Water main works will close Charlton Church Lane just south of the junction with The Heights for up to a week from Tuesday. Traffic will be “diverted via Charlton Road, Victoria Way and Wellington Gardens and vice versa” (that’s nice of them – Ed) while buses will naturally face more inconvenient diversions. The news has only been published in the back of an hardly-seen freesheet, so we thought you might like to know here.
Churchwarden Rick Newman told The Charlton Champion: “We’re not sure when the theft occurred in the days before it came to notice with the first rain in weeks and water pouring into the church. In ripping out galvanised metal from the central valley gutter and some ancient lead that ran the length of the south gutter, the thieves have broken countless tiles and exposed roof timbers to the elements.
“The lead in the south gutter had been anchored in place by the parapet. In order to steal the lead, several of these parapet blocks were smashed by the thieves. One massive block was toppled into the churchyard, causing further damage.
“Much of the metal was worthless. As scrap, the small quantity of lead would be worth a couple of hundred pounds at most; the cost of repairs will run into many thousands. Remedial work will require extensive and expensive scaffolding to say nothing about the cost of replacing tiles and masonry.
“Meanwhile, part of the churchyard has been cordoned off as a precautionary measure as parapet stones have been loosened. Temporary covering has been put in place as far as possible and we can only hope the weather is kind to us.
“The work that results from having to put right the extensive damage falls to volunteers. They would far rather be giving their time to things that are about building up and serving community at times of great need, rather than giving time to repairs that should never have been necessary.
“We are hopeful that most of the cost of repairs can be covered by insurance, but that results in ever increasing insurance premiums for all and a community unsettled by the actions of the few who seem to have no regard for others. Whether you regard St Luke’s as part of our local heritage or the house of God, or both, it is an important place for many who feel upset and unsettled by this crime. We pray for those responsible.”
Previous plans for student flats have also been refused.
Now the Gillingham-based Zaan Group – a Domino’s franchisee – wants to covert the pub into a takeaway and add a smaller extension instead. The pub is locally listed but has been unused for over 20 years, and has been damaged by fires.
“Given the poor structural condition retention of the building requires creative thought and use. This is an isolated building that does not relate to any existing use in the area. Therefore, new uses are required,” a submission from architects Cook Associates says.
“The A5 [takeaway] use will generate little footfall traffic as most orders will be by phone or online, for delivery by scooter and electric bike,” it adds.
“This proposal brings back into use a locally listed building that has fallen into a poor state of repair and which is rapidly becoming an eyesore. This scheme follows previous planning refusal for the site for student units and a larger extension containing more residential units than the single unit now proposed.
“The extension of the commercial ground floor area to A5 creates a viable and sustainable use which ensures that the original frontage and shell is restored and preserved which is the desire of the local authority. The alternative re-development option available to the applicant for this site remains to serve a Section 80 demolition notice on [Greenwich Council] to demolish the existing public house.”
The new plans have emerged as developers take forward schemes for flats on the sites behind – including the Beaumont Beds warehouse – as part of the major Charlton Riverside development scheme.