Council officers recommended refusing the scheme, citing a loss of employment – the dental laboratory is still open – and “substandard living accommodation”.
“All proposed self-contained studio flats are significantly undersized, single aspect, do not provide sufficient private amenity space and insufficient information was provided to demonstrate the floor to ceiling height particularly for the loft unit. There are additional concerns regarding how privacy and outlook would be achieved for the ground floor unit.”
Councillors agreed with the officers, and the proposal was rejected at a meeting on 26 March.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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…)