‘Deteriorating’ Charlton Village placed on Historic England ‘at risk’ register

Charlton Village
Charlton Village: Conservation area ‘at risk’, Historic England says

Charlton Village’s conservation area has been added to Historic England’s “at risk” register, with the agency warning that its condition is “deteriorating”.

The Heritage at Risk register highlights important sites that are in danger of being lost due to neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

Charlton House’s former summer house, which is now being restored, has been on the register for some years, but whole conservation areas can also be added to the list.

33 The Village
Bowes’ shoe shop closed at Christmas 2015

The village has long been disfigured by empty and neglected shop units. Number 33, the former Bowes shoe shop, has sat empty since it closed nearly two years ago. Land Registry documents indicate it has been owned since 1989 by Kamil Ahmet of Clapton, east London.

11 The Village
This unit was left open to the elements during the summer

Number 11, the former Sol Property Services, has had a front door panel left open to the elements for weeks earlier this year. It is owned by Maqbool and Nadeem Chaudry of Birmingham, according to the Land Registry.

While the recent revamp of the White Swan and the arrival of the Kasturi Indian restaurant have given the village a bit of a lift, it has struggled to attract other new businesses that would keep these properties in good condition and start restoring The Village to its former glory.

Two years ago, this site published one resident’s musings on how the area needs a regeneration plan. Who will make the first move to sort Charlton Village’s problems out – residents, or Greenwich Council? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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Charlton Village Conservation Area: There’s still time to have your say

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Charlton Assembly Rooms: recommended for national listing

Have you seen Greenwich Council’s recent proposals on Charlton’s conservation area?

If you haven’t commented on the council’s proposed changes to Charlton’s conservation area yet, there’s still time. The consultation closes at 5pm on Tuesday 5th May and is based on two documents that can be found here.  The first document is the Draft Character Appraisal, which is an easy and interesting read covering the architectural history and character of the area.

The authors argue that ‘countryside in the city’ is “one of the area’s most significant and defining characteristics” and that “the extent to which Charlton Village can accommodate further development – at least without significant compromise to its historic character – is probably limited”.

The risks to Charlton’s character identified are the loss of retail uses, unsympathetic extensions, redevelopment of historic properties, infill development and the loss and replacement of features.

The council go on to explain how they hope to manage the challenges of conservation in the Draft Management Strategy, which suggests it will:

  • Extend the current conservation area to cover properties at the top of Charlton Church Lane, properties in Lansdowne Lane and south west Hornfair Park, including the Lido
  • Restrict the colours and signage available to shops in The Village, and provide a design guide to be followed for future changes
  • Set a target of 50% of properties in The Village to be used for retail businesses
  • Put the Assembly rooms forward for national statutory listing
  • Add further properties to the local listing to give them some protection against future development:
    • properties on Charlton Church Lane, The Village and Lansdowne Lane
    • the east lodge in Charlton Park
    • The chapels in Charlton cemetery
    • Charlton Lido

The authors write that they considered extending the conservation area to include Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks, the inter-war houses near Charlton Park, and the Victorian and Edwardian housing north east of Charlton Park and also to the north and north west of the Village. These proposals are not being taken forward: the parks have a sufficient degree of protection from various other measures, and the areas of housing don’t offer sufficient historic interest or rarity in the context of London.

Are these the right things for the council’s planning department to focus on? Do you agree that signs and paint should be more closely controlled in the village?  Should the conservation area be extended further?

We’re thrilled that the Lido will have another layer of protection against redevelopment: is there anywhere else in Charlton that should benefit from similar protection? Let us know in the comments below.