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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Hornfair comes home as Charlton gets east-west split in new council ward plans

This could be the new council map of the area

Charlton could be split down the middle under the final proposals to redraw where Greenwich councillors are elected – with Victoria Way and Canberra Road forming the new boundary line.

At present, Greenwich borough is split into 18 wards, which each elect three councillors, with Charlton sliced into four wards: Charlton, Peninsula, Woolwich Riverside and Kidbrooke with Hornfair. But with the area’s population rising fast, the map is being redrawn to accommodate 55 councillors rather than 51.

New plans from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England propose that the SE7 area still be split into four, but most of it would be covered by two wards, Charlton Village & Riverside and Charlton Hornfair. If approved, they will apply from May 2022’s council elections, and will not affect the Kidbrooke with Hornfair by-election which is due in May. The commission is asking for the public’s views on its plans.

The L-shaped Charlton Hornfair ward would cover the area north of Shooters Hill Road and east of the A102, and would run as far as the Westcombe Park to Charlton railway line, Victoria Way, Canberra Road and Charlton Park Lane – ending a 20-year split which has seen residents of much of this area vote for Kidbrooke councillors. It would also include Blackheath residents around the Royal Oak pub and Woolwich residents in developments south of Queen Elizabeth Hospital. It would elect two councillors.

Charlton station mural
The Charlton station mural is currently split between two wards – Peninsula and Charlton. It will be in Charlton Village & Riverside under the new plans

Charlton Village & Riverside would cover the area from the river up to Charlton Park, including the Troughton Road and Atlas Gardens areas that currently find themselves in Peninsula and Woolwich Riverside wards. It would also elect two councillors.

Small parts of SE7 would still cast their votes for other wards – the area around Gurdon Road, with new developments on Fairthorn Road and Bowen Drive, would be in a three-councillor Greenwich Peninsula ward, while Maryon Road, Erwood Road and Woodland Terrace go into Woolwich Dockyard, along with the rest of what will soon become the Trinity Park development.

The proposals do not affect parliamentary constituencies, so much of Charlton Hornfair would still come under Clive Efford’s Eltham seat for the time being. They also do not affect the borough’s boundaries with Lewisham and other neighbours, which were last tweaked in the 1990s.

Greenwich Council has input into the proposals but it is the commission that sets the boundary. The town hall had initially gone along with proposals for 55 councillors, but changed its mind last autumn and proposed 56. The commission has rejected that, and has based its proposals on those filed by the borough’s Conservative councillors.

The Tories may well be pleased to see the largely Labour-voting Charlton streets moved out of wards in the Kidbrooke area that was a traditional target for them. Other changes may also help the council’s opposition – such as a Woolwich Arsenal ward covering new developments by the Thames in Woolwich town centre, as well as a Kidbrooke Village ward.

The council’s own proposals would have further entrenched the old four-way split in Charlton’s councillors – including bringing the Kidbrooke with Hornfair boundary right up to Canberra Road. “As this proposal involves crossing Shooters Hill Road, we do not consider that this reflects the community identity of these areas, and we have therefore not adopted it,” the commission said.

The commission also rejected council plans to put Heathwood Gardens and Kinveachy Gardens in Woolwich Dockyard. “The council proposed an alternative boundary in this area, with Heathwood Gardens and Kinveachy Gardens in a Woolwich-based ward. We visited this area on our virtual tour of Greenwich and considered that these streets look towards Charlton for their community identity rather than Woolwich. This judgment was supported by the relatively small number of local residents who provided evidence that these streets regarded themselves as part of the Charlton community, using Charlton-based shops and community facilities rather than those in Woolwich.”

There will now be a public consultation on the plans, which will run until 10 May. You can have your say at the Local Government Boundary Commission for England website.


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