Bramshot Avenue subway in line for upgrade from Silvertown Tunnel money

Siebert Road subway
The upgrade is designed to make the subway more pleasant and cycle-friendly

The subway linking Bramshot Avenue with Siebert Road is to get a £50,000 upgrade as part of measures to mitigate the impact of the forthcoming Silvertown Tunnel on the area, Greenwich Council documents reveal.

The revamp of the 50-year-old subway is among an expanded package of measures to go with the controversial river crossing between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, which is due to open in late 2024 or early 2025. Work on the tunnel is due to begin by the end of this year.

A scrutiny panel of councillors rejected an earlier £349,000 package of “neighbourhood enhancements” which focused on expanding the current, limited, low emissions neighbourhood in east Greenwich in May. This has now been increased to £700,000.

There is very little for Charlton in the new package, but it does target some areas just outside – commuters who use Westcombe Park station will notice some difference by the time the work is finally done, which may not be until the tunnel is completed.

The new package includes £50,000 for improvements to Siebert Road subway, which links Westcombe Hill in Blackheath with Eastcombe Avenue in Charlton – a busy route for local schoolchildren and commuters using Westcombe Park station or buses to North Greenwich. It is partly aimed at making it safer for cyclists to use. Similar subways at the Sun-in-the-Sands roundabout already permit cycling.

Improvements promised include “lighting improvements to the entrances and within the underpass itself, “planting on ramp approach to tunnel to enhance public realm and slow cycles”, “planting and environmental improvements on Siebert Road side to make link more appealing to users”.

Footbridge improvements

Another £50,000 will go on improvements to the footbridge over the A102 between Farmdale Road, east Greenwich, and Westcombe Park station. This will comprise of “lighting along the entirety of the bridge”, “resurfacing with buff anti-skid surfacing”, “repainting railings” and “planting where appropriate and minor bridge repairs”. 200m long 4m wide bridge.

Soap fans will recall the bridge from a 2005 episode of EastEnders…

The bulk of the extra cash, however, is going at the footbridge’s eastern end, with a £275,000 scheme to improve the approach to the bridge at Farmdale Road. Before the A102 was constructed in the late 1960s, this was the end of Westcombe Hill – and the road has barely been touched since it was severed decades ago.

Plans here appear to be encouraging a pedestrian and cycle route towards the Thames – arguably, this is something that perhaps should have been included in the Ikea planning agreements, which merely include signage along this particular route. They include “footway improvements, decluttering and planting on Farmdale Road”, “resurfacing of Farmdale Road”, “continuous footways on both Farmdale Rd and Aldeburgh Street”, “toucan/parallel [pedestrian/cycle] crossing shifted to ped/cyclist desire line into Aldeburgh Street”, “greening on both sides of the railway bridge”.

A further £75,000 is set aside for the decades-overdue screening of the western side of Farmdale Road from the A102 slip road.

Separately, a planned noise barrier for the Blackheath side of the A102 will be doubled in length so it runs from near Invicta School to the railway line at Westcombe Park, protecting neighbours of the dual carriageway in SE3 from road noise, following heavy lobbying from residents. No such protection is planned for the Charlton side, where there has been no lobbying.

The council paper discussing the improvements can be read here, full details of the improvements can be seen here. (See also From The Murky Depths’ take on this.)

Siebert Road subway graffiti
Occasional graffiti has livened up the bleak subway under the A102

Council still backs the tunnel – despite what councillors said

The tunnel, which is backed by Greenwich, Bexley and Tower Hamlets councils, but opposed by Newham, Lewisham, Southwark and Hackney, was given planning consent by transport secretary Chris Grayling in May 2018.

An attempt to change Greenwich’s stance on the tunnel was defeated in an internal meeting of the council’s ruling Labour group last week, in part thanks to two Peninsula ward councillors – Stephen Brain and Denise Scott-McDonald – going back on their previous opposition to the tunnel. Neither would comment on their change of heart on the tunnel, but The Charlton Champion has been told that Brain changed his mind because of the increase to the mitigation package.

The elephant in the room – the A102 roundabout

Nothing in this agreement deals with the dangerous junction between Woolwich Road and the Blackwall Tunnel approach. It was originally due to be dealt with as part of plans for Cycle Superhighway 4 to Woolwich, which was then cut back to Deptford Creek Bridge.

City Hall has pledged to deal with the junction by “late 2023”, according to papers released by the mayor’s office last year.

Woolwich Road roundabout
Two cyclists have died at the Woolwich Road roundabout in the past decade

Now the A206 will be covered a by a new, separate plan for a cycle route between Greenwich and Woolwich. A consultation earlier this year on removing Greenwich town centre’s one-way system was the first step in that process. (Locals will get a preview of how this could work on Sunday, when The Big Half half-marathon closes part of the town centre.)

City Hall’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman said on Tuesday: “I’m excited about that, because unlocking that town centre unlocks the cycle route down to Woolwich. We now have the funding for that cycle route and we are working with the borough to deliver that.

“The plans are working well, it is unlocking the next phase and the money is in place to do that. The designs are being worked up for that new route all the way down to Woolwich.

“The Angerstein roundabout will be part of that. Greenwich is working up an interim scheme to make it a bit safer.

“But, as part of the longer route from the town centre to Woolwich, that is a core focus. That and the Woolwich Ferry roundabout are two hotspots for road danger.

“I’m seeing initial plans to make that [the Angerstein roundabout] safer for cyclists and pedestrians, at the moment it is a horrible area. That work is ongoing, the new [council] leadership are really behind it, it’s very exciting.”

While the flyover dates from the construction of the Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach in 1969, the original layout of the junction featured a more complex arrangement with traffic lights and longer slip roads from the A102 to the south. The current roundabout dates from a reworking of the junction about 10 years later, which itself had traffic lights installed in the late 1990s.

Will Norman material from Tom Bull, the Local Democracy Reporter for Greenwich. See how The Charlton Champion uses material from the Local Democracy Reporter Service.


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Charlton’s pop-up craft shop The Corner At 96 makes a spooky return

Charlton’s pop-up craft shop returns this weekend, with local makers The Accidental Knitter, Fiona Veacock Ceramics, and Harbour Pots bringing a Day of the Dead theme to their shop on the corner of Bramshot Avenue and Sherington Road.

The Corner At 96 opens 8.30am-5pm on Friday, then 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday. Before that, they tell us they’ll be getting in the Halloween spirit and joining in with local trick or treating on Wednesday evening.

And we’ve got something for sale there too! If you’re a Charlton Champion member you’ll already have had an email about our new Greetings from Charlton postcard – the best way to show off Charlton to your non-local friends and family – and we’re pleased to be able to stock them at The Corner At 96.

So call by, start your Christmas shopping, and support The Charlton Champion by buying a postcard (or five, or 10…)

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Pop-up Pottery Shop: Meet Charlton’s ceramicists at The Corner

This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there’s a chance to start your Christmas shopping, support local potters, and have a nose into the former pet shop on the corner of Bramshot Avenue and Sherington Road. Over to Pop Up Pots organiser Louise Tomlins:

I am a former midwife and now work as The Accidental Knitter, producing knitted and other handmade items. My husband and I bought 96 Bramshot Avenue as a rebuild project and it’s still very much a work in progress! I have had a number of pop-up shops over the last 12 months and have been overwhelmed by the support from the local community.

I met Fiona Veacock during this time and am delighted to be hosting a pottery pop up to showcase her work along with Anne Richards, Katherine Joekes and my own.

I am lucky to have my own wheel and share a studio with Anne and having making a piece of pottery as an item on my a bucket list has changed the direction of my life. The plan for the shop in the long term is for it to be a coffee shop but that is very much my husband’s project. 

The event runs at The Corner, 96 Bramshot Avenue, London SE7 7JN on:

Thursday 8.30am-4.30pm

Friday 8.30am-4.30pm

Saturday 10am-4pm.

PS. We’d like to feature more local artists and makers on The Charlton Champion – as time allows – and we’re particularly interested if you produce work that depicts or features the local area. Get in touch with us here!

‘The Wyrd Sisters’: new production from The Alexandra Players

Alexandra Players 'Wyrd Sisters'

Charlton’s amateur theatre group presents Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters, adapted for the stage by Stephen Briggs. The show’s on from the 28th to 30th of October at The Alexandra Hall on Bramshot Avenue;  more info – and booking details – can be found on The Alexander Players website.

Des res, overlooking the Blackwall Tunnel approach – new flats and office space for Bramshot Avenue?

 A ‘Sold’ board has gone up on the vacant plot at the western end of Bramshot Avenue. Property developers Kingsbury Consulting show the site as being ‘Sold for development’ on their website, with planning permission for ‘7 apartments and commercial’; the site is bounded by the approach road to the Metropolitan Police car pound, and overlooks the A102.

Full details of the planning application – approved back in September 2013 – can be found on the council’s planning website; search for Ref 13/1887/F or ‘Bramshot’. The plans indicate a 4 storey building with 7 flats above a single office space, parking for 9 cars, plus a ‘green roof’. We’ve seen no indication yet as to when building may take place.

Bramshot