Honey Bees, Mulberry Trees…and job opportunities: latest news from Charlton House

Bee Hives On Charlton House Roof
Bee hives amongst the chimneys on the roof of Charlton House.

News in from Charlton House of two events happening next week – one celebrating the honey bee on Thursday August 24th (did you know there are thriving beehives on the roof of Charlton House?), including talks from a beekeeper, kids’ activities, and a chance to see the beehives. 

On Tuesday 22nd August ‘Morus Londinium’ looks at the heritage of London’s mulberry trees, including Charlton’s own. The latter is a Friends of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust exclusive event – find out more about the Friends here.

Plus, Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust – keepers of Charlton House – have two job vacancies open at the moment. Find out about the roles – they’re looking for a Business Development Executive and a Community Outreach Officer – here.

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Woolwich Riverside ward report: find out what Cllr John Fahy’s been up to

Charlton Riverside Masterplan: “Important to ensure that the principles of maximising employment opportunities, increase public transport provision and ensure that all attempts to build high rise developments are challenged.”

The Charlton Champion welcomes submissions of councillors’ reports from Charlton and the surrounding wards. Cllr John Fahy of Woolwich Riverside ward writes:

Councillor Fahy serves on three Scrutiny Panels including Healthier Communities and Adult Social Care, Corporate Finance and Performance, Regeneration, Transport and Culture. These meetings are open to the general public. The function of Scrutiny Panels is to hold the Executive to account. In recent times Charlton Central Residents Association provided some views on the consultation process currently in operation.

Community Engagement:

 During the period relating to this report I have attended:

  • Picnic In the Park in Maryon Park
  • Exhibition relating to the Baptist Church in Woolwich
  • Armed Forces Day at Woolwich Barracks
  • Ferryview Patients Forum
  • Citizens U.K. / Greenwich Free School Meeting 
  • Briefing on Housing Blocks Fire Safety
  • Local Government Association Annual Meeting in Birmingham
  • Woodlands Farm Open Day
  • Food Poverty Group
  • Colour of Light Performance in Woolwich
  • Woolwich Riverside Safer Neighbourhood Panel
  • Induction of Rector at St Thomas’s
  • Estates Regeneration Tour

Community Safety

Recent attendance at the Safer Neighbourhood Panel discussed the proposed changes to the Metropolitan Police Service, the Borough Commander would cover three Boroughs including Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham. Reductions in police numbers would continue to impact in the way policing would function. Clearly worrying for all residents and I continue to voice concerns.

Housing Regeneration

Housing continues to cause the most concern across the Ward. Morris Walk Estate is currently being decanted to make way for the redevelopment of the area. Lovell is the developer and ASRA now PA following a merger will be the social housing provider. The importance of maximising the amount of social housing remains an issue in the Borough as it does elsewhere. I was recently involved in the Planning application of Berkeley Homes which was opposed by a significant number of residents who were faced with the prospect of serious overlooking into their front room. The proposal was agreed by Planning Board. The developer made a financial contribution to build social housing off site. Priority must be given to the needs of local residents in finding an affordable home and steps must be taken to significantly increase the number of social housing built. I will be working  closely with colleagues , the local community and amenity societies to seek changes to existing practises where profit over the needs of the community exists.

Cllr John Fahy

Education

I have recently become a Trustee of the Royal Greenwich Trust School on Woolwich Road. Work is underway to expand this school and will help to maximise school places. Woodhill Primary has spearheaded the Multi Academy Trust and have joined with a number of other local schools. I will be reporting in detail on education issues in the Borough in the coming months. The fragmentation of schools is unlikely to help improve standards or support the family of local schools that have worked well in previous years. Greenwich Campaign for State Education is actively engaged on all of these issues and I attend their meetings on a regular basis.

Charlton Riverside

Charlton Riverside Masterplan has been agreed. However a number of developers have several acres of land in the area. Important to ensure that the principles of maximising employment opportunities, increase public transport provision and ensure that all attempts to build high rise developments are challenged.

Woolwich Town Centre 

Regeneration of the area remains a top priority. Woolwich Town Centre is in urgent need of significant investment. Although footfall is increasing, the level of spend remains a challenge. The shopping experience is limited at this point. However some projects are underway. The Spray Street development is making progress. We have a new hotel, future developments include a new leisure centre in the Town Centre, together with plans for the Tesco sites and the planning applications to be considered includes a number of housing developments. Happy to receive any ideas or suggestions you might have about the Town Centre. 

Please feel free to contact me should you want to raise issues of concern. Woolwich Riverside Councillors hold surgeries at the Town Hall every Friday from 6-7pm

Get in touch with Cllr John Fahy via the Greenwich Council website.

Charlton Ward Budget Watch: what’s been funded so far?

Big Red Bus Club
Charlton’s Big Red Bus Club has benefited from the ward budget, along with 7 other projects to date.

Greenwich borough’s Ward Budget programme makes £30,000 available to each ward, with schemes proposed by the community and selected for funding by local councillors. With – we estimate – only 5 months of the programme left to run (we understand it will conclude 6 months before the May 2018 council elections), we’ve taken a look at what’s been funded so far.

Key figures for Charlton ward:

  1. 8 projects have been approved so far (including one joint scheme to fund the Greenwich Foodbank Van) out of 70 confirmed across the borough.
  2. Only 22% of Charlton’s budget had been allocated at the time the report was published (there’s a surprisingly wide variation between wards on this: Kidbrooke and Hornfair have allocated 89% of their budget; Thamesmead Moorings less than 5%).

Here are the projects funded so far (click project names for more detail on the council website):

Project Amount Decision
CCRA Community Green Spaces Project £985 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £985 to support the improvement of land (through planting) on the street environment in Central Charlton.
Charlton Toy Library £1,472 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £1,472 to fund the purchase of baby and child safety equipment, pre-school toys and books for the Charlton Toy Library loan scheme, arts and crafts materials, an A-board sign along with leaflets and information packs to promote the service.
The Big Red Bus Club £950 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £950 for the provision of specialist play equipment for the Big Red Bus Club, Stay and Play service for disabled children in Charlton.
Thorntree School – Community Garden £500 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £500 for the provision of gardening equipment, plants and shrubs to renovate a piece of land next to Thorntree Primary school as a community garden for the school children to plant and maintain.
Charlton Community Day £750 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £750 towards the costs of running a community day in Charlton Park on 23rd July 2016.  The event will be run and managed by Global Fusion Music & Arts.  The ward budget contribution will cover the cost of the sound system and volunteer expenses.
Greenwich Foodbank Van £428* Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £6,000 towards the purchase of a van by Greenwich Foodbank to facilitate the efficient transport of food around the Borough to be funded from the Ward Budget Scheme as proposed by the members of fourteen Wards.

(*Charlton Champion’s estimate based on equal division of cost across 14 wards)

Charlton Hope Sale £1,500 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £1,500 to support the Charlton Hope Sale, an outreach group that provides support to local people in need.
Valley Hill Hub – Air Pollution Monitors £120 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £120 to enable the Valley Hill Hub to purchase and install ten air pollution  monitors in the Charlton area and to publish a report on the findings to local interest groups and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Other funded schemes in wards adjacent to Charlton include:

Searching for ‘Ward Budgets’ in the Decisions section of Greenwich council’s website will bring up details of other funded projects.

Ward Budget spend by ward:

Ward Total Approved Amount Remaining Ward Budget Percentage Spent
Thamesmead Moorings £1,355.62 £28,644.38 4.5
Woolwich Riverside £1,450.00 £28,550 4.8
Middle Park and Sutcliffe £3,400.00 £26,600 11.3
Plumstead £3,455.62 £26,544.38 11.5
Charlton £6,677.00 £23,323 22.3
Peninsula £7,400.00 £22,600 24.7
Eltham West £8,045.87 £21,954.13 26.8
Coldharbour New Eltham £9,950.00 £20,050 33.2
Blackheath/ Westcombe £12,618.20 £17,381.80 42.1
Greenwich West £17,383.00 £12,617 57.9
Eltham South £18,245.10 £11,754.90 60.8
Abbey Wood £20,973.50 £9,026.50 69.9
Shooters Hill £22,650.00 £7,350 75.5
Woolwich Common £23,177.00 £6,823 77.3
Eltham North £24,311.10 £5,688.90 81.0
Glyndon £26,000.00 £4,000 86.7
Kidbrooke and Hornfair £26,658.97 £3,341.03 88.9

Many thanks to Cllr Spencer Drury of Eltham North for highlighting on his website the Greenwich council report detailing Ward Budget spending to date and crunching the percentage figures above.

So, with over £20k available to spend in Charlton ward, what you like to see the money spent on? Better Christmas lights for the Village? Improvements to parks? A contribution to the Blackheath fireworks? Community events? Let us know in the comments below – the clock’s ticking!

Unseen for 20 years: Inside Charlton’s Summer House


Thanks to Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust for letting us have a look inside the Summer House at Charlton this morning.

As revealed on the Charlton Champion earlier this month, work is now underway to restore the 17th century Summer House – believed to have been designed by Inigo Jones.

Asbestos has been removed and the interior cleaned up, revealing the public toilets last used in the early 1990s. The next phase of work will see these removed, interior partitions taken down, the windows replaced, then the space made available for temporary (dare we say pop-up?) uses.

We understand that the building will be lit from the inside at night, which should improve that particular corner of Charlton Village after dark.

Testing times: see the Thames Barrier in action on Sunday 10th September

Thames Barrier Test 2017

Sunday 10th of September will see the annual full test of the Thames Barrier: an opportunity to see the barrier in action, meet the teams who run it, and learn about how it all works. The cafe and information centre will open at 9am; we recommend keeping an eye on the official website for closure timings nearer the date.

There’s a Facebook event for it here, and we recommend following Alan at the Barrier on Twitter, too!

Thames Barrier test 2016
Thames Barrier test closure – September 2016
Photo copyright Neil Clasper

Charlton House: Summer House restoration begins

 

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Work has begun to restore Charlton House’s Summer House, thanks to a donation from the World Monuments Fund.

The Grade I listed Summer House, attributed to Inigo Jones, once gave panoramic views back along the River Thames to The City of London and has stood empty and unused since the public toilets within it were closed in the early nineties. It has been included in Historic England’s ‘Register of Heritage at Risk’ for many years. Work has now begun to remove asbestos and to clear the building of the modern toilet fittings and masonry partitions to leave it open and available for a wide variety of temporary uses.

Will this old Borough of Greenwich sign go into the Trust’s historic collection?

Tracy Stringfellow, Chief Executive of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, said, “Charlton House is one of London’s unsung architectural gems and this work is the first step of a process to re-imagine the house and its grounds to provide enhanced facilities for visitors that befit this historically significant site. It will give the estate a ‘front-door’ where small exhibitions and other temporary events can be staged and the Trust looks forward to working with local stakeholders to begin this journey.”

Architect Charlie MacKeith, overseeing the initial project, says “it is a great privilege to be working with the Trust at the start of Charlton House’s revival. This fascinating little building, currently hidden and locked, has started revealing tantalising fragments of its history even before we’ve started to remove pre-war additions. The reopened pavilion will have a dramatic impact on the park and village”.

The Charlton Champion understands that following the first stage of restoration, RGHT will be looking for ideas for temporary uses of the space – time to start thinking about what you’d like to see in the Summer House!