Charlton Neighbourhood Forum: Play your role in Charlton’s future

The forum aims to involve local people in the redevelopment of Charlton’s riverside

With Charlton about to see huge changes over the next 20 years, a group of residents want to set up a neighbourhood plan – a legal planning document which ensure local people have a genuine say in the future of the area. JODIE COUGHLAN, one of the organisers, explains more, and invites you to its first public meeting on Saturday 13 July.

Since its inception in November 2017, Charlton Together – a collective of local groups in Charlton (including Charlton Central Residents’ Association (CCRA), Derrick & Atlas Residents’ Association (DAGRA), SE7 Action Group, The Charlton Society, Valley Hill Hub, and the Charlton Parkside Community Hub) have worked tirelessly and campaigned ceaselessly as a voice for residents and businesses on planning and development issues in Charlton and Charlton Riverside.

There have been ups and downs along the road, the down being the Fairview development on Victoria Way being approved by Greenwich Council’s planning board in January 2018, the up having successfully fought the Rockwell development on Anchor & Hope Lane at City Hall a year later.

More recently Charlton Together has been working on a more proactive approach to planning and development, by becoming a neighbourhood forum. We would like as many people who live and work in the area to get involved, to help create a Neighbourhood Plan for Charlton.

In order to get the project off the ground, Charlton Together have had a stand at Charlton Station, and several local outdoor events. We’ll also be at the Sherington School Summer Fair tomorrow.

What’s it all about?

In order to produce a neighbourhood plan, we first need to set up the Charlton Neighbourhood Forum, which is a group of local people that live and work in the area.

A neighbourhood plan (supported by the Localism Act 2011) gives the community the right to influence the form of development locally, and is a formal planning document, written by local people and businesses, and forms a material consideration when the Council decides planning applications. (See more detailed background.)

For a forum to be established, there needs to be at least 21 people from across Charlton, and it must be representative of the area. Membership of the forum is free and is open to anyone who living or working across Charlton (all the way from Charlton Riverside, Charlton Central, across Charlton Slopes (Victoria Way, Bramhope Lane, Wyndcliff, Mayhill, Hopedale, Sherington Roads to Eastcombe, Bramshot Avenues, Tallis Grove and Highcombe) across Charlton Road, up towards the Lido, including the roads around near to Charlton Park, Maryon Wilson Park and Maryon Park.

The proposed forum area – which covers the entire SE7 postal area plus areas included in the Charlton Riverside masterplan

Do I need planning & development expertise?

There will be many different roles in producing this plan, so tell us where you can help, whatever your skills they will be welcome. We believe that it will take time to create the plan, but think it will be well worth the effort.

How do I join the forum?

For more information, visit www.charltonneighbourhoodforum.com and click on ‘’Contact’’ to get in touch.

You can also come along to the forum’s first annual general meeting at the Assembly Rooms, Charlton Village, at 4pm on Saturday 13 July. At this meeting a committee will be formed, and officers elected. A constitution will also be agreed and the boundary of the plan area finalised.

After the AGM, an application to Greenwich Council will be made for formal designation.

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What happened at Maryon Park’s Big Picnic 2019?

A group of neighbours who live near Maryon Park held a big picnic there last Saturday. HELEN JAKEWAYS, one of the organisers, explains what happened…

This was our fourth Picnic and once more we were extremely lucky with the weather. We were able to put on many more games and activities this year thanks to funds raised from Greenwich Council’s ward budget, Tesco Bags of Growth and sponsorship from Lovell.We were also kindly supported by the council’s Park Rangers team.

We hosted about 500 people over the course of the afternoon, including all the performers, group leaders, stall holders and our 30+ strong volunteer team and the main field in Maryon Park was bustling with activity surrounded by people enjoying their picnics in the shade provided by the trees round the edge of the park.

We enjoyed a couple of lovely dance performances and workshops run by Greenwich Dance, football sessions run by Charlton Athletic coaches which were enormously popular, non-contact boxing taster sessions with St Peter’s Amateur Boxing Club and late-arriving roaming hula hoops and basic circus skills sessions from Aircraft Circus.

There was a busy programme on and around the small stage including a set from Charlton based DJ Ed Simmons and performances from the Brass Band, the Woolwich Singers, The Tuesday Morning Recorder Group and Creative Generation Dance and Gymnastics, all kept in order by MCs Christopher Seaden and Justine Bennett from Charlton Parkside Community Hub.

We were delighted to have our stage powered entirely by the sun and can highly recommend the Solar Roller, run by the Minesweeper Collective (enquiries to minesweepercollective[at]gmail.com) – this comes complete with a sound system and lovely technician Camden, who has attended our event for three years now.

We had a broad range of games for smaller children to play with and on including our stable of pink space hoppers and a very busy creative making tent hosted by Liz Buck from St Luke’s Church. A more sedate guided tree walk was hosted by the Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks. Community stalls included the 38th Woolwich Scout Group, the Brownies, Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Park, Charlton Athletic Community Trust Youth Services, Riverwood (a Mencap-funded carpentry project), Friends of Windrush School, Neighbourhood Watch, Greenwich Dance, the St Thomas Church Tuesday Group and the local Neighbourhood Forum. Woodhill Brewing Collective (Simon, Dan and Owen) were on site selling their very popular homebrew, the profits from which they generously donate to the St Thomas Church Night Shelter project every year and there were soft and not-so soft drinks on sale organised by Andrew Donkin from Valley Hill Community Hub.

The Community Garden was open for the afternoon so the whole park really was busy. The event was rounded off by some very competitive sack, egg and spoon, three-legged and space hopper races, the tug-of-war and raffle, proceeds from which will be used to support the St Thomas Church Night Shelter project. This free local event aimed at families is growing in confidence every year, but we aim to keep it small and manageable so there is plenty of space and opportunity for everyone to enjoy the afternoon.

Huge thanks are due to all those who pitched in this year – volunteers, performers, groups running the activity sessions, stall holders and of course the audience who turned up to help make it all such a special afternoon. We are always looking for local volunteers to help especially with fundraising, planning and stewarding on the day – if you’d like to be involved next year please contact Charlton Parkside Community Hub Admin on cpchadm[at]gmail.com.

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From rent strikes to bingo: My mum and Charlton House Stables

Rent strike
Rent strikers withholding their pounds at Charlton House stables

There’s a lot of history in Charlton House’s old stables block – some of it more recent than you think. We’re grateful to DIANA CORDWELL for sharing some memories…

Back in the early 1970s when I was an eager, young cub reporter, I was sent off to a rent strike protest at Greenwich Council’s rent offices at The Stables, Hornfair Road, Charlton.

With notebook and pen in hand and a cameraman in tow, I pitched up at the demo to be confronted by no less than my own mother Joyce and a gaggle of her neighbours brandishing placards saying”stand your ground, withhold your pound!” So there I was in the embarrassing situation of getting quotes from my own mother about her and her fellow demonstrators going on rent strike. Not to mention back at the office having to explain why one of the demonstrators in the photos sent up by the photographer had the same surname as me!

This was the start of my mum’s rather long relationship with the Press (45 plus years at the current count) and her constant appearances in various local newspapers under one guise or the other.

Following the rent strike, she popped up again in a feature on Greenwich borough’s much loved lollipop men and women (she did the school crossing patrol at Invicta Road, Blackheath Standard) and then on countless occasions over the decades in bowls match finals, women’s darts finals (we both played for the White Swan pub, Charlton Village) and several encounters with herself and a string of different mayors at various clubs she attended throughout the borough!

Joyce
Joyce – in the middle – ran the school crossing patrol near Invicta School

I remember another occasion when the Kentish Independent‘s editor Charlie King (who was known for imbibing a pint or two himself) decided we’d run a new weekly feature called Pub Spot. Off I went to the Richard I in Royal Hill, Greenwich – known affectionately as “The Tolly House” – and there she was again sitting with a group of in-laws and every ready with a smile for the camera and a quote for the Press.

With going on holiday also being up there with my mum’s favourite activities, it was only a matter of time before she popped up again in stories on Greenwich Council’s own hotel down on the Kent coast (remember that?), her TGWU trades union hotel in Eastbourne and a Mercury “Twirlies” trip to Fuengirola, Spain! It got to the point where a news editor short of a story would bellow across the newsroom to me: “Di, what’s your mum up to today?”

Today, some 50 years on, my dear old mum – now 92 – has found herself back at the Charlton Stables. But this time she’s inside and not out on the pavement.

For The Stables, no longer rent offices, is the home of the wonderful Greenwich Carers Centre and its outstanding, dedicated staff. Supported by the council and various charities, this little gem nestling by the side of Charlton House offers support,activities, events and holidays for carers and those they care for. They also run a brilliant cafe with a beautiful garden where the welcome is always warm.

Mum Joyce attends Wednesdays and Thursdays, gets picked up and taken home in the Stables minibus, plays bingo and does art workshop and then enjoys a tasty home-cooked meal and cuppa with her friends. I popped along myself a couple of weeks ago for the carers Chinese New Year celebration lunch – just one of the many events on offer in their excellent ‘Shine’ activity programme.

This place is so special that one wonders how it has managed to stay afloat in such a remarkable way in the face of callous Government cuts that have hit all the sectors that this brilliant oasis in Charlton depends on for its survival.

Stables entertainment
Stables entertainment, 2019-style

What excellent news it was then to hear from Stu – the chief executive of the Greenwich Carers Centre – that despite the odds, all is looking good for the next few years. “Late last year, we submitted a funding application that, if successful, would fund a significant part of our services for the next three years,” he said.

“I am delighted to be able to tell you that our bid was successful! We have now finally turned the corner and will be launching our new model at the beginning of April.”

The thriving Charlton House Stables today

Stu adds that the cafe is to get a facelift and a new cosy snug with TV is in the pipeline.

Plans for services for carers include an information and advice telephone support line, community engagement service linking up with heath/social care professionals, dinner and entertainment evenings, hobby and activity groups and day trips and excursions.

With so much planned, Press interest in The Stables will no doubt be high over the next few months. Joyce, of course, is ready!


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. We can’t do it without your help.
– Please tell us about your news and events
– Become a monthly supporter at patreon.com/charltonchampion
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