Faraday Works: Find out more about new Charlton Riverside scheme on Valentine’s Day

37 Bowater Road
U+I submitted plans indicating it wanted to demolish 37 Bowater Road (photo: Neil Clasper)

Developer U+I will reveal its plans for the old Siemens factory site near the Thames Barrier next week, with three drop-in sessions – two being held on Valentine’s Day.

Last year the company revealed that it wanted to demolish one of the remaining Siemens buildings – 37 Bowater Road – as part of a plan to build 520 homes at the Westminster Industrial Estate, on the Charlton/Woolwich border.

Until 1968, this was home to the giant Siemens cable works. While some of the buildings have since been demolished – notably the headquarters building (see below) – many remain in place.

Several of them have recently been given local listing status by Greenwich Council, which has created a conservation area. Recent plans submitted to Greenwich indicated that U+I wanted to demolish 37 Bowater Road but keep the rest.

Just as with nearby Flint Glass Wharf – where another 500 homes are planned – this is an area where the Charlton Riverside masterplan permits buildings of up to 10 storeys.

18-32 Bowater Road
The site is just to the east of the Thames Barrier (pic: Neil Clasper)

U+I says:

We know we’re not going to have got the proposals right yet. We want to hear your thoughts, ideas and criticisms so that we can shape Faraday Works into an amazing new place for Charlton. We will be holding a public exhibition where you can meet the project team and let us know your thoughts at this early stage.

Thursday 14th February, 8am to 10am
Drop in session at Chef House Café
19 Bowater Road, Woolwich, London, SE18 5FL
WITH FREE BREAKFAST FOR THOSE WHO LEAVE FEEDBACK

Thursday 14th February, 4pm to 8pm
Education Space at Thames Side Studios
Unit 2, 5 Harrington Way, Woolwich, London, SE18 5NR

Saturday 16th February, 12pm to 4pm
Education Space at Thames Side Studios
Unit 2, 5 Harrington Way, Woolwich, London, SE18 5NR
WITH FREE BIKE SERVICE AND REPAIR

Details will also be on a website, faradayworks.com.

Mayor Sadiq Khan’s rejection of the nearby Rockwell scheme for Anchor & Hope Lane means that U+I’s plans will come under scrutiny – and may leapfrog Rockwell to become the first development on Charlton Riverside to actually begin to materialise.


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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

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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.”


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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
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