Former Charlton Triangle Homes chair Mark Adams jailed for rape

Mark Adams was jailed for seven years (photo: twitter.com/markadamsobe)

Former Charlton Triangle Homes chair Mark Adams has been jailed for seven years after raping a woman at his house in Blackheath.

The 58-year-old was found guilty after a trial at Woolwich Crown Court. The BBC reports that his victim, in her 20s, woke up on his sofa, found her trousers pulled down and Adams raping her.

The Times reports that prosecution counsel Catherine Farrelly described Adams, who was also chair of London Chamber of Commerce from 2013 to 2016, as “controlling”.

A former private secretary to prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair, Adams was made an OBE in 1997. He later set up in business as a lobbyist, helping to found a right-wing party in Scotland, before returning to London.

In 2013, Adams sought to become a Greenwich Labour councillor, but was rejected in his attempts to be nominated by a number of ward parties. More recently, he was briefly on the board of Blackheath rugby club and had been running a business consultancy in Portsmouth.

For advice and support on sexual assualt, contact Rape Crisis South London.

Advertisements

Pennycook criticises Rockwell Charlton Riverside as City Hall deadline looms

Rockwell revised scheme
Rockwell’s revised scheme will be examined by City Hall, not Greenwich Council

Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook has told City Hall planners that major changes need to be made to developer Rockwell’s plans to build 771 new homes off Anchor & Hope Lane before they are approved.

London mayor Sadiq Khan took control of the planning application in August, weeks after Greenwich Council’s main planning committee threw out the proposed development, and a public hearing at City Hall is due to take place on 29 January.

Neighbours in Atlas and Derrick Gardens had complained that the development – likely to be the first development on the Charlton Riverside to get planning approval, albeit from Khan rather than the council – would loom over their homes, while Greenwich’s planning chair Sarah Merrill called it “reminiscent of Stalingrad”.

While the plans have been altered to reduce the impact on the two cul-de-sacs, Pennycook says in a letter to Khan’s planning team that more needs to be done to make the scheme acceptable.

Rockwell is holding two brief exhibitions this weekend about the proposals from 9am to 11am today and tomorrow at the Anchor & Hope pub, while comments about the scheme need to be sent to VIPtradingestate[at]london.gov.uk by Monday to be considered by the mayor’s team.

Pennycook says the scheme remains too dense and should be cut from a maximum of 10 storeys to six storeys, while it also needs more family-sized homes. He also calls the design “sterile and monotonous”, and says there needs to be a cut in car parking.

“If approved, this application would constitute the first major development within the Charlton Riverside masterplan area and would set a clear precedent for all other developments that would follow,” he said. “That is why I have always argued that it is critical that we get this development right.”

“The masterplan stresses that the development of Charlton Riverside requires a very different approach to that taken in other parts of the borough, such as Greenwich Peninsula. Yet in too many respects, this revised application is at odds with the spirit of that masterplan.

“I continue to support development on Charlton Riverside but I urge the mayor to refrain from approving the application until the applicant is persuaded to bring forward further amendments along the lines I have suggested.”

Charlton ward councillor Gary Parker has also submitted an objection.


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

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 patreon.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion
– Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

Planning inspector throws out scheme to build house by White Swan beer garden

White Swan
Mendoza bought the freehold to the White Swan in March 2015

The firm which owns the freehold to the White Swan pub in Charlton Village, property developer Mendoza Ltd, is has lost its third attempt to build housing on land behind its beer garden.

The Isle of Man-based company, which makes its money from buying pubs and converting at least part of the land to residential use, has had two past applications rejected.

Now a planning inspector has upheld Greenwich Council officers’ decision to throw out the third application, to build one three-bedroom house on the currently-disused land which sits between the beer garden and the Torrance Close service road.

The house would have been partly built below ground level to reduce its impact on the surrounding conservation area, and would have no windows that could open onto the beer garden.

However, planning inspector Gary Deene rejected the scheme, saying “the proposed development would unacceptably harm the character and appearance of the local area”.

White Swan planning application
The rejected proposal was for one house, sunk partly below ground level

There is a glimmer of hope for the developer – the inspector did not wholly reject the idea of building on Torrance Close, saying: “The local area to which the site belongs [Torrance Close] has an air of neglect and to my mind is capable of successfully accommodating a bespoke form of new development.

“The conservation area itself has no single unifying architectural theme and there is no obvious reason why it could not in principle readily assimilate a variety of new dwellings in terms of size and style.”

The plans were first submitted to Greenwich Council in summer 2017. Mendoza bought the pub from previous owner Punch Taverns in March 2015, evicting the then-management three months later. However, it reopened in September 2015 under the management of Greenwich’s Pelton Arms boss Geoff Keen, who is trying to keep it as a viable, community-focused pub. A second bar and function room has now opened on the pub’s upper floor.


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

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 patreon.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion
– Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

Meet Charlton-based graphic novel author at Thames-Side Studios

Andrew Donkin, Eoin Colfer and Giovanni Rigano
Prize guys: Andrew Donkin, Eoin Colfer and Giovanni Rigano. Andrew and Giovanni will be speaking next week

Last year, The Charlton Champion caught up with writer Andrew Donkin to talk about the success of his award-winning graphic novel, Illegal, about a boy’s epic journey to Europe.

Now he is holding a talk at Thames-Side Studios in Warspite Road on Thursday 17 January with illustrator Giovanni Rigano (above) to talk about the process involved in putting Illegal together, from their initial thoughts and ideas, location sketches and characterisation, through to storyboarding, final artwork and publication.

Giovanni will be flying in from Italy and drawing live during the talk. Individually customised copies by Giovanni will also be available on the evening.

Illegal, written by Andrew and Eoin Colfer and with artwork by Giovanni, won the Judges’ Special Award at the Children’s Books Ireland Awards in May, and the UK paperback edition was released in August. It is also curently nominated for the Carnigie Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal.

The talk, at 6pm, is free, but spaces are limited – contact Thames-Side Studios to book a place.

Illegal is available from Hive Books (pick up at Ottie and the Bea on Old Dover Road) and through Amazon.co.uk.


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

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 patreon.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion
– Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

Greenwich Ikea opening date revealed: Store faces Addicks test on its debut weekend

Ikea
There are widespread fears Ikea will bring traffic gridlock to Greenwich and Charlton

The first weekend of trading at east Greenwich’s new Ikea store will coincide with a big match at Charlton Athletic’s ground, threatening serious traffic issues across the area.

Yesterday the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant confirmed it would open its doors on Thursday 7 February. Signage appeared on the building, on the site of the former “eco” Sainsbury’s supermarket, two weeks ago and stock is already being taken into the giant blue store.

Past openings have led to chaotic scenes – most notoriously in Edmonton, north London, where five people were taken to hospital in 2005 after a midnight opening went wrong.

The Charlton Champion understands both Ikea and Greenwich Council – which has wrapped itself in the store’s yellow and blue colours, allowing it to sponsor a sustainability prize at its business awards and run a promotional stand at a recent festival in Woolwich – are keen to avoid such scenes, with rumours of a “soft” opening ahead of the advertised date.

However, the first Saturday – always due to be a concern – coincides with a home match at The Valley, raising concerns that nearly five years after giving it planning permission in the face of opposition from local residents’ groups, neither the council nor Ikea have got to grips with the potential for the store to bring the area to a halt.

Charlton Athletic will play Southend United that day, a match which usually sees the away side bring a large number of supporters to The Valley, whose proximity to the Blackwall Tunnel and the A13 to the Essex coast usually make it an easy trip. The Shrimpers are managed by former Addicks favourite Chris Powell, a factor which could also bump up the home crowd.

There are mitigating factors – Southend fans could be routed via the tolled Dartford crossing, while attendances at The Valley have dropped significantly in recent years with fans alienated by Roland Duchatelet’s ownership. But matches still cause short-term traffic congestion, and the curiosity factor around the wildly popular furniture retailer’s debut in SE10 is likely to make 9 February a difficult day to get around the local area.

Rail services are due to run as normal on the Greenwich line that weekend.

Greenwich Shopping Park
Other shopping centres are available: Greenwich Shopping Park last Sunday

Even after the opening weekend, there will still be fears about the potential for gridlock – withincidents of drivers being trapped in the car park of the chain’s Reading store. Issues have also been reported at its Exeter store.

Indeed, closer to home, long tailbacks regularly form inside the Bugsbys Way shopping parks as drivers queue to get out.

To mitigate this, Ikea has signed a legal agreement pledging to direct drivers to the west of the site “to address network capacity constraints on Peartree Way and Woolwich Road roundabout”, with £50,000 for new signage. (See the full legal agreement and travel plan.)

Ikea Croydon checkout
Coming soon: Meatballs to the right, bargain corner to the left

However, there are no signs yet of promised “improvements to pedestrian and cycling access links to the development from Westcombe Park and Charlton railway stations”, due to come from £750,000 to promote “travel by sustainable modes”. Work to widen Peartree Lane to create a southbound bus lane has started, though, and extra pedestrian/cycle crossings are being installed on Bugsby’s Way, which could address a promise to improve links from North Greenwich station. The store also pledged to pay £500,000 for extra bus services.

In a press release not sent to this website, Ikea promises to be “being a good neighbour and a true partner in the local community”, offering “a wide choice of affordable delivery services will be available, from 24-hour delivery for those living within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, to a Zedify bike courier service, competitively priced mini cabs and Hertz EV [electric] van hire”.

For the first 10 weeks the store is open, it will also have a special offer on home delivery for those who live within 40 minutes on public transport – although if pessimists’ predictions are true, that could be a very small area indeed on the opening weekend.


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

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 patreon.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion
– Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

Morris Walk Estate: ‘Misleading rumours’ criticised as estate redevelopment delayed

Morris Walk Estate
Much of the Morris Walk Estate is now in a poor condition

Greenwich Council has hit out at “misleading rumours” that a major scheme to redevelop Morris Walk Estate has been delayed for nine years.

The programme, which will see the estate on the border of Woolwich and Charlton knocked down and replaced with new housing, was due to begin this year. Demolition was due to start this autumn. But little has happened so far, and the council and developer Lovell are currently discussing timescales for the scheme, which was first announced five years ago.

Tenants and leaseholders in both the Morris Walk and the adjacent Maryon Road estate have already moved out, and people on the council’s homeless list have moved in on a short-term basis. But many have spent all year waiting for the council to finally move them out so developer Lovell can begin work.

They were due to be moved out by late summer, but have been left in limbo by the unexplained delay to the scheme.

Chris Kirby, the council’s cabinet member for housing, spoke out after it emerged a residents’ group had been told the scheme had been delayed until 2027.

Morris Walk Estate
Morris Walk Estate was built in the mid-1960s in a similar fashion to the ill-fated Ronan Point block in Canning Town

“I am saddened and disappointed that misleading information appears to have been given to local residents,” Cllr Kirby told The Charlton Champion.

“On behalf of the council I would like to apologise to residents who deserve better than to be subjected to gossip and rumour about what is going to happen to their home and their community.

“I also want to reassure residents that the council are in active discussions aimed at ensuring this project remains on course and delivers the homes that local people need.

“As soon as the new timescales for the project are finalised we will be contacting our residents to update them fully.”

Morris Walk, along with neighbouring Maryon Road estate and Woolwich’s Connaught Estate, are being redeveloped by developer Lovell as part of the £269 million Greenwich Council-backed One Woolwich scheme, agreed under former leader Chris Roberts. The Connaught has already been demolished and the Trinity Walk development has risen in its place.

Built for the London County Council by Taylor Woodrow Anglian from prefabricated parts in the mid-1960s, the construction can be seen in some shots in the cult film Blow-Up, which featured scenes shot in and near Maryon Park.

It was built in a similar fashion to the ill-fated Ronan Point tower across the Thames in Canning Town, which partially collapsed in 1968 after a gas explosion, killing four people. Morris Walk’s gas supply was removed soon after. 50 years on, many of the buildings are now in a poor state of repair as they await demolition.

Across the three estates, 1,064 homes originally built for council rent will be replaced by 1,500 homes with 35% as “affordable”, a catch-all for a range of tenures from shared ownership, through proportions of market rent to social rent. Of the total number of homes, Greenwich Council says 25% will be for social rent, and that the scheme is at no cost to taxpayers.

The scheme follows the demolition of the Ferrier Estate in Kidbrooke, which had 1,910 council homes when completed in 1972, and its replacement with Berkeley Homes’ Kidbrooke Village development, which will have 738 homes at social rents when finished, along with a further 787 “affordable” homes.

Maryon Park friends group minutes
Members of the Maryon Park friends’ group heard about the delay last month

Neighbours of the estates have been hoping to secure improvements to the area as part of the development. While the missed timetable has made it clear to all that there is a delay, the 2027 date emerged in, of all places, the publicly-available minutes of the Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks’ AGM last month. Maryon Park is adjacent to the Morris Walk Estate.

The minutes note that residents were “shocked to be told by councillors that work on the Morris Walk estate will not now go ahead until 2027. This will presumably have an effect on any plans for the Maryon Park playground, where we will continue to press for improvements and updating”.

Morris Walk Estate
Homeless families are living temporarily on the estate

Woolwich Riverside councillor John Fahy, whose ward covers the two estates, called upon Lovell to give the land up.

He said: “It is a matter of regret that Lovell seem to have taken a decision not to develop the estates until 2027. Officers continue to engage with them to clarify their intentions.

“300 residents are living in the most appalling conditions and remain an urgent priority. Clearly Lovell have failed to honour their commitment and should relinquish any rights they have in respect of the land in question.

“The council should urgently consider developing the site as part of its commitment to maximise council housing in the borough. Housing demand is a priority and any land available must be used now rather than allowing a developer to land bank for commercial gain.”


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

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 patreon.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion
– Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com

Judith Quin: Meet the Charlton author who wants to change your life

Judith Quin

Not getting what you want out of life? Charlton-based life coach JUDITH QUIN might be able to help. After working as an actress and qualified massage therapist, she’s now a vocal coach, helping people build up their confidence. Her first book, Stop Shoulding, Start Wanting, shares the tips she’s learned. You can meet her at a book signing at Waterstones in Greenwich at 6pm this Thursday, 29 November. She spoke to The Charlton Champion about her work and her life in SE7.

How did you end up becoming a life coach?
I’ve been a bit of a natural coach my whole life, I was the one my friends would come to for advice (not that coaches give advice). But in reality, I fell into it. A massage client asked me one day if, as an actress and sound healer, I knew anyone who could help her husband with public speaking.

I did the job, he nailed his talk and I started having other clients ask me the same. One of those clients asked me when I’d trained as a coach – I hadn’t ever heard of coaching! She said what I was doing was coaching and sent me a link to The Coaching Academy where she’d trained – I went to their free event and signed up.

What personal experiences do you bring to your sessions?
I specialise in vocal confidence, helping people to find their voice and be able to speak up for themselves, or speak in front of others, so I bring a lot of my skills as an actress. For the life-coaching part of what I do, clients can be so varied in their experiences the best thing I can bring is knowing how to listen, ask good questions, and hold clients accountable.

Could you describe a typical client and what they did they get out of your sessions>
The clients who get the most out of working with me are those who are ready to step up and take leadership of their life. Often I work with people who are ready for promotion at work, to step up to the next level in their business or public speaking engagements, or find the confidence to be heard. The results are usually more confidence and clarity to move forward, not just for speaking, or at work, but also in life.

In the words of a couple of my clients:

“A life changing experience. Cured my fear of public speaking. Boosted my self-confidence.”

“For years I have always been looking to others for answers. Working with Judith has made me realise that I have all the answers within… Coaching in my opinion is: productive, personal, positive problem-solving.”

What led you to write the book?
It had been in me for years, but when I became a coach and realised I wasn’t the only person who believed that to “should” through your life is a waste of energy it became clear. So many of my friends kept telling me I should (ironically!) but I wanted to put it out there as it was something I kept taking about.

How long have you lived in Charlton for?
It’ll be 12 years next year!

What are your favourite things about the area?
All the green space, the fact I can be in town in 25 minutes, Blackheath farmers’ market, and the old coffee hut in Charlton Park.

How does living in Charlton contribute to a happy and confident life?
All the above. And that I know lots of my neighbours.

What’s the one piece of advice you could give to someone trying to improve their life?
Well … other than “stop ‘should-ing'”…

You can’t change other people, you can only change you; but also, if you don’t tell people what you’re thinking or feeling about their behaviour, you can’t expect them to know, so you don’t give them the chance to change.

Judith Quin will be at Waterstones, 51 Greenwich Church Street SE10 9BL from 6-7pm on Thursday 29 November – book a ticket here. Stop Shoulding, Start Wanting is also available on Hive Books (to pick up at Ottie and the Bea on Old Dover Road) and Amazon.co.uk.

WIN A COPY OF THE BOOK! Charlton Champion members can win a free copy of Stop Shoulding, Start Wanting by answering a really easy question. Sign up at www.patreon.com/charltonchampion by noon on Sunday 2 December and follow the instructions there. You can help us keep the site running and have a chance of winning a book!


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

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 patreon.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion
– Buy Darryl a coffee at ko-fi.com