Neighbours angry after mystery explosions rock doomed Morris Walk Estate

Morris Walk Estate
The Morris Walk Estate was fenced off last autumn

Residents were left furious after emergency services carried out exercises in the boarded-up Morris Walk Estate on Tuesday evening – but both Greenwich Council and the developer who will rebuild the estate have denied responsibility for the incident.

People who live close to the estate, on the Charlton/Woolwich border, were disturbed by two loud explosions and other noise during the afternoon and evening, with one blast happening at 10.50pm.

Some reported seeing the army on the estate, which is to be knocked down as part of a £269m deal with the developer Lovell, which is also rebuilding the Connaught Estate in Woolwich. The estate was emptied last year and hoardings have been erected ahead of demolition.

Both the council and Lovell have insisted they were not responsible for allowing the exercise to take place on the estate. Neither party can even agree on which emergency services were on the estate, with Lovell insisting the army were not involved but the police and fire brigade were.

The incident came three days after an attack in Reading in which three people died, after which a man was arrested under the Terrorism Act.

Woodland Terrace/ Prospect Vale
Residents in Woodland Terrace, Charlton, back onto the doomed estate

Helen Jakeways, who lives next to the estate, told this website: “The disturbances started yesterday mid-afternoon with a huge bang that sounded like a bomb going off which shook the walls of my house. This was followed by a series of smaller bangs and what sounded like an intermittent stream of fireworks or firecrackers. It took me over an hour to stop my terrified dogs from shaking.

“I was then woken up at 10.50pm to the sound of another huge explosion which shook the house again and resulted in yet more terrified and shaking dogs.

“On all fronts this exercise was absolutely unforgivable, especially given the anxiety and stress many people are experiencing right now. My inboxes have been full of comments from really concerned neighbours today – this shook everyone up round here, especially those who are feeling vulnerable at the moment, and I’m not surprised.”

Another resident, Ed Simmons, said on Twitter: “So the MoD are blowing stuff up on the estate behind our house whilst engaging in urban combat training at 11pm in a derelict estate, 100 metres from my open window. The house shook, the machine gun isn’t so bad in comparison!”

Fenced off Morris Walk
Some work is already taking place behind the hoardings

Greenwich Council said it had not been informed of the exercises on the estate. A spokesperson said: “The council understands that was some activity by the MoD and police which caused some disruption and concern to local residents. The council was unaware this was taking place and had not been notified by Lovell, the council’s developer partner for the redevelopment of this estate.

“The council has made clear to all parties this is unacceptable and is sorry that this has happened causing concern for local residents. The council will carefully review any further requests and in the event permission is given that there is clear communication with residents in advance of any activity being undertaken.”

However, a spokesperson for Lovell said that the police and fire brigade were on site, and it had not allowed the exercises on site either.

A spokesperson for Lovell said: “Following the activities reported on the evening of Tuesday 23 June on the Morris South Estate, Lovell can confirm that no such similar activity will take place after the company takes ownership and control of the land from Monday 29 June.

“Going forward, if Lovell has to conduct any activity which may cause a disturbance outside the agreed construction hours, the company will consult first with local residents to make sure local residents are fully aware.”


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Calling makers of Charlton: Get involved with Around The Corner Market

News from The Corner at 96 in Bramshot Avenue about a lockdown plan to bring hand made and hand grown produce to the neighbourhood on July 4th:

The Corner at 96 has opened as a pop-up shop in Charlton on a fairly regular basis for the last two years, selling gifts and homewares, handmade by locals. We’ve regularly featured studio ceramics, hand knits, jewellery, children’s clothes & accessories, paintings and photography as well as soaps and toiletries.

Whilst we’ve been locked down, some of our regular makers have had success with sales from home, combining the highlighting of an online website with a stall set up in the garden. So we thought we’d try and gather all our local makers together on the same day for a trail to highlight our hand makes, whatever it is you do! It will be July 4th and we hope to create a Google Maps route between makers selling in outside spaces, which we’ll then be promoting ourselves and via each maker. We’re looking for hand mades or hand grown.

We’ve put a sheet together to explain, including checks you’ll need to make to stay legal. Drop us a line at thecornerse7 [@] gmail.com and we’ll get you joined up!

Then, spread the word – encourage your friends and family along, let’s hope it’s a lovely day of walking, discovery & great sales. The map link will be posted as widely as we can from this Saturday.

The Corner at 96
Twitter: @Corner_96
Instagram: @the_corner_at_96
Facebook page: The Corner at 96


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Pickwick developers plan to build ‘aparthotel’ around closed pub

Pickwick overhead view
The houses at the back were given permission last year

Developers behind plans to build homes behind the Pickwick on Woolwich Road now want to build a four-storey “aparthotel” around and on top of the closed pub.

East Ham-based Pure Let Greenwich Ltd won permission a year ago to build six new houses in the pub’s beer garden. Six months before that, it was refused permission to demolish the pub for what council planning officers called “poor quality” housing.

Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road
The Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road. Photo by Neil Clasper

Despite planning officers making clear that they thought the Pickwick was “a landmark building on Woolwich Road which makes a positive contribution to the surrounding area in general”, Pure Let has bought now returned with plans to surround it with serviced flats, including a two-bedroom penthouse at the top.

The proposal includes the yard next door, and a “bridge” building between the two sites through which there would be access to the houses, which already have approval. The pub would be open for business, the developers say.

Pickwick render
It doesn’t look much better from down below

Residents fought a campaign against the demolition of the Pickwick in 2018. Unlike its neighbours, the Rose of Denmark and the Angerstein Hotel, the pub – known as the Roupell Arms until the 1970s – is not listed.

You can read a summary of the application and submit comments to Greenwich Council (ref 20/1300/F) before 24 June.


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We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. We can’t do it without your help.
– Please tell us about your news and events
Become a monthly supporter at presspatron.com/charltonchampion
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Celebrate our neighbourhood and order postcards or a print