‘Deteriorating’ Charlton Village placed on Historic England ‘at risk’ register

Charlton Village
Charlton Village: Conservation area ‘at risk’, Historic England says

Charlton Village’s conservation area has been added to Historic England’s “at risk” register, with the agency warning that its condition is “deteriorating”.

The Heritage at Risk register highlights important sites that are in danger of being lost due to neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

Charlton House’s former summer house, which is now being restored, has been on the register for some years, but whole conservation areas can also be added to the list.

33 The Village
Bowes’ shoe shop closed at Christmas 2015

The village has long been disfigured by empty and neglected shop units. Number 33, the former Bowes shoe shop, has sat empty since it closed nearly two years ago. Land Registry documents indicate it has been owned since 1989 by Kamil Ahmet of Clapton, east London.

11 The Village
This unit was left open to the elements during the summer

Number 11, the former Sol Property Services, has had a front door panel left open to the elements for weeks earlier this year. It is owned by Maqbool and Nadeem Chaudry of Birmingham, according to the Land Registry.

While the recent revamp of the White Swan and the arrival of the Kasturi Indian restaurant have given the village a bit of a lift, it has struggled to attract other new businesses that would keep these properties in good condition and start restoring The Village to its former glory.

Two years ago, this site published one resident’s musings on how the area needs a regeneration plan. Who will make the first move to sort Charlton Village’s problems out – residents, or Greenwich Council? Your thoughts would be appreciated.


Charlton’s Horn Fair returns to Charlton House on Sunday

Horn Fair at Charlton House

Charlton House hosts its Horn Fair on Sunday 15 October from 10am to 4pm.

It might not be the riotous, drunken event of Horn Fairs past, but it does promise a range of family-friendly activities, cream teas, market stalls, children’s music lessons, and “Hogarth’s 1751 pub selling gin and beer” – plus live music and balloon entertainment.

There’s a Facebook event for the Horn Fair here, and you can follow Charlton House on Twitter here.

37 new council homes to replace Charlton Village sheltered housing

Fletching Road drawing
The proposed development on Fletching Road, with Charlton Church Lane to the left

Plans for 37 new council homes to replace a 1980s sheltered housing block behind Charlton Village were backed by Greenwich Council’s main planning committee last night.

The council’s Planning Board endorsed the scheme by three votes to one, with two abstentions, after concerns were raised about the way the council had gone about consulting people who live next to Fred Styles House, which faces demolition.

The block will be replaced by three 1-bedroom and five 2-bedroom flats, along with 16 one-bedroom, seven 2-bedroom and six 3-bedroom houses, all for social rent.

While the current block only allows access to Charlton Church Lane through a gate, the new scheme will see two pedestrian walkways linking it with Fletching Road, which runs behind The Village.

Residents of the homes that surround Fred Styles House have voiced concerns that turning their area into a pedestrian thoroughfare will lead to an increase in crime.

Fred Styles House
Fred Styles House as seen from Charlton Church Lane
Fred Styles House
The current building has 42 bedsits and closed in October 2013

One resident, who lives next door to the proposed development, told councillors she only found out last week that the development would come right up against the side of her house – building over a path she uses to access her front garden, particularly when emptying bins.

Another complained that construction of three one-bedroom flats would block out daylight and lead to two homes being “enclosed like caves”, while one objector said residents’ questions had been met with “stock answers, don’t knows or ‘we’ll get back to you'”.

Fred Styles House
Many of the upset neighbours’ homes have this view of the current Fred Styles House

One of the architects behind the new development told the meeting that he wanted the site to feel “much more villagey” with a “traditional approach to housing”. His aim was to create “a little neighbourhood”.

Fletching Road houses
How the new homes will look

Several councillors indicated they were unhappy with the way the residents had been consulted. Council deputy leader Danny Thorpe said there was “potential for an off-line discussion” about giving existing residents communal bins to ease the problems caused by losing space near their homes. Kidbrooke with Hornfair councillor Norman Adams voiced concerns about the homes having flat roofs so close to a conservation area.

Planning chair Mark James said he backed the scheme but wanted the applicant – the council – to “engage further” with residents, adding that open walkways actually reduced the risk of crime.

Fletching Road development
A 3D view of the development

The council was spared the embarrassment of seeing its own housing proposal thrown out, with three councillors – James, Thorpe, and Mark Elliott – backing the scheme to one – Clive Mardner – against. Two – Adams and Geoff Brighty – abstained.

  • Last night’s meeting also approved plans to transform the Woolwich “island site” – the former home of Greenwich University – with 300 new homes.
  • Help discover the history of the UK’s street murals at Charlton House

    Floyd Road mural
    The Floyd Road mural was completed in 1976

    You’re probably familiar with the work of Greenwich Mural Workshop – even if you’ve never heard of it before. It’s responsible for murals and mosaics across London, including the giant mural on Floyd Road, by The Valley, completed in 1976.

    Now it is running a year-long National Lottery-backed project, For Walls With Tongues, to record the history of the artists who created the UK’s mural movement from the 1960s. As part of this, it’s looking for people to interview artists as part of an oral history project. These interviews will be archived by the British Library and on a dedicated website.

    Project leader Carol Kenna says: “Our project aims to develop an art history to intrigue people who have not encountered mural painting before and provide a resource for students, researchers, critics, historians and the general public. For Walls With Tongues will ensure that the mural movement will be recognised as an important aspect of 20th century art history.”

    If you want to develop your interview skills, For Walls With Tongues is hosting a one-day professional interviewing course at Charlton House on Friday 20 October. It’ll be led by Rib Davis, a specialist oral history tutor and author and is aimed at anyone interested in developing interview skills to a standard required by the British Library.

    Participants can then become volunteer interviewers on the For Walls With Tongues project if they want to, although the course is open to all who want to sharpen their interview skills.

    There’ll also be a seminar at Whitechapel Art Gallery on Wednesday 1 November where artists will discuss their work.

    Places are limited, so if you want to take part in the interviewing course or attend the seminar, get in touch with Carol Kenna via Greenwich Mural Workshop.

    Men in Sheds and Seniors Drop-in Cafe at Mycenae House

    Men in Sheds poster

    Not been to Mycenae House recently? You should take a look – Greenwich borough’s most successful community centre has a wide range of events, from concerts to comedy clubs and scientific talks. And if you’re a man over 50, it can help you sharpen your woodworking skills (or gain some).

    Age UK Bromley and Greenwich’s Men In Sheds has been running since 2010, putting the skills of older men to work for community projects in their local areas. If you’re used to working and you’ve ever found yourself not working, you’ll know it can be frustrating and depressing, to say the least. If you’ve retired and find yourself stuck at home all day, when you know you’ve still got lots in you to give, it can’t be good for you – or anyone who might also stuck at home with you.

    Over the next couple of Wednesdays (4 and 11 October), Men In Sheds will have a “mobile shed” at Mycenae House between 12noon and 3pm. You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to have an interest. It’s better than watching Countdown

    Mycenae House is also running a weekly drop-in cafe for seniors each Thursday from 1-4pm – it’s open to all the family, and provides a welcoming and friendly environment to meet new people and get advice. Tea and cake are just £1.

    The River Ale House: Have you been to Charlton’s new local micropub yet?

    The River Ale House

    Okay, it’s actually in Greenwich, but we couldn’t resist giving a mention to The River Ale House, which opened a couple of weeks ago just down the Woolwich Road.

    It’s in the former Under Cover Experience lingerie shop – the bottom fell out of the knickers market, and owner Trevor thought he’d try his hand at beer instead.

    So far, The River Ale House is doing a good trade in the evenings – providing somewhere to go in a stretch of Woolwich Road that’s long lacked a decent pub.

    There’s a rotating range of ales on, plus ciders, wines and spirits. It’s also very dog-friendly.

    The River Ale House

    It’s the eighth micropub to open in south-east London over the past few years, joining The Long Pond in Eltham, Door Hinge in Welling, Hopper’s Hut and Hackney Carriage in Sidcup, Broken Drum in Blacken, Penny Farthing in Crayford and One Inn The Wood in Petts Wood. Another one, The Kentish Belle, is due to open in Bexleyheath later this year.

    If the River Ale House gives you a taste for the smaller boozer, here’s a micropub crawl of south-east London that’s been tried and tested by the Charlton Champion team.

    The River Ale House is at 131 Woolwich Road SE10 0RJ and is open 12noon to 11pm every day. You can find out more on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Charlton Champion joins the Independent Community News Network

    ICNN logo

    We’re proud to announce that The Charlton Champion has joined the new Independent Community News Network, which represents community news operators across the UK.

    The Charlton Champion is one of over 400 community news operations in the UK, which range from printed newspapers to small-scale websites like this one. The ICNN, which is based at Cardiff University, aims to champion and support journalism at the local and hyperlocal level, where news coverage is most at risk of dying out.

    This website first appeared nearly seven years ago. Since then, we’ve seen deep cuts and a lack of investment cause serious harm to traditional local news coverage not just in Charlton, but across Greenwich borough and south-east London in general.
    It’s a story that’s being repeated across the country as news organisations grapple with a bust business model – or simply keep squeezing titles for profit.

    Our membership of ICNN gives us access to the expertise built up by Cardiff’s Centre for Community Journalism as well as the experiences of our fellow members. It also enables us to feed into their discussions about how the sector should grow.

    The ICNN opened for business in July with just one member – West Leeds Dispatch. Now there are 30, including Love Wapping and Inside Croydon, two sites which have done brilliant work in informing readers and holding their local representatives to account, and the excellent Walthamstow-based Waltham Forest Echo.

    Without exception, all members of ICNN are committed to working within and adhering strictly to the guidelines of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

    We recently gave the site its first revamp since 2010 – it should now be a lot easier to read on mobiles and tablets (and see how many places in the header you can recognise!). But we’ll keep on doing what we’ve always done – bringing you updates from community groups across Charlton, and keeping a watch on how council and planning decisions will affect SE7. The site is run in our spare time so we aren’t able to cover everything, but we’ll give it a good go. Got a story? Get in touch.

    (And we’ve a new email address – charltonchampion.se7[at]gmail.com.)

    You can support The Charlton Champion by following us on Twitter and Facebook and sharing our stories with friends and neighbours. For those who want to back the site with something more tangible, we’re looking at options for how readers can do that and we’ll hopefully have something for you soon.

    We’re also always on the lookout for new contributors – drop us a line if you fancy joining the team and writing something.

    Or you can support us simply by keep on reading. Thank you for clicking on The Charlton Champion. We hope to keep on doing this for a good few years to come.