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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Charlton Ward Budget Watch: what’s been funded so far?

Big Red Bus Club
Charlton’s Big Red Bus Club has benefited from the ward budget, along with 7 other projects to date.

Greenwich borough’s Ward Budget programme makes £30,000 available to each ward, with schemes proposed by the community and selected for funding by local councillors. With – we estimate – only 5 months of the programme left to run (we understand it will conclude 6 months before the May 2018 council elections), we’ve taken a look at what’s been funded so far.

Key figures for Charlton ward:

  1. 8 projects have been approved so far (including one joint scheme to fund the Greenwich Foodbank Van) out of 70 confirmed across the borough.
  2. Only 22% of Charlton’s budget had been allocated at the time the report was published (there’s a surprisingly wide variation between wards on this: Kidbrooke and Hornfair have allocated 89% of their budget; Thamesmead Moorings less than 5%).

Here are the projects funded so far (click project names for more detail on the council website):

Project Amount Decision
CCRA Community Green Spaces Project £985 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £985 to support the improvement of land (through planting) on the street environment in Central Charlton.
Charlton Toy Library £1,472 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £1,472 to fund the purchase of baby and child safety equipment, pre-school toys and books for the Charlton Toy Library loan scheme, arts and crafts materials, an A-board sign along with leaflets and information packs to promote the service.
The Big Red Bus Club £950 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £950 for the provision of specialist play equipment for the Big Red Bus Club, Stay and Play service for disabled children in Charlton.
Thorntree School – Community Garden £500 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £500 for the provision of gardening equipment, plants and shrubs to renovate a piece of land next to Thorntree Primary school as a community garden for the school children to plant and maintain.
Charlton Community Day £750 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £750 towards the costs of running a community day in Charlton Park on 23rd July 2016.  The event will be run and managed by Global Fusion Music & Arts.  The ward budget contribution will cover the cost of the sound system and volunteer expenses.
Greenwich Foodbank Van £428* Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £6,000 towards the purchase of a van by Greenwich Foodbank to facilitate the efficient transport of food around the Borough to be funded from the Ward Budget Scheme as proposed by the members of fourteen Wards.

(*Charlton Champion’s estimate based on equal division of cost across 14 wards)

Charlton Hope Sale £1,500 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £1,500 to support the Charlton Hope Sale, an outreach group that provides support to local people in need.
Valley Hill Hub – Air Pollution Monitors £120 Agreed the allocation of a one-off payment of £120 to enable the Valley Hill Hub to purchase and install ten air pollution  monitors in the Charlton area and to publish a report on the findings to local interest groups and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Other funded schemes in wards adjacent to Charlton include:

Searching for ‘Ward Budgets’ in the Decisions section of Greenwich council’s website will bring up details of other funded projects.

Ward Budget spend by ward:

Ward Total Approved Amount Remaining Ward Budget Percentage Spent
Thamesmead Moorings £1,355.62 £28,644.38 4.5
Woolwich Riverside £1,450.00 £28,550 4.8
Middle Park and Sutcliffe £3,400.00 £26,600 11.3
Plumstead £3,455.62 £26,544.38 11.5
Charlton £6,677.00 £23,323 22.3
Peninsula £7,400.00 £22,600 24.7
Eltham West £8,045.87 £21,954.13 26.8
Coldharbour New Eltham £9,950.00 £20,050 33.2
Blackheath/ Westcombe £12,618.20 £17,381.80 42.1
Greenwich West £17,383.00 £12,617 57.9
Eltham South £18,245.10 £11,754.90 60.8
Abbey Wood £20,973.50 £9,026.50 69.9
Shooters Hill £22,650.00 £7,350 75.5
Woolwich Common £23,177.00 £6,823 77.3
Eltham North £24,311.10 £5,688.90 81.0
Glyndon £26,000.00 £4,000 86.7
Kidbrooke and Hornfair £26,658.97 £3,341.03 88.9

Many thanks to Cllr Spencer Drury of Eltham North for highlighting on his website the Greenwich council report detailing Ward Budget spending to date and crunching the percentage figures above.

So, with over £20k available to spend in Charlton ward, what you like to see the money spent on? Better Christmas lights for the Village? Improvements to parks? A contribution to the Blackheath fireworks? Community events? Let us know in the comments below – the clock’s ticking!