Charlton faces having three MPs under boundary shake-up

Victoria Way polling station

Charlton could be represented by three different MPs under proposals to redraw parliamentary constituencies in England.

At present, most of the area is represented by Labour’s Matt Pennycook as part of Greenwich & Woolwich, with a small area to the south of Charlton Park – the area in the Kidbrooke with Hornfair ward – coming under Clive Efford’s Eltham constituency.

But new proposals from the Boundary Commission, aimed at reducing the number of MPs, see the Greenwich & Woolwich seat split up and Charlton divided even further.

boundary1
Charlton proposed boundary map

Peninsula ward, which covers the area of SE7 north of the railway line and west of Ransom Walk, would go into a Greenwich & Deptford seat stretching to the New Cross, Brockley and Lee Green wards of Lewisham borough.

Meanwhile, Charlton ward itself, along with Woolwich Riverside, gets parcelled off into a “Woolwich” seat which includes the western half of Thamesmead, but reaches down into Bexleyheath (or, strictly speaking, the St Michael’s ward of Bexley borough).

Oddly, this seat splits Woolwich too, with the Woolwich Common ward joining Kidbrooke with Hornfair in an enlarged Eltham seat.

It’s hard to see the links between the two ends of the “Woolwich” seat, although bus users may note that it roughly follows the line of route 422.

Indus Road

Indus Road: Left side to be in “Woolwich”, right side stays in Eltham

But this isn’t the end of it – the proposals are going out to review and are likely to change. A previous set of proposals suggested splitting Charlton in a similar fashion, then complaints saw most of the area taken into an odd Eltham & Charlton seat before the whole idea was abandoned.

Furthermore, the council wards that these constituencies are built around are due to be redrawn after 2018 to take into account Greenwich borough’s population increases.

What does seem clear, though, is that boundary-drawers seem to be very keen to break the link between Charlton and Greenwich that has existed for well over a century.

You can see the proposals – and comment yourself- at bce2018.org.uk.

1.45pm update: You can try makig your own constituencies at boundaryassistant.org.

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What’s happening at Charlton House? Local councillor Gary Parker explains

Charlton House

Charlton ward councillor Gary Parker has sent us a report on what he’s been up to over the past few months. We’re presenting this in two parts – the first is about his work on the board of the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, which runs Charlton House.

The Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust was formed in 2014 and I have been a board member since its inception. The special report below highlights the work myself, staff, volunteers and trustees have been involved with recently. The Trust launched a range of leaflets and promotional materials earlier this year, along with their new website where details of all events can be found at www.greenwichheritage.org.

You can also follow the Trust on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, join the mailing list, or sign up to the newsletter online for regular updates. Some recent projects include:

Here Come the Girls – The Heritage Lottery-funded project has been a great success this year. The project introduced Ivy the Nurse, Nell the Munitionette and May from the Progress Estate, 3 local women who share their stories of the First World War with the people of the borough.

Ivy was a Nurse at Charlton House, and the Family Fun Day there in the summer was a huge success. Charlton residents came to meet Nell, the rest of the nurses, and some wounded soldiers in a convalescence hospital recreated for the day. The project continues to tour the Borough with further events in Eltham and Woolwich before the end of September.

Making Woolwich – Generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Royal Artillery Museums Ltd, including the Friends of Firepower, this new gallery for the Greenwich Heritage Centre will tell the story of a Royal Artillery soldier from 1716-2016.

World Monuments Fund – The Trust’s work with the World Monuments Fund continues. Thanks to WMF funding, Donald Insall Associates have now completed the Condition Survey and Measured Drawings at Charlton House. Yale University Scholar, Lily Higgins, recently presented the findings of her research work over the summer to the Friends of Charlton House, Trustees and other invited guests. The Trust are now working on next steps toward a Heritage Lottery Fund application in partnership with the World Monuments Fund.

Other activities – The Trust delivered a programme of heritage events that continue throughout the year including Summer activities for children through August. London Open House takes place this year on Sunday 18 September, from 10am – 4pm supported by the Friends of Charlton House.

Your Devoted Frank is a dramatic performance inspired by First World War love letters found in a Plumstead home. The performance, first delivered for Valentine’s Day at Greenwich Heritage Centre, will come to Charlton House on Friday 11 November at7pm. Tickets are available from Charlton House for just £8.

I have been using my professional skills to advise the Trust on fundraising and how to generate income. I briefed Tracey Stringfellow, the CEO, on this recently and there are likely to be some new initiatives coming forward including a potential crowdfunding project – watch this space.

Charlton House continues to be a fantastic community resource and I am working with many others to improve and develop it.

The second part of Gary’s update will follow in a day or two. If you want to contact Gary Parker or any Greenwich councillor, find their details on the Greenwich Council website.

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Charlton sinkhole saga finally over in Woodland Terrace – and the 380 bus is back

Woodland Terrace

It’s taken nearly four months – but finally, Woodland Terrace has reopened after the Great Hole of Charlton opened up, almost swallowing a car.

Locals have had to put up with weeks of disruption – not least the loss of the 380 bus service – while engineers filled in the sinkhole and stabilised the road.

The bus is due to return from 5pm this evening (Friday), local resident Helen Jakeways tells us.

She’s full of praise for Thames Water’s field operations specialist Sharon Simmonds and regional network manager Carl Leadbeater for their work in keeping locals informed in the meantime.

“Despite the agonising length of time this has taken to resolve, they have been prompt, open and transparent in their dealings with residents,” Helen, who has been emailing residents with updates through the Charlton Parkside community hub, says.

“Every mail I have sent has been responded to quickly and action has been taken when there have been problems during the works. I have received regular updates on progress, and reasons for delays on top of the hard copy letters which have been distributed regularly to local properties.

“More recently Sharon went over and beyond what I could have asked of her to help us liaise with Greenwich Council officers over resident-requested changes to speed humps and yellow lines, neither of which were her responsibility other than to replace what had been in situ previously.

“It’s heartening that Thames Water were willing to engage with an informal resident network so readily and effectively.

“Also a shout out to Matthew Pennycook who has, I am sure, been working behind the scenes to ensure delays were minimised as far as possible and resident requests to amend road markings / humps were acted upon by the council.”

Helen’s also got warm words for Woolwich Riverside councillors John Fahy, Barbara Barwick and Jackie Smith for keeping tabs on the situation.

The 380’s return to normal (it is diverted through Blackheath this weekend because of the On Blackheath festival) will be welcomed by many locals, who have missed the direct link to Woolwich and Lewisham.

It also means the way is clear for three days of works in Victoria Way to replace speed humps, which were postponed last month after it was pointed out to Greenwich Council that this would mean the 380 would spend almost half of its route in diversion. No new date has been set for these works.

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Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival starts on Friday – can you help?

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator

Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is at Bunker 51 in Herringham Road on Wednesday

As you’ll hopefully already know, the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival starts tomorrow in Woolwich’s General Gordon Square. It’ll bring nine days of movies to SE7 and SE18, without you having to pay a penny.

You can see the full programme on the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival website – and it’s not too late to get involved. If you’ve got a spare pair of hands and can help with stewarding, setting up the events or helping with the screenings, the organisers would love to hear from you. Get in touch via the website, Twitter or Facebook.

One late addition to the line-up uses the Bunker 51 laser-tag venue down by the Thames Barrier – a screening of 1987 sci-fi hit Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, gets under way at 7.30pm on Wednesday, with chances to have discounted laser tag sessions if you come an hour earlier.

Other SE7 highlights include documentary Virunga, about conservation volunteers battling to save mountain gorillas (Saturday 10th, 2.30pm, Charlton House); English Civil War thriller A Field In England (Sunday 11th, 2.30pm, Charlton House); horror comedy Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan (Sunday 11th, 7.30pm, with barbecue from 4pm); Shaun The Sheep at Charlton Park Academy (Wednesday 14th, 6pm); and a night of short films at Charlton House (Thursday 15th, 7.30pm).

Finally, there’s a Blow-Up Walk & Talk on Saturday 17th (5pm, meet at White Horse pub, Woolwich Road), exploring Maryon Park, where parts of the cult 1966 film were shot. That’s followed by a screening at Charlton House (7pm) and a Sounds of ’66 after-party at the White Swan from 10pm.

Don’t forget, it’s all free. And there’s plenty more to see in Woolwich, too, including The Third Man at St George’s Garrison Church (Saturday 10th, 7.45pm) and Monty Python & The Holy Grail in the gorgeous surroundings of Shrewsbury House on Shooters Hill (Friday 16th, 7.30pm).

The Charlton & Woolwich festival is part of a growing movement of south-east London free film events, and overlaps with other festivals in Peckham & Nunhead, Forest Hill and Catford. We wish the team luck – and hope you can get along to support it.

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All change on Charlton’s trains once again – and the Night Tube’s coming in October

charlton_station1000

There are big changes to Charlton’s train services from this weekend as rebuilding work at London Bridge moves into a new phase. The station and tracks leading into it are being remodelled so it can provide a full service to Blackfriars as well as to Charing Cross and Cannon Street.

Since December 2014, trains running to Charing Cross have run non-stop through London Bridge to enable platforms to be rebuilt. From this Monday, the situation swaps over – trains to Cannon Street will speed through London Bridge while most to Charing Cross will stop.

But this switchover means sharply reduced train services from Charlton both this weekend and next week. There’ll also be no trains through Greenwich for most of the week.

More info, if you can find it, is on the Southeastern website. As an attempt to fill in some of the shortfalls in Southeastern’s information, here’s what’s happening from Charlton…

Saturday 27 August and Sunday 28 August: Charing Cross, Waterloo East and Cannon Street will all be closed. There’ll be two trains an hour to Victoria and two trains an hour to New Cross (change at Lewisham for trains to Blackfriars or Victoria). There’ll be no trains via Greenwich – replacement buses will run.

Monday 29 August: Services start running to an all-new London Bridge station, Waterloo East and Charing Cross. But there’ll be just two trains an hour, at 17 and 47 past the hour, to Charing Cross, via Blackheath, Lewisham and London Bridge. Cannon Street and the Greenwich line remain closed – replacement buses will run to New Cross.

Tuesday 30 August, Wednesday 31 August, Thursday 1 September: Cannon Street and the Greenwich line remain closed. Trains depart from Charlton for Charing Cross at: Trains to Blackheath, Lewisham, London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross depart at: 0517, 0548, 0604, 0619, 0636, 0643, 0659, 0711, 0730, 0753, 0813, 0830, 0845, 0908, 0919, 0934, 0947, 1004, 1017, 1034, 1048. Then at 04, 18, 34 and 48 past each hour until 2200; then last trains at 2204, 2218, 2234, 2248, 2318 and 2355.
Replacement buses to London Bridge calling at Greenwich line stations run at 0500, 0530, 2300, 2330 and 0005. At other times, replacement buses run to New Cross.

Friday 2 September: Cannon Street reopens and the new rush hour timetable begins. It looks like this – most Lewisham trains will call at Blackheath, but not all.

0525 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0547 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0555 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0603 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0617 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross

0625 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0635 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0648 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0658 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0704 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0711 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0720 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0729 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0732 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0743 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0752 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0758 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0807 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0813 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0820 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0829 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0836 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0844 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0849 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0859 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0907 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0917 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross

0925 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0935 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0945 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0947 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0955 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street

This general pattern will last until January 2018. One catch to remember if you’re heading into central London in the late afternoon/early evening is that Charing Cross trains won’t be calling at London Bridge between 1637 and 1803 – it might be quicker to jump on a Cannon Stret train and use Bank tube or walk back over the bridge itself.

Watch out at weekends and holidays: Weekend engineering works – both at London Bridge and Abbey Wood – will continue to seriously disrupt services on Saturdays and Sundays (we’ve a special page with info so you’re not caught out), while you’d continue to be well advised to not depend on train services around bank holidays over the next 18 months or so.

What happens after January 2018? Full services are due to resume in January 2018, which will include a raft of new Thameslink services running through London Bridge to north London and beyond. One possibility that’s recently been raised is a service running from Rainham in Kent to Luton via Greenwich and Blackfriars – which would bring an airport service to Charlton. That’s not confirmed, though.

Good news – the Night Tube! What is confirmed, though, is some unalloyed good news – the Night Tube is coming to the Jubilee Line from 7 October, bringing a train every 10 minutes through North Greenwich station on Friday and Saturday nights, and connecting with half hourly all-night buses on the 472 and 486.

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Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival 2016 programme announced!

Charlton Woolwich Free Film Festival programmeClick the image above for a full-screen version.

The line-up for the inaugural Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival – a programme of film screenings across SE7 and SE18 organised and run by volunteers – has been announced. Charlton highlights include:

Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan pub: Sunday 11th September, 7.30pm.

Shaun The Sheep at Charlton Park Academy: Wednesday 14th September, 6pm.

A trio of Blow Up-themed events, taking in a location walk around Maryon Park, a screening of the film at Charlton House, and an After-Party event with era-appropriate DJ Sounds of 66 at the White Swan pub.

A Field In England, screening in Charlton House on Sunday 11th September, 2.30pm, preceded by local film collective SELect18’s short film A Car Park In Charlton.

 

All events are free to attend and will operate on a first come, first served basis. If you’d like to get involved or keep up to date with what’s going on, you can find the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film festival online at their website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

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Charlton’s Bridon Ropes FC bid for FA Cup glory this Saturday

Bridon Ropes v Kent Football United

Bridon Ropes (in blue) take on Kent Football United in September 2015

The FA Cup comes to Charlton this Saturday – but the action won’t be taking place at The Valley.

While the relegated Addicks begin their League One campaign at Bury, hundreds of smaller sides up and down the country will be playing in the Cup’s extra preliminary round.

Making their debut this year will be Bridon Ropes FC, who’ll be playing Canterbury City at Meridian Sports Ground on Charlton Park Lane.

If the Ropes can beat Canterbury, they’ll be 12 more wins away from the Wembley final.

Bridon Ropes FC sign

The side began life in 1935 as the works team of British Ropes, based off Anchor & Hope Lane. The ropeworks are long gone, but the team remains and now plays in the Southern Counties East League Division 1, in the 10th tier of English football.

The Ropes share Meridian Sports with fellow local side Meridian VP. It’s a tidy little ground, recently redeveloped with a small seated stand and a bar close by. I snuck in there last September to see the end of their match against Kent Football United, a late winner grabbing victory for the home team.

Admission was only £5 that day, so it’s a bargain alternative for anyone alienated by the goings-on at The Valley, where Charlton are now charging at least £20 if you buy your ticket in the two hours before kick-off.

So if you’re itching to support your local team in the Cup and can’t wait until November, head to Meridian Sports Club on Saturday.

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