As 2017 draws to a close we thought we’d take a look into the Charlton Champion‘s site stats to find out what stories had been most popular this year. But first we’d like to say:
Thank you. For reading our stories, commenting, contributing, sharing, ‘liking’, retweeting, sending us local information, and so on. We have no promotional budget (or – for the moment – any revenue to support one), so it makes a tremendous difference to us when our readers help spread the word. This year we’ve acquired a lot of new followers on our social media accounts (if you’ve not already done so you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and – most recently – Instagram). So, ‘Welcome’ if you’ve recently joined us (you can find out more about how we got here here); and ‘thanks for sticking with us’ if you’re a longer-term reader.
If you find the stories you read here useful, please let people know about us: tell your friends, relatives, the local businesses you frequent, and your elected representatives… We’re grateful to councillors Gary Parker and John Fahy for providing us with their ward reports in 2017, and we’d welcome contributions from other councillors in Charlton and the surrounding wards.
We believe The Charlton Champion is a great platform for anyone wanting to communicate with an engaged local audience, and we know our readers have an appetite to lent more about the issues and developments shaping the local area.
And secondly we’d like to say:
Please get in touch if you’d like to contribute to The Charlton Champion. We’d love to have a wider range of contributors and a more diverse set of voices on the site in 2018. If you’ve got a Charlton story, project, campaign, idea, event or other local interest, get in touch and let us know.
This year The Charlton Championjoined the Independent Community News Network, which aims to champion and support journalism at the local and hyperlocal level, where news coverage is most at risk of dying out because of continued cutbacks by the major publishing groups.
Our membership of ICNN gives us access to the expertise built up by the University of Cardiff’s Centre for Community Journalism as well as the experiences of our fellow members. It also enables us to feed into their discussions about how the sector should grow. Our sister site 853 is also now a member.
The top 10 most-read Charlton Champion stories in 2017
- Charlton Primark: Hundreds queue to bag bargains as store opens. Whatever you think of Charlton’s expanding retail parks (and associated road congestion) Primark certainly appears to be popular.
- Charlton skate park: First detailed images emerge with construction planned for summer A story we’ve been covering since the plans first emerged came to a conclusion as the skate park opened in Charlton Park (see 4 below for photos of the occasion)
- Charlton set to keep Charing Cross trains and gain Thameslink services in rail revamp
- Charlton’s skatepark officially open: photos
- Charlton and Woolwich Arsenal set to lose Charing Cross trains from 2022
- Charlton history: The man who took a bullet for the PM. October saw a sudden flurry of interest in a post from 2011 from viewers of ITV’s Victoria drama, searching for the facts on the death of Edward Drummond, private secretary to PM Robert Peel. A reminder that we’ve not posted any local history for a while – let us know if you’d like to write some!
- ‘Deteriorating’ Charlton Village placed on Historic England ‘at risk’ register. Concerns raised about the state of Charlton Village’s conservation area.
- Flowers left at scene as police launch murder inquiry following Charlton stabbing
- Crossrail bus changes: TfL plans to halve bus frequencies between Greenwich and Charlton by switching route 180
- Ikea coming to Greenwich – can we stop it grinding Charlton to a halt? Planning permission has been granted and construction’s started; how will the new IKEA impact congestion around Charlton and east Greenwich?
Looking forward to 2018
What’s going to happen in the new year? We’re not fortune-tellers, but we think at least some of the below will shape Charlton and the topics we write about:
- Work will likely start on significant new developments: the first phase of new building at Charlton riverside will start to reveal the transformation of that area from light industry to residential.
- And that’s not all. The redevelopment of Morris Walk Estate is due to begin later in 2018, work is already under way at the site of Valley House on Woolwich Road, there’ll be an early planning skirmish over plans for the bottom of Victoria Way and possible housing behind the old Victoria pub. It’ll be a defining year for how our area will look.
- If our Twitter mentions are a reliable guide, congestion on the roads around and leading to the retail barns will be an even bigger local theme in 2018 – and with Greenwich Ikea, a cruise liner terminal, and possibly the Silvertown tunnel to come, won’t be going away any time soon. Parking permit zones are also due for review during the year.
- Council elections in May will see at least two new councillors elected to represent Charlton ward, following the deselection of two sitting councillors; Woolwich Riverside will also see new faces. Labour will win the election, but the internal battle for control will show just how much the new councillors take note of calls for more meaningful engagement with local communities.
- Greater transparency around how Greenwich Council spends money from developers – via the Community Infrastructure Levy – is coming. We hope a) that the new Greenwich Growth Fund scheme is more effective than the ward budget scheme, much of which remains unallocated, and b) that it leads to more transparency in how the (much greater) Section 106 funds are distributed. How long can people in the area tolerate deteriorating local infrastructure when money that could be fixing it isn’t being spent?
- Who will come up with ideas to improve Charlton Village?Historic England declaring the Charlton Village conservation area to be at “risk” brought lots of comment but few practical ideas. Refusal for permission to build housing behind the White Swan might not have helped one of the area’s most visible businesses either. Charlton Village needs a champion. Will it be you?
- The biggest changes in nearly two decades on on the trains – a revamped London Bridge station is about to fully reopen, bringing an end to (some of) the disrupted services of recent years. Then May will see a major service rejig, introducing Thameslink services to Blackfriars and Luton from the Greenwich line. December sees Crossrail come to Canary Wharf and Woolwich – revolutionising many trips to work and freeing up space elsewhere, for a time.
- A major cut to Charlton’s bus services could come with the threatened diversion of route 180 to North Greenwich rather than Lewisham, breaking a decades-old link to the west. If it happens, it’ll come around the time Crossrail services begin in December. There’s also the wider, little-reported story of stealth bus service cuts, with small reductions in services across London. We’ll be watching out for our local routes.
- Will eccentric tycoon Roland Duchâtelet finally relinquish control of Charlton Athletic? Can the Addicks get out of the third division they tumbled into after the Belgian’s blunders? Will there be more protests on the streets of SE7 – or parties?
Finally, if you’ve read this far, we’d like to say thanks once again. We wish you a happy 2018.
Neil and Darryl.