We’ll be screening All The President’s Men, the acclaimed film about the exposure of the Watergate scandal that brought down US president Richard Nixon in 1974. Starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, it’s a tale that resonates 44 years after the film’s initial release – particularly with recent events in Washington.
With politicians’ growing intolerance of media scrutiny – globally, nationally and locally – and as a website that tries to keep you up to date with what our elected representatives are up to, it seems like a good time to show the story of how Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward exposed wrongdoing at the White House. It’s also good to meet our readers!
Admission is free – although as we have to cover some costs, we will be passing around a bucket for donations to help cover them. Any excess will be used to help the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival put on its fifth event this September.
The Charlton Champion, was originally going to screen the film as part of last year’s festival, but venue changes meant we couldn’t do it. So we decided to do it now instead, to get us all out on a bleak January night.
We start at 7.45pm on Thursday 30 January, upstairs at The White Swan, 22 The Village SE7 8UD. Door open at 7pm. We hope to see you then.
Over 100 social media users criticised Greenwich Council last night after it announced it had fined The Mirror Shop on Woolwich Road for “obstructing the highway” with its merchandise.
The shop has become a local landmark over the past three decades for its colourful displays outside the store on the east Greenwich/Charlton border, brightening up the bleak and dangerous Angerstein roundabout, where two cyclists have been killed in the past 11 years.
While little has been done to improve safety at the roundabout, council officers targeted the shop’s owner, Clive Berry, for displaying the items, which include mirrors, superhero figurines and animal sculptures.
A press release issued by the council on Monday stated that Berry had been ordered to pay a total of £872 in fines and legal costs. It did not name the court or say when the conviction took place. It quoted Jackie Smith, the cabinet member for community safety, as saying: “The council has a legal duty to maintain the safety and usability of highways in the borough. By obstructing the pavement and chaining his merchandise to the railings, Mr Clive Berry was endangering pedestrians and moving traffic.
“Though we tried to engage with Mr Berry to get him to stop blocking the highway with his goods, he refused. I hope this prosecution serves as a reminder that no one is above the law in Royal Greenwich [sic] and the council will not hesitate to prosecute those who break the rules.”
A photo supplied by the council shows model dogs on the central reservation, with figures attached to wheelie bins that are tied to railings.
But the press release appears to have backfired on the council, with users of Twitter and Facebook responding to question why it pursued The Mirror Shop when the public realm around the roundabout remains dangerous and dilapidated.
One Twitter user, Stacey Ayeh, wrote: “This is a unnecessary waste of time. That Shop should be promoted by the council for bringing joy to the otherwise nondescript road. Also rather misleading to claim they ‘obstruct the highway’.”
Mark Johnson-Brown, the manager of the nearby Mycenae House community centre, wrote: “This leaves me feeling rather deflated. Always liked its quirkiness and one of the things I valued about living locally. think Ill go and buy a mirror from them.”
Another commenter said: “The irony of the [council] prosecuting this shop when how many have been killed at the roundabout is maddening. Goodness me. Fuck all has been done about a deathtrap, but the mirror man is fair game. Joke.”
The backlash was no less vicious on Facebook, where nearly 100 people had responded by the small hours of this morning. Jennifer McCullough wrote: “My goodness. What complete rot. Nothing has ever been blocked. I’m so pleased that Greenwich Council feels so proud of itself that it resorts to puffing its chest so publicly. I’m sure there’s a homeless person or two you can pick on next. Another easy victim. Grow up and start looking for people who commit genuine crimes.”
Sam Stedman commented: “Absolute joke! This shop has been there forever! The road it’s on is vile and dirty and this shop brightens it up. We always smile going past. I remember pointing the different ornaments out to my parents on the way past now my children do too. Spend your time doing jobs that actually NEED doing! Ridiculous! Think hundreds of us need to start writing in complaining about every fault we see on the roads and health and serious safety issues you ignore from now on. This is not health and safety they never block anything. It’s a small business in our community that a lot of us treasure.”
Others said that Berry had apparently been able to trade unhindered for many years – and said that the council should be concentrating on people who park on pavements and in cycle lanes.
Greenwich Council has been asked for a response. The Charlton Champion will update this story when one arrives.
Greenwich, Charlton and Woolwich were due to be linked by Cycleway 4 when proposals were first unveiled under the mayoralty of Boris Johnson. However, those plans were later dropped and the route shortened to run only as far a Deptford Creek Bridge. A very short section of Cycleway 4 has already opened at Tooley Street, Bermondsey, with more opening later this year.
The dangerous conditions for cyclists along the A206 meant TfL and local politicians came under huge pressure after the deaths of two riders in the space of two weeks in May 2018, including one man under the Woolwich Road flyover, where another cyclist was also killed in 2009.
TfL says it is waiting for Greenwich Council’s plans for Greenwich town centre before coming up with plans for the rest of the route.
With no firm plans yet for the area west of Anchor and Hope Lane, the segregated route from Woolwich may struggle to attract cyclists if they know they will simply be dumped into normal traffic heading west through Charlton and into east Greenwich.
What’s in the proposals?
The main proposal is to put in place a two-way cycleway on the south side of Woolwich Road and Woolwich Church Street, keeping riders out of normal traffic and enabling them to easily get around the three roundabouts on the route.
One lane of general traffic in each direction would also be removed and turned into a bus lane – however, and rather oddly considering the huge weekend retail park traffic, the bus lane would only run from 7am to 7pm on Mondays to Saturdays.
The huge road junction at Anchor and Hope Lane – built when the eastern end of Woolwich Road was converted into a dual carriageway in the early 1990s – would gain a pedestrian crossing on its eastern side. The poor facilities for pedestrians at this junction, an important spot for bus users heading to North Greenwich, have led to it being locally nicknamed the “junction of death”.
Just as in the original Cycleway 4 proposals, this route ends at Woolwich Ferry roundabout. However, this does leave a gap through Woolwich town centre before short stretches of segregated cycle lane – installed by Greenwich Council in the past three years – resume again to Plumstead station.
What about the rest of it?
Proposals for the Woolwich Road/ Angerstein roundabout may be the eagerly-anticipated part of the consultation – but TfL has only released a set of early ideas. It is considering removing the roundabout, and cutting traffic access between the A102 and the Woolwich Road to reduce the number of vehicles. More on those proposals here.
Creating a segregated route along the rest of Woolwich Road and Trafalgar Road will be significantly more challenging – the road is narrower and is frequently congested, seven days a week, with the growth in retail barns in the area adding to traffic levels.
This consultation was delayed by the general election, and it is possible that the next stage of the Greenwich town centre consultation will also have to wait for another election to be over – this time the mayoral election on May 7.
A TfL spokesperson told The Charlton Champion: “We are not consulting yet on the section of Cycleway between Greenwich Town Centre and Charlton because Greenwich Council’s Liveable Neighbourhood scheme, which we are funding for Greenwich Town Centre will impact traffic in the area and we need to understand that before modelling any cycleway designs as traffic modelling needs to be included in any consultation.
“Greenwich are due to consult on their Liveable Neighbourhood scheme in the spring and we’re committed to working with them on reducing road danger in the area in the interim.”