Complain about the council and get a free swim: Better Together at Charlton House

Charlton House and Gateway Arch
You can meet local councillors at Charlton House on Monday

A bit short notice, this, but Greenwich Council’s programme of public meetings, Better Together, comes to Charlton House on Monday evening from 7pm.

Hello residents of Charlton, Kidbrooke and Woolwich!

This coming Monday 21 October, it’s the Better Together resident event! This is your chance to talk about what really matters to you in your area and to get your voice heard.

We want to hear your views, ideas and issues about where you live, to help us improve our services. There’ll be a Q&A with your local councillors, plus there’ll be a range of stalls where you can find out more about our services and other organisations.

There’s also a free offer! Anyone attending will get a Free Swim at the The Greenwich Centre from 21 – 28 October!

Better Together events have come in for a bit of stick from residents’ groups – they don’t have any power and they cover large areas, unlike in neighbouring Lewisham where ward assemblies can choose where to spend money in small areas. They’re also rather patchily promoted – we didn’t get a press release about this one; we only found out because someone kindly emailed us. Otherwise, we’d have told you earlier.

But the council uses them as a way of gauging opinion on issues and priorities, so if you’ve got a question or a gripe, head to Charlton House on Monday – and there’s a free swim in it, too.


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How can Greenwich Council help improve the area? Tell them at Charlton House on Tuesday

Rubbish in Victoria Way, Jul 2016
Junk at the top of Victoria Way – cleaning the streets is something the council has struggled with

Wednesday update: Did you go to this? Let us know in the comments below what you thought…

Most fair-minded observers would agree that Greenwich Council’s recent history of engagement with the public isn’t brilliant – the saga of the Charlton skatepark, a potentially good thing but made more difficult because it was imposed on people without discussion, being the perfect example.

We’ve tried to do our bit to improve matters here by carrying updates from Charlton councillor Gary Parker. Now the council’s holding public meetings – the first for about a decade – in parts of the borough to get views on local areas and how they could be improved.

They’re called Better Together, and the Woolwich & Charlton event is on Tuesday 20 September at Charlton House. If you’re around during the day, you can come to drop-in sessions from 2-6pm, and there’s a formal meeting from 7pm to 8.30pm. You don’t need to sign up in advance.

The meeting covers most of Charlton as well as Woolwich – Charlton, Kidbrooke with Hornfair, Woolwich Common and Woolwich Riverside wards. (An event covering Peninsula ward was held on Monday in Greenwich.)

What to bring up? Current gripes include the state of the streets from litter – in November, a council scrutiny panel will discuss “particular challenges in maintaining the state of the environment in Plumstead and Charlton” – to general maintenance, it could be road safety (have the 20mph zones worked?), reviving the fortunes of Charlton Village or fathoming out what the hell is going on at Charlton Lido.

Of course, the council can’t do everything – but raising an issue here might start a ball rolling.

If you can’t make it, you can always fill in this survey on the council’s website.