It’s Urban Harvest day at Maryon Park Community Garden this Saturday

Urban Harvest flyer

The Community Garden in Maryon Park is throwing open its doors this Saturday as part of Capital Growth’s Urban Harvest event. Its chair TIM ANDERSON explains more…

Get a taste of London's edible gardens by dropping in to Maryon Park Community Garden in Charlton, one of Capital Growth’s flagship gardens, from 10am to 4pm.

Capital Growth is London’s largest food growing network, with over 2,000 gardens throughout the city.

At the Maryon Park Community Organic Food Growing Garden, activities include:
• Tours of the Garden and Forest School.
• Display of photos from the 1966 cult film Blow Up that was shot in Maryon Park.
• Activities for children: Making bird feeders.
• Pizza oven fired up from 12noon, bring your own dough and toppings
• Refreshments: Organic teas & coffee, cake and herb teas
• Jams and Chutney Sale
• Wood Craft Sale with Bird Boxes
• Plant and Cacti Sale

In the Community Garden Forest School area there will be a free Family Outdoor Art Workshop from 2pm to 3pm, lad by Simon Woodward from the Community Outdoor Art Therapy Service.

How to find the Community Garden: Enter Maryon Park from the main entrance in Maryon Road, follow the path to the left past the park lodge and find the Community Garden at the end of the park perimeter fence. Look out for the signs and bunting.

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Open House Weekend 2018: What can we visit in Charlton and nearby?

Charlton House’s Summer House, currently undergoing restoration works, will be open to visitors as part of this year’s Open House Weekend.

Many thanks to Charlton Champion contributor LARA RUFFLE COLES for this round-up of the properties in Charlton and nearby that are taking part in this year’s Open House Weekend.

Open House is a tricky beast… there is always so much to see over the two days, and as the event increases in popularity each year, balancing visiting many buildings versus visiting the popular ones gets harder and harder – let alone navigating your way round London.

So, how about you just stick to the Royal Borough of Greenwich this year? It is definitely worth focusing on a smaller area and is something the other half and I did one year – and we’ve been ‘Open House-ing’ since 2009.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of September, and Greenwich borough alone has 23 buildings to visit and 3 tours to consider. As it can all be a bit overwhelming, here is a Top Five ‘must have’ list, plus a few more if time allows.

Top Five

Charlton House, Charlton Road SE7 8RE

An obvious but excellent choice. Our local community centre is London’s only surviving Jacobean mansion, and a superb venue to get married in. Visit rooms that are usually off limits during regular opening hours, and gaze lovingly at our local park through the upstairs windows. This year you’ll be able to take a look around the Summer House, currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment.

129 Maze Hill, SE3 7UB

I’ve not been to this location but having visited other homes in Greenwich and further afield, a good nosy round someone else’s house is well worth your time (and it is the only house listed for Greenwich borough this year). This 1960s building is also the architect’s home so you can ask all the questions you like – whether your interest is the building itself or its interior design.

Greenwich Reach Swing Bridge, Glaisher Street SE8 3ER

This graceful foot and cycle bridge between Deptford and Greenwich was opened in 2015 and spans over Deptford Creek. Visiting at low or high tide is an exciting prospect, and if you are really lucky you might see it open and close – please note we have no information on when this might happen!

Severndroog Castle, Castle Wood SE18 3RT

A hidden gem at the top of Shooters Hill, this tiny 18th century tower reopened to the public a few years ago. The views from the roof are magnificent and you can also hire the castle for various events including weddings.

Woolwich Town Hall, Wellington Street SE18 6PW

Built in 1903, our borough’s Edwardian town hall has an absolutely stunning main hall with bifurcated stairs. The entrance itself, the clockhouse and the exterior are also worth a good look at. And you can definitely get married here – as I did in 2014!

A few more

Greenwich Yacht Club, Peartree Way SE10 0BW

I’ve not been inside the yacht club, but viewing the building, the walkway to it and the surrounding Thames views make the trip there worthwhile. The area itself is also part of the Thames Path.

St George’s Garrison Church, Grand Depot Road SE18 6XJ

Across from Woolwich Barracks, the bombed-out St George’s Garrison Church is well worth a pootle about. Lovely brickwork, mosaics that have been recently restored, and a new arched roof to protect the ruins from further damage.

Thames Barrier View Café and Information Centre, Unity Way SE18 5NJ

The Sunday of Open House Weekend would be a good time to visit this entry as the Environment Agency will be carrying out the Barrier’s annual full tidal closure test, with “various fun and educational activities for children, talks, demonstrations, information and display stands”. There’s a permanent playground here with a big slide for the child in all of us – and the slide itself is built on top of the levee that protects the surrounding area from flooding.

Lastly…

Don’t forget to order your guide to plan the weekend in advance. You can use the Open House site to read up on every listing, but having the actual book to carry about is essential. Order ASAP as delivery will be a few days.

If you aren’t keen on carrying an A5 book about, you can download the Apple and Google apps, but please do buy the guide for £10 and help support this amazing event.

Did you know that Open House takes places in other cities? 42 participants as of this year, read more at Open House Worldwide.

Have you got an Open House Weekend recommendation? Let us know in the comments below!

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Charlton Riverside: Developer U+I plans to demolish former Siemens factory building

37 Bowater Road
37 Bowater Road is set for demolition under the developer’s plans (photo: Neil Clasper)

Developer U+I has revealed it wants to demolish one of the remaining Siemens cable factory buildings on the Charlton riverside as part of a plan to build shops, offices and up to 520 homes.

The property giant, which recently completed the Deptford Market Yard development, has asked Greenwich Council if it needs to carry out an environmental assessment into the plans to develop land, which covers two streets in the Westminster Industrial Estate on the Charlton/Woolwich border: Bowater Road and Faraday Way.

Until 1968, this was home to the giant Siemens cable works, and many of the buildings remain in place. Several of them have recently been given local listing status by Greenwich Council, which has created a conservation area. U+I wants to demolish one of them, 37 Bowater Road, and keep the others.

Charlton Riverside Masterplan
The masterplan backs riverside towers near the Thames Barrier

Just as with the recent Flint Glass Wharf proposal, this is in an area where 10-storey blocks have been permitted (see map above).

37 Bowater Road
37 Bowater Road is the building on the right of the new “missing link” cycle route

‘One of London’s largest factories’

A heritage assessment of the area commissioned by Greenwich Council says: “The south side of Bowater Road represents a step change in the scale of the works development from about 1911.

“The first building to be constructed is a much larger L-shaped building of 5 storeys plus basement was built for making rubber coated copper wire cable. It adopts new structural technologies, made possible by new regulations granted in the London Building Act of 1909, and employs a reinforced concrete frame beneath a Fletton brick shell.

“The adoption of new technologies made it possible to include much larger steel framed windows externally and wider spans between support columns internally, creating a lighter and clearer working environment overall.

37 Bowater Road. Photo: Neil Clasper

“The building was designed by Herbert and Helland, Siemens’ in-house architects. This was one of London’s largest factories when built and an early adopter of the new construction methods.

“The building has a matching extension of 1942, built at the height of the wartime production effort, after extensive bomb damage on the adjacent site must have placed extreme pressure on the works’ resources.” (You can read the rest in Chapters 3 and 4 here.)

The striking white building which runs along the north of the site, 18 Bowater Road, is proposed to be kept, although it is currently in poor condition. (See page 14 here for a map of the site.)

This is still a relatively early stage of the planning process, so no designs or details on “affordable” homes have yet been submitted.

37 Bowater Road
37 Bowater Road is on the left of this photo

For more details, and to comment on the proposal, search for 18/3148/EIA at planning.royalgreenwich.gov.uk.

See also From The Murky Depths‘ take on the scheme.

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See the Thames Barrier in action: 2018’s full closure test set for 23 September

Preparing for the annual test in 2017

The Thames Barrier will close for its ‘full tidal test closure’ on Sunday 23rd September this year.

“Once a year, the Environment Agency holds a full tide test closure of the Thames Barrier. The Barrier gates rotate by 90 degrees into the fully closed defence position stopping the tide going upstream into London. As the tide continues to come in, a higher level of water will build up downstream of the Barrier creating a different water level either side of the gates. Shortly after high tide, the gates will rotate further creating a 2 metre gap underneath (underspill). This in turn creates a white water rush effect behind each of the massive gate structures attracting birds to feed on small fish. This ‘underspill’ lasts approximately 2 hours.

There will be various fun and educational activities for children, talks, demonstrations, information and display stands.

As part of Open House weekend 2018, The Thames Barrier Information Centre will be open and free of charge on the day”.

The Environment Agency, who operate the Barrier, are encouraging visitors to cycle or walk; it’s a great opportunity to try out the recently-opened ‘missing link’ joining the Thames Path east of the Barrier along the riverfront of Thames Side Studios.

Also nearby, The Charlton Champion recommends taking a look at the Thames Barrier memorial, and even checking out the industrial area next door which forms the Charlton Riverside redevelopment area (read more about the proposed Rockwell and Flint Glass Wall developments).

Address for the Thames Barrier:
Thames Barrier Information Centre
1 Unity Way
London
SE18 5NJ

You can keep up to date with activities at the Thames Barrier via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Thames Barrier in ‘closed’ position
Thames Barrier Memorial
Unveiled in May 2018, the sculpture is a memorial dedicated to those who worked on London, Kent and Essex’s flood defences
The Thames Barrier lit up in rainbow colours for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in May 2018
The Thames Barrier lit up in rainbow colours for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in May 2018

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Extend Bakerloo Line to Charlton, Canary Wharf’s owners demand

Waterloo Bakerloo line platforms
Waterloo tube station – could there be a Bakerloo Line link to Charlton? (Photo: Daniel Wright via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Transport for London’s proposed Bakerloo Line extension should run via Canary Wharf to Charlton, the owners of the giant Isle of Dogs development have said.

Current plans see the Tube line extended from Elephant & Castle via the Old Kent Road and New Cross Gate to Lewisham, with as long-term aim to take it onto Catford and Hayes.

But Canary Wharf Group (CWG) has called for the route to be diverted to Surrey Quays to serve a giant new development there, before running to Canary Wharf and Charlton.

It says the current Jubilee Line will not be able to cope with demand from the new Canada Water scheme, which if approved see 3,000 new homes, two million square feet of workspace and one million square feet of retail, leisure, entertainment and community space built on the Rotherhithe Peninsula, on land including the Surrey Quays shopping centre and the former Daily Mail printworks.

The call, first spotted by community website SE16.com, comes in response to a Southwark Council consultation on the Canada Water masterplan.

CWG compares the Canada Water scheme with the huge development at Battersea Power Station, which is getting its own Northern Line extension.

“In considering the Canada Water Masterplan proposals we would like to remind you of our previous proposal to extend the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle to Charlton via Surrey Quays and Canary Wharf,” CWG’s Jason Larkin says in a letter to Southwark Council planners.

“This scheme would provide significantly improved public transport capacity to the area around Canada Water and on the Isle of Dogs, and would help the development aspirations of both Southwark and Tower Hamlets.”

CWG also says it has outlined a proposal for a new railway from Euston to Canary Wharf via the City.

Canary Wharf’s eyes on Charlton

While this is the first time this particular proposal has been seen in public, it is not the first time Canary Wharf’s developers have proposed a railway to the Charlton area.

In the 1980s, CWG’s predecessor Olympia & York proposed a £400 million Waterloo & Greenwich Railway, which would have run to Canary Wharf and terminated at Westcombe Park. While London Transport eventually plumped for a Jubilee Line extension which took a route north to Stratford, O&Y still invested £400 million into the project.

In 2002, it was suggested that Crossrail could run from Canary Wharf to Charlton, Woolwich and Abbey Wood – but a route via the Royal Docks was chosen instead.

Earlier this year, Greenwich Council released a draft transport strategy which included a Bakerloo Line route to Charlton Riverside – despite the current Lewisham plans being reasonably far advanced.

Don’t hold your breath – but…

Of course, Canary Wharf Group doesn’t want a Tube to Charlton out of pure love for the area – this part of town contains a lot of underused land that could make a useful place to dig a big hole and build a place for trains to turn around (including the old rail depot between Westcombe Park and Charlton stations).

Charlton residents keen on a quick link to Canary Wharf probably shouldn’t hold their breath. The Lewisham extension ticks off City Hall goals of linking “opportunity areas” for redevelopment at Old Kent Road, New Cross, Lewisham, and – perhaps – Catford. Lewisham and Southwark councils have recently launched a campaign to get the scheme funded.

And much of Charlton will be within an easy bus ride of a Lewisham Bakerloo line terminal (although so will half of south east London), so SE7 will benefit in some way from a link to SE13.

Yet – Canary Wharf Group is a big player and can get what it wants (and has the money to pay towards it). And Canada Water and Charlton Riverside are also “opportunity areas”. Remember it has also called for a new link between Euston and Canary Wharf – where are those trains going to turn around? This story may be around for a while yet.

The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
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Developer plans to demolish Charlton’s Pickwick pub

Pickwicks pub on Woolwich Road
The Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road, seen in August 2014. Photo by Neil Clasper.

As reported by From The Murky Depths blog, The Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road could be set for demolition to make way for 14 flats, a new pub, and a terrace of 6 houses. Originally known as the Roupell Arms, it had operated as a pub and B&B, but has been closed for the past couple of years.

The applicant is a Mr Sunil Purewal of Pure Let Greenwich Ltd. To see the full application, visit planning.royalgreenwich.gov.uk and enter reference 18/2976/O.

On the same stretch of road, developers had plans to add flats and a gym to the (now closed) Antigallican pub approved in August 2017, plans to demolish The White Horse were refused on appeal in 2016, and the application to add flats to the Victoria and turn it into a takeaway has gone quiet.

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Charlton Riverside: ‘Respect our masterplan’, MP Pennycook tells developer

Atlas Gardens
Residents in Atlas and Derrick Gardens say the new development would loom over their homes

Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook has told the developers behind controversial plans to build 771 homes off Anchor & Hope Lane that they should respect the masterplan developed for Charlton Riverside – and build more affordable housing.

Pennycook spoke out days after London mayor Sadiq Khan blocked Greenwich Council’s refusal of the scheme by developer Rockwell to build five 10-storey blocks and other buildings on land surrounding Atlas and Derrick Gardens.

The mayor, who has designated Charlton Riverside an “opportunity area” for development, will now decide whether or not the plan goes ahead.

Khan’s decision came with criticism of Greenwich Council for not allowing enough “affordable” housing in recent years – Rockwell’s scheme would have 32.4% “affordable” housing.

Residents in nearby Atlas and Derrick Gardens – built in the early 20th century for workers at the nearby Cory bargeworks – say the Rockwell development will loom over their homes and deny them natural light.

Local businesses have also voiced fears that they will have to move or close, saying the new development’s residents will not want them as neighbours.

Rockwell Charlton Riverside website
Rockwell had already started promoting the scheme when Greenwich rejected it

Pennycook said on his Facebook page that Rockwell needed to be making the blocks smaller and providing more “affordable’ homes.

He wrote: “I fully understand the pressure the Mayor is under to build more homes in London as the market falters, I’m deeply disappointed that City Hall have chosen not to back Greenwich Council and stand behind the local community’s very strong objections to the proposed scheme.

“I will of course look carefully at any modifications that the Mayor is able to secure over the coming weeks/months and I trust that there will be extensive consultation with local residents and community groups as well as with the developer.

“However, City Hall must appreciate that there is a very strong feeling locally that we not compromise on the vision set out in the 2017 Charlton Riverside masterplan.

“That is why it’s crucial that development across the entire Charlton Riverside opportunity area, including any modified proposals from Rockwell, respect the vision of an exemplary urban district set out in that masterplan document.

“For Rockwell’s site that means not only a higher level of affordable housing, and a modified dwelling mix, but also reductions in the proposed height of buildings. If that requires reductions in the total number of units then, in my view, that’s what needs to happen.”

Rockwell Charlton Riverside
Rockwell says its new scheme will look like this

While the Charlton Riverside masterplan does not rule out 10-storey blocks, it says they should be an exception, preferring to see buildings of between three and six storeys.

Rockwell’s plans for 32.4% of the units to be “affordable” housing – were inserted into the scheme at the last minute. Of those, 162 would be for London Affordable Rent – roughly £150/week for a one-bedroom flat – and aimed at those on low incomes, with the remaining available for shared ownership.

Khan’s letter to Greenwich Council announcing he was taking over the planning process said the Rockwell scheme “has potential to make an important contribution to housing and affordable housing supply”.

Pennycook’s intervention was greeted with scepticism by journalist Paul Wellman, who tracks London’s developers for Estates Gazette. “Want more affordable housing? Generally the compromise is more private and greater heights. The below scenario is hugely unachievable,” he tweeted.

An indication of what might happen emerged on Thursday, when Sadiq Khan approved a development in Brentford after blocking a rejection from Hounslow Council.

Hounslow had refused a scheme with 421 homes, including 40% “affordable”, citing the possible effect on nearby Kew Gardens. But Khan approved a revised scheme with 50% “affordable” housing and 441 homes.

Khan said: “This scheme shows how we can unlock the potential of an underused site to build more of the genuinely affordable homes Londoners so urgently need. I’m clear that to fix the capital’s housing crisis Government must play its part, but we can make a difference now by ensuring developments include more genuinely affordable housing.

“I am committed to using the full strength of my planning powers to get London building more affordable homes.

“This is another important step as we work towards my long-term strategic goal for 50 per cent of housing in all new developments across the city to be social rented and other genuinely affordable homes for Londoners.”

  • Pennycook also spoke out on proposed cuts to the 53 bus route, saying they would “punish my working-class constituents”.
  • The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7.
    – Help us by telling us your stories
    – Become a monthly patron at patreon.com/charltonchampion
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    – Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com