Fencing which has blocked off an important road crossing between Charlton Park and Maryon Wilson Park for months will be removed, Greenwich Council has said.
The plastic obstructions have been in the way of pedestrians on Charlton Park Road since the autumn; they were even captured for posterity by Google Streetview’s cameras last October.
While able-bodied pedestrians are able to dodge the barriers, those with disabilities or who are less nimble have been left unable to cross the road at the point. The crossing is part of the Green Chain Walk route from the Thames Barrier towards Oxleas Woods.
Greenwich Council says its teams were building a zebra crossing, but work had to stop because the pandemic held up supplies of equipment and the crossing had to be fenced off for safety reasons.
However, it says the crossing will be finished soon. A spokesperson told The Charlton Champion: “Works to the zebra crossing were halted as parts needed for its completion were affected by supply chain issues due to the pandemic. The poles and other materials were completed last week and we will install the beacon operations as soon as possible. The barriers will still need to be in place until the beacons are fully operational for safety reasons.”
Greenwich Council has refused an application for funds to install new lighting in Charlton Park – despite complaints that the lack of lighting in the park makes it unsafe for women.
The only lighting in Charlton Park comes from old lamps on its main north-south path – with nothing to help protect those using other paths after dark. There is also no lighting at the skate park.
The park recently received a share of a £1 million fund to modernise and redecorate the sports changing rooms, improve the playground, install new furniture and carry out basic repairs. There is also funding for a wildlife meadow to the east of the park.
But a separate application for funding to improve the lighting has been refused. The money would have come from the council’s Greenwich Neighbourhood Growth Fund, which distributes money raised from a levy on developers and has to be spent in the community by law.
The need for improved lighting was specifically mentioned in a survey of park users by the Friends of Charlton Park in the wake of it getting the earlier funding.
The Friends’ survey had 226 respondents, and 125 asked for improvements to the playground. After that, 54 called for better lighting. “The park is not safe for women after dark right now,” one respondent to the survey said, while another said more lighting would encourage women to play sport.
Another said: “The skateboarding park has been a lifesaver for my son – he struggles in teams but this has allowed him to make friends on his own … Lighting for the skateboarding park would be amazing.”
The Charlton Champion understands that complaints made by people opposed to a past proposal to put lighting in the skate park were a factor in the council’s decision to reject the funding application.
A council spokesperson said: “The Friends of Charlton Park group got in touch recently about applying for Greenwich Neighbourhood Growth funding. This would be for a new path around the main field, new lighting around the new proposed path, as well as for new lighting to other paths and the skate park and outdoor gym.
“We told the group we could not support this application at this time, because there needs to proper discussion, consultation and consideration before an application for funding can be submitted. However, we have said that we would be happy to discuss this further for future rounds of funding.”
The decision also followed the council’s ruling cabinet voting in December to invest £25m in a long-term contract to replace lighting across the borough’s streets. The spokesperson said “this programme was to look at improving the energy efficiency of the council’s current street lighting stock, and not to look at lighting currently unlit areas”.
Other topics covered in the survey included activities, with 43 people wanting more activities in the park, with support for plans for Parkrun to come to Charlton. Planting and nature was supported by 43 people, with 41 people wanting amenities such as a picnic area or support for the Old Cottage Coffee Shop.
Modernise, repair and redecorate the sports changing rooms
Improve the playground
Help create the wildlife meadow
Various repairs: footpaths, benches, bins, the boundary wall, repainting gates and railings
New signage at the car park entrance
Marked and measured route markers
The Friends of Charlton Park is asking for your views on where the money should be spent. The group says: “Green spaces should be for everyone, so let us know what would tempt you outside! For example, better lighting in winter may help people who are concerned about safety to feel comfortable spending time outside even after it gets dark around 4pm.”
When the council asked for suggestions last year, the suggestions for Charlton Park included additional toilets and maintenance as well as picnic area improvements, more bins and floodlights in the skatepark.