Charlton means sport, after all. From Charlton Athletic to the muddy pitches of Charlton Park, Charlton Lido to the skate park and cricket hub, Hornfair Park’s BMX hub to Charlton Park rugby club, there are few names in south London with a bigger sporting tradition.
And loads of people who will buy football, swimming, skating, biking, rugby and cricket gear because they identify with Charlton. Think of the marketing opportunities for Decathlon.
Greenwich, meanwhile, means the same old tourist stuff. Outside SE10, it’s an empty boast.
Greenwich councillors have decided to defer a decision on whether to approve controversial plans for 771 new homes on an industrial estate at Anchor & Hope Lane until after next month’s council elections.
Greenwich West Labour councillor Mehboob Khan proposed the decision be deferred because he was “not comfortable taking this decision at this point in the municipal year” – a reference to the poll on 3 May.
A new planning committee will take a decision on the site after the election.
Council deputy leader Danny Thorpe was one of the councillors on the committee, despite having chaired “stakeholder forums” about the development. He backed the deferral, while planning vice-chair Ray Walker and Eltham North councillor Steve Offord were the only ones to abstain.
In total, 11 new buildings are planned, with space for retail and commercial use alongside Anchor & Hope Lane. 210 car parking spaces are planned.
Those were changed to the current proposals in January 2018 to fit more closely with the council’s Charlton Riverside Masterplan, and again in March to increase the level of “affordable” housing to 25% (17.7% for social rent, 7.2% at “intermediate”) – below the council’s target of 35%.
Charlton Together – which includes the Charlton Society, Charlton Central Residents’ Association, Derrick and Atlas Gardens Residents’ Association, SE7 Action Group, Charlton Parkside Community Hub and local churches, says Rockwell’s plans represent “a wholesale departure” from the council’s new masterplan for the riverside area.
Objectors say the buildings are too high and the development too dense – particularly when the masterplan says most buildings in the area should be between three and six storeys.
Greenwich MP Matt Pennycook had added his voice to the objections, writing to councillors on the planning board to emphasise that the proposal “falls short of the development proposal that is needed to ensure that the vision for Charlton Riverside as an exemplary urban district is realised”.
Has the belated appearance of the sun got you itching to get out into the garden? Then the good people behind Maryon Park Community Garden have been in touch…
Big Dig Day celebrates the start of the growing season and encourages people to visit their local Capital Growth-supported Community Garden.
Maryon Park Community Garden, one of Capital Growth’s flagship gardens are taking part and have a ‘Drop-in Open Day’ on Saturday 21st April from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.
The Community Garden provides organic growing plots for local people, a Forest School space for primary schools and volunteer opportunities.
On Saturday visitors can learn more about the Community Garden, enjoy tours and talks about the Garden and the historic Maryon Park, the location of the 1960s film Blow-Up.
There will be refreshments including a pizza oven, children’s activities, a plant sale, and a fundraising stall. Visitors can join in with gardening activities or join the waiting list for a plot.
There will be family events: ‘PJ the Magical Clown’ at 1pm and Family Outdoor Art at 2pm.
Maryon Park Community Garden is a not-for- profit voluntary project situated in the former council plant nursery in Maryon Park.
Chair Tim Anderson says: “The Big Dig Day is about encouraging people and families to visit their local community garden. Whether you are an experienced gardener or new to gardening or just want to see how your local project is developing, you will be welcome.”
Maryon Park Community Garden is in Maryon Park, situated on the site of the old plant nursery. Follow the signs from the main park gate by the Park Lodge, 126, Maryon Road, Charlton, SE7 8DH.
Walk past the Park Lodge following the perimeter path to the left and find the Community Garden entrance at the end of the park fencing. Look out for the signs and bunting.
There will also be a pub quiz in aid of the community garden at the White Swan in Charlton Village on Monday 30 April, beginning at 7.30pm.
Plans to build 771 new homes on an industrial estate at Anchor & Hope Lane are to be considered by Greenwich councillors next week – despite residents’ appeals for the decision to be delayed because it does not fit in with the council’s vision for Charlton Riverside.
Early plans were, submitted in December 2016, included a 28-storey glass tower. Those were changed to the current proposals in January 2018 to fit more closely with the council’s Charlton Riverside Masterplan, and again in March to increase the level of “affordable” housing to 25% (17.7% for social rent, 7.2% at “intermediate”) – below the council’s target of 35%. Plans were revised again last week to alter the road layout.
In total, 11 new buildings are planned, with space for retail and commercial use alongside Anchor & Hope Lane. 210 car parking spaces are planned.
Charlton Together – which includes the Charlton Society, Charlton Central Residents’ Association, Derrick and Atlas Gardens Residents’ Association, SE7 Action Group, Charlton Parkside Community Hub and local churches, says the plans represent “a wholesale departure from that masterplan”.
‘Like the Greenwich Peninsula’
It says in a letter sent to councillors, local MP Matt Pennycook and London Assembly member Len Duvall: “It will create a precedent that undermines the development of the Council’s fundamental vision for the whole area. So we are extremely concerned, that if this first application is agreed, like the development of the Greenwich peninsula, this will affect the character of the whole borough for decades to come. And we also note that this was a masterplan developed over 5 years, with two major public consultations, produced at considerable expense, with external expertise and advisory costs borne by the Council.
“We are shocked to see how far this application departs from the agreed [Charlton Riverside] SPD vision. We are disappointed at the huge discrepancy that remains between the human scale, low to medium rise vision of the masterplan and the predominantly high-rise, monolithic proposal from Rockwell. We are also dismayed at the very low levels of affordable and family housing. The wide deviation remains not just in terms of height, but also in terms of density, design and affordability.
“It is unfortunate that a more detailed infrastructure plan is not available, to inform decisions relating to the Rockwell site. We cannot see how this scheme can be approved in its current form without further clarity from the Council on infrastructure, including further details for the main east-west route, which would have to be changed as a result.
“We are concerned about how far this application has got in the planning process, to even be considered in its current format, for decision at a formal planning meeting. We are aware that an original application at the end of 2016 included a 28 storey tower. We consider that to have been a somewhat disingenuous application, intended to show ‘progress’ by the developer between then and now. Similarly, despite lengthy discussions with the Council, we note that recent amendments to address height issues have made little impact and have only served to increase the out-of-scale nature of the proposal.”
Council officers say: “Whilst the overall density is above that recommended in the London Plan and the plot densities are higher than those recommended in the [Charlton Riverside] SPD it is considered that higher densities can be supported in this location in order to bring forward the redevelopment of the site and the regeneration of the area. Furthermore, density is just one factor to be considered in the assessment of an application and regard should be had to factors such as design, local character and impacts upon amenity.”
Furthermore, council officers say the amount of “affordable” housing would mean the development would secure a profit of 17.2% – less than the developer’s target of 18%. It recommends reviewing the scheme to see if there is room for more “affordable” housing if the scheme generates more profit.
Network Rail says it has concerns about local rail stations’ ability to cope with the demand from the development – a matter not addressed in the officers’ report.
Cratus Communications, the lobbying company which has former Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts as its deputy chairman, involved in the Rockwell project. Former Greenwich chief executive Mary Ney is listed on the Cratus website as an “associate”, while one-time Greenwich Labour borough organiser Michael Stanworth heads up the company’s London lobbying operation.
The planning committee features – uniquely for a London borough – council leader Denise Hyland and her deputy Danny Thorpe, who is also the council’s cabinet member for regeneration.
Also on the agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting is a new plan to demolish and rebuild the Kings Arms pub in Woolwich – which was attacked by Irish republican terrorists in 1974 – and a proposal to add another two storeys to a stalled hotel project next to the Blackwall Tunnel approach at Tunnel Avenue, east Greenwich.
The owner of a closed newsagent shop on Charlton Church Lane is applying to Greenwich Council to convert the premises into a fried chicken takeaway.
Work began last year on converting the Charlton News shop, separating access to the upstairs flat from the retail area, but the council has only recently received a planning application for the work, along with a second application for an illuminated sign.
According to the planning application for the premises, which is next door to the Valley Cafe: “The client would like to convert this into a Fried Chicken shop with the opportunity for customers to takeaway or eat and drink inside and outside. The access to upstairs flat will be separated.
“The Ground floor shop area is small and will not have any major refurbishment done
other than equipment.
“The Café area will have a main serving area, with seating for approximately 16
customers. There will be a warm display cabinet for the hot food. 8 additional
seating area outside is also proposed.
“The kitchen are at the rear of the shop will be very simple with frying stations and grill all appliances will be electric. Extraction fans will be installed with grease filters to extract the heat from the kitchen area.
“The duct will exit out the rear wall and across the storage area roof and up above the roof eaves level. This will be done according to manufacturer’s specification and Building Regulations. Similar to the next door café (No 20) ductwork avoiding all windows on top foor. Downstairs flat is part of the shop where the staff will be living.
“The ceiling will be sound proofed and have 2hr fire protection. The party wall between shop and the residential access to Flat above to have 2 hr fire protection and sound proofed.
“There will be highly efficient low energy lighting installed throughout the floor. Externally the front will be refurbished and the sign will be changed with LED letters
signage similar to Charlton Kebab opposite the proposed shop.
“Internal finish will be tiled floors with light coloured paint to eating and serving areas.”
There are already a number of takeaways in the area along with a long-closed kebab shop opposite, while anti-social behaviour has long been a problem in the immediate area.
Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook says “leadership” is needed to deal with dangerous levels of air quality in the area after a community study found illegal levels of pollution outside a primary school.
The study from the Valley Hill Hub group, conducted in October 2017 and released last week, shows nitrogen dioxide pollution of 70.2 microgrammes per cubic metre outside Windrush Primary School on Woolwich Road – well above the legal limit of 40µg/m3.
Official levels are recorded over 12 months, but the Valley Hill hub study provides a snapshot that is consistent with figures recorded in recent years by campaign and residents groups such as No to Silvertown Tunnel and the Charlton Central Residents Association, as well as Greenwich Council’s own readings.
The worst level of pollution in the study, which covered an area between The Valley and Little Heath was found at the bus stop at the foot of Charlton Lane (77.5μg/m3), while Charlton Village opposite the White Swan recorded 49.5μg/m3.
Away from main roads, the roundabout at the Charlton Lane/Thorntree Road junction recorded a not-illegal but still harmful 36.5μg/m3. The lowest level was 22.8μg/m3, recorded in the middle of Maryon Wilson Park.
The study was funded by Greenwich Council’s ward budget programme after the Valley Hill Hub found that much of its area was not covered by the council’s own air pollution monitoring scheme.
Volunteers placed tubes on lamp posts and left them up for four weeks before sending them to a lab for analysis.
‘Results are extremely concerning’
Pennycook said: “The results of the Valley Hill Hub monitor project are extremely concerning. They provide yet more evidence of what is beyond doubt a public health crisis.
“No one is immune from the impact of toxins present in the air we breathe, but air pollution disproportionately affects the most vulnerable among us including young children attending Pound Park Nursery, Thorntree Primary School and Windrush Primary School.
“We need leadership at all levels if we’re to reduce pollution and improve air quality across London.”
‘Greater priority needed for traffic reduction’
The study was conducted with Network for Clean Air, which has worked with other local groups in examining pollution in their own neighbourhoods, as well as No to Silvertown Tunnel in looking at the issue across south-east London.
Its co-ordinator Andrew Wood said: “The air pollution monitoring done by Valley Hill Hub showed levels of air pollution much higher than the annual permitted legal limit beside Windrush Primary School on the Woolwich Road, and near the limit at Kinveachy Gardens too.
“The local authority should undertake continuous monitoring at these sites, and action is needed to reduce emissions from buses and traffic. Greater priority is needed for cycling and traffic reduction in the Charlton area.”
Furthermore, council-backed plans for the Silvertown Tunnel, the recent expansion of Charlton’s retail parks and the under-construction Greenwich Ikea have heightened fears that pollution will only get worse with more traffic coming through and to the area.
At a London-wide level, some measures have been taken to clean up the bus fleet – particularly on services running through the congestion charge zone – but the Greenwich, Charlton and Woolwich areas have been overlooked for “clean bus zones“, although they will benefit routes that run through Lewisham and New Cross.
Ikea wants to build a 48-metre (157ft) high tower at its new store in east Greenwich, which is due to open next year.
The Swedish furniture giant wants its titanic totem to advertise the location of its controversial outlet to drivers approaching on the nearby A102.
But even the visualisations it has submitted to council planners show it will loom over the surrounding neighbourhoods, with the mattresses-to-meatballs retailer’s presence being inescapable for thousands of locals.
However, Ikea’s latest plans look set to be a headache for councillors – particularly at election time – with even a visualisation at the bottom of Blackwall Lane, half a mile from the store, showing the retailer’s yellow and blue logo dominating the view.
Signage from the Bugsby Way retail parks has caused upset for local groups for decades – the geography of the area means residents up the hill in Blackheath or Charlton can find retailers’ logos suddenly popping up to disrupt their views across London.