Buses from Charlton to Greenwich town centre halved from today

Route 180 bus displaying its destination as Lewisham
One for the history books: the 180 to Lewisham is no more

It’ll be more difficult to take a bus from Charlton to the centre of Greenwich from today, with the rerouting of route 180 to North Greenwich station.

The route has plied the length of Woolwich Road for the past 70 years, but is being altered as part of changes brought in to coincide with the opening of the Elizabeth Line at Woolwich and Abbey Wood later this month.

Instead of running from Lewisham to the Belvedere industrial area, it will now run from North Greenwich to a new housing development at Erith Quarry.

The change will mean more buses to North Greenwich, but route 472 is being reduced in frequency at the same time and rerouted so it runs from North Greenwich to Abbey Wood. Morning rush-hour buses from Charlton station have also been scrapped.

Map of planned TfL changes
A map of the changes (click to expand)

Route 129, which runs from North Greenwich station to the Cutty Sark, has been extended to Lewisham as a partial replacement for the 180 beyond Greenwich, but at a reduced frequency of every 12 minutes.

Whereas both the 177 and 180 provided 12 buses per hour between Woolwich Road and Greenwich town centre, only the 177, with six buses an hour, will cover this section now. In the evening, the combined service drops from nine buses per hour to five.

The change was announced five years ago – when it was still believed that Crossrail would open in 2018 – but hopes of a rethink were dashed when the new 180 route started appearing on bus stops and journey planners at the end of last month.

Back in 2017, TfL, which is chaired by London mayor Sadiq Khan, said: “The 177 has sufficient capacity for the level of demand on this corridor. We will continue to keep this under review.”

Further details of what TfL is billing as an “improvement” can be found on its website.


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Inspector gives 255 Charlton Riverside homes the go-ahead

The two schemes would bring 255 new homes to what is currently industrial land

A planning inspector has approved two new housing developments on the Charlton Riverside, including 107 homes for people on housing waiting lists, overturning Greenwich Council decision to refuse the schemes last year.

The twin schemes, for land behind the disused Victoria pub on Woolwich Road, are the second and third housing developments to get approval on the riverside after plans for 1,200 homes close to the Thames Barrier were approved in March.

The housing association Optivo has now got the go-ahead to build 67 affordable-rent homes on land between Eastmoor Street and Westmoor Street, while the developer Aitch will build 188 homes on the plot next door, including 40 affordable-rent homes and 10 homes for shared ownership.

A lobby group representing residents’ associations, Charlton Together, had objected to the Aitch scheme, but both were thrown out by Greenwich’s Labour-dominated planning committee last July for not fitting in with the masterplan drawn up for the Charlton Riverside.

Eastmoor Street Optivo render
Optivo’s plans for Eastmoor Street, with the Aitch scheme in white next door to it.

In that area, the masterplan suggests building three or four-storey townhouses to fit in with the Victoria and the former Lads of the Village pub – now a vets’ surgery – near by. Optivo is planning blocks of up to seven storeys, while the Aitch scheme goes up to 10 storeys.

But the planning inspector, Patrick Hanna, said that townhouses did not fit in with plans to build up to 7,000 homes on the riverside – or guidance from the Environment Agency that the lower floors could not be occupied in case of flooding.

“The townhouse typology is unlikely to be a realistic or optimal option at the appeal site, which in turn affects the ambitions for an intimate village feel in this location,” he wrote.

“As a consequence of these site constraints, it follows that when the [masterplan] is taken as a whole, and bearing in mind that it represents guidance only, its general thrust can reasonably and sensibly be taken to encourage medium rise developments.”

Having commercial units on the lower floors would be more attractive than townhouses with ground-floor garages, Hanna added.

Optivo’s site as it is now with the Aitch site to the right

Hanna also said that the council should have approved the schemes because the borough did not have a big enough supply of new housing coming up.

Despite the clear flaws in the masterplan, Labour councillors Gary Dillon and Jo van den Broek – elected last week for the new Charlton Village & Riverside ward – put it centre stage in a leaflet delivered to residents.

In a passage that may only have made sense to those involved in residents’ groups that have fought for lower-rise buildings on the riverside, they promised to “ensure that the communities’ voices are heard and that the spirit of the masterplan is respected”.

However, the inspector’s decision – and his explicit acknowledgement that aspects of the plan are flawed because they do not take into account flood risks – may now give future developers the confidence to aim higher when they submit their plans.


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Meet the Collection: Major exhibition starts at Charlton House

Work going on in Charlton House

It’s a big day at Charlton House today as its first big exhibition in over two years opens up, with lots going on all month. Here’s why you might like to take a look…

Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust’s museum and archive pop-up programme Meet the Collection begins its extended final stop at Charlton House today. The month-long event marks the trust’s first in-person exhibition and Charlton House’s longest re-opening since before March 2020.

The Living in Greenwich: Meet the Collection exhibition includes new art installations from artists-in-residence Fiona Veacock and CraftA, who worked with local community groups Mycenae House ReachOut, Listening Ears, Community Direction, and Eltham Crotchet N’ Natter to create table setting of pottery and seven textile banners. Each piece of art is inspired by Greenwich Heritage’s museum collections and archive, as well as the participants’ understanding of home.

In keeping with the theme, the trust has prepared an accompanying museum display inspired by food and home. The exhibit includes a variety of pieces and documents ranging from those preserved from Charlton House over time to Roman dishes discovered in the Greenwich Park archaeological excavation. Attendees will also be able to hear stories from Greenwich Heritage’s audio archive, as Greenwich’s locals describe the tangible and intangible things that mean home to them, in their own voices and words.

The exhibition will also mark the debut of five brand new costumed tours of the House, designed for families by historical actor and educator Hilary Wood, available for booking at a cost of £5 per person (free for those 5 and under). The line-up for these hour-long Sunday tours is as follows:

Today: Jacobean
8th May: East India Company and Charlton House
15th May: Victorian
22nd May: World War I
29th May: World War II

As well as Sundays from 11am to 4pm, the Trust will open the exhibition Wednesday to Fridays from 9:30am to 3:30pm, including craft sessions with our artists-in-residence. For a small fee, attendees will be invited to take part in a community textile (Thursday 5th and Friday 6th May) and make their own pottery work to be professionally fired (Sunday 15th May).

The trust is still operating cautiously, with the health and safety of their team and visitors in mind. Visitors can expect smaller-than-usual capacities for events, open windows to allow for the free flow of fresh air, and hand sanitiser available on site. They recommend that those visiting indoors wear a face covering where possible.

Meet the Collection is generously supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Tanner Trust, and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Visit greenwichheritage.org for more details, including booking information.


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