Rockwell Charlton Riverside development: Consultation sessions to be held on 2 and 3 March

Rockwell Charlton scheme
The new proposals see brick-based buildings with a maximum height of 10 storeys

Hot on the heels of Greenwich Council telling developer Rockwell to consult properly on its plans to build 771 homes on land off Anchor and Hope Lane, it has announced two events to take place at The Valley early next month.

Rockwell, which is acting for Channel Islands-based Leopard Guernsey Anchor Propco Ltd, plans to redevelop the industrial estate behind and next to Atlas Gardens and Derrick Gardens, including building five 10-storey blocks.

Plans for a 28-storey glass tower were blocked, while the developer only wants to provide 5% “affordable” housing on the site, compared with 15% for the previous plans. However, it says it will be discussing a “growth scenario” to provide more “affordable” housing with Greenwich Council.

Local residents’ groups have been angry at the lack of consultation on the revised plans, which are dramatically different from the original scheme for the site.

Now a public exhibition will be held at the Millennium Suite in The Valley between 3-7pm on Friday 2 March, and 10am-2pm on Saturday 3 March.

A flyer distributed by Rockwell says “key members of the project team will be on hand to answer any questions”.

Not much to say: The Charlton Conversations website

It also directs residents to charltonconversations.com for more information, but that website is just showing a holding page suggesting visitors go to the council website.

You can wade through all the planning documents and comment by searching for reference 16/4008/F at Greenwich Council’s planning pages. You can also read part one and part two of the lengthy design and access statement, which outlines the proposals.

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Vote for Charlton’s Big Red Bus Club to get new windows from council fund

The Big Red Bus Club
“We need new windows!”

Charlton’s Big Red Bus Club children’s centre wants your backing in a council-run vote to get £8,000 to replace its windows.

Residents in most of Charlton are eligible to vote in the poll in how to spend the Greenwich Neighbourhood Growth Fund, which is money taken from a levy the council has to charge on developers.

Greenwich councillors decided last year to divide the borough into four areas, which would hold their own online votes on how to spend the money. Most of Charlton has been grouped with Woolwich and Kidbrooke for these votes.

The only Charlton project in this round of voting is for the Big Red Bus Club, the free children’s play centre in Charlton Park.

It wants £8,400 to install new windows: “The project aims to replace windows at Charlton Under-5s Play Centre and refurbish the locks of the metal security grate, bringing both into use after decades of disrepair. It is currently home to the Big Red Bus Club, a family wellbeing centre that runs a range of free services for local families.”

The other projects in the vote are Greenwich and Lewisham Youth Theatre, based in the Royal Arsenal, and a digital inclusion programme on the Woolwich Common Estate.

To vote, you need to open an account on the council website – www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/register – then once that’s one, vote at www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/growthfund, picking area three.

Council website typo

Please note: it’s definitely windows they’re replacing. Windows.

Live in Peninsula ward? One quirk of this scheme is that if you live in Peninsula ward (north of the railway line and west of Ransom Walk), you’re included in Greenwich and Blackheath’s vote.

Projects very near Charlton vying for your vote in that poll include a digital inclusion programme at Mycenae House, an equipment upgrade at the Blackheath Westcombe Autism Support project based at the Montessori school on Westcombe Hill, a pond-dipping platform at the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park, and new outdoor play equipment for The Bridge play centre in East Greenwich Pleasance. More at www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/growthfund.

Developer Rockwell told to consult community about new Charlton Riverside plan

Rockwell Charlton Riverside
What Rockwell says the development’s residential garden areas will look like

The developer hoping to build the first major housing development on the Charlton Riverside has been told it needs to properly consult the local community before Greenwich Council will decide on its plans.

Rockwell, which is acting for Channel Islands-based Leopard Guernsey Anchor Propco Ltd, plans to build 771 homes on land behind and next to Atlas Gardens and Derrick Gardens, including five 10-storey blocks.

But local residents’ groups complained that Rockwell had not consulted them properly on the project – which has changed dramatically from the developer’s original plan to build glass towers on the site.

Now they have been told by Greenwich Council that Rockwell has been advised to, and has promised to, consult residents on its proposals.

Led by the Derrick and Atlas Gardens Residents Association, a loose coalition of local organisations has now formed around the proposals, including the Charlton Society, Charlton Central Residents Association and others – with the shock of the Fairview Victoria Way planning decision prompting many to keep a close eye on the Rockwell scheme.

Charlton Society planning chair Roden Richardson said working together and using social media was proving to be effective.

“Any number of people are now contacted simultaneously and instantaneously to distribute a given message,” he said.

“In the case of the latest application that meant all our fellow community stakeholder members and councillors, leading council staff, the Greater London Authority and, of course, our MP, all virtually at the touch of a button. If we handle this kind of thing wisely, it might begin to help a bit to make community and council more like constructive partners than frustrated strangers.”

In total, 11 new buildings are planned for the site, with space for retail and commercial use alongside Anchor & Hope Lane. 210 car parking spaces are planned. But the developer only wants to provide 5% “affordable” housing on the site, although its application says it is in talks with Greenwich Council about a “growth scenario”.

Cratus Communications, the lobbying company which has former Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts as its deputy chairman, involved in the 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.

Fancy holding a movie screening? Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is back

The first Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival, in 2016, featured a screening of Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan pub

Got a film that you love and you’d like everyone else to see it? The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is back for a third year – and it’s looking for people with ideas who can help make it happen.

Part of a network of free film festivals in south London, past festivals have featured Withnail and I and Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan, short films at Charlton House, Battle of Britain at St George’s Garrison Church in Woolwich, and Grease at the Royal Arsenal.

Organiser Gavin Eastley says: “We’re coming back for our third annual film fest with an even better Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival in 2018. So to start it all off again we are having an open meeting at Charlton House on Wednesday 21st February at 7:30pm.

“Please come along if you want to manage an evening of film or just have a great idea for a film and/or venue. Spread the word, please. The festival is for everyone.”

Want to know more? Get in touch with Gavin via the Free Film Festivals website.

Women in Sheds join the Men in Sheds at Mycenae House in February

Women in Sheds flyer
Women in Sheds runs on Wednesday mornings until Easter, while Men in Sheds runs on Wednesday afternoons

Another season of Men in Sheds sessions begins at Mycenae House on Wednesday 7 February – and this time the women are coming along too.

Men in Sheds helps men over 50 sharpen – or gain – woodworking skills, helping community projects in their local areas.

It helps men who may otherwise be stuck at home get out of the house, make new friends, learn new skills and help others in their community. You don’t need to be an expert – you just need to have an interest.

Now, after numerous requests, a companion Women in Sheds series is also starting up – so if you’re a woman over 50 who’s good with tools (or would like to be), organisers at Age UK Bromley and Greenwich would love to have you along. You can just come for a chat if you like.

Women in Sheds runs from 10.30am to 1pm on Wednesdays until Easter, with Men in Sheds running from 2-3.30pm on the same days. Cost is £1 (with tea and biscuits thrown in). Call 020 8294 3012 or visit the Bromley & Greenwich Men In Sheds website for more.

Mycenae House’s Seniors Drop-In Cafe, which runs from 1-4pm each Thursday, continues, with participants knitting for community projects. All are welcome – cost is £1 (includes tea and cake).

And next month, Age UK Bromley & Greenwich’s Repair Cafe comes to Mycenae House. Got broken furniture, small electric appliances, bicycles, crockery, toys, phones, computers or gadgets? Don’t chuck ’em – bring ’em along and get them fixed. It’s on Wednesday 21 March from 10.30 am – 3.30pm. Organisers are also looking for volunteers to help out – contact details are above.

Anger grows over Rockwell Charlton Riverside development as residents plan response

Rockwell Charlton Riverside
What Rockwell says the development’s residential garden areas will look like

Residents of streets next to the planned Rockwell development off Anchor and Hope Lane are holding an open meeting to help people respond to the proposals, as anger grows over the lack of consultation over the new plans.

The developer plans to build 771 homes on land behind and next to Atlas Gardens and Derrick Gardens, including five 10-storey blocks. The scheme, submitted in the name of Channel Islands-based Leopard Guernsey Anchor Propco Ltd, is the first major residential plan to go forward on the Charlton Riverside.

In total, 11 new buildings are planned, with space for retail and commercial use alongside Anchor & Hope Lane. 210 car parking spaces are planned. But the developer only wants to provide 5% “affordable” housing on the site, although its application says it is in talks with Greenwich Council about a “growth scenario”.

It has also emerged that Cratus Communications, the lobbying company which has former Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts as its deputy chairman, is now involved in the 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 workshop, which has been organised by Derrick and Atlas Gardens Residents Association, will be held at Greenwich Yacht Club on Sunday 4 February from 3pm to 5pm. All with concerns about the scheme are welcome, not just residents of those two streets.

Rockwell Charlton scheme
The new proposals see brick-based buildings with a maximum height of 10 storeys

The association has already written to Greenwich Council chief executive Debbie Warren, in a letter supported by other local groups including the Charlton Society and Charlton Central Residents Association, to ask that the scheme be deferred because no public consultation has taken place on the revised plans.

You can wade through all the planning documents and comment by searching for reference 16/4008/F at Greenwich Council’s planning pages. Comments need to be with the council by Wednesday 6 February.

Worries over the Rockwell development come as wider concerns are being raised about Greenwich Council’s planning procedures and consultation policies in the Charlton area, with the numerous local groups now starting to work more closely together on scrutinising schemes.

Residents’ groups are seeking explanations as to why no councillor explained why they backed the controversial Fairview Victoria Way development at a meeting last month – a departure from usual practice at planning meetings – along with issues to do with the consultation, which was also run by Cratus Communications.

Charlton ward Labour candidate picked despite being condemned by judge

Linda Perks
Linda Perks was picked in September to represent Charlton ward in May’s council election (image: Sky News)

A Labour candidate in May’s Greenwich Council election was condemned by a judge last year after “flagrantly” breaking the rules of the UK’s biggest public sector union to help its general secretary get re-elected.

Linda Perks, who was formerly Unison’s London regional secretary, was picked last September to represent Charlton ward in this spring’s poll.

Her selection came just four months after it was ruled that she breached union regulations by calling on her staff at Union to vote for Dave Prentis, and for “openly campaigning” for him during working hours.

After hearing a recording of Perks which was posted online by an anonymous whistleblower, Judge Mary Stacey said her tone was “not just confident but swaggering in so openly breaking the rules, but chilling in its brazenness and demonstration of unchecked power”.

The judge said Perks’ behaviour was “extremely shocking”.

Greenwich Labour has said that Perks was “open and transparent” about the issue when she put herself forward for selection and that she will continue to stand in the election. Perks herself has not responded to a request for comment.

Read the full story at 853.