Charlton Riverside: Rockwell challenges Khan’s refusal of 771-home scheme

Rockwell revised scheme
Neighbours disputed Rockwell’s images of what the scheme would look like

The developer behind plans to build 771 homes off Anchor and Hope Lane has appealed to planning inspectors to overturn Sadiq Khan’s rejection of the scheme.

Rockwell’s proposals, the first to emerge on the Charlton Riverside development area, were bitterly opposed by residents in Atlas and Derrick Gardens who feared their homes would be overlooked by the 10-storey blocks planned for the site of a trading estate.

Greenwich Council’s main planning committee rejected the scheme in July 2018, with one councillor saying the scheme was “like Stalingrad”, despite the council’s own officers recommending they approve the scheme. Then the mayor of London overturned Greenwich’s decision a month later, “calling in” the proposal to decide himself. City Hall’s planning officers recommended he approve a slightly amended scheme, but the mayor made the surprise decision to reject the scheme himself after a hearing in January.

Now Rockwell is putting its scheme’s neighbours through a third round of the fight by appealling to the Planning Inspectorate, where an inspector will decide on the development after a detailed public hearing.

Once again, residents are being asked to submit comments on the scheme – visit the Planning Inspectorate’s website and enter case reference number 3233585.

Rockwell’s appeal is against Khan’s decision, not Greenwich Council’s. At the time, Khan said: “This is an underutilised, brownfield site in an opportunity area and very accessible. It is well-connected and in an area capable of accommodating growth. It is precisely the kind of site that we need to bring forward in order to create vibrant and active places, ensuring a compact and well-functioning city.

“However, I am clear that we must deliver good growth, not growth at any cost, where people have more of a say and don’t feel excluded from the process. I have listened carefully to the concerns of residents and considered the substantial amount of work done on the Charlton Riverside Masterplan. I consider that this is the wrong development for the site.”

Anchor and Hope Lane
Rockwell had hoped for approval for its development here

He urged Rockwell to “go back to the drawing board, in partnership with the community, the council and the GLA, to come up with a scheme that delivers on the strong ambitions we all share for the future of Charlton Riverside”.

But Rockwell have instead decided to challenge the decision. They may have been fortified by Greenwich’s Council’s approval of 10-storey blocks at Victoria Way – just outside the masterplan area – in January 2018 without any explanation to objectors, a decision that was later ratified by the mayor.

Rockwell’s scheme is one of five for the Charlton riverside, designated an “opportunity area” for redevelopment by City Hall. The other four are:

The other four schemes, from west to east, are:

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Charlton and Woolwich Film Festival: Monty Python’s Life of Brian leads 2019 line-up

Life of Brian is showing in the garden of the White Swan

Monty Python’s Life of Brian is among the movies coming to SE7 next month as part of the fourth Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival.

The cult comedy – banned for blasphemy in several UK towns when it was released 40 years ago – is one of three films to be shown at The White Swan in Charlton Village.

Organisers are screening films at a host of venues across Charlton, Woolwich and Shooters Hill between Friday 6th and Saturday 14th September.

Life of Brian, presented by south London slackers’ site Deserter.co.uk, will be screened in the garden at the Swan on Sunday 8th September. The following night sees the Japanese horror comedy One Cut of the Dead at the Swan, while the same pub plays host to war documentary They Shall Not Grow Old on Wednesday 11 September.

There’ll be a family screening of The Greatest Showman on Saturday 7 September at Charlton Manor School, along with a dog-friendly screening of the comedy drama Dean Spanley in the grounds of Charlton House on Friday 13th.

Charlton House is also playing host to Shooting Dogs, which explores the genocide in Rwanda, on Thursday 12 September. It will be preceded by a documentary, Faces of Genocide.

Hollywood classic The Night of the Hunter, starring Robert Mitchum, can be seen at St Thomas’ Church on Woodland Terrace on Monday 9 September, while Mars Attacks! is at the Starbucks on Woolwich Road on Thursday 12th.

The festival opens with two screenings at once on Friday 6th – Cinema Paradiso at Shrewsbury House, Shooters Hill and Black Panther, at Artillery Square in Woolwich’s Royal Arsenal.

Artillery Square also plays host to the festival’s final screening on Saturday 14th – First Man, the story of Neil Armstrong and the first manned mission to the Moon 50 years ago.

Other highlights include the classic war movie Bridge on the River Kwai, screening at St George’s Garrison Church on Woolwich Common on Sunday 8th, and a Friday 13th screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo! at Severndroog Castle.

The festival is one of a number across south London and is run by volunteers and donations, with support this year coming from Greenwich Council. To find out more about what’s on show, visit freefilmfestivals.org.

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Charlton Riverside: Stone Foundries site sold with 1,500 more homes planned

Stone Foundries, Charlton
Stone Foundries was founded in Deptford in the 1830s

One of Charlton’s longest-established industrial concerns, Stone Foundries, is to close after a developer bought its land for a development of up to 1,500 new homes.

The sale of the Stone site to Staines-based developer Montreaux marks a key turning point in the slow transformation of Charlton’s riverside from an industrial into a residential area.

Montreaux recently won approval to turn an old margarine factory in Southall, west London, into a high-density development of 2,000 homes; while more locally it has also bought the old Lamorbey swimming baths in Sidcup for a mixed-use development.

Stone’s sale marks the end of nearly 190 of years of business in the local area. In 1831, founder Josiah Stone set up a business in Deptford casting copper nails for the shipbuilding industry. Part of the business moved to Charlton in 1917, where it continued to make castings for ships, and still produces fittings for the aerospace industry. The Deptford works closed in 1969. The firm was bought and merged into UK-based parts maker Aeromet last year.

An Aeromet spokesperson told The Charlton Champion yesterday that it was in the process of moving the former Stone operations to its sites in Rochester and Sittingbourne, both in Kent.

At its height, Stone even had extensive sports fields stretching out onto the Woolwich Road, now the site of the Stone Lake retail park.

Stone has outlasted many of its industrial neighbours by decades – the huge United Glass Works on Anchor & Hope Lane closed in 1968, Johnsen & Jorgensen’s glass works shut in 1981.

One challenge for any developer will be that some of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s Stone buildings – though unseen by most locals – are now locally listed, with the site covered by a conservation area. According to Greenwich Council’s heritage list: “The site qualifies on the grounds of historic interest mainly due to its high importance for the British Royal Navy during the C20, especially during WWI and WWII and as a notable site of employment heritage. The buildings described above are of architectural interest, especially the Offices, the Laboratory and Odeon Buildings, being substantially intact and evocative surviving examples of an engineering foundry that was of national and strategic importance. This suite of buildings is also notable for quality of materials and décor, given their construction date when so little was being built.”

The land sale means there are now five major redevelopment sites on the Charlton riverside, mostly adjacent to one another, and all at various stages in the planning process.

The other four schemes, from west to east, are:

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