Cllr Gary Parker’s Charlton Ward Report: Winter 2017-18

Gary Parker

Dear Charlton residents, this is my current ward report. It’s a snapshot of my recent activities, so it does not cover individual case work or a range of other meetings. I try to highlight a few key activities which may be of general interest. Please contact me direct if you want more information:, Twitter: @CllrG2013.

Planning & Development Issues – I have been working with local groups and individuals regarding a range of planning issues. I opposed the recent application by Fairview Homes, in the Victoria Way area -this application was passed by the planning board recently. The Rockwell development on Charlton Riverside is also still an issue – a revised planning application for a range of buildings/10 storey towers with only 25% ‘affordable housing’ has been submitted. I object to the revised planning application as the social rent/ housing element needs to be much higher, there are other related issues too, regarding this development. There is a large group of residents and other groups in the area actively opposing this development- I will support them as much as I can.

 Charlton Society – I attended the Charlton Society meeting on redevelopment and regeneration of the village and surrounding areas, together with other councillors and candidates from the ward, some good ideas came forward, I will be working with the CS and others to develop and support these ideas wherever possible. A meeting is scheduled in the near future to further consider these issues and proposals by myself and other councillors/ stakeholders.

Community Wealth Conference, Preston–  I attended this on 8th Feb with other councillors from all over the UK, through a range of measures including support for small businesses, social enterprises and co-operatives, changing procurement practises, investment of pension funds and working with other public sector agencies. They have put back £200 million into the local economy and safeguarded and created 1600 jobs in the locality. The Preston model is now official Labour party policy and is now recommended best practice in England. I will report back more about this is due course for anyone interested see –  I have long argued for similar measures in Greenwich. I will be advocating a range of new measures related to this; if I am re-elected at the forthcoming local elections.

Events & Engagements – A selection

  • Attended two Better Together Community Engagement events covering Charlton
  • Attended the Friend of Charlton Park AGM
  • I attend the event to mark International Women’s day on 8th March
  • Attended Campaign For State Education group meeting
  • Met with council officers to discuss special anti-social behaviour review meeting I chaired which went very successfully
  • Raised some issues regarding repairs in cold weather and council policy.

SURGERIES/CASEWORK – Raised a very large amount of housing and planning related casework, community safety and crime related issues which is ongoing.

Dealt with a number of emergency cases due to the cold weather and have raised a number of gritting related cases I also raised a number of issues around tenancy conditions and service standards in cold weather.

COUNCIL – I attended and chaired the Community Safety and Environment scrutiny panel and Overview & Scrutiny Panel and the Corporate Finance Scrutiny panel.

COUNCIL – I attended and chaired the Community Safety and Environment scrutiny panel and attended the January 2018 council meeting which was lobbied by the far right and their supporters. I also attended the February 2018 full council meeting and debated the budget and council tax setting with the opposition. See the council’s website- for further information and streaming of this and other council meetings.


Council elections are coming: Quiz the candidates for Charlton and Woolwich Riverside wards

Polling station
Elections for Greenwich Council will be held on 3 May

A message from Andrew Donkin and Helen Jakeways about two local elections hustings events taking place at the end of April:

We are delighted to announce two hustings for the 2018 Local Elections.

The Charlton Society is pleased to announce that its Local Election Hustings for Charlton ward will take place on Saturday 28th April at 11am in the Assembly Rooms, Charlton Village, SE7.

Charlton Parkside Community Hub and the Benefice of Charlton are pleased to announce that their Local Election Hustings for Woolwich Riverside ward will take place on Sunday 29th April at 7pm at St Thomas’s Church, Woodland Terrace, Charlton, SE7.

Both events are free and are open to all.

These local hustings are a chance for residents to hear and question the candidates seeking their votes in the 2018 Local Election.

Carol Kenna, Chair of the Charlton Society said: “The Charlton Society is delighted to be hosting the hustings for the Charlton Ward local elections in 2018.  It is an important opportunity for people to meet and hear from all the candidates who are standing for election and asking for their votes.

“Charlton and its surrounding areas are facing an extraordinary level of change and redevelopment in the coming few years and local democracy has never been more important.  We hope people will come along and question the candidates about their vision for Charlton and how they will preserve and develop the community for existing and new residents and businesses.”

Revd. Liz Newman, Rector of the Benefice of Charlton said:  “The Benefice of Charlton is delighted to be hosting this Hustings event for Woolwich Riverside ward which will enable local people to meet and question those seeking to represent them during these times of rapid change in the area.  We look forward to welcoming candidates and members of the community on the night.”

These events are being organised by:

Charlton ward – Andrew Donkin – email:  thecharltonsociety [at]

Woolwich Riverside ward – Helen Jakeways – email: helen [at]

Elections will be held on Thursday 3 May. The Charlton Champion hopes to report from at least one of these events.

The Charlton Champion 2017 Review of the Year

Sunset from Charlton Riverside

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.

Primark Charlton

The top 10 most-read Charlton Champion stories in 2017

  1. 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.
  2. 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)
  3. Charlton set to keep Charing Cross trains and gain Thameslink services in rail revamp
  4. Charlton’s skatepark officially open: photos
  5. Charlton and Woolwich Arsenal set to lose Charing Cross trains from 2022
  6. 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!
  7. ‘Deteriorating’ Charlton Village placed on Historic England ‘at risk’ register. Concerns raised about the state of Charlton Village’s conservation area.
  8. Flowers left at scene as police launch murder inquiry following Charlton stabbing
  9. Crossrail bus changes: TfL plans to halve bus frequencies between Greenwich and Charlton by switching route 180
  10. 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

Christmas Eve traffic jam, Anchor & Hope Lane
I’d walk it if I were you…

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:

Finally, if you’ve read this far, we’d like to say thanks once again. We wish you a happy 2018.

Neil and Darryl.

Charlton Lido’s Christmas pool hours announced

Steam rises off the heated pool at Charlton Lido on a snowy December morning

Thanks to Friends of Charlton Lido for flagging up Charlton Lido’s Christmas opening hours on their Twitter feed.

The pool hours are similar to current opening times, though closing earlier on Sundays. The pool (and gym) will be open 9-11am on Boxing Day. You can find the latest opening hours on the timetable page of the lido’s website.

For those thinking of trying the lido in the cold weather for the first time, this writer can’t recommend it highly enough. The water’s at a good temperature for swimming (around 24 degrees), and the poolside staff have been doing a great job of maintaining a friendly welcome on chilly days.

Meet the new Friends of Charlton Park on Wednesday 13 December

Charlton Park
Care for Charlton Park? Come to Charlton House on the 13th

A message in from the founders of a new Friends of Charlton Park group, who are meeting on Wednesday 13th December at Charlton House:

The council have asked local people to form a new and inclusive Friends of Charlton Park group.  A group that is open to all and includes runners, cricketers, footballers, coffee drinkers, horse riders, skateboarders, hikers, table tennis players, playground users, outboard gym frequenters, bird watchers and those that simply value Charlton Park.

We’re keen to hear and views and ideas and keen to get as many people as possible along to our next open public meeting on 13th December at 8pm at Charlton House.

You can find the Friends of Charlton Park on Twitter – @charltonfriends – and on Facebook.

Meet Charlton Park’s School of Skate

Inspired by Charlton’s new skate park but want some lessons before you take to the bowl? STUART HOPPER has been in touch to tell us about the lessons School of Skate has been running in Charlton Park since the skatepark opened. 

I’ve been part of the group campaigning for the skatepark for the last 8 years, so it makes sense to carry it through and try and get the local community involved now the park is here.

We helped out at the opening event, but weren’t able to do the public participation for Greenwich Council because of Storm Brian. We did then offer 20 free places at skate school, the following weekend to make up for that, but the curse followed us through and we had to postpone again because of bad weather.

School of Skate

We’ve been testing the water at the skatepark in November, and the response has been great.

We started doing Saturday mornings but there was so much demand we started Sundays and we’ve had to turn people away, unfortunately.

We provide skateboards and safety equipment and let the kids have a go. We cover the basics, riding along, and turning.

It’s mainly been the kids getting involved, I think this is because I’ve been letting people know through parents’ groups on Facebook (I’m a parent too).

We’ve been charging a moderate amount so it’s accessible, but we’re hoping to find funding so we can offer it to those who maybe can’t or won’t be able to spare the cash.

Once the kids get into skating, it’s a relatively inexpensive pastime.

If you can find £40 for a secondhand setup, it can give you literally years of no-cost use, what with the many free outdoor skateparks in London now.

The skatepark in Charlton Park is probably the best in south-east London, until Crystal Palace opens in a few weeks. We had the mantle for a while, though! As skateboarding will be in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics it’s really going to be highlighted in the public’s consciousness.

School of Skate

We’ve managed to get some indoor space on Tuesdays at  Aircraft Circus in Woolwich. Unfortunately they are closing down for a refurb during January and February, but we’re hoping to be back at the skatepark after February half term offering a more diverse range of lessons; for those progressing beyond absolute beginner, also for adults, and we’ve had calls for a girls-only class run by a female instructor.

We’ve also had schools get in touch about lessons, as well as scout groups. We’ve recently been asked if we can provide skate school places to be raffled at Charlton Manor Primary’s Christmas Fair, which we’ve agreed to. We’ll be there on Friday 8 December to talk about what we do.

We’re also looking into the possibility of running lessons during the school holidays, so watch this space.

Our blog is here – – and we’ve got some footage of the skate schools on our YouTube channel. In the new year I’m hoping to turn this into more of a trick guide, so everyone can learn online. You can also find School of Skate on Facebook.

Pop-up Pottery Shop: Meet Charlton’s ceramicists at The Corner

This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there’s a chance to start your Christmas shopping, support local potters, and have a nose into the former pet shop on the corner of Bramshot Avenue and Sherington Road. Over to Pop Up Pots organiser Louise Tomlins:

I am a former midwife and now work as The Accidental Knitter, producing knitted and other handmade items. My husband and I bought 96 Bramshot Avenue as a rebuild project and it’s still very much a work in progress! I have had a number of pop-up shops over the last 12 months and have been overwhelmed by the support from the local community.

I met Fiona Veacock during this time and am delighted to be hosting a pottery pop up to showcase her work along with Anne Richards, Katherine Joekes and my own.

I am lucky to have my own wheel and share a studio with Anne and having making a piece of pottery as an item on my a bucket list has changed the direction of my life. The plan for the shop in the long term is for it to be a coffee shop but that is very much my husband’s project. 

The event runs at The Corner, 96 Bramshot Avenue, London SE7 7JN on:

Thursday 8.30am-4.30pm

Friday 8.30am-4.30pm

Saturday 10am-4pm.

PS. We’d like to feature more local artists and makers on The Charlton Champion – as time allows – and we’re particularly interested if you produce work that depicts or features the local area. Get in touch with us here!