Cllr Gary Parker’s Charlton Ward Report: Summer 2018

What has Charlton ward councillor GARY PARKER been up to? Here’s his latest report.

Cllr Gary ParkerDear Charlton Residents, this is my current ward report, this is a snapshot of my recent activities it does not cover individual case work or a range of other meetings. I try to highlight a few key activities which maybe of general interest. Please contact me direct if you want more information: gary.parker[at]royalgreenwich.gov.uk Twitter: @CllrG2013.

Charlton Society – I attended the Charlton Society meeting on redevelopment and regeneration of the village and surrounding areas, together with my co-councillors and other officers from the Charlton Society, some good ideas came forward, I will be working with the CS and others to develop and support these ideas wherever possible. A meeting is scheduled in the near future with council officers and we gave the Charlton Society some information about current funding opportunities through the council – more below.

New Funding- Charlton-based organisations or those that support Charlton residents can now bid for new funding from the council this includes the ward budget – your ward councillors want to give money to as many local organisations as possible within the £30,000 budget allowable and also from the Community Infrastructure Levy (to be launched on 17 September) – a fund from actual development to support local neighbourhoods. There is over £109k to support projects in four wards including Charlton. This is a one year fund with more money available next year – for more info see www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk.

[Charlton Champion note: read more about previous ward budget funding here]

Planning & Development Issues – I have been working with local groups and individuals regarding a range of planning issues, yet again. I opposed the recent application by Rockwell and spoke at the planning board meeting on this in July as did many local residents. The application was rejected but since then, the Mayor of London has ‘called in’ the decision for review, as he claims that Greenwich has not been achieving its affordable housing targets. In my view this call in is a challenge to local democracy, the planning board, who I have been sharply critical of in the past, did the right thing as did local residents. There is a large group of residents, community organisations, businesses and groups in the area actively opposing this development – I will support them as much as I can. If the application is upheld by the Mayor I will be encouraging the council to seek a judicial review on this issue. I will continue to campaign vigorously on this issue, which is now as much about local democracy as it is about planning issues and defending local communities against big developers.

Pocket Homes – Pocket Living is a property development company supported by the Mayor of London which builds homes for sale to first time buyers at reduced prices. The Council cabinet took a decision on 16 July to go out to consultation with residents on the sale of three plots of land to the company at three sites – in Blackheath Westcombe, Greenwich West, and The Heights in Charlton. I called in this decision with Cllr Fletcher from Blackheath ward, a “call-in” is a council process by which councillors can ask for decisions to be reviewed. I have some specific concerns which I raised about: social value, the impact in Charlton ward, land contamination at the site and the nature of the consultation. Many local residents attended this meeting and they too voiced their concerns. Since then this issue has featured significantly in social media and in the local press.

Events & Engagements – A selection

I attended two Better Together Community Engagement events covering Charlton.

I attended the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust board meeting on 17th July and raised a number of local issues including parking charges at Charlton House and access to the archives for local residents and historians – I will issue a separate report on the trust soon.

I support the John Roan- anti academisation campaign and attended the picket line to support striking workers in July.

I attended and supported the new Greenwich Housing Forum which held an open public meeting about housing issues in the Borough – I estimate nearly 100 people attended- more info @greenwich_forum

I chaired the Council’s Regeneration Scrutiny Panel on 23 July – it reviews policy and executive actions on regeneration issues in the borough.

I held a meeting with the council’s deputy chief executive about the Woolwich Creative District and other heritage and regeneration issues in the Charlton area on 24 August.

SURGERIES/CASEWORK – Raised a very large amount of housing and planning related casework, community safety and crime related issues which is ongoing. I also dealt with some issues in Charlton Park related to alleged drug dealing and anti -social behaviour and continued graffiti and vandalism around the toilets. I am concerned about the escalation of such behaviour in Charlton Park and am working with my co-councillors to address this issue.

COUNCIL  I also attended the July 2018 full council meeting and the main overview and scrutiny panel meetings of which I am a member. This received reports from senior council officers and cabinet members about major issues in Greenwich.

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Cllr Gary Parker’s Charlton Ward Report: Winter 2017-18

Gary Parker

Dear Charlton residents, this is my current ward report. It’s a snapshot of my recent activities, so it does not cover individual case work or a range of other meetings. I try to highlight a few key activities which may be of general interest. Please contact me direct if you want more information: gary.parker@royalgreenwich.gov.uk, Twitter: @CllrG2013.

Planning & Development Issues – I have been working with local groups and individuals regarding a range of planning issues. I opposed the recent application by Fairview Homes, in the Victoria Way area -this application was passed by the planning board recently. The Rockwell development on Charlton Riverside is also still an issue – a revised planning application for a range of buildings/10 storey towers with only 25% ‘affordable housing’ has been submitted. I object to the revised planning application as the social rent/ housing element needs to be much higher, there are other related issues too, regarding this development. There is a large group of residents and other groups in the area actively opposing this development- I will support them as much as I can.

 Charlton Society – I attended the Charlton Society meeting on redevelopment and regeneration of the village and surrounding areas, together with other councillors and candidates from the ward, some good ideas came forward, I will be working with the CS and others to develop and support these ideas wherever possible. A meeting is scheduled in the near future to further consider these issues and proposals by myself and other councillors/ stakeholders.

Community Wealth Conference, Preston–  I attended this on 8th Feb with other councillors from all over the UK, through a range of measures including support for small businesses, social enterprises and co-operatives, changing procurement practises, investment of pension funds and working with other public sector agencies. They have put back £200 million into the local economy and safeguarded and created 1600 jobs in the locality. The Preston model is now official Labour party policy and is now recommended best practice in England. I will report back more about this is due course for anyone interested see – www.councils.coop/case-studies/community-wealth-building.  I have long argued for similar measures in Greenwich. I will be advocating a range of new measures related to this; if I am re-elected at the forthcoming local elections.

Events & Engagements – A selection

  • Attended two Better Together Community Engagement events covering Charlton
  • Attended the Friend of Charlton Park AGM
  • I attend the event to mark International Women’s day on 8th March
  • Attended Campaign For State Education group meeting
  • Met with council officers to discuss special anti-social behaviour review meeting I chaired which went very successfully
  • Raised some issues regarding repairs in cold weather and council policy.

SURGERIES/CASEWORK – Raised a very large amount of housing and planning related casework, community safety and crime related issues which is ongoing.

Dealt with a number of emergency cases due to the cold weather and have raised a number of gritting related cases I also raised a number of issues around tenancy conditions and service standards in cold weather.

COUNCIL – I attended and chaired the Community Safety and Environment scrutiny panel and Overview & Scrutiny Panel and the Corporate Finance Scrutiny panel.

COUNCIL – I attended and chaired the Community Safety and Environment scrutiny panel and attended the January 2018 council meeting which was lobbied by the far right and their supporters. I also attended the February 2018 full council meeting and debated the budget and council tax setting with the opposition. See the council’s website- www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk for further information and streaming of this and other council meetings.

Cllr Gary Parker’s Charlton Ward Report: Summer 2017

Gary Parker

Charlton ward councillor Gary Parker brings us up to date with what he’s been doing in the local area and at the town hall.

As a Charlton ward councillor I have dealt with over 2,500 personal cases both at my surgery and on an informal basis, with many positive results. I have significant knowledge, skills and experience on many issues including, housing, noise and nuisance, employment, benefits, anti-social behaviour, education, air quality, council services and social care. Since I have been a councillor I have conducted over 400 surgeries at Charlton House and other locations. Myself and my co-councillors conduct a surgery every Friday on a rota basis at Charlton House, 7.00-8.00pm, no appointment is needed. Or you can email, call or tweet us.

CHARLTON/COMMUNITY

Community & Environment – I have met local residents with regard to street
cleaning, environmental issues and anti-social behaviour in the Wellington Gardens/
Charlton Church Lane/ Floyd Road/ Victoria Way areas. I am continuing to monitor this
situation.

Air Pollution – I have been approached by local residents regarding a number of
issues related to air pollution and planning, I am currently researching these issues and will raise them at the appropriate level. I also asked a question on this issue at the last Regeneration Scrutiny panel in July. I continue to be concerned about the high levels of pollution in our area and I am working hard to raise these issues when I can and will continue to work with local groups and individuals.

Planning – I have been working with the Charlton Society, Charlton Central Residents Association and Wyndcliff Residents Association, and other local groups and individuals regarding a range of planning issues. I have raised a wide range of planning issues again on behalf of local residents. I have objected to a planning application in the Victoria Way area, which will now go to the planning board. I also attended the July meeting of the planning board.

I have also meet local residents regarding planning applications related to Fred Styles House and issues related to The Heights in the post-Grenfell environment. I am closely reviewing planning applications with regard to health and safety and air pollution issues.

Raised some issues about the impact of revalued business rates at the Labour Group [of Greenwich councillors]. This will also have an impact on small businesses/ retailers in Charlton. I am very concerned about the impact on local businesses. I am still following these up and will report on this at a future date.

Ward Budgets – Submitted a further ward budget project to officers for consideration and I am now pleased to say that the ward budget request from the Charlton Society for their events programme has now been agreed by myself and my co-councillors. I also gave advice to other groups wishing to apply – please contact myself or my co-councillors for advice on this.

Raised some issues about the impact of revalued business rates, at the Labour Group this will also impact on small businesses/ retailers in Charlton. I am very concerned about the impact on local businesses.

Attended a meeting with other councillors regarding the possibility of supporting a Charlton sign post in the Village.

I attended the July meeting of the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust of which I am a
member.

I attended the 95 th birthday party of Jean Crocombe, local resident, former teacher in
the area and Labour Party member – my best wishes to you Jean! and also engaged
with local residents present about issues of interest and listened to their views.

SURGERIES/CASEWORK

Still dealing with a large amount of planning and housing related casework. Raised a very large amount of planning related casework, which is ongoing. Attended all relevant surgeries and did some home visits too.

COUNCIL

Attended main council meeting in July

Chaired Community Safety & Environment Scrutiny (CSE) Panel and attended Regeneration Scrutiny panel.

I also convened a meeting with council officers regarding the special meeting of the
CSE panel on anti-social behaviour in February 2018, more on this in the autumn.

Thanks to Gary for his report. If you’ve an issue to raise with him, please drop him a line via the council website: royalgreenwich.gov.uk/garyparker. He’s also on Twitter: @CllrG2013.

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.

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.