Westcombe Hill to get new bus to North Greenwich from October

Route 335 map
The new 335 service will follow the red route to North Greenwich

Bus users who live on the western side of Charlton will get a new service to North Greenwich from October after Transport for London confirmed its new route, the 335, will run via Westcombe Hill.

The new double-deck service will run between Kidbrooke and North Greenwich every 12 minutes during Monday to Saturday daytimes and every 15 minutes during evenings and Sundays. TfL hopes to begin the service, which will provide relief to the often-overcrowded 108 route, on 26 October.

Two options were presented in a consultation, with the possibility that the route could run straight down the A102, as the current 132 service does now. TfL – backed by Greenwich Council – opted to for a route via Kidbrooke Park Road, Shooters Hill Road, Stratheden Road and Westcombe Hill, to follow the 108 to North Greenwich.

The Westcombe Society – an amenity society for the Westcombe Park area – had led objections to the route serving Westcombe Hill, which has been a bus route for over a century. According to TfL, the society said running via Westcombe Hill was “unacceptable to residents who already suffer from frequent buses on a residential road”. It claimed the area was already “well served for buses to Greenwich Peninsula and North Greenwich”.

Another group, the Westcombe Traffic Group, complained about noise and pollution and called for buses on route 132 to be given double-decker buses to serve passengers from Kidbrooke. Double-decker buses have operated route 132 for ten years. TfL plans to use hybrids on the new 335. (Read the full consultation report.)

While the new route will be of huge use to those who have struggled to squeeze onto routes 108 or 422 to North Greenwich, it remains to be seen whether buses will already be crowded by the time they reach Westcombe Hill. The service is being funded by money from Berkeley Homes, which is developing the Kidbrooke Village development; while Transport for London – which has been cutting services in recent years due to financial problems – says it is using business rates income to bring the introduction of the bus forward.

It will also add to crowding at North Greenwich bus station, which already struggles in the evening rush hour. Plans are afoot for a new bus station, but a dramatic design with 24-storey towers has reportedly been dropped.


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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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