Buses from Charlton to Greenwich town centre halved from today

Route 180 bus displaying its destination as Lewisham
One for the history books: the 180 to Lewisham is no more

It’ll be more difficult to take a bus from Charlton to the centre of Greenwich from today, with the rerouting of route 180 to North Greenwich station.

The route has plied the length of Woolwich Road for the past 70 years, but is being altered as part of changes brought in to coincide with the opening of the Elizabeth Line at Woolwich and Abbey Wood later this month.

Instead of running from Lewisham to the Belvedere industrial area, it will now run from North Greenwich to a new housing development at Erith Quarry.

The change will mean more buses to North Greenwich, but route 472 is being reduced in frequency at the same time and rerouted so it runs from North Greenwich to Abbey Wood. Morning rush-hour buses from Charlton station have also been scrapped.

Map of planned TfL changes
A map of the changes (click to expand)

Route 129, which runs from North Greenwich station to the Cutty Sark, has been extended to Lewisham as a partial replacement for the 180 beyond Greenwich, but at a reduced frequency of every 12 minutes.

Whereas both the 177 and 180 provided 12 buses per hour between Woolwich Road and Greenwich town centre, only the 177, with six buses an hour, will cover this section now. In the evening, the combined service drops from nine buses per hour to five.

The change was announced five years ago – when it was still believed that Crossrail would open in 2018 – but hopes of a rethink were dashed when the new 180 route started appearing on bus stops and journey planners at the end of last month.

Back in 2017, TfL, which is chaired by London mayor Sadiq Khan, said: “The 177 has sufficient capacity for the level of demand on this corridor. We will continue to keep this under review.”

Further details of what TfL is billing as an “improvement” can be found on its website.


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Inspector gives 255 Charlton Riverside homes the go-ahead

The two schemes would bring 255 new homes to what is currently industrial land

A planning inspector has approved two new housing developments on the Charlton Riverside, including 107 homes for people on housing waiting lists, overturning Greenwich Council decision to refuse the schemes last year.

The twin schemes, for land behind the disused Victoria pub on Woolwich Road, are the second and third housing developments to get approval on the riverside after plans for 1,200 homes close to the Thames Barrier were approved in March.

The housing association Optivo has now got the go-ahead to build 67 affordable-rent homes on land between Eastmoor Street and Westmoor Street, while the developer Aitch will build 188 homes on the plot next door, including 40 affordable-rent homes and 10 homes for shared ownership.

A lobby group representing residents’ associations, Charlton Together, had objected to the Aitch scheme, but both were thrown out by Greenwich’s Labour-dominated planning committee last July for not fitting in with the masterplan drawn up for the Charlton Riverside.

Eastmoor Street Optivo render
Optivo’s plans for Eastmoor Street, with the Aitch scheme in white next door to it.

In that area, the masterplan suggests building three or four-storey townhouses to fit in with the Victoria and the former Lads of the Village pub – now a vets’ surgery – near by. Optivo is planning blocks of up to seven storeys, while the Aitch scheme goes up to 10 storeys.

But the planning inspector, Patrick Hanna, said that townhouses did not fit in with plans to build up to 7,000 homes on the riverside – or guidance from the Environment Agency that the lower floors could not be occupied in case of flooding.

“The townhouse typology is unlikely to be a realistic or optimal option at the appeal site, which in turn affects the ambitions for an intimate village feel in this location,” he wrote.

“As a consequence of these site constraints, it follows that when the [masterplan] is taken as a whole, and bearing in mind that it represents guidance only, its general thrust can reasonably and sensibly be taken to encourage medium rise developments.”

Having commercial units on the lower floors would be more attractive than townhouses with ground-floor garages, Hanna added.

Optivo’s site as it is now with the Aitch site to the right

Hanna also said that the council should have approved the schemes because the borough did not have a big enough supply of new housing coming up.

Despite the clear flaws in the masterplan, Labour councillors Gary Dillon and Jo van den Broek – elected last week for the new Charlton Village & Riverside ward – put it centre stage in a leaflet delivered to residents.

In a passage that may only have made sense to those involved in residents’ groups that have fought for lower-rise buildings on the riverside, they promised to “ensure that the communities’ voices are heard and that the spirit of the masterplan is respected”.

However, the inspector’s decision – and his explicit acknowledgement that aspects of the plan are flawed because they do not take into account flood risks – may now give future developers the confidence to aim higher when they submit their plans.


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Greenwich Council elections 2022: Who’s standing in Charlton and are there hustings?

Polling station
The election will be held on Thursday May 5

Candidates have been announced for next month’s Greenwich Council elections – as well as hustings so you can ask questions of the hopefuls.

This time, Greenwich will elect 55 councillors across 23 wards – a big change from the last election when there were 51 seats across 17 wards. The increase is to reflect the borough’s growing population – particularly in Greenwich, Woolwich and Thamesmead.

Previously, Charlton was split into four wards, with most of the SE7 area being in a simple “Charlton” ward.

Victoria Way
Left: Charlton Hornfair. Right: Charlton Village

Now you can bin your old map, because the bulk of the area will be split into two – Charlton Village & Riverside and Charlton Hornfair. A chunk in the north-west is in a new Greenwich Peninsula ward, while a few streets close to the SE18 border are marooned in a Woolwich Dockyard ward.

Broadly speaking, the boundary between the Charlton Village and Charlton Hornfair wards runs along Victoria Way and the south fence of Charlton Park.

The changes mean you’ll definitely be in a new ward, and you may even have to go to a new polling station. (Check Democracy Club’s polling station finder.)


St Luke's Church
Charlton Village is now recognised as a council ward

CHARLTON VILLAGE & RIVERSIDE (Here’s a map)

This is, essentially, the old Charlton ward, but future-proofed to take in where the new riverside developments will be. Only two councillors will be elected from here.

Incumbent Charlton councillor Gary Dillon stands for Labour alongside Jo van den Broek – a new name to most voters but a longstanding activist behind the scenes in the Labour party. At least she’ll know what she’s letting herself in for.

The Greens came second in the old ward last time out, and they will be standing two candidates who also have some experience of how the council works. Clare Loops used to be one of its planning officers – she now works for Bexley – and is the chair of the Charlton Neighbourhood Forum. Phil Connolly is a party stalwart and is involved with the Derrick and Atlas Gardens Residents’ Association; more recently he has also been working with the council on its response to the pandemic in the Charlton area.

The Conservatives are fielding newcomer Lucy Woodruffe and James Worron, a local party activist, while Stuart Watkin carries the Liberal Democrats’ hopes. The Women’s Equality Party, which came third in 2018, is not fielding a candidate this time around.

Want to quiz the candidates? There are hustings at Charlton House at Wednesday April 20th at 7pm, held by the Charlton Society and Charlton Central Residents’ Association, which covers a small part of the ward near the station. Contact charltonsocietychair[at]gmail.com to ask a question.


SE7 sign in window
Charlton Hornfair takes in areas towards Bramshot Avenue

CHARLTON HORNFAIR (Here’s a map)

This brand new ward includes the SE7 bit of the Kidbrooke with Hornfair ward and what estate agents call the Charlton Slopes, together with the Cherry Orchard and Harold Gibbons Court estates and The Birches. A little chunk of SE3 slips in here, too, up to the Sun-in-the-Sands roundabout. Two candidates are elected here.

Labour stands Clare Burke-McDonald, a relatively new councillor who was elected to represent Shooters Hill last year. She is joined on the ballot paper by a newcomer, Lakshan Saldin.

The Greens are standing Cole Pemberton and Ann Brown, while Rupert Fienes and Alan O’Kelly represent the Tories. Sam Burridge is the sole Lib Dem representative.

Want to quiz the candidates? There are hustings at Charlton House (sssh, just outside the ward, but we won’t tell anyone) on Saturday April 23rd at 10.30am, organised by the Charlton Society. Contact charltonsocietychair[at]gmail.com to ask a question.


Rathmore Youth Club
The colourful Rathmore Road Youth Club benches are in Greenwich Peninsula ward

GREENWICH PENINSULA (Here’s a map)

If you were in Peninsula ward last time, you’ll be in Greenwich Peninsula this time, except if you’re in Barney Close, in which case you’ll be in Charlton Village (see above). If you’ve just moved into the new homes on Bowen Drive (welcome!), this is your ward. This new ward is all the new developments on Greenwich Peninsula, then Ikea and the flyover, then the east Greenwich communities around Aldeburgh Streets and Fearon Street, and then a chunk of Charlton up to the station. (Don’t ask.) Three candidates are elected here.

Labour stands incumbent Peninsula councillor and deputy council leader Denise Scott-McDonald here, along with veteran councillor David Gardner, moving down from Woolwich Common ward but a longstanding activist in the Charlton area. Newcomer Nick Williams makes up the trio.

The Greens have traditionally performed strongly in the old Peninsula ward, and Roger Bailey, John Holmes and Laura Sessions will be standing for them. The Tories are fielding Godwin Amaefula, James Cowling and Anthonia Ugo.

There are three Lib Dems here – youthful activist Ulysse Abbate, Richard Chamberlain (no relation to the author) and Greg Mulligan. The right-wing Reform UK party is represented by Terry Wheeler.

Want to quiz the candidates? Put your walking boots on – there are hustings at St Mary Magdalene School on the peninsula on Tuesday April 26th at 7pm organised by the East Greenwich Residents’ Association, Aldeburgh and Fearon Streets Neighbourhood Watch and Holy Trinity Greenwich Peninsula.


Morris Walk Estate
The new Woolwich Dockyard ward has a hole in the middle where Morris Walk Estate was

WOOLWICH DOCKYARD (Here’s a map)

While most of the SE7 bit of the old Woolwich Riverside ward has come home to Charlton Village, a few streets have been left out in the cold around Maryon Road, Erwood Road and Maryon Grove. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you.

These are now in Woolwich Dockyard ward, which also includes the estate of the same name, the Cardwell Estate and the 1990s King Henry’s Wharf development by the Thames. This is another-future proofed ward – it will also include the Trinity Park development when that is built on the site of the Morris Walk Estate.

Incumbent Woolwich Riverside Labour councillor Dominic Mbang stays to fight for the new seat alongside newcomer Asli Mohammed. The Greens are not standing here, but the Tories are fielding Simon Gallie and David Chunu. Nichola Martin and Matthew Rose will stand for the Lib Dems.

Want to quiz the candidates? We don’t know of any hustings. If any are organised, we’ll add them here.


Full details of the candidates across the borough can be found on our sister website 853.

If you’ve not registered to vote, get a move on – visit gov.uk/register-to-vote by Thursday night.

For postal and proxy vote details, visit the Greenwich Council website.


LIKE WHAT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION DOES? HELP US KEEP IT GOING

We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. And we’ll do the others better than anyone else. But it won’t survive without your help.

– Please tell us about your news and events – we reach people who stay away from social media groups
– Become a monthly supporter at presspatron.com/charltonchampion