The Valley to become mass vaccination centre this Saturday

The Valley
The season might be over, but The Valley is set for socially-distanced crowds on Saturday

Charlton Athletic’s stadium will become a mass vaccination centre for one day on Saturday – with all Greenwich borough residents who have not yet had a jab invited to the drop-in session.

The first 1,000 people at The Valley between 8am and 8pm will get a free ticket for a future Charlton match, with other prizes on offer during the day.

While The Valley has been open to locals with appointments for jabs since March, Saturday will be the first time its gates have been flung open for all, with people set to queue up around the pitch to get their vaccine.

AstraZeneca vaccines will be on offer for those over 40; under-40s will also be able to get the jab but will need a clinical assessment first. People who have had their first vaccine eight weeks ago but not yet had their second are also invited. More details are on the Greenwich Council website.

While nearly 80 per cent of the UK population have had one at least one jab, that figure falls to 60 per cent in Greenwich. While London has a comparatively younger population, there is still some ground to be made up in older age groups – nearly a quarter of people aged 50 to 55 in Greenwich have still not had a jab, according to Public Health England data.

Pop-up clinics are taking place around the borough with other vaccines, often at short notice – today will see Pfizer jabs offered to over-25s at the Clockhouse community centre on the Woolwich Dockyard estate from 9am to 4.30pm.

Pfizer vaccines will also be offered at the Wallace health centre in Clarence Road, Deptford, on Wednesday; the Amal Pharmacy in Greenwich Millennium Village on Thursday and Sutcliffe Park Sports Centre in Eltham on Friday.

In addition, the Woolwich Late Night Pharmacy in General Gordon Square is offering AstraZeneca vaccines to over-40s every day from 8am to 2pm until July 25.

Regular listings of pop-up vaccination centres can be found on the NHS South East London website – which also includes neighbouring boroughs – and on Greenwich Council’s social media feeds.


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Faraday Works: Siemens building stays and ‘affordable’ housing cut in new Charlton Riverside plans

37 Bowater Road
37 Bowater Road was listed by English Heritage last year – U+I wanted to demolish it (photo: Neil Clasper)

The developer behind plans for hundreds of new homes on a riverside factory site has launched a new consultation on its plans after abandoning plans to demolish a key building.

U+I is asking residents to comment on revised plans for Faraday Works – the old Siemens factory on the Charlton/Woolwich border – after 37 Bowater Road, which was due for demolition under its original proposal, was given a Grade II listing.

The former cable factory was given the listing in February 2020, shortly after an application for planning permission went in on the site. It is not known if any local campaign group pushed for English Heritage to take action on plans to demolish the site; no group announced the listing at the time.

Faraday Works
The long-derelict wire factory could become a hub for new businesses

But – as with the case of the covered market in Woolwich – keeping the listed building could come at a cost. Plans for 35 per cent “affordable” housing – which Greenwich Council demands in new developments – have been scaled back to “zero to 8 per cent”, with U+I and the council seeking funding to increase this amount.

Last month Greenwich councillors approved plans for the Woolwich covered market site that offered just under 20 per cent “affordable” homes but kept the market after it was listed: original plans were to demolish it and have 35 per cent “affordable” housing.

The original plans for Faraday Works included building 492 homes on the site, restoring the crumbling former wire workshop on Bowater Road as a centre for new businesses and building 13-storey blocks in other parts of the site.

Faraday Works render

Now its plans are for 380 homes and include building a roof extension on top of 37 Bowater Road to “reflect the engineering legacy of innovation … [this] has been supported by Historic England in early consultation”. New housing will be cut down to 10 storeys, while plans for the wire workshop and a light industrial site remain unchanged.

Galliard Homes, which recently bought the Leegate development at Lee Green, has pulled out of the project.

Faraday Works render

Richard Upton, the chief executive of U+I, said: “Shortly after submitting the application in late 2019, 37 Bowater Road was designated Grade II Listed by Historic England, the only building on site planned for replacement. As a result, U+I are bringing forward revised proposals for the site, that retain much of the ambition and ethos of the previous scheme, and centre the restoration of the historic buildings as a key piece of the Faraday Works story.

“We agree that Charlton Riverside needs to be truly unique and distinctive, with the site’s heritage being a key component of that identity. Our ambition is an exemplar heritage-led scheme, featuring new homes, retail and employment spaces, all wrapped in beautiful public realm. This will deliver space for 800 jobs and around 380 new homes.

“37 Bowater Road will be sensitively restored and adapted along with all of the other existing buildings on site. The building will feature commercial and light industrial uses on the ground floor, and residential above, where unusually high ceilings and large open floorplates will create stunning new heritage apartments.

Faraday Works render

“We also want to reflect some of the legacy of engineering innovation on this site through contemporary additions and extension. We are pleased that the key move of cantilevered roof extensions to 37 Bowater Road has been supported by Historic England and the Design Review Panel in early consultation.

“Over previous public consultations, and through extensive discussions with our neighbours, we’ve listened to and learned from their feedback, and we’re once again asking for input in order to create an exemplar London neighbourhood.”

Faraday Works render

Residents can visit faradayworks.com to find out more, while there will also be a chance to talk to the developers over Zoom on Thursday, with in-person tours of the site on 15 and 17 June.


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Angerstein Wharf rail crossing closure: Work to improve alternative route, MP tells Network Rail

Angerstein Wharf crossing gate
Gates were recently placed on the crossing

Network Rail needs to outline why it is closing the foot crossing across the Angerstein Wharf branch line – and should help improve the alternative route to Westcombe Park station, local MP Matt Pennycook has said.

The track company announced on Wednesday that it would be closing the footpath across the freight railway, two years after it pulled back from an earlier decision to remove the link, which is used by Charlton residents to reach Westcombe Park station. Network Rail says the unstaffed crossing, one of just a handful in London, is unsafe.

News of the closure was greeted with anger by locals on Wednesday, and Pennycook said on social media that Network Rail needed to do more to explain just why it had to close the path, which links Fairthorn Road in Charlton with Farmdale Road in east Greenwich and a footbridge to Westcombe Park. He also called for improvements to the alternative route, a narrow footpath under the dingy Woolwich Road railway bridge.

Woolwich Road
The dingy alternative route after dark

“The decision to close the Angerstein Wharf foot crossing without a replacement pedestrian link at the same location is deeply disappointing,” he said. “Network Rail must fully explain their reasoning and work with the local community to improve the alternative route to the A102 footbridge.”

Network Rail told The Charlton Champion on Wednesday that the crossing was the most dangerous in its Kent region, citing “many incidents where drivers of trains had to apply their emergency brakes to avoid people on the track”.

But neighbours responded with scepticism. “Maximum 2 trains a day travelling at 5mph. If there are safety issues, then surely a proper crossing or a tunnel would be the answer,” said one Twitter user; another, Ben Marshall, said: “This is madness. Primary school students having to navigate the perilous single file path on Woolwich Road is the real safety risk.”

Network Rail says it will consult with the local community about an alternative route before it closes the path, which opened as a route for farm workers in the 1850s. Two years ago, over 2,000 people signed a petition against the closure.


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