Charlton’s neighbourhood forum gets approved – but its area shrinks after councillors object

The Corner at 96
Most of Charlton will be covered by the forum

Charlton’s new neighbourhood forum is to be recognised by Greenwich Council – bringing the prospect of local people having more of a say in planning decisions.

Its members now have five years to draw up a neighbourhood plan for how they think the area should develop in the coming years, which could then be included in official planning policy.

But it will not cover the northwestern corner of SE7 after objections from the three councillors who cover the area. The Peninsula ward trio of Chris Lloyd, council deputy leader Denise Scott-McDonald and chair of planning Stephen Brain said it would be “highly inappropriate” for residents from elsewhere in Charlton to have influence over decisions made north of the railway line – or to receive the cash from developers that can come with neighbourhood plans.

Other councillors are unable to challenge the move after it was made an “urgent” decision, meaning they cannot call it in for scrutiny.

The new forum’s area (click to expand)

The forum will now cover all the SE7 postal area, with the exception of streets to the west of Anchor & Hope Lane and north of the Greenwich railway line – meaning streets such as Fairthorn Road, the north end of Victoria Way and Troughton Road will not be covered. Neither will the Bugsby’s Way retail park strip – which is slated for redevelopment in the longer term.

A small part of SE18 around Prospect Vale will be included, as will industrial estates west of Warspite Road, including the proposed Faraday Works development on the former Siemens factory site.

The decision to include the rest of the riverside area is a significant win for the forum, as it will then hope to influence the future shape of development there. While thousands of new homes are planned for the riverside, just one home has been approved so far after a number of planning wrangles.

One of the riverside developers, Montreaux – which owns the Stone Foundries site – objected to the area covering the riverside, saying that a neighbourhood plan was not needed because of the number of plans that already exist for the development site.

Fair Apartments
The north end of Victoria Way is among streets not included

In total, there were 32 submissions of support, with seven objections – one coming from an anonymous councillor who claimed the forum was “anti-housebuilding”, while one resident raised concerns about the influence of local residents’ groups who they said were unrepresentative of the area.

The forum will only be the third in Greenwich borough after the Moorings forum, which covers part of Thamesmead, and the Lee Forum, whose area is shared with the borough of Lewisham.

Neither has a neighbourhood plan yet. Areas that successfully complete neighbourhood plans can get 25 per cent of funds from the community infrastructure levy paid by developers, something else raised by Lloyd, Brain and Scott-McDonald in their objection. In Greenwich, the rate for neighbourhoods is usually 15 per cent.

The forum’s chair, Clare Loops, said the group were “considering our next steps” after the loss of a chunk of the area. Despite his objection to the forum having any say in his ward, Brain, an outspoken chair of planning who has clashed with residents groups in Charlton, will be standing down at May’s council election.


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