A Roving Folk Club comes to Charlton’s White Swan for 2018

White Swan

Jim’s been in touch to say…

My wife Isobel and I have started a new folk club in Charlton. it’ll be on the first Monday of each month, upstairs at the White Swan in the Village. We had our first evening last week and had a wonderful musical time, attracting singers and musicians with a love of traditional music plus some locals who just came in to listen. It was them that suggested I get in touch with you and we are keen to attract more people. Would you give us a mention?

We certainly can…

The next one will be on New Year’s Day at 8pm, with £2 admission. Feel free to get in touch with Jim and Isobel via the Roving Folk Club Facebook page in the meantime.

(You may know Jim and Isobel from their band Bruise.)

Roving Folk Club poster


Meet the new Friends of Charlton Park on Wednesday 13 December

Charlton Park
Care for Charlton Park? Come to Charlton House on the 13th

A message in from the founders of a new Friends of Charlton Park group, who are meeting on Wednesday 13th December at Charlton House:

The council have asked local people to form a new and inclusive Friends of Charlton Park group.  A group that is open to all and includes runners, cricketers, footballers, coffee drinkers, horse riders, skateboarders, hikers, table tennis players, playground users, outboard gym frequenters, bird watchers and those that simply value Charlton Park.

We’re keen to hear and views and ideas and keen to get as many people as possible along to our next open public meeting on 13th December at 8pm at Charlton House.

You can find the Friends of Charlton Park on Twitter – @charltonfriends – and on Facebook.

Morris Walk Estate demolition to start in autumn 2018

Maryon Road
Maryon Road and Morris Walk estates were built in the mid-1960s

Demolition of the Morris Walk Estate, on the Charlton/Woolwich border, has been brought forward to autumn 2018, it has emerged.

Morris Walk, along with neighbouring Maryon Road estate and Woolwich’s Connaught Estate, are being redeveloped by developer Lovell as part of a £269 million Greenwich Council-backed scheme. The Connaught has already been demolished and the Trinity Walk development is rising in its place.

Built from prefabricated parts in the mid-1960s, the construction of the Morris Walk Estate can be seen in some shots in the cult film Blow-Up, which featured scenes shot in and near Maryon Park.

Many long-term residents have already left the estate, with the buildings currently being used for temporary accommodation. Across the three estates, 1,064 homes originally built for council rent will be replaced by 1,500 homes with 35% as “affordable”, a catch-all for range for tenures from shared ownership, through proportions of market rent to “social target rent”.

New plans mean the estate will be empty by late summer, with demolition set to begin in autumn, a year ahead of schedule, residents’ group representatives at a “stakeholders’ forum” last week were told.

The Charlton Champion emailed Greenwich Council’s press office for more information about the plan, but has not been sent a response.

Coming down: Rockwell’s 28-storey Charlton tower cut to 10 storeys

Rockwell's plans included a 28-storey tower close to Charlton station
Coming down… this 28-storey tower has now been taken out of Rockwell’s plan

Developer Rockwell is to remove plans to build a 28-storey tower off Anchor & Hope Lane from its proposed Charlton Riverside development, it has emerged.

The firm had hoped to put up nine buildings ranging from two to 28 storeys on the old British Ropes site off Anchor and Hope Lane , providing 975 homes with retail, community and leisure facilities.

But now the company is revising its scheme to cut the buildings down to 10 storeys, which means it would fit in with Greenwich Council’s recently-adopted Charlton Riverside Masterplan.

It would also cut the number of new homes to 771. It is not known how many would be for social rent or “affordable” – the previous scheme had just 13% “affordable” homes.

The announcement was made at a “stakeholders’ forum” of representatives from residents’ and amenity groups last week and tweeted by council deputy leader Danny Thorpe.

The Charlton Champion emailed Rockwell’s representatives seeking clarification on the plan, but did not get a response. A new planning application is expected soon.

Blackheath Standard’s NatWest branch to close in June 2018

Blackheath and Westcombe Park NatWest
NatWest’s closure will leave Barclays as the only bank at the Standard

The NatWest branch at Blackheath’s Royal Standard is to close in June 2018 as part of a nationwide cutbacks programme announced today.

One in four of the bank’s branches are being closed after parent group RBS said use of its branches by customers had fallen 40% since 2014.

The Old Dover Road outlet – the nearest bank for many Charlton residents – has been known as the Blackheath & Westcombe Park branch since the 1990s, when it took on the responsibilities of the closed Blackheath Village NatWest.

According to information given to its customers, the cash machines will remain in place after the last day of business on 18 June.

NatWest branches in Greenwich, Lewisham and Woolwich will remain in business.

The closure means Barclays will be last remaining bank at Blackheath Standard. The former Woolwich Equitable building society and the long-gone Greenwich Building Society – swallowed up into Portman, now part of Nationwide – also once had branches there.

The last bank remaining in Charlton itself – a Barclays – was demolished 20 years ago to accommodate a new exit for Charlton station.

Meet Charlton Park’s School of Skate

Inspired by Charlton’s new skate park but want some lessons before you take to the bowl? STUART HOPPER has been in touch to tell us about the lessons School of Skate has been running in Charlton Park since the skatepark opened. 

I’ve been part of the group campaigning for the skatepark for the last 8 years, so it makes sense to carry it through and try and get the local community involved now the park is here.

We helped out at the opening event, but weren’t able to do the public participation for Greenwich Council because of Storm Brian. We did then offer 20 free places at skate school, the following weekend to make up for that, but the curse followed us through and we had to postpone again because of bad weather.

School of Skate

We’ve been testing the water at the skatepark in November, and the response has been great.

We started doing Saturday mornings but there was so much demand we started Sundays and we’ve had to turn people away, unfortunately.

We provide skateboards and safety equipment and let the kids have a go. We cover the basics, riding along, and turning.

It’s mainly been the kids getting involved, I think this is because I’ve been letting people know through parents’ groups on Facebook (I’m a parent too).

We’ve been charging a moderate amount so it’s accessible, but we’re hoping to find funding so we can offer it to those who maybe can’t or won’t be able to spare the cash.

Once the kids get into skating, it’s a relatively inexpensive pastime.

If you can find £40 for a secondhand setup, it can give you literally years of no-cost use, what with the many free outdoor skateparks in London now.

The skatepark in Charlton Park is probably the best in south-east London, until Crystal Palace opens in a few weeks. We had the mantle for a while, though! As skateboarding will be in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics it’s really going to be highlighted in the public’s consciousness.

School of Skate

We’ve managed to get some indoor space on Tuesdays at  Aircraft Circus in Woolwich. Unfortunately they are closing down for a refurb during January and February, but we’re hoping to be back at the skatepark after February half term offering a more diverse range of lessons; for those progressing beyond absolute beginner, also for adults, and we’ve had calls for a girls-only class run by a female instructor.

We’ve also had schools get in touch about lessons, as well as scout groups. We’ve recently been asked if we can provide skate school places to be raffled at Charlton Manor Primary’s Christmas Fair, which we’ve agreed to. We’ll be there on Friday 8 December to talk about what we do.

We’re also looking into the possibility of running lessons during the school holidays, so watch this space.

Our blog is here – www.schoolofskate.co.uk/blog – and we’ve got some footage of the skate schools on our YouTube channel. In the new year I’m hoping to turn this into more of a trick guide, so everyone can learn online. You can also find School of Skate on Facebook.

Charlton Primark: Hundreds queue to bag bargains as store opens

Charlton Primark
Charlton’s new Primark is open for business

Hundreds of people turned up on Thursday morning to be among the first to rummage through the racks at Charlton’s new Primark store, which was opened this morning by Charlton Athletic players Johnnie Jackson and Ben Amos, along with club ambassador Keith Peacock.

The 47,000-square foot store is Primark’s 183rd in the UK and 21st in London. It employs 216 staff (there are still 16 vacancies), with 50 in their first ever jobs. Among their tasks will be looking after 243 mannequins.

It’s been a huge effort for the retail giant to get the store open – staff only got the keys last Wednesday, and have been busy unpacking 14,000 boxes of stock.

A little look around before the rush…

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton
Apparently these tassel ear-rings are Primark’s biggest seller…

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton

More stats: there are 50 fitting rooms, 20 cash desks, two “recharge” seating areas and a coffee shop. Like we said, it’s a retail giant.

Proud store boss Sunny Vadhar thanked his staff at the opening…

See, he says “Charlton”. They say “Charlton”. Unlike some of the other chains in the retail parks, the Primark team know where they are and are proud to be here.

After a few words from from Primark chief executive Paul Marchant, the outsized scissors came out…

…and then the moment the crowds were let in. It’s a perfectly choreographed moment. You can see why people who have opened scores of stores in their careers were still looking genuinely excited.

And they kept coming. 400 people? 500 people? We all lost count.

So there it is. Primark’s arrival completes the Brocklebank Retail Park, and we’ll have to live with the traffic jams it’ll bring. We’ll deal with all that another time, but for now, we’ve a plush new clothes store on our doorstep that’s given lots of people employment. And one that was kind enough to invite us and show us around, rather than just imposing themselves on the area and pretending their store is in Greenwich.

So go and have a look. Maybe leave the car at home, though…

Charlton Primark

Charlton Primark

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton

Primark Charlton is open for business from 9am-8pm Mondays to Saturdays, 11am-5pm on Sundays. Thanks to Primark for the invite and the tour.