Greenwich Council plans to hold £165,000 festival in Charlton Park in August

Charlton Park
Charlton Park could host Greenwich Council’s main summer festival in August

Greenwich Council’s annual Great Get Together festival is to move from Woolwich to Charlton Park and be given a new look and name, tender documents issued to potential event producers reveal.

Held to coincide with Armed Forces Day for the past decade, the event began life at Barrack Field on Woolwich Common, as a merger of smaller events held around the borough in the years before that. It moved to Woolwich town centre in 2019.

After last year’s event fell foul of the pandemic, the council is now planning to relaunch its annual jamboree, with Saturday 21 August pencilled in as a start date – at a cost of £165,000.

The move from Woolwich to Charlton Park will disappoint those hoping for a boost to the troubled town centre, which is receiving up to £17.1m in government funds to make it more appealing to visitors and residents.

But the council says “this year provides a natural opportunity to reconfigure the event and move location”.

“This location has been chosen as the park is in the centre of the borough, is a large, flat, green space with many sections, fenced with several gates, a small car park and is well equipped with existing facilities including a skate park, cafes and a playground making it the perfect location for a contemporary outdoor community festival, with exciting new content for residents to enjoy,” the tender document, spotted by tweeter Jo Brodie, states.

“The event will also provide an opportunity for thanks to our NHS and key workers, as well for reflection and memorial to those lives lost during the pandemic. The focus for the event should be a contemporary family festival with an overriding theme of equality and diversity,” potential organisers are told.

“We envisage music, arts, culture, food and entertainment from around the world, but embedded in the diversity of the variety of communities we have in Royal Greenwich [sic]. The event needs a rebrand – with a new name that captures this essence.”

The document says that for this year only and as “a celebration of the potential end of the pandemic, we are able to invest more in the event than ever before, enabling the opportunity to produce a really spectacular show”.

While coronavirus restrictions remain in place until at least June 21, and scientists have warned of a third wave in July or August, the tender document makes the assumption that London will be in a better position to hold outdoor events.

“The end of summer date hopefully allows for the Covid-19 restrictions to have been lifted, the vaccination programme to have been completed, and anticipates that visitors will have regained confidence in large events and social gatherings again,” the document states.

The proposals appear to be similar to those for the hugely popular Lewisham People’s Day, which takes part in Mountsfield Park in Catford. However, organisers have also been told that “due to the borough’s rich military history and some armed forces content at previous events, we may want to include some content of this nature such as an assault course and visibility and support from local community groups such as the Army Cadets and British Legion”.

The plan to spend £165,000 on a festival in Charlton Park comes two months after the council declined to spend money on improving lighting in the park to make it safer during the winter months.

Companies who want to put the event on have until 30 April to submit their application.

A version of this story appears on our sister website 853.


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Charlton Parkrun takes step forward with Community Voting Day grant

Charlton Park
Fancy doing 5k in Charlton Park? Parkrun encourages you to give it a go

Plans for Parkrun to come to Charlton Park have taken a great stride forward after local people voted for organisers to receive £2,000 from a fund to help the local area bounce park from the pandemic.

The free weekly five-kilometre events have been suspended since last March but are expected to return this summer as the country reopens. Thousands of people run, jog or walk their way around parks and open spaces each Saturday morning with the help of an army of volunteers.

The nearest Parkrun events to Charlton are at Hilly Fields in Lewisham, Avery Hill Park in Eltham and Mountsfield Park in Catford, as well as at Royal Victoria Dock across the river. Last summer, The Charlton Champion featured an appeal for volunteers interested in helping bring the event to SE7.

Now the £2,000 from Community Voting Day two weeks ago will help the team push forward and make the idea a reality.

In all, 86 people took part in the vote two weeks ago, with £16,000 to distribute to a variety of different projects. The money comes from central government and is being distributed by Greenwich Council.

Ten projects won funding: Charlton parkrun (£2,000); Creative Community Meals (£2,000); Picture Me There – half-hour touring dance performances (£2,000); Fresh Chances Deep Neighbourhood Digital Inclusion – a digital skills project (£2,000); Charlton Power Up – a project aimed at teenage girls (£1,975); Dancewalking for Wellbeing – a Greenwich Dance project (£1,840); Staying Connected – a Global Fusion Music and Arts project with tai chi, art classes and meditation (£1,430); Feel Good Yoga (£1,200); NuVitality Fit FamJam (£897.42); Weekly Saturday Chi Gong and Tai Chi Exercise (£497.58).

The projects have to be delivered within the next six months.


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Housing association sells ex-council ‘affordable homes’ plot to private developer

Denmark House garages
The old Denmark House garages site has been fenced off for years

A leading housing association has sold land in Charlton to a private developer – despite that land being earmarked for “affordable housing”.

L&Q has sold the plot in Maryon Road to an Abbey Wood-based developer, Brunswick Square Investments, 18 years after its former subsidiary Tower Homes bought the land from Greenwich Council for £361,000.

The land formerly housed garages for the Morris Walk Estate, and a covenant was put in place in December 2002 to ensure the land would be developed into 12 homes.

However, no development took place, and in 2015 a further covenant was issued on the land transferring it to L&Q, and pledging that the site “be used for no other purpose than Affordable Housing”, which it defines as being “social rent, affordable rent and intermediate housing” – the latter usually meaning shared ownership. It also restricted the size of any development to 33 habitable rooms.

Denmark House Garages site
This land was sold by Greenwich Council in 2002

But L&Q has now sold the land to Brunswick Square Investments, which gives its headquarters as a private house in Overton Road, Abbey Wood. The Charlton Champion understands the sale price was £605,000, but has been unable to independently verify this as Land Registry records have not yet been updated.

The site has been fenced off for years and the housing estate around it – including the next-door tower block, Denmark House – has been demolished by the building company Lovell, which is redeveloping the old Morris Walk Estate as Trinity Park.

An L&Q spokesperson told The Charlton Champion: “This land was sold as it was surplus to our requirements. As part of the sale, the covenant restricting the size of the development, and the tenure to affordable housing, remained in place.”

Brunswick Square Investments was formed in 2019 and has not yet filed accounts with Companies House, which classes the company as being involved in “buying and selling real estate”. Its sole named director, Herbert McLaughlin, has not responded to a request for comment.

Greenwich Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Sarah Merrill, told The Charlton Champion: “We are committed to ensuring that the covenants secured against the land are fully enforced. The new owner will need to ensure that any planning application for development respects the adjacent new and existing developments and this should be a policy compliant scheme delivering the maximum amount of affordable housing.”


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