*If you live in Victoria Way, keep on reading below the photo because there’s some news you might be interested in…*
Local police should be taking more action against flytipping in Charlton, the chairman of a local residents’ association said last night.
Dave Picton spoke after the Charlton Central Residents’ Association‘s annual general meeting heard allegations of organised flytipping in Elliscombe Road and Wellington Gardens.
He said an incident when flytipped matresses were set alight in Wellington Gardens, causing damage to a nearby home, had helped inspire the founding of the two-year-old association, which covers a block of streets immediately south of Charlton station.
“I’d like to see someone in the police take this on and make it their top priority,” he told Greenwich Borough Commander Richard Wood, another of the evening’s speakers.
“That’s the sort of issue that’s of real importance to the community. These are really serious matters. There must be a way of pinning these people down and taking action.
“When you have a clean-up day, it’s demoralising to have something dumped there the next week.”
There was a call from the floor for mobile CCTV to be used to catch flytippers in the act.
Recalling to the original incident, he said: “We were told by the police and the fire brigade that it must have been kids – but there’s no way kids could have set those on fire.”
The meeting also heard claims of tyres being dumped in Combe Lodge, off Elliscombe Road, and a “spate of lorries” dumping goods in the area.
Commander Wood said he wanted to make his officers more visible,saying he was “the biggest fan of safer neighbourhood teams out there” and asked for more feedback from local residents, adding that otherwise “everything looks lovely from my office in Plumstead”.
Charlton Ward Sergeant Adrian Musgrave said he and his team of two constables and three support officers “walked their feet off every day”, and at all times of day and night.
Ward councillor Janet Gillman said she and fellow Charlton councillors Gary Parker and Allan MacCarthy were pressing for a review of Greenwich Council’s policy of charging £12 to remove bulk waste, fearing that it encouraged flytipping, and that the revenue brought into the council would be outweighed by the cost of clearing dumped items up.
* Firstly – Victoria Way residents could be brought in from the cold and be represented by the association. The CCRA is open to expanding its boundaries slightly if there’s enough interest. So, if you want to join, contact me (details on about 853) or the association direct, and we’ll see what can be done.
* Incredibly, and this is the first I’d heard of this – planning permission has been given to build a two-storey extension on top of the post office in Charlton Church Lane, the only branch left in SE7 following the recent cutbacks. Local councillor Janet Gillman said she and her ward colleagues had pressed for planning officers to visit the site before a decision was made… but it was ignored. CCRA chair Dave Picton said he doubted the building, the front of which contains a large wooden frame containing a huge plate glass window, could stand the extra weight without extensive works – so what would happen to the post office?
* The association now has 190 members, and has plenty of sub-groups, and is looking to start gardening and local history groups. Over 50 people took part in July’s clean-up day – not all of them members, and the group is hoping to hold a similar exercise next year.
* Police commander Richard Wood said the force was holding “presence days” to make itself known in communities – he took part in one “and got two Australian tourists lost in Greenwich town centre”. He said he was trying to make sure police were seen in areas such as town centres and railway stations, and neighbourhood teams were door-knocking to introduce themselves. All Greenwich borough officers will soon be based in a central patrol unit in Warspite Road, Woolwich – a move he said “worked really well” in his previous borough, Haringey.
* Greenwich Council’s planning chair, Alex Grant, was also there, talking about how the borough has to plan for an extra 25,000 households by 2030, and the pressures of trying to cram those in alongside the need for bigger households. There was a call from the floor for action to be taking on the building site in Floyd Road, which has been a mess ever since subsidence hit, taking out a cafe, launderette, flats and a furniture yard. Some people talked about not being informed about planning applications near them, while permission has been given for flats on the site of the Valley pub, Elliscombe Road.
* The deal to turn Charlton Lido into a diving centre (while keeping it as a lido) has finally been signed by Greenwich Council and private firm Open Waters. The lido was closed for the duration of the summer holidays while negotiations took place. “They took longer than everyone thought,” Alex Grant said. The council retains the freehold of the site.
* Finally, I should thank the association for making me feel welcome – more than they’ve probably got any right to bearing in mind I’ve had a few digs in the past. But one of the over-riding themes of this blog is that it pays to belong in Greenwich borough – and if you’re one of my neighbours in Victoria Way, then we’ve got the chance to come under the CCRA’s umbrella in trying to get this area sorted out. So if you’re up for joining me in pushing for inclusion, please get in touch.