Barclays Westcombe Park closure: Blackheath Standard loses its last bank

Barclays Bank Westcombe Park - Google image
The Westcombe Park branch of Barclays Bank is a local landmark

The Westcombe Park branch of Barclays, the nearest bank for many in Charlton, is closing in January, it has been announced.

It is the last bank at the Royal Standard, following the closure of NatWest two years ago. That building remains empty.

With the shift to online banking, Barclays says “only 232 customers use this branch exclusively for their banking”, while 28 per cent of the branch’s customers already use other branches.

After the last day of trading on 15 January, the nearest Barclays branches to Charlton will be in Blackheath Village and Woolwich.

Charlton’s own branch of Barclays, next to Charlton station, was demolished in the late 1990s as part of work to create a transport interchange for the Millennium Dome.

The Barclays branch in Deptford High Street – an old Woolwich Building Society branch – is also closing, on 11 January; the branch at Rotherhithe will shut its doors five days earlier. (See a full list of branches that are closing.)

Last week TSB announced it was closing its Eltham branch, but its outlet in Greenwich will remain open.


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Westcombe Hill to get new bus to North Greenwich from October

Route 335 map
The new 335 service will follow the red route to North Greenwich

Bus users who live on the western side of Charlton will get a new service to North Greenwich from October after Transport for London confirmed its new route, the 335, will run via Westcombe Hill.

The new double-deck service will run between Kidbrooke and North Greenwich every 12 minutes during Monday to Saturday daytimes and every 15 minutes during evenings and Sundays. TfL hopes to begin the service, which will provide relief to the often-overcrowded 108 route, on 26 October.

Two options were presented in a consultation, with the possibility that the route could run straight down the A102, as the current 132 service does now. TfL – backed by Greenwich Council – opted to for a route via Kidbrooke Park Road, Shooters Hill Road, Stratheden Road and Westcombe Hill, to follow the 108 to North Greenwich.

The Westcombe Society – an amenity society for the Westcombe Park area – had led objections to the route serving Westcombe Hill, which has been a bus route for over a century. According to TfL, the society said running via Westcombe Hill was “unacceptable to residents who already suffer from frequent buses on a residential road”. It claimed the area was already “well served for buses to Greenwich Peninsula and North Greenwich”.

Another group, the Westcombe Traffic Group, complained about noise and pollution and called for buses on route 132 to be given double-decker buses to serve passengers from Kidbrooke. Double-decker buses have operated route 132 for ten years. TfL plans to use hybrids on the new 335. (Read the full consultation report.)

While the new route will be of huge use to those who have struggled to squeeze onto routes 108 or 422 to North Greenwich, it remains to be seen whether buses will already be crowded by the time they reach Westcombe Hill. The service is being funded by money from Berkeley Homes, which is developing the Kidbrooke Village development; while Transport for London – which has been cutting services in recent years due to financial problems – says it is using business rates income to bring the introduction of the bus forward.

It will also add to crowding at North Greenwich bus station, which already struggles in the evening rush hour. Plans are afoot for a new bus station, but a dramatic design with 24-storey towers has reportedly been dropped.


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Wassail away in East Greenwich Pleasaunce this Sunday

East Greenwich Pleasaunce Wassailing poster

Local storyteller RICH SYLVESTER brings us news of East Greenwich Pleasaunce’s annual Wassailing event:

Dear friends and neighbours – I hope you can join us to welcome the New Year with a Wassail In the Pleasaunce. It’s on Sunday 13th Jan, 1-3pm, and we would be really grateful if you can spread the word!

This is the fifth year the local community have come together for this traditional “New Year” celebration – with music dance and song. Wassailing also involves pouring an offering of cider on the trees of the community orchard. Cider and apple juice from London, and Kent apples will be on sale.

Wassail 2019 will feature:

A flavour of previous Wassails:

Alongside the café and playground of this well-used local park, amidst the roots of the old trees there are memorial stones and a mass grave dating from 1857 when the bodies of 3000 sailors from Greenwich Hospital were re-buried. The Wassail will naturally take a moment to remember them.

Meet at Pistachios Café, East Greeenwich Pleasaunce, Chevening Road, London SE10 0LA.

To find out more contact Rich Sylvester on 07833 538143.


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