See Charlton-based author Andrew Donkin’s work in The Big Issue

Andrew Donkin's Big Issue strip

There’s always a good reason to buy The Big Issue, but there’s a particularly good one this week as local author Andrew Donkin has helped produce a comic strip telling the story of one of the magazine’s vendors.

With Eoin Colfer and Giovanni Rigano, Andrew created the award-winning graphic novel, Illegal, about a boy’s epic journey to Europe.

Now the trio have produced a special strip for The Big Issue. Andrew says: “I often buy The Big Issue and living in London unless you walk around with your eyes wide shut, you can’t help but notice the huge increase in people sleeping rough in the last few years. It’s gone right back to the bad old days of long ago.

“We had a piece of comics journalism at the back of Illegal and we wanted to do more. Comics are such a brilliant medium and they are, in my view, underused in this genre. We were delighted that The Big Issue features editor, Steven, invited us to tell one of their vendor’s stories as a comic. When I say ‘invited’, I mean we twisted his arm. With the strip we wanted to put a human face on a vendor and help Rae tell her own story. We wanted to show how The Big Issue really does help people and Rae is a brilliant example of that.

“One of the biggest challenges in dealing with real world stuff is of course taking care to be as sensitive as you can with the material. Our five page strip, Rae’s Story, tells the story of a real person who’s going to read the issue – as are her friends and family. It was great to speak to Rae as we wrote the strip and she was very supportive and very helpful.”

The Big Issue is available now for £2.50 – often outside Charlton Sainsbury’s and Blackheath M&S.


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Herringham Quarter: Plans for 1,300 Charlton Riverside homes go to council

Is this the future of the Charlton Riverside?

Hyde housing association has formally submitted its plans to build nearly 1,300 new homes on the Charlton riverside, making it the third major scheme to enter the planning process.

It has put in a detailed planning application to Greenwich Council to build 762 homes on two plots either side of Herringham Road, close to the Thames Barrier, with blocks of up to 10 storeys. It is calling the site Herringham Quarter.

One set of blocks would replace Maybank Wharf, the current Westminster Waste recycling yard. Of the 524 flats planned for the riverside site, 21.5% would be for shared ownership, 21% would be for London Affordable Rent, a form of social rent.

Phase 1 is where 762 homes are planned. Phases 2 and 3 are not expected until after 2024

The other set of blocks, to the south, would offer 238 flats, all for London Affordable Rent. It says it plans to take vacant possession of both sites in March. Retail and workshops are also in the plans along with open spaces and a new flood defence wall.

Hyde also plans to build 530 homes on two adjoining sites closer to the Thames Barrier. However, it has only asked for outline permission for these sites; it does not expect to take possession of the land until 2024. One set of blocks would be of 203 flats for private sale, the other would be of 285 flats with 9% London Affordable Rent and 48% shared ownership.

Don’t ask why some people are dressed for summer and others winter…

Access to the new homes, however, could be a challenge for the first residents – with the sole route in and out of the site being via the industrial yards of Eastmoor Street. Hyde says it has agreed with Transport for London for a bus route to serve the site – but oddly, it would be an extension of the 301 route to Woolwich, rather than a route to North Greenwich or Charlton station. While this would be cheap to provide, it would be lumbering residents with the cost of commuting from zone 4 even though they would be living in zone 3.

The riverside development will also have to contend with Riverside Wharf – the Tarmac yard – as a neighbour. As at Greenwich Millennium Village, one block will be built to shield the development from the industrial use.

Much of what is in the planned development has already been trailed at public exhibitions. But the application submitted to Greenwich Council does provide some very useful context as to the wider Charlton Riverside project and its neighbour at Greenwich Peninsula.

Who owns what and what’s planned on the riverside – note the amount of land owned by Greenwich Council

The other four schemes, from west to east, are:

Want to see what the riverside could look like in a decade?

Hyde’s map of future riverside developments (click to expand)

You can find the full planning documents – and send your thoughts to the council – on its planning website (reference 19/3456/F). If you read nothing else, have a look at the first volume of its transport and access statement, which is where we’ve lifted the images from.


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Charlton remembers: Royal British Legion wreath-laying ceremonies

Charlton Village War Memorial

The Charlton and Blackheath branch of the Royal British Legion will be holding its annual wreath-laying ceremonies on Saturday morning, 9 November, with two in Blackheath and two in Charlton. They will be at…

  • 10.50am – Greenwich borough war memorial at Maze Hill, at the south-eastern corner of Greenwich Park facing Blackheath
  • approximately 11:15am – St. John’s Church, Stratheden Road, Blackheath
  • approximately 11:30am – Charlton Village war memorial
  • approximately 11:50am – Charlton Cemetery memorial, Cemetery Lane

For Remembrance Sunday, there will be a parade of war veterans in Eltham High Street at 10.45am, while the mayor of Greenwich will hold a two-minute silence to mark the armistice at 11am on Monday 11 November.


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