What’s Cllr Gary Parker been up to? His latest report for Charlton ward

Cllr Parker
Cllr Parker

Our thanks again to Cllr Gary Parker, who represents Charlton ward on Greenwich Council,  for this report on what he’s been up to for residents. You can read his previous report here.

Street Surgery  I took part in the Charlton ward street surgery on 22 November 2015 on the Springfield estate, a monthly event at which we target a part of the ward and go door-to- door to meet local residents and try to address any issues they may have or forward them to the local MP as appropriate.

I also attended another such surgery in the Wellington Gardens area recently. This is in addition to our scheduled surgery at Charlton House from 7.00-8.00 pm every Friday (no appointment is needed, just turn up)

Planning – I have been working with the Charlton Central Residents Association, and other local groups and individuals regarding a range of planning issues. I have raised a wide range of planning issues again on behalf of local residents.

Wyndcliff Residents Association – I attended a meeting with them and council officers to discuss their concerns about local traffic in January 2016.

Rectory Field Residents Association – I met with them to discuss related traffic issues to WRA in January 2016. I am monitoring the situation in relation to the Our Lady of Grace school development and the impact of contractors on parking, noise and general development issues.

Blackheath Rugby Club – I have dealt with representations over concerns at the impact of the move of the first team to Well Hall after over 130 years at the current location off Charlton Road, at the end of this season. I am awaiting a full report from officers.

Friends Of Charlton Park – I met with them in November 2015 to discuss the Skateboard Park and their concerns.

Leader Of The Council – I met with the leader of the council in late November to discuss the Charlton Skateboard Park, community engagement and environmental issues.

Charlton/ Charlton Village/Charlton Park – I dealt with an inquiry from Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust members, regarding a rumoured planning application to build flats on top of the club shop. There is concern again that the new owners of CAFC may be decanting to a site at Morden Wharf. I raised this, there has been no planning application lodged with regard to this after follow up from my last report in November.

Cleansweep Issues – I recently chaired a very successful meeting of the Community Safety & Environment Scrutiny Panel to review the Cleansweep service recently at which a range of community organisations including some Charlton/Woolwich organisations – Charlton & Carnbrook housing panel, CCRA and Wonderful Woolwich. A write up on this was featured in the 8 December edition of Greenwich Time, with excellent feedback from local residents and tenants reps who attended the meeting. As a result of this meeting a new environmental task force has been launched in Charlton, in the Floyd Road area, to provide more intensive street cleaning and to work with local residents to improve the environment and address some enforcement issues.

Playing Out Scheme – I advised CCRA on the drafting of the Playing Out Scheme funding application to Greenwich Action For Voluntary Service and reviewed the application. All your local councillors are supporting the Playing Out programme in Greenwich, which we are hoping to develop in the Charlton area to allow children and their parents/ carers to use the streets more for play and community events.

Social Enterprise Event – I attended the council supported social enterprise market event on 18th November.

Ward Budgets – This is a new scheme just being introduced by the council, Charlton ward has been allocated £30,000 in total to be allocated to local community projects in the ward up to 2018.

I met with my co-councillors at the end of January to discuss the implementation of ward budgets and designed a draft application form. Once we have clarified some administrative and management issues, we will be launching the scheme locally – more details soon. I also met with CCRA officers to brief them on the scheme.

Council & Other

I attended the full council meeting on 16 December and spoke against the Tory motion on libraries. I also attended the January 2016 council meeting.

I attended the Greenwich Action For Voluntary Service AGM in November.

I met with Volunteer Centre Greenwich on December 21st.

I attended the Federation Of Small Businesses regional dinner on 3rd December at which Sadiq Khan was the guest speaker. I also met Zac Goldsmith.

I attended the Mayor’s Charity Carol concert on 18th December.

I attended the overview and scrutiny panel on 26/1/ children’s services scrutiny 13/1 and chaired Community Safety and Environment Scrutiny Panel 14/1.

Get in touch with Cllr Parker via the council website.

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20 thoughts on “What’s Cllr Gary Parker been up to? His latest report for Charlton ward

  1. s2news February 10, 2016 / 22:40

    Hi, I’d like to raise the point that they aren’t the friends of Charlton park in any official capacity. Could that be qualified? Thanks, Stuart Hopper On 10 Feb 2016 19:58, “The Charlton Champion” wrote:

    > Neil C posted: ” Our thanks again to Cllr Gary Parker, who represents > Charlton ward on Greenwich Council, for this report on what he’s been up > to for residents. You can read his previous report here. Street Surgery – I > took part in the Charlton ward street surgery on ” >

  2. ThePirateKing February 11, 2016 / 11:47

    I was about to make that exact point, Stuart.

    The “Friends of Charlton Park” are not an officially recognised Parks Friends group.

    They are an anti Skate Park group composed entirely of people opposed to having a skate park in Charlton Park.

    They are not open to new members. I have asked to join several times. They do not hold elections or have open meetings.

    If they want to form an anti-skate park group that is, of course, their right. But they should make it clear that’s what they are.

    Calling themselves the “Friends of Charlton Park” is entirely and deliberately disingenuous.

  3. Paul C February 11, 2016 / 13:10

    Sorry to bang on about this (I asked same question yesterday in different post). But why are details – however vague – about the ward budgets still being kept under wraps yet CCRA have already been briefed? How do those of us who don’t live in the CCRA catchment area get the same level of information?

    Likewise, after your first report I asked what misgivings you had about the skate park proposal but you wouldn’t be drawn. Now you’re reporting that you’ve met the ‘friends group’ (spoiler: not a friends group) to discuss their concerns and shortly afterwards you met the Leader of the Council, where you presumably presented their concerns in person. Meanwhile, those of us who aren’t in the anti-skate park ‘friends’ group are kept in the dark.

    On more positive note, thanks for writing a second report, appreciated.

  4. Gary Parker February 13, 2016 / 11:56

    CCRA were briefed in early January about the borough wide scheme for community engagement and ward budgets, this is information that has been published on this site and i answered questions about that, not the local implementation.Your ward councillors met and the end of January to discuss local implementation, once we have clarified some management and adminiatration issues, the scheme will be launched locally.With regards to the Friends Of Charlton Park, what they call themselves is an issue for them,not me. I met with the leader on a number of issues including the skateboard park, in the main it was an information gathering meeting.
    Cllr Gary Parker

  5. Darryl February 15, 2016 / 13:47

    Hello Gary. Is there any reason why CCRA were briefed ahead of, say, the Charlton Society, or tenants in Charlton Triangle homes?

  6. ThePirateKing February 17, 2016 / 01:30

    Hello Gary:

    Many thanks indeed for the Ward Report posted last week.

    Specifically on a couple of issues:

    1/ The “Friends” of Charlton Park
    Of course, as you suggest their name is a matter for them, but how they are seen by the broader public is surely, in part, a matter for you. In the future, it might be helpful to say they are “the unofficial Friends of Charlton Park” when referring to them. The name of their group very much (deliberately) gives a different impression. Their chosen name aims to make them sound like other officially recognised Park Friends groups instead of what they are – a group dedicated to trying to stop the new skatepark.

    2/ Charlton Park Skatepark
    What is your view of the proposed skatepark? Are you in favour of it or against? The other two Charlton ward councillors have said publicly that they support the skatepark. It’s staggering to think that a local councillor might be against a £340K investment in the future of young people in their own ward, but your refusal to even say what you think of the idea is confusing. So, please – do you support the idea of a new skatepark in Charlton Park or not?

    3/ The CCRA
    Even if the CCRA January briefing only covered a broad outline of the borough wide award scheme, there is still the question of why the CCRA gets such special treatment. Have all (any?) other local groups like Charlton Triangle Homes or Parkside Community Hub also received a briefing from you about the award scheme?

    From the outside, the relationship between you and the CCRA does seem puzzlingly close. The CCRA are a residents association that represents just 13 streets in Charlton, yet they seem to be able to call on a disproportionate amount of your time.

    Specific examples of CCRA special treatment:

    a/ Briefing on the ward awards. How is it fair that one of the groups who might very well apply for some of the award funding in the future is given a special personal briefing by one of the judges of the award while all other local groups are not? Do you think that this gives the appearance of fairness?

    b/ The CCRA are a “residents association” yet you often support them in planning matters which range way beyond their very well defined 13 streets. Do you offer such help to other Charlton groups like Charlton Mummies or the Friends of the Maryon Parks or the Charlton Society whose brief is much wider than the CCRA’s?

    c/ I remember at the Charlton Society AGM in October 2015 you stood up and interrupted the presentation being given by Roden Richardson (Chair of the Society’s planning group) to talk about the work done by the CCRA. This seemed to me at the time to be an extraordinary thing to do. Would you agree that interrupting a speaker from the Charlton Society mid-flow to talk about the achievements of the CCRA was at least socially inappropriate?

    Given it represents only 13 streets in Charlton and has only a couple of hundred members, do you not think that the CCRA receives a hugely disproportionate amount of your time and energy and attentions as local ward councillor?

    Many thanks in advance for taking the time to answer these questions. I understand that these are awkward questions. I don’t ask them to be a tricky sod, I ask them because I think they deserve clear answers.

    Thank you.

  7. Gary Parker February 17, 2016 / 17:36

    Andrew,I will answer these points briefly as i have given responses to most of these issues before.
    What Friends of Charlton Park call themselves is not a matter for me. With regard to the Skateboard Park, I am not opposed to it in principle but want to review the planning application before making a final decision on this, there is significant local opposition to this proposal and i want to see if any of their concerns are addressed in the application.
    I have not briefed any local groups on the local implementation of ward budgets, the bulk of my presentation to CCRA was on the new community engagement arrangements, area forums and related engagement, your ward councillors had not agreed the local implemention of ward budgets when we met, so i did not brief them on it. I will leave it to others to decide if that constitutes favouritism. Any local residents can and do object to planning applications and i have given significant support to both groups and individuals over the years not just CCRA, so to suggest otherwise is incorrect. I recently met with both the Wyncliffe residents association and Rectory Fields residents association on major local issues and supported them on local planning issues – see my ward report on this site, published recently. To suggest i interrupted the Chair of The Charlton Society planning group at the AGM is completely wrong.Roden finished his presentation and the Chair asked for comments/questions, so i raised my hand and was called in. I have known him for many years and supported his nomination to the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust Board.
    In essence i shared some of his concerns and pointed out that I,as a ward councillor and others such as the CCRA and other groups/ individuals had also raised many of the same local planning issues, other people i was with including a Charlton Society committee member will attest to the fact i was called in by the Chair. At the end of the meeting the Chair thanked me for coming to the AGM.The Charlton Society do great work and I have attended most of their AGM’s and many of their other meetings over the last decade. I have and still do work with many community organisations in the Charlton area and will continue to do so.
    Cllr Gary Parker

  8. Joe Thorne February 18, 2016 / 14:11

    When Mrs Gillman retired Charlton Ward was left with one approachable and responsive councillor. Why have such nasty personal attacks on him been made about what is only a small part of his work? If local societies had received privileged and advanced briefing about the new ward budget as claimed, why is Greenwich Time reporting that Eltham South Ward is the first to gain funding for a greening scheme? You’d think that if Charlton people really had been first to know and given all the details, some organization or other would have pipped Eltham South to the post!

  9. Ken February 18, 2016 / 18:05

    I’m glad one of the Charlton Councillors is still breathing. His report talks about a broad range of engagement across the community. So why is all this bile directed at him and one particular local group? It looks like someone is trying to make trouble and start a turf war in Charlton. This presents a very negative and petty side of local politics. And some of the comments could be actionable.

  10. Joan February 18, 2016 / 18:36

    Have I got this right? The anti IKEA and anti Silvertown Tunnel campaigns want support from people all over the borough and beyond. The pro-Charlton Skatepark camp, including the council, took opinion from the skateboarding community in and out of borough. The Charlton Society objected to the outline plans for the Peninsula which is SE10. So why should any of the other residents associations be told they should only have opinions about their own little areas? I hope all those who have been criticised have the good sense to ignore it all and don’t rise to the bait.

  11. The Hebridean February 19, 2016 / 07:45

    I am not a member of any local organisation but I pay the borough’s council tax and believe that anyone should be entitled to express an opinion on what goes on anywhere in the Greenwich. To point the finger at organized groups is destructive of community and localism. It suggests a very big chip on the shoulder and a bad dose of sour grapes.

  12. David Gardner February 19, 2016 / 15:29

    It is excellent that Cllr Gary Parker is reporting every now and then through Charlton Champion – an organ that serves the people of Charlton well and fierce independence – our councillors work with all local groups and engage widely. There will be different views on local issues, genuinely held, but I think it unfair to attack people personally or for speaking on behalf of a particular group. Charlton is lucky to have a much healthier civic society and engagement and there must be room for different perspectives while still respecting the views of others.

  13. Chris February 19, 2016 / 17:06

    David – completely agree. Thanks.

  14. Darryl February 19, 2016 / 18:42

    As always, I’m grateful to Gary for his reports here. People asking questions, even awkward ones, are going to be part of this, and I’m also grateful he’s responded to those.

    My own thoughts, should anyone care: I don’t really buy this stuff about a healthy civic society – the excruciating skatepark saga shows it’s anything but. There are too few people, too many personal beefs, too many people with conflicting interests and too much bad faith for it to be considered healthy. Some of the comments here reveal those cracks. I could write more, but I’m not sure who really cares beyond those groups. (I should declare my interest, as I wish others here had done in these comments, as I was on the committee of the Charlton Society for two years, before skulking back into the shadows.)

    If one group is doing well, then that’s an example others should learn from. If there’s a perception that one group is getting favourable treatment over others, then that’s probably a signal to others to raise their game.

  15. Maggy May February 20, 2016 / 08:40

    Where I live there are no local societies to join. I wish there was as we all need someone to speak up for us and its better to have a few disagreements than nothing. As a point of view on this, Who Pirate King or Paulk C are or what they belong to I haven’t a clue. Like many they put stuff on anonymously. Is it realistic to expect other people who have something to say to be upfront with their details?

  16. Paul C February 20, 2016 / 10:59

    There are lots of people posting on here anonymously Maggy, I am not one of them. If you click on ‘Paul C’ you’ll see my Twitter account with full name. I also know – and like – Gary personally. Asking the questions I did is called accountability and for what it’s worth I thought Gary gave decent answers (his defence to the question of did other groups great special treatment being ‘no, because nothing of note was said at either meeting’). If Gary can survive the hurly-burly of the Greenwich Council Chamber for however many years I am sure he can cope with a few questions on here.

    And while I’m here, I explicitly asked how other groups could get the same level of representation as CCRA and the ‘friends’. I never suggested CCRA get less. As Darryl pointed out they are a group to be aspired too in many ways. The ‘friends’ I do have a problem with. They are a closed shop and Gary has gone out of his way to represent their concerns in Council and to the Leader personally. Yet when I ask him his concerns I am told ‘I am neutral, not made my mind up’. I get that the skate park is divisive, I don’t expect everyone to support it and if it doesn’t happen after a fair and thorough debate then so be it. But I would be disappointed if the first I hear of Gary’s concerns are when they are lodged as objections at a planning meeting, without any chance of an open discussion.

  17. Maggy May February 21, 2016 / 16:00

    Thank you for making your position clear.

  18. ThePirateKing February 22, 2016 / 11:33

    Hello Gary:

    Many thanks for your reply which is welcome and appreciated.

    In broad terms, I think it is entirely reasonable for a voter in a ward to raise questions about both how a ward councillor spends their time, and also about how a ward councillor divides their time between local groups.

    Specifically on the points:

    1/ On the issue of The “Friends” of Charlton Park being an anti-Skatepark group and not a Friends group at all. Let’s put it this way… if a group formed calling itself The Friends of the Charlton Ward Councillors and was actually anti-councillors and charged people five pounds for (so far) nothing then I’m sure you would be using the word “unofficial” every time you referred to them.

    2/ Lovely to hear that you are broadly in favour of the skatepark. If that changes for any reason then please do meet with people in favour of it to hear their views, as you have already met with the unofficial “Friends” of Charlton Park. Thank you.

    3/ I haven’t heard anything that lowers my suspicions that the CCRA do receive councillor time and attention beyond a level that their 13 streets would merit.

    Specifically on the issue of you interrupting Roden Richardson at the CS AGM. I spoke to Roden at length on Saturday and he confirmed events unfolding exactly as I described above i.e. that you interrupted him in the middle of his talk on Charlton Society planning work to talk about CCRA planning work. Since Roden is probably best placed to judge if you interrupted him or not, I hope you will accept this view straight from the horses mouth – as it were. (I explained to Roden the exact context in the discussion you and I are currently having.)

    I appreciate you answering the questions, Gary. An exchange of views so that people and groups might better understand each other can only be good.

    [For the record, I have been a committee member of several local groups including the Charlton Society until their last AGM in Oct 2015.]

  19. Andy February 24, 2016 / 09:14

    I walk to and from home to the station every day. I pass throuygh mid Charlton.The streets are filthy. Today I saw a fox chewing on food waste. There are cracked pavements and big potholes in the road. If the area is a favorite of the council then it doesn’t show

  20. harryw February 24, 2016 / 09:59

    Too busy paying the bills to join anything. But I really respect anyone who feels strongly enpugh to form a group, pay a fiver for nothing and tread on toes if they feel like it. In a democracy they need no permission to do it. One other thought. Do the central charlton association really have 200 members in 13 streets. It seems unlikely. On those figures a group for all charlton would need about 1500 members. Seems even less likely. Playground slanging matches help nobody and do harm.

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