Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival confirms 2017 line-up – including Withnail in the pub

Withnail and I

The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is back for a second year – with a screening of Withnail and I at the White Swan pub among the highlights.

The cult 1987 movie about two down-at-heel actors on a disastrous break in the Lake District, starring Richard E Grant and Paul McGann, will be screened at the pub on Sunday 10 September, presented by louche SE London blog (and mates of ours) Deserter.

All films are entirely free to watch – just turn up at the venue. The festival, which runs from 8-16 September, is entirely run by volunteers and is one of a network of free film festivals across south-east London.

Danny Boyle’s Sunshine will be playing on Saturday 9 September at The Stables – next door to Charlton House – with Flamsteed Astronomy Society on hand to bring you a solar observing session. That evening will see thriller The Others, starring Nicole Kidman, screened in the eerie surroundings of Charlton House after dark.

The Stables also plays host to Dirty Dancing – with bonus salsa class – on Wednesday 13 September – and Rising From Ashes – about the first Rwandan cycling team – on Saturday 16 September.

Documentary Ha’way The Lads – about legendary Charlton Athletic manager Jimmy Seed’s determination to break away from the North East’s coalfields and play football – plays at the Swan on Monday 11 September, with a short talk from Seed’s grandson James Dutton. This night is hosted by the independent, volunteer-run Charlton Athletic Museum.

Kids’ animation Kubo and the Two Strings plays at Thorntree Primary School on Tuesday 12 Septembember, with Hidden Figures showing there in the evening.

Documentary project 1000 Londoners will be at The Old Cottage Cafe on Thursday 14th September. Charlton House will host a short films competition later that evening, with a £1,500 prize for the winning film-maker on offer from sponsor Rockwell Property.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens the festival at Building 10 in Woolwich’s Royal Arsenal on Friday 8 September, while a Grease sing-a-long will close it at the same venue on Saturday 16 September.

Other highlights include Suffragette at Greenwich Rugby Football Club, Plumstead Common on Sunday 10 September, Trading Places at the Woolwich Equitable pub on Monday 11 September, Salma Hayek in acclaimed biopic Frida at Artfix in Woolwich on Wednesday 13 September and Battle of Britain at St George’s Garrison Church off Woolwich Common on Friday 15 September, featuring a guided walk from local historian Steve Hunnisett.

For more information, visit the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival website.

Advertisements

White Swan freeholder Mendoza makes third attempt to build housing at back of pub

White Swan

The firm which owns the freehold to the White Swan pub in Charlton Village, property developer Mendoza Ltd, is making a third attempt to build housing on land behind its beer garden.

The Isle of Man-based company, which makes its money from buying pubs and converting at least part of the land to residential use, has had two past applications rejected.

A first attempt to build two homes, in October 2015, was thrown out by Greenwich Council planners. That decision was upheld by a planning inspector. A second attempt was rejected earlier this year.

Now the company is back with a much-reduced scheme to build one three-bedroom house on the currently-disused land which sits between the beer garden and the Torrance Close service road.

White Swan planning application
The new proposal is for just one house, sunk partly below ground level

The house would be partly built below ground level to reduce its impact on the surrounding conservation area, and would have no windows that could open onto the beer garden, documents submitted to Greenwich Council show.

Architects Milan Babic say: “We believe that the new proposal preserves, enhances and
uplifts the character of the site, thereby creating a habitable, functional and aesthetically woven architecture.”

Mendoza bought the pub from previous owner Punch Taverns in March 2015, evicting the then-management three months later. However, it reopened in September 2015 under the management of Greenwich’s Pelton Arms boss Geoff Keen, who is trying to keep it as a viable, community-focused pub. A second bar and function room has now opened on the pub’s upper floor.

To see more details and comment on the scheme, visit Greenwich Council’s planning website and search for application 17/2043/F.

Behind the hoardings: A sneak peek at the London Bridge station building site

If you travel from Charlton to central London, you’ll almost certainly had your journeys affected by the Thameslink Programme, which is causing dramatic changes to the rail lines to London Bridge.

The end result will see London Bridge become a major hub for services to north as well as south London – with trains able to run to Peterborough and Cambridge with frequent services to Farringdon and St Pancras. Charlton is due to get a regular service to Luton Airport as part of the scheme.

As well as big changes to the track layout, this means London Bridge station is being completely rebuilt. Part of the new concourse opened last summer.

With another big closure due at the end of August, The Charlton Champion went behind the hoardings to see what’s happening as an army of engineers and construction workers race to finish the job off ahead of May 2018’s planned reopening.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

New entrances are being created – this is the station’s original taxi ramp.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

With new entrances come new retail and restaurant units…

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

This is the rest of the concourse, which is taking shape behind the hoardings. New entrances will open the station up to Tooley Street.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

The new concourse also unites the two halves of the station – the one which traditionally served SE London and Kent, and the other for trains to the rest of south London, Surrey and Sussex – for the first time. It’s a long way from the cramped 1970s tunnels of the old station.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

We’re up the top on platforms four and five. These will be for the new Thameslink services. There will be nine through platforms at the new station, up from six at the old one.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

Track on platform 5 awaiting being put in place. Platform 6, opposite, is due to open once this August’s major closure is over.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

Platforms 3 and 4 are awaiting ballast and rails.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

Back down we go…

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

This space underneath the station is being opened up to provide a new access to the London Underground. Again, there’ll be more retail and restaurant units here.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

This is outside the station’s main entrance by the Shard, and used to be a way into the Underground. When work is complete, there’ll be a new bar here.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

Some of the new entrance is starting to appear on Tooley Street.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

This new entrance on Tooley Street will provide easier access to More London, City Hall and Tower Bridge.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

What most people see now – the current concourse at London Bridge, with work taking place behind. The station is due to fully reopen in May 2018, with full Thameslink services beginning from December 2018.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

A view from the 72nd floor of the Shard, which should give an overview of the complexity of the trackwork involved in creating the new Thameslink lines.

As part of this, there will be severe disruption to services between Saturday 26 August and Saturday 2 September – including on four working days, when the lines to Charing Cross will be closed. There will be fewer trains from Charlton, and they will run to Cannon Street only (Victoria on the days when that is closed too). For more information, visit www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk/2017.

There will also be serious disruption around Christmas and New Year.

Thanks to Network Rail and Team London Bridge for organising the tour.

Charlton skate park: Work starts as council plans October opening

Charlton skate park site, 24 July 2017
It’s coming… work began today on turning a corner of Charlton Park into a new skate park. Greenwich Council plans to have the new facility ready in October, and work is due to take place on the site between 8am and 6pm on weekdays.

Detailed designs were given final planning permission earlier this month. Already, a tree has been felled to make way for the new facility, which will curve around the outdoor gym.

The skate park, which is funded by Berkeley Homes and replaces one it has built on in Woolwich, caused some controversy with a Friends of Charlton Park group being formed to fight the proposals.

However, with that battle lost, the group is looking for new members – so if you want to get in involved in the future of Charlton Park and its new skate park, application forms should be in the Old Cottage Cafe.

Charlton Ward Budget Watch: what’s been funded so far?

Big Red Bus Club
Charlton’s Big Red Bus Club has benefited from the ward budget, along with 7 other projects to date.

Greenwich borough’s Ward Budget programme makes £30,000 available to each ward, with schemes proposed by the community and selected for funding by local councillors. With – we estimate – only 5 months of the programme left to run (we understand it will conclude 6 months before the May 2018 council elections), we’ve taken a look at what’s been funded so far.

Key figures for Charlton ward:

  1. 8 projects have been approved so far (including one joint scheme to fund the Greenwich Foodbank Van) out of 70 confirmed across the borough.
  2. Only 22% of Charlton’s budget had been allocated at the time the report was published (there’s a surprisingly wide variation between wards on this: Kidbrooke and Hornfair have allocated 89% of their budget; Thamesmead Moorings less than 5%).

Here are the projects funded so far (click project names for more detail on the council website):

Project Amount Decision
CCRA Community Green Spaces Project £985 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £985 to support the improvement of land (through planting) on the street environment in Central Charlton.
Charlton Toy Library £1,472 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £1,472 to fund the purchase of baby and child safety equipment, pre-school toys and books for the Charlton Toy Library loan scheme, arts and crafts materials, an A-board sign along with leaflets and information packs to promote the service.
The Big Red Bus Club £950 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £950 for the provision of specialist play equipment for the Big Red Bus Club, Stay and Play service for disabled children in Charlton.
Thorntree School – Community Garden £500 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £500 for the provision of gardening equipment, plants and shrubs to renovate a piece of land next to Thorntree Primary school as a community garden for the school children to plant and maintain.
Charlton Community Day £750 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £750 towards the costs of running a community day in Charlton Park on 23rd July 2016.  The event will be run and managed by Global Fusion Music & Arts.  The ward budget contribution will cover the cost of the sound system and volunteer expenses.
Greenwich Foodbank Van £428* Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £6,000 towards the purchase of a van by Greenwich Foodbank to facilitate the efficient transport of food around the Borough to be funded from the Ward Budget Scheme as proposed by the members of fourteen Wards.

(*Charlton Champion’s estimate based on equal division of cost across 14 wards)

Charlton Hope Sale £1,500 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £1,500 to support the Charlton Hope Sale, an outreach group that provides support to local people in need.
Valley Hill Hub – Air Pollution Monitors £120 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £120 to enable the Valley Hill Hub to purchase and install ten air pollution  monitors in the Charlton area and to publish a report on the findings to local interest groups and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Other funded schemes in wards adjacent to Charlton include:

Searching for ‘Ward Budgets’ in the Decisions section of Greenwich council’s website will bring up details of other funded projects.

Ward Budget spend by ward:

Ward Total Approved Amount Remaining Ward Budget Percentage Spent
Thamesmead Moorings £1,355.62 £28,644.38 4.5
Woolwich Riverside £1,450.00 £28,550 4.8
Middle Park and Sutcliffe £3,400.00 £26,600 11.3
Plumstead £3,455.62 £26,544.38 11.5
Charlton £6,677.00 £23,323 22.3
Peninsula £7,400.00 £22,600 24.7
Eltham West £8,045.87 £21,954.13 26.8
Coldharbour New Eltham £9,950.00 £20,050 33.2
Blackheath/ Westcombe £12,618.20 £17,381.80 42.1
Greenwich West £17,383.00 £12,617 57.9
Eltham South £18,245.10 £11,754.90 60.8
Abbey Wood £20,973.50 £9,026.50 69.9
Shooters Hill £22,650.00 £7,350 75.5
Woolwich Common £23,177.00 £6,823 77.3
Eltham North £24,311.10 £5,688.90 81.0
Glyndon £26,000.00 £4,000 86.7
Kidbrooke and Hornfair £26,658.97 £3,341.03 88.9

Many thanks to Cllr Spencer Drury of Eltham North for highlighting on his website the Greenwich council report detailing Ward Budget spending to date and crunching the percentage figures above.

So, with over £20k available to spend in Charlton ward, what you like to see the money spent on? Better Christmas lights for the Village? Improvements to parks? A contribution to the Blackheath fireworks? Community events? Let us know in the comments below – the clock’s ticking!

Unseen for 20 years: Inside Charlton’s Summer House


Thanks to Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust for letting us have a look inside the Summer House at Charlton this morning.

As revealed on the Charlton Champion earlier this month, work is now underway to restore the 17th century Summer House – believed to have been designed by Inigo Jones.

Asbestos has been removed and the interior cleaned up, revealing the public toilets last used in the early 1990s. The next phase of work will see these removed, interior partitions taken down, the windows replaced, then the space made available for temporary (dare we say pop-up?) uses.

We understand that the building will be lit from the inside at night, which should improve that particular corner of Charlton Village after dark.