‘Deteriorating’ Charlton Village placed on Historic England ‘at risk’ register

Charlton Village
Charlton Village: Conservation area ‘at risk’, Historic England says

Charlton Village’s conservation area has been added to Historic England’s “at risk” register, with the agency warning that its condition is “deteriorating”.

The Heritage at Risk register highlights important sites that are in danger of being lost due to neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

Charlton House’s former summer house, which is now being restored, has been on the register for some years, but whole conservation areas can also be added to the list.

33 The Village
Bowes’ shoe shop closed at Christmas 2015

The village has long been disfigured by empty and neglected shop units. Number 33, the former Bowes shoe shop, has sat empty since it closed nearly two years ago. Land Registry documents indicate it has been owned since 1989 by Kamil Ahmet of Clapton, east London.

11 The Village
This unit was left open to the elements during the summer

Number 11, the former Sol Property Services, has had a front door panel left open to the elements for weeks earlier this year. It is owned by Maqbool and Nadeem Chaudry of Birmingham, according to the Land Registry.

While the recent revamp of the White Swan and the arrival of the Kasturi Indian restaurant have given the village a bit of a lift, it has struggled to attract other new businesses that would keep these properties in good condition and start restoring The Village to its former glory.

Two years ago, this site published one resident’s musings on how the area needs a regeneration plan. Who will make the first move to sort Charlton Village’s problems out – residents, or Greenwich Council? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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18 thoughts on “‘Deteriorating’ Charlton Village placed on Historic England ‘at risk’ register

  1. Peter Cordwell October 28, 2017 / 11:13

    First thing I would do is contact Charlton Manor primary school in Indus Road and ask for their campaigning help. The place is alive with ideas, energy and enthusiasm. Hold a community meeting at the school and be amazed at the buzz created. Or sit back, squeeze your chin and wonder…

  2. sarah.hornsey7@gmail.com October 28, 2017 / 11:17

    It’s sad. I really love the village.
    Unfortunately it is now competing with all the new shops in Charlton Riverside i.e. M&S, Sainsbury’s, and Aldi, etc.
    It’s a shame…

    • Lynn Webber October 28, 2017 / 22:10

      But it is A Village so local shops and services are still needed. Not everyone can get in a car or even want to.

  3. petronellabreinburg October 28, 2017 / 12:19

    What about a CHARLTON COFFEE BAR – Writers & Readers group meeting at the local coffee -bar, may be once a month. They are down to very popular.

    • Roger Smith October 28, 2017 / 12:21

      Good Idea. Something, perhaps Greenwich Council could look into ?

  4. Roger Smith October 28, 2017 / 12:19

    Compulsory Purchase by The Royal Borough of Greenwich is needed to get these Property’s back.

    • Irene southby October 28, 2017 / 19:04

      That sounds like a good idea i loved our village please save it.

  5. Steph October 28, 2017 / 12:24

    Village resident here. It really wouldn’t take much to make a big difference cosmetically; longer-term future-wise though, things will take more effort and strategic thinking. We’re not covered by a residents’ association, which might be a start – any takers?

    • Nikki October 28, 2017 / 13:12

      I’ve recently resigned from the committee of the Charlton Society because of work pressures so you could see this as ‘do as I say not as I do advice. But conservation of the Village is a thing they are very very interested in, and they don’t have a huge amount of resources. The Society does a lot of work on planning and conservation behind the scenes. They do need new enthusiastic members and I’m sure they’d be welcoming to new ideas too. I don’t think anyone reading this and hearing of the Society for the first time should necessarily leap right in to joining the committee, but maybe go along to one of their Saturday meetings, have a chat with Carol Kenna, see if there’s something you’d like to be involved in. The current committee have a huge amount of experience of dealing with conservation and it’d be great if new energy to do something could be joined with what they’ve learned over time.

      • Stephanie Sweeney November 2, 2017 / 15:29

        What time are these meetings and where etc. I’ve lived in the borough since 1960 and loved it and clearly remember Sid who ran the wet fish shop right by st Luke’s. Bowes has always been a shoe shop. I used to get my shoes for school out of there. I’d love to see it get its status back.

  6. Sue Holness October 28, 2017 / 17:16

    What about a bakery?

  7. Carol Hayward October 28, 2017 / 21:54

    When I came to live in the village in 1967 we had two butchers, a wet fish shop, a green grocers , hardware shop selling pots and pans and the Co op etc. In the seventies The Charlton Society and the council co operated with architects to revamp the Village and many of the shops took advantage of the scheme to improve their frontages I believe there was an incentive to help with this.
    Sadly we have mostly take away food establishments in the majority now. We don’t need a coffee shop there is already a successful cafe The Baguette with tables outside as well as the cafe in Charlton House and the Carers Centre.
    The new skate park has brought a spark of life to The Village as has the cottage Cafe in the park.
    The queues in the Co op are longer since the skate park opened with youngsters buying snacks and drinks.
    Charlton has always seemed to be neglected by the council, I remember complaining to councillors about the lack of Royal Greenwich banners when every other area in the borough seemed to display them. None ever arrived here.
    The paving in Fairfield Grove also part of the conservation area is shamefully poor whilst owners of the conserved houses do their best to follow the rules and maintain them in very attractive colour schemes.
    It’s time to give historic Charlton the care it deserves.
    Carol Hayward

  8. Helen October 28, 2017 / 23:20

    We have three smashing Cafes already in Charlton House, the Stables and in the Park plus the lovely Cafe next door to our wonderful fruit and veg shop in the Village who also sell freshly baked breads. Under new ownership the White Swan public house has been revitalised. The Charlton Society is active, looking at future development proposals and actual planning applications for the whole of the Charlton area, plus their talks each month in Charlton House. Free concerts by music students are held every Friday in Charlton House at 1pm. You can learn Japanese there too, not many villages could boast that! There are many things to campaign for and improve in the Village which is why it is so important that local people get actively involved to insist that the special qualities that make Charlton Village unique, its historic character, the gardens and parkland, the main ‘high street’ makes it so important that the future economic viability of the Village is supported and sustained. Everyone who is concerned need to be active in demanding careful and suitable investment in the Village.

  9. Paul Breen October 29, 2017 / 10:58

    Regeneration in Eltham and Woolwich do appear to have become the priorities for the Council in recent years so maybe there’s a need to get more of the councillors on board in promoting the maintenance of Charlton as an attractive part of the borough in which to live. There are plenty of people out there with good business ideas who could make use of empty or rundown properties if they were available at cheaper rents. Not sure that Councils have that much money or power these days as regards compulsory purchase orders, but they should have powers to force landlords to make high street properties available for commercial or community use if they have been abandoned for a particular length of time. Anyway, that aside, the skate park has indeed been a great success and The White Swan too.

  10. The Charlton Society November 4, 2017 / 18:50

    As Nikki and others indicate above, the Village has been a key focus for the Charlton Society since the latter’s inception almost 50 years ago (in fact, some complain that the Village is too narrow a focus and that we should cast our net wider – which of course we do, especially lately as Charlton Riverside demands our attention to a greater degree than ever before).

    Years before Historic England put the Village on their “at risk” register the Society had it on theirs. While more money and attention from the Council is essential and will always be welcome, they have nevertheless done their bit recently when their hard-pressed Conservation staff produced an outstandingly good Charlton Village Conservation Area Management Strategy (a copy should be available in your local library). The Society worked closely with the Council on this and, we believe, made a useful contribution. The Strategy provides a robust framework in which to address conservation issues and from now on it should be possible to do this more effectively.

    The Society recently completed Issue no.1 of its Village Action Plan (VAP – a work in progress); this will be on our website very shortly. We also hope Charlton Champion might give it space of some kind. Work on the VAP (which involved and involves contributions from across Charlton, and from both members and non-members) pre-dates Historic England’s intervention and we hope the latter will take courage from its publication. A quick read of the VAP will make it clear that we all (and by “all” we mean everybody in Charlton, not just the Society) have our work cut out. There are a number of fundamental challenges but one has long been the way in which the retail sheds in Charlton Riverside cut the ground from beneath traditional Village businesses. Another is that the local demography is currently not strong enough economically to support a traditional Village. Yet another is problematic parking. And the list goes on (read the VAP to get a clearer idea of the challenges).

    The Society’s official aims are to “conserve and improve”. You can help enormously simply by joining the Society and even more by becoming an active member and contributing time and ideas. Charlton is changing rapidly and we believe that given the required long-term dedication things can only get better for the Village.

  11. carolkenna November 5, 2017 / 14:37

    The Charlton Society
    Yesterday I was at St. Thomas’s bring and buy sale, many local people there and the subject on people’s lips – the listing of Charlton Village as “AT RISK” by Historic England.

    Firstly a big thank you to whomever brought this issue to their notice as this supports what the Charlton Society have been saying for years and have recently published in the Charlton Village Action Plan.

    The plan will be online at http://www.charltonsociety.org later today.

    Please read it thoroughly. Issues in the plan have come from discussions with Charlton Society members, Charlton House, Greenwich Borough officers and friends.
    Our challenge today is to put these into practice and to involve the Council, shop owners, tenants and householders in ringing the changes.

    I have lived in Charlton since 1968 and before that was a frequent visitor – to ballet school, to Charlton House when a museum and then library and my children were brought up here – it is a special place and one worth fighting for.

    If you are not already a member of Charlton Society please join us, make the Society a stronger voice and enable us all to take part practically in improving the Village, keeping its friendly and special character alive for us and future generations.

    Carol Kenna
    Chair the Charlton Society

    • Peter Cordwell November 6, 2017 / 09:38

      One thing proved already is the importance of The Charlton Champion and the 853 blog, and I think as many people as possible should support the latter through its fund-raising appeal. The local press has died a death and was never as committed as 853 and The Charlton Champion to local issues anyway. Good communications (as seen here) are vital if issues like this are to be fought locally over a period of time, not just a one-off Page 7 lead.

    • Deb November 6, 2017 / 09:38

      Good for the village but what about the old fire station in Charlton road old folding doors cut up destroyed and replaced by metal shutters no planning permission granted and in conservation area not charlton,rectory field

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