the Olympic legacy appears to be spiralling out and the areas which were quite poor are getting an influx of young creatives stepping in to the housing ladder away from the Clapton’s and Hackney adjacencies.
    We know that is happening in Charlton but very slowly, people will be drawn to North Greenwich and it’s 2040 Peninsula Village plan, it has set an already strong cultural and urban plan to act as a basis for it’s 10,000 new homes, the prices are also more than worth noting a 3 bedroom home in Charlton for a 2 or sometime 1 bedroom flat.
    The village firstly is I would say hardly a village, it has a strong and wonderful tie to that of the extraordinary Charlton House, but even this is tired, it has no residency in the Greenwich portfolio of heritage, Queens House, Rangers, Maritime etc. It needs to be, but it needs regeneration in within its interior, but really its offering. The Toy library and wonderful offerings have tremendous scope but it needs a real facility to run this from. If the village is going to succeed it need culture at the heart of it, Charlton House could be this.
    The village, has some very needless stores and has been allowed to decay, 2 pubs, 2 pharmacists, a Coop et al, these not staple game changers. To encourage independants there needs to be a rent review but also a benefit for doing kick starting your young business in this location. Blackheath it is also worth noting struggles for this, an example, Gail’s being a great chain, but still a chain which is surely going to upset the likes of Hand Made Food.
    The shops of the Standard appear to be used, it is very difficult to even get a unit here, The Scullery a lovely addition and refurbishment of the pub add a lot, still around 6 estate agents fill great plots that could be way more vibrant cafes and restaurants with awnings framing the approaches to Blackheath and Greenwich Park, as well as galleries.

    It feels like Charlton needs to step out of the light mixed use hangers of the woolwich road and start to link more to culture it has within and also tie in to the residents. They just built two more [Sainsburys & M&S] and the utopian vision of Costa overlooking the Woolwich Road [how plush]!

    Hither Green has a great approach and Catford will transform rapidly, especially with the pedestrianisation of the main street.

    I do worry without some regeneration plans, beyond that of OMA West Greenwich scheme, http://westgreenwichblog.co.uk/rem-koolhaas-oma-appointed-to-morden-wharf/
    Charlton will slip behind. Deptford & Brockley are definitely are and becoming success stories.
    Lewisham has mass development and elements like the Model Market help embrace a new culture.

    No resolves here but really a scattering of my thoughts and frustrations, great people, great homes and potential, schools and green spaces need to be embraced by vibrant culture and smart offerings.
    With Crossrail hitting Woolwich there needs to be a plan of ‘one Greenwich’ a connected fluid set of villages, The Standard, Greenwich town centre, North Greenwich & Charlton.

    Sorry too much written here.

  17. clogsilk says:

    My area of Catford now has a neighbourhood forum: http://thecorbettsociety.org.uk I’ll be watching with interest to see where it gets us. At the moment people seem to have a lot of the gripes above about wanting places for coffee etc. however, when push comes to shove people don’t use their local parades, which is why they get converted to residential, which has a pretty much guaranteed return for landlords.

    I seem to remember Charlton had a little coffee shop by the station that was quite nice, but it’s now closed? Presumably that didn’t hit the mark with what people wanted, somehow?

  18. Cllr Gary Parker argues for an area based community engagement forum but forgets to acknowledge that Charlton already has such a forum in The Charlton Society, nor acknowledge that council led consultation doesn’t always result in real participation.

    Chris Seaden raises some very important issues and we hope that he will join with the Charlton Society ( of which he is a member, pity he didn’t raise his concerns through the CS before going directly to the councillors) to discuss and propose ideas for a regeneration strategy.

    The Charlton Society are organising a meeting in late September to coincide with the release of the Charlton Conservation Area Management Strategy produced by the Royal Borough of Greenwich. This will be out for public consultation late September and throughout October. The CS will be arranging a meeting which we invite all participants of this blog, ward councillors, the planning department which has already pledged its involvement, Greenwich Heritage Trust and most importantly residents and businesses to discuss the conservation area proposals and also issues such as the Charlton Y, as a first stage in developing a regeneration strategy. At a later date we will also organise a meeting to discuss the Charlton Riverside master plan, its relationship to other parts of Charlton enabling residents to become involved in the proposals for regenerating Charlton in such a way that it retains its connection to the river, develops as a lively place to live, pick up on many of the comments set out above and maintain its historic importance and attractiveness as a unique and special place.

    Some CS activities:

    1. The Charlton Society was created as a result of a threat to push a dual carriageway through the Village in the late ‘60s.

    2. The Society immediately set about a renovation project for the Village, working closely with the Civic Trust (then the country’s leading conservation organisation). This led to the creation of the Village Conservation Area, the service roads, shopfront upgrades, the floodlighting of St Luke’s church, pavement planters, etc. The ball was set rolling at the time with a procession through the Village in period dress!

    3. The Society, was instrumental in the ‘70s in saving the Assembly Rooms (our then Chairman led the organisation set up to achieve that aim), which the Council wanted to demolish to make way for a car park – that was a time when everyone loved to love the car.

    4. The Society helped lead a further shopfront makeover in the ‘80s when central government money became available.

    5. The Society was able to convince Greenwich Council to undertake a road modification programme that would help slow down traffic through the Village. Some of the traffic islands you see today resulted from that. It was also possible to reduce the width of the roadway (and increase the pavement width) but one of our more important ideas, although fully endorsed and designed by highway engineers, was unfortunately not carried through (this entailed building in a kink in the road at Fairfield Grove to try to slow the drivers who still like to rocket into the Village from the east).

    6. The Society worked closely with the Council and highway engineers (again, central government financed) to create wider traffic calming measures: the speed table round the war memorial and the tables at side road entry junctions were the result (as, by the way, were the speed tables in Charlton Church Lane and elsewhere).

    7. The Society worked with the Council on a set of urban design initiatives that resulted, amongst other things, in the Yorkstone paving outside the Assembly Rooms and the Summerhouse.

    8. The Society led the drive to repair the fountain that was smashed by a car.

    9. The Society is in regular touch with the Council’s conservation officers to try to push through the long-delayed conservation management plan for the Village Conservation Area.This is now an active agenda item that the Charlton Society is engaged with.

    10. Most recently the Charlton Society were instrumental in getting ACV’s (Assets of Community Value) placed on both the The White Swan and The Bugle Horn pubs. This ensures that no redevelopment of either asset can be pushed through without planning permission for the next 5 years. It also allows the Charlton Society and its friends such as the Save the White Swan group to ensure that future development of the two pubs are in the interest of the Village and its residents.

    11. Further afield the Charlton Society is playing an active role in the long saga of the proposed new IKEA replacing the former iconic Sainsbury’s site and its accompanying problems of increased traffic movements and pollution; is keeping a watching brief on the draft Charlton Riverside Masterplan, the redevelopment of the Bugsby Way retail area and its affects upon the smaller retail outlets that Chris Seaden pays reference to.

    All this amongst many smaller developments and potential changes to the Charlton SE7 area.

    The real headache is this: despite all our efforts to improve the Village, the big, seemingly insurmountable obstacle is the local income profile (a question of demography rather geography). No strategy in the world is going to change this since it is a function of the market and in particular the housing market. The income profile of places like Forest Hill, Nunhead, etc, is much healthier than Charlton’s – and the results are there for all to see. The shops in Charlton’s unique Village are a direct response to the local profile: you cannot force people to set up businesses where they fear they might go bust. The redevelopment on the Peninsula and, more importantly, the redevelopment planned for Charlton Riverside will no doubt change the profile but not by tomorrow morning. Remember: after the closure of the docks nearly half a century ago this area became a backwater of the worst kind. Things have improved beyond all measure since then but, as everybody can see, there is still a long way to go. The Society sees its job as continuing to seek improvements wherever and whenever it can and is redoubling its push to improve Charlton.

    If you are not already a member of Charlton Society we would urge you to join us and work together to ensure that Charlton residents help determine the future of our neighbourhoods.

  19. Loise MacK says:

    It sounds to me as if there are an awful lot of people out there who would like their property values to rocket up. Theres a reason why prices in Charlton are comparatively low and they are unlikely to change. My suggestions are for them to go away and study the history and geography of the area, put it together with the councils development plan for the next 20 years and more. Then get busy with some bin bags for litter picking and a bit of weeding. Its called community action and can work wonders in a small way. And coffee shops and arty farty shops dont stay open on occsional use (look at the pubs) but on regular footfall. If you want things ot happen then make them happen rather than spout about it.

    • Afternoon – I’m not sure I would call £400K for a three bedroom ex-council house “comparatively low” but there you go.

      The Friends of the Maryon Parks organise monthly community litter picks in the parks on the first Saturday of each month. They are nice events for bringing people together, but they won’t put new shops or pubs in the village.

      The village needs new shops and a good pub to get more regular footfall, and it needs more regular footfall to get new shops and a good pub. Not easy to solve. Perhaps one idea is for the council to help by giving new shops lower business rates for their first three years to encourage people to open up?

  20. The Hebridean says:

    Agree with Loise. Although much in respect of strategic planning is down to local authorities, a great deal can be accomplished through the hard graft of residents. Take the other Saturday when I was walking down Swallowfield Road. There were people out clearing rubbish and pulling up street weeds, all down to a Community Day by the local residents’ association (Charlton Central?). They weren’t waiting for someone else to set the ball rolling. So, tidy your gardens, take your bins off the street between collections, don’t fly tip, and give your elderly neighbours a hand with their gardens. It ain’t beyond the wit of individuals to start with some self-help. Get proactive on the streets in the 21st century and don’t rest on 20th century laurels. We may have to wait for the butcher, the baker and the candlestick-maker to open up in the Village, but we can all give a bit of time to make things better even if only in our own streets.

  21. Sam says:

    prices are ‘comparatively low’ in Charlton?! Compared to where? Plumstead? We have been priced out. Houses going for upwards of £650k in ‘the Slopes’ (and climbing) and heard of 2 going for way over £650k in Canberra Road. Estate agents from the Standard pushing ever higher prices as it’s within the catchment area of several OFSTED-liked schools. I agree the shops in the Village are a bit tatty but (as someone else said) be careful what you wish for.

  22. The Hebridean says:

    That “big house in a nice area” is priced at £665,000 on the zoopla site. Right below it is the adjacent house on Wellington Gardens, priced at £699,950.Take the guided tour on the website and draw your own conclusions about the condition. The pictures don’t show the estates agents signs littering the front “garden” and the broken windows or the fact that it has been on the market for two year at least. Neither of these properties is selling. Way overpriced for Charlton and the market is telling it so.

  23. Pingback: Charlton Sainsbury’s development – did the community get a raw deal from £1.5m planning cash? | The Charlton Champion

  24. Spoontaneous says:

    Some news at The Village: the shop that used to be Meridian Magazine is now a solicitor’s firm. ‘Oasis Solicitors’ signs to go up shortly. I have a picture but I’m not sure I can upload it here. The other shop ‘Chapters’ has also been let and they are redecorating. I think it used to be a barbers shop and cannot see any planing application to change its use so I’m assuming it’ll remain the same??? Just a guess. ( I also have a pic if anybody is interested) 🙂

  25. Chris says:

    Chapters was a barbers, it’s opposite another hairdressers. Do you need planning permission to change use of a retail unit like this one? IE – A barber shop changes into, say, a newsagent?

  26. Spoontaneous says:

    I don’t know. Today they were workmen there decorating…

  27. Rejory says:

    It’s a complex issue with the village. There’s too much traffic. Not enough convenient parking, no destination shops. It doesn’t really feel like a place to spend time, just to travel through. The Baguette cafe seems to have built up it’s clientele and has a nice area for tables outside as it is set back from the road but the rest of the village feels too much like a main road to stop for a while. It would be good if there were another set of traffic lights by the war memorial as it would slow the traffic and make it more easy for pedestrians. Another one by the assembly room end would do the same. Then having a paved surface for the village itself would signify to drivers that they are travelling through a defined area (at 20mph). I agree that HGVs should be restricted during daylight hours. The car park next to the assembly rooms should be really prominent perhaps with a ‘Welcome to Charlton Village’ sign, it all needs to be integrated somehow. Perhaps an entrance into Charlton Park from there would be good too..

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  30. mr_chas says:

    A couple of updates since I wrote my letter to Cllr. Williams. Firstly, it has been great to see so many people pitch in and comment after Darryl so kindly published my letter. Secondly, Chapters is to become an optician, and the dry cleaners some sort of gentleman’s tailors. More importantly the White Swan has reopened and all SE7 residents should get behind the new team. Not been ?
    It’s worth it !
    https://www.facebook.com/The-White-Swan-486277714874190/timeline/
    And I agree that attractive signs saying ‘Welcome to Charlton Village” “To the car park” ” To the railway station” could prove most useful.
    Chris Seaden

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  32. MILD says:

    I am moving soon to Charlton. I agree with all of you. Charlton needs the following three items as a priority:

    1) improve transport (perhaps direct bus from charlton village to either i)charlton station ii) North greenwich station iii) Wolwich for the cross rail
    I mean a direct bus running every 10 min that only stops in the village and the final destination.

    This would attract people to Charlton village and the shops….

    2) Better shops ( I think this will come if 1) is implemented)
    3) parking space ( I think this could be sorted somehow, I have few things in mind)

    To whom do we have to write and encourage to make this improvements? Actually 1) would solve all the problems. ( a knock and effect)

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