We hope this will become a regular feature.
Councillor Gary Parker Report to Charlton Ward Residents
This report details some of the activities I have been involved in as a councillor in the Charlton area. It does not include surgeries or case work, which is significant.
Below is a round-up of some key issues. The council is considering new forms of engagement including area-based panels, which I hope to report to in future, if they are introduced. Otherwise I will continue to report to residents in this form as appropriate.
At the council meeting in July I presented two petitions to the council, one regarding the Our Lady of Grace School planning application, expressing concerns about the application – 100 people signed it. This application was passed by the planning board in September. I opposed the application and am still raising issues related to it.
The other raised concerns about the proposed Skateboard Park in Charlton Park and was signed by 735 local residents. I also spoke at the full council meeting regarding this on 28th October. While I am not opposed to a Skateboard Park in principle, there are still many unanswered questions about its proposed siting in Charlton Park. I will finally decide my position on this, once the planning application is published. The planning application is likely to go to the Planning Board in January 2016.
I have been working with the CCRA, and other local groups and individuals regarding a range of planning issues, calling in several planning applications. One in the Victoria Way area has been rejected by officers.
I called in 3 planning applications in the central Charlton area, including one for the former Conservative Club in Charlton Church Lane. It was deferred at the last area planning committee meeting in September for a site visit.
I put in a written submission opposing the Valley House planning application – a significant development which would have impacted on Charlton. This application was rejected by the Planning Board in September.
I have attended the last area planning committee and spoke in favour of the planning application by the Baguette Café in Charlton Village, which was accepted by the committee.
I have also been raising issues regarding the two pubs in Charlton Village, the White Swan and the Bugle and liaising with Charlton Society and sought assurances from council officers that the council has powers to intervene, if necessary regarding any potential redevelopment of these facilities.
I also intervened to have some concrete pillars removed outside the White Swan earlier in the summer. I am pleased to see the White Swan is now thriving again under new management.
I am a member of the Board of the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust and have been working with other trustees to secure the long term future of Charlton House and the other heritage assets in the Trust, which include the Heritage Centre in Woolwich and the Tudor Barn in Eltham.
We are seeking to secure funding for the upkeep of Charlton House and are committed to working with local community organisations. To that end the Chair, Len Duvall and myself attended the AGM of the Friends of Charlton House, earlier in the year and Len and other RGHT staff have been liaising with the Charlton Society and others. I strongly advocated that members of local societies should be on the board of RGHT, to that end, Roden Richardson of the Charlton Society has been appointed.
Other Recent Community Engagements/ Work
Charlton Central Residents Association – I have met regularly with CCRA members on planning and other associated issues
Charlton Society AGM – I attended the recent AGM of the Charlton Society and spoke on some planning issues
Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust – I attended the last two board meetings of RGHT
Greenwich Carers Centre – I attended the official opening of the centre in June, which is now an excellent facility for carers and their families in the borough
Divestment Greenwich – I attended a meeting in July which was focused on encouraging local authorities, colleges churches and other public bodies not to invest their pension funds in fossil fuels, which exacerbate climate change. I support this campaign and have corresponded with local residents on this
Armed Forces Day- I attended this excellent event in June, which was supported by the council. It also featured the Great Get Together and associated community events.
Cleansweep Scrutiny Panel Meeting – I chaired a very successful meeting of the Community Safety & Environment Scrutiny Panel to review the Cleansweep service on 29/10/15 at which a range of community organisations in Greenwich, including some Charlton/Woolwich organisations – Charlton & Carnbrooke housing panel, CCRA and Wonderful Woolwich and other local residents and former Cleansweep staff who made individual submissions.
Panel members and officers viewed this as a great success, these organisations were given free rein to raise any issues they liked regarding the service. They received as many instant responses as possible on the night and other responses will be provided in due course – issues raised included, litter, fixed penalty notices, fly tipping, street cleaning, dog fouling and many other issues.
The main Overview and Scrutiny Panel of which I am a member have produced a detailed report on community engagement, which will go to the next Cabinet Meeting for consideration and further action if approved.
There are new recommendations for community engagement, including area based panels and other new forms of engagement, which I have been lobbying for.
The Skateboard Park planning application will be presented to the Planning Board in January 2016 as detailed above.
Ward budgets for councillors are being introduced shortly, which will provide a small budget to which local organisations can apply for – more details soon.
The council’s budget will be clarified after the autumn statement by George Osborne which is due soon and the related local government funding settlement. Since 2010 the council has had 25% of its budget cut.
The community consultation process regarding the Charlton Riverside Masterplan will resume in early 2016 – more details soon.
Get in touch with Cllr Parker via the council website.