Cllr Gary Parker’s Charlton ward report: March 2017

Cllr Gary Parker

Here’s an update from Charlton ward councillor Gary Parker on what he has been up to over the winter.

I have met with residents and raised issues with the Chair of Planning about planning issues – the council’s planning department is now being restructured. This is a direct result of my continued intervention on these issues for local groups and residents. I am confident this service will improve, once new measures are in place.

I attended funeral of local resident Robert Crocombe and would like to pay tribute to him and his wife Jean for years of steadfast loyalty and work for the local community and the Labour Party – a great man and a sad loss to the Charlton community.

I formally objected to the Rockwell planning application for a 28 storey tower block on the new Charlton Riverside. I raised this issue at the Charlton Society AGM in October and will be working with local groups to oppose this and ensure we have full public consultation on other local planning applications and Charlton Riverside.

I intervened to get the Xmas lights switched on in Charlton Village.

I attended the Co-op Party AGM at Charlton House.

Worked with co-councillors to support local organisations with Charlton ward budgets, organisations that have been funded include – Big Red Bus Club, Charlton Toy Library, Thorntree School, Global Fusion Arts, Greenwich Food Bank and others currently being processed. If you want a project funded, please email me for the application form: gary.parker[at]royalgreenwich.gov.uk

I helped establish ownership of the notice board next to the Assembly Rooms in the Village, this will now be updated with new notices.

I attended the SE London Chamber of Commerce AGM.

I attended the Federation of Small Businesses SE London Branch AGM.

I attended the awards ceremony for Greenwich University/Santander awards event for local students.

I met Sean Kelleher from Business in the Community for a discussion on social enterprise in the borough and related issues.

I attended 3 Campaign For State Education meetings.

I attended a Charlton area community engagement event at Charlton House.

I chaired the inaugural meeting of Transport For Charlton.

I attended the Charlton Central Residents Association and Charlton Society AGMs.

I attended a range of planning board meetings.

I attended meetings of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust.

I attended the Charlton & Kidbrooke Housing panel.

Met Greenwich University about the development of workers’ co-operatives and other non-profit making models in Greenwich.

I attended meeting with a local Community Energy organisation about their work

SURGERIES/CASEWORK

I am still dealing with a large amount of planning and housing related casework. I have dealt with a number of issues around blue badge allocation. I raised a large amount of housing casework, which is ongoing.

I attended all relevant surgeries and did some home visits for older people too.

I have raised a significant number of inquiries about street cleaning and fly-tipping.

COUNCIL

I attended the two main council meetings. [This would now be three as Gary submitted this before the most recent council meeting at the end of February.]

I attended the launch of the Fairness Commission project in Greenwich on anti-poverty issues.

I chaired 3 Community Safety and Environment Panel meetings

I attended Corporate Finance Scrutiny Panel, Overview and scrutiny, Regeneration Scrutiny panels, have raised issues about community safety, air quality and electoral registration as part of this work.

I attended a special meeting on affordable housing.

Liaised with council officers over a public realm special meeting of the Community Safety and Environment scrutiny panel in January and chaired the meeting, which was a review of how we could improve the look, cleanliness and design of out public realm with a focus on parks and open spaces

If you want to get in touch with Gary, his email is gary.parker[at]royalgreenwich.gov.uk, or you can follow him on Twitter at @CllrG2013.

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Charlton ward report from Cllr Gary Parker: Planning issues, Charlton House, community engagement

 Our thanks to Cllr Gary Parker, who represents Charlton ward on Greenwich Council,   for this report on what he’s been up to for residents.

We hope this will become a regular feature.

Councillor Gary Parker Report to Charlton Ward Residents

This report details some of the activities I have been involved in as a councillor in the Charlton area. It does not include surgeries or case work, which is significant.

Below is a round-up of some key issues. The council is considering new forms of engagement including area-based panels, which I hope to report to in future, if they are introduced. Otherwise I will continue to report to residents in this form as appropriate.

Planning issues

At the council meeting in July I presented two petitions to the council, one regarding the Our Lady of Grace School planning application, expressing concerns about the application – 100 people signed it. This application was passed by the planning board in September. I opposed the application and am still raising issues related to it.

The other raised concerns about the proposed Skateboard Park in Charlton Park and was signed by 735 local residents. I also spoke at the full council meeting regarding this on 28th October. While I am not opposed to a Skateboard Park in principle, there are still many unanswered questions about its proposed siting in Charlton Park. I will finally decide my position on this, once the planning application is published. The planning application is likely to go to the Planning Board in January 2016.

I have been working with the CCRA, and other local groups and individuals regarding a range of planning issues, calling in several planning applications. One in the Victoria Way area has been rejected by officers.

I called in 3 planning applications in the central Charlton area, including one for the former Conservative Club in Charlton Church Lane. It was deferred at the last area planning committee meeting in September for a site visit.

I put in a written submission opposing the Valley House planning application – a significant development which would have impacted on Charlton. This application was rejected by the Planning Board in September.

Charlton Village

I have attended the last area planning committee and spoke in favour of the planning application by the Baguette Café in Charlton Village, which was accepted by the committee.

I have also been raising issues regarding the two pubs in Charlton Village, the White Swan and the Bugle and liaising with Charlton Society and sought assurances from council officers that the council has powers to intervene, if necessary regarding any potential redevelopment of these facilities.

I also intervened to have some concrete pillars removed outside the White Swan earlier in the summer. I am pleased to see the White Swan is now thriving again under new management.

Charlton House

I am a member of the Board of the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust and have been working with other trustees to secure the long term future of Charlton House and the other heritage assets in the Trust, which include the Heritage Centre in Woolwich and the Tudor Barn in Eltham.

We are seeking to secure funding for the upkeep of Charlton House and are committed to working with local community organisations. To that end the Chair, Len Duvall and myself attended the AGM of the Friends of Charlton House, earlier in the year and Len and other RGHT staff have been liaising with the Charlton Society and others. I strongly advocated that members of local societies should be on the board of RGHT, to that end, Roden Richardson of the Charlton Society has been appointed.

Other Recent Community Engagements/ Work

Charlton Central Residents Association – I have met regularly with CCRA members on planning and other associated issues

Charlton Society AGM – I attended the recent AGM of the Charlton Society and spoke on some planning issues

Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust – I attended the last two board meetings of RGHT

Greenwich Carers Centre – I attended the official opening of the centre in June, which is now an excellent facility for carers and their families in the borough

Divestment GreenwichI attended a meeting in July which was focused on encouraging local authorities, colleges churches and other public bodies not to invest their pension funds in fossil fuels, which exacerbate climate change. I support this campaign and have corresponded with local residents on this

Armed Forces Day- I attended this excellent event in June, which was supported by the council. It also featured the Great Get Together and associated community events.

Cleansweep Scrutiny Panel Meeting – I chaired a very successful meeting of the Community Safety & Environment Scrutiny Panel to review the Cleansweep service on 29/10/15 at which a range of community organisations in Greenwich, including some Charlton/Woolwich organisations – Charlton & Carnbrooke housing panel, CCRA and Wonderful Woolwich and other local residents and former Cleansweep staff who made individual submissions.

Panel members and officers viewed this as a great success, these organisations were given free rein to raise any issues they liked regarding the service. They received as many instant responses as possible on the night and other responses will be provided in due course – issues raised included, litter, fixed penalty notices, fly tipping, street cleaning, dog fouling and many other issues.

Happening Soon

The main Overview and Scrutiny Panel of which I am a member have produced a detailed report on community engagement, which will go to the next Cabinet Meeting for consideration and further action if approved.

There are new recommendations for community engagement, including area based panels and other new forms of engagement, which I have been lobbying for.

The Skateboard Park planning application will be presented to the Planning Board in January 2016 as detailed above.

Ward budgets for councillors are being introduced shortly, which will provide a small budget to which local organisations can apply for – more details soon.

The council’s budget will be clarified after the autumn statement by George Osborne which is due soon and the related local government funding settlement. Since 2010 the council has had 25% of its budget cut.

The community consultation process regarding the Charlton Riverside Masterplan will resume in early 2016 – more details soon.

Get in touch with Cllr Parker via the council website.