Most of Charlton will be covered by three council wards as part of a shake-up in Greenwich borough’s political map – but a call from the local MP to use the name “Charlton Slopes” has been rejected.
Boundary commissioners yesterday published their final plans for 23 new council wards to replace Greenwich’s current 17. All London boroughs have had their ward boundaries reviewed in recent years to take into account changes in population.
Two wards – Charlton Village & Riverside and Charlton Hornfair – will replace the old Charlton and Kidbrooke with Hornfair wards, with Victoria Way and Canberra Road forming the boundary between the two.
However, the new Greenwich Peninsula ward will absorb a bigger chunk of SE7 than first planned – with residents living around Troughton Road being absorbed into a ward that will run up to Morden Wharf and the O2, along with the new Bowen Drive development and homes around Fairthorn Road. This effectively replaces the old Peninsula ward.
Maryon Road, part of Woodland Terrace and the Maryon Grove Estate will come under the new Woolwich Dockyard ward – along with the under-construction Trinity Park development – but Kinveachy Gardens and Heathwood Gardens come home to the new Charlton Village ward. All of these streets are currently in Woolwich Riverside.
While the current wards all have three councillors each, the new wards will have a mixture of two and three-councillor wards. Charlton Village, Charlton Hornfair and Woolwich Dockyard wards will have two councillors; Greenwich Peninsula will have three.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England said there was “broad support” for the two new Charlton wards. There had been calls for the area of SE7 around Gurdon Road and Felltram Way to the Thames to be included in Charlton Village – but moving 1,500 voters would have left an unbalanced pattern of wards.
Local MP Matt Pennycook argued in favour of moving the area around Troughton Road into Greenwich Peninsula. He observed that “the entire area between Woolwich Road and the railway line was a single community which should not be split, citing such unifying features as the Rose of Denmark pub and the new Synergy development providing direct access between Rathmore Road and the Gurdon Road area”, the commission said in its summary. Pennycook also pointed out that the new Bowen Drive development means it is possible to walk from Rathmore Road to Gurdon Road directly.
But he was less successful in arguing that Charlton Hornfair should be renamed “Charlton Slopes & Hornfair” to take into account its larger area.
Once largely used as estate agents’ shorthand for the streets north of Charlton Road, the name began appearing on official maps two years ago after parliamentary researchers asked for real-life descriptions for small areas used for statistics.
The Charlton Champion’s sister site 853 may bear some responsibility after suggesting – with tongue in cheek – that what been known as “Greenwich 012” could become “the estate agents’ much-mocked favourite of Charlton Slopes”.
Those names then gained national attention when these small areas were used by Public Health England for compiling coronavirus statistics.
However, the commission was less keen on giving Charlton Slopes official status. “Matthew Pennycook MP suggested renaming this ward ‘Charlton Slopes & Hornfair’, recognising the Charlton Slopes area in the ward name,” the commission said.
“However, we received submissions from residents of the Slopes area supporting both the boundaries and name of this proposed ward. We are therefore not persuaded to change our proposed name for this ward.”
The changes do not affect parliamentary constituencies – which are being reviewed separately – or Greenwich’s boundaries with other boroughs. The new ward boundaries will take effect from the council elections on 5 May 2022.
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