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news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Greenwich’s Peninsula Square wakes up as golf balls set to fly

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Greenwich Kitchen

It’s been a long-running moan on this site – the sad waste of space between North Greenwich station and the Dome. Well, it’s being wasted no more.

Joining Meantime Brewing’s temporary Beer Box (due for a three-year stay) is a full-time bar/restaurant, Greenwich Kitchen, that’s billing itself as a “New York-style coffee shop”. It’s even open for breakfast, should you fancy a bacon sarnie on the way into work. There’s another unit being fitted out behind it too – we’ll have to wait and see what that turns out to be.

Gateway Pavillions, Greenwich

Next door is the Now Gallery and the new, plush marketing suite for Greenwich Peninsula owner Knight Dragon containing a champagne bar on the roof – which would explain the three bouncers who seem to be on permanent duty outside the building.

Of course, Knight Dragon has twigged that you’re not going to shift luxury pads if the surrounding area’s as empty and miserable as it has been for the past seven years. It’s a shame that it’s all come too late for the summer – but finally Peninsula Square looks like becoming a decent spot for delaying your journey home. Hooray.

The Jetty Greenwich

In addition to all this action on the square, the old power station coaling jetty’s been taken over by immersive theatre company Shunt, whose show The Boy Who Climed Out Of His Face has another week left to run. It’s been poorly-promoted locally, but you can also pop onto The Jetty Greenwich for a drink in its bar. £4.50 for a pint of Tuborg in a plastic cup ain’t great, but it’s a lovely space and one with potential. Again, it’s all about making the place a but more lively than it was under the previous developers.

Driving range at Greenwich Peninsula

It doesn’t end there, though – there are plans to build a golf driving range at Delta Wharf, which long-suffering readers will remember was once due to be turned into an urban beach. There’s more about the Greenwich Peninsula golf range plan here, and on Greenwich’s planning website, reference 14/2161F. Again, this would be temporary, in place for 10 years before Knight Dragon gets around to developing the site.

Meanwhile, the actual business of selling property has begun, with queues of potential buyers outside the new marketing suite on Saturday. Of course, the property developers’ best friend, Greenwich Council, has chipped in this week with a handy plug in its propaganda weekly, Greenwich Time:

Greenwich Time, 23 September 2014

What Greenwich Time isn’t telling you is what “affordable” actually means, or that the phase after that – where the golf course is set to occupy for now – won’t contain any “affordable” housing at all

10.30am update: See also today’s Evening Standard on the housing issue.

Written by Darryl

23 September, 2014 at 6:00 am

Metroknobbers: Sexism, fireworks, ‘right to report’ and more

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In this week’s podcast: the depressing fallout from calling out a sexist comic on sexist “humour”, hypocrisy over fireworks in Lambeth and Greenwich, Eric Pickles’ ‘right to report’, and more.

Much more, actually, because it’s an hour long. Contains some industrial language and crass stereotyping.

Show notes over at Onionbagblog.

Written by Darryl

23 September, 2014 at 5:30 am

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Sexist Jim Davidson quip embarrasses Charlton Athletic

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The Valley, Charlton v Wolves, 16 September 2014

Charlton Athletic might be flying high in the Championship, but the club paid the price tonight for attempting to rehabilitate controversial entertainer Jim Davidson after he made a sexist remark about the club’s chief executive during a half-time event.

The Kidbrooke-born performer, whose career was boosted by winning Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother in January, was on the pitch during tonight’s match against Wolves to perform an “ice bucket challenge” – being soaked with iced water for charity.

Asked by pitchside announcer Dave Lockwood to nominate people to undertake the challenge next, he picked former player Brian Kinsey, ex-manager Theo Foley, then chief executive Katrien Meire “in a T-shirt”.

Lockwood, who sounded shocked, quickly changed the subject.

Davidson, who is a lifelong Charlton fan, was one of British TV’s best-known faces of the 1980s and 1990s, but remains reviled by many for racist material performed earlier in his career. His television career faded after he was dropped from BBC1’s Generation Game in 2002.

He started making occasional appearances at Charlton events after previous owner Richard Murray sold the club in 2010, and they have continued since current boss Roland Duchatalet bought the side in January.

At 60, he is twice the age of Meire, who speaks three languages and worked for law firms in London and Brussels before joining Duchatalet’s team in 2013.

Davidson’s outburst may also raise eyebrows at Greenwich Council, which contracts Charlton’s community trust to run its youth services.

On the pitch, Charlton have made an encouraging start to the season under Bob Peeters, with fans praising the new head coach’s style of football. The Addicks drew 1-1 with Wolves tonight, leaving them fifth in the table after seven matches.

Written by Darryl

16 September, 2014 at 11:11 pm

How was the On Blackheath music festival for you?

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Blackheath Village, 14 September 2014
More by accident than design, this website completely managed to miss the fact that the On Blackheath music festival actually finally happened at the weekend. (The line-up really wasn’t my bag and it ended up clashing with a sublime St Etienne show at the Barbican, as it happened.)

Personally speaking, it was good to see the event finally happen – particularly after years of gripes from Greenwich councillors and the Blackheath Society’s court battle over Lewisham Council’s decision to give it a licence in 2011. Here’s an interview with the organisers from way back then.

It seems to have gone down well with those who went, although there’s been some mickey-taking over the “food and music” concept…

I couldn’t hear much of Frank Turner when crossing the heath at Duke Humphrey Road at 9pm last night (not a bad thing in my book,) but I’ve seen a few noise gripes on Twitter (the Blackheath Society is asking locals to fill in this survey). If you went along, or if you live nearby, I’d love to hear your experiences of the weekend.

Written by Darryl

15 September, 2014 at 6:30 am

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Want the biggest job in the borough of Greenwich? Apply now…

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Woolwich Town Hall
Want to get your hands on Greenwich borough’s biggest job, plus a salary of at least £185,000? Get yourself to royalgreenwichchiefexecutive.com and see what’s on offer as Greenwich Council chief executive Mary Ney gets set to retire.

Ney’s approaching retirement has been well-known around the council for some time, and the quote given to the News Shopper’s Mark Chandler back in July when he asked to confirm the details – “this is old news” – pretty much sums up the petulant, entitled and secretive attitude that spread at the top of the council under her watch.

Ray Walker, Chris Roberts and Mary Ney

Ray Walker, Chris Roberts and Mary Ney

Recruited by former leader Chris Roberts shortly after he took over the council, Ney – a former head of Harrow social services – failed to act when alerted to the bullying culture within the council under Roberts and ex-chief whip Ray Walker’s watch.

Indeed, Ney is still trying to prevent the release of a document about bullying sent by a Greenwich councillor, a case that has now gone to a freedom of information tribunal.

Writing on his blog yesterday, former Labour councillor Alex Grant shines some light on the broken culture of what now calls itself ‘Royal Greenwich’:

“In my 16 years as a councillor in Greenwich I lost count of the number of times that hard-working councillors were told to look away from problems rather than scrutinise them.

“It was worryingly common for councillors who asked innocent questions about what the council was doing – either publicly or privately – to be shouted at, receive abusive voicemail messages, or even be officially ‘warned’ to shut up or face the consequences.

The problems I encountered in my time as a councillor in Greenwich [included] bullying, a culture of secrecy, discouraging councillors and members of staff from raising concerns, particularly about the council’s finances and use of resources.”

A new chief executive will be a bigger opportunity to flush out the old culture at Greenwich than the election of a new political leader – here’s hoping it’s an outside appointment. Alas, it doesn’t look like an offer’s gone out to share Lewisham’s hugely-respected chief executive, Barry Quirk.

Over at Lambeth, Derrick Anderson is also stepping down after turning around “London’s worst council” – wonder if he fancies a new challenge?

Written by Darryl

10 September, 2014 at 6:30 am

Metroknobbers: A scalp in Croydon, more t*** s***s and football

Dulwich Hamlet FC, 6 September 2014

A Croydon special (gasp!), featuring Steven Downes of Inside Croydon, the local site that’s just had a front row seat for the resignation of the local Tory leader after he was caught secretly claiming an extra £10,000 in allowances. There’s also talk of tall ships, council chief executives and paying what you like at Dulwich Hamlet (above). Full details over at Onionbagblog.

Written by Darryl

9 September, 2014 at 10:39 pm

Posted in local stuff, london

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Tall ships in Woolwich and Greenwich: How were they for you?

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Tall ships at Woolwich, 7 September 2014

I couldn’t face the crowds in Greenwich, so nipped down to Woolwich on Sunday afternoon to see what the fuss was about.

And you know what? The Tall Ships Festival looked rather decent. At least in Woolwich, anyway.

Tall ships at Woolwich, 7 September 2014

A big crowd, nice atmosphere – it looked like a good job, well done. And it’s been lovely watching the ships go up and down the river this weekend.

Tall ships at Woolwich, 7 September 2014

I did pass on the opportunity to buy a £16 Royal Greenwich Tall Ships t-shirt for half price, mind.

Firepower, Woolwich, 7 September 2014

And here’s the most graphic demonstration of why the Firepower museum is closing down – its doors were locked on one of the busiest days the Royal Arsenal complex has ever seen. Madness.

It was a funny experience watching the ships by bike, though. Nowhere to park in sponsor Berkeley Homes’ Royal Arsenal compound – well, apart from this one rack…

Tall ships in Woolwich, 7 September 2014

Greenwich Council later tweeted me to say there was bicycle parking in Beresford Square, but there were no signs from the Thames Path to indicate this. Which mattered, because loads of cyclists were using the path on Sunday.

At least there was some parking at Woolwich, however hidden it was. I thought I’d peek at the ships moored at sponsor Barratt Homes’ Enderby Wharf. But security guards were ushering cyclists off the recently-installed bicycle path.

Drawdock Road, 7 September 2014

So I trundled down Tunnel Avenue, surprised by the numbers of people coming away from Enderby Wharf towards North Greenwich. Was there anywhere to park the bike? Well, I could have taken my chances here…

Tunnel Avenue, Greenwich, 7 September 2014

After a couple of minutes trying to get a D-lock through a wire fence, I gave up and went home.

So that was my Tall Ships Festival. I know there’s been some gripes about it in Greenwich (see the comments on Friday’s post), and the traffic’s been murder this weekend, with packed roads and overcrowded buses. But it was fine in Woolwich.

Imagine it being called the Woolwich Tall Ships Festival, acknowledging where most of the action was…

Remember, though, it’s all about reputation-building. Here’s a naughty slip from Greenwich Council’s Twitter account.

Mehbooh Khan tweet retweeted by Greenwich Council

Retweeting praise aimed at the council leader? Cheeky.

Cllr Mehboob Khan

Even cheekier, because the original tweet, sent on Friday night, was it was amended the following night by Mehboob Khan, who juggles being a Labour Party adviser to London Councils with being a councillor in Kirklees, West Yorkshire. Very naughty. The original tweeters weren’t impressed.

Enough of what I saw, how were the tall ships for you? Share your praises or gripes below.

Written by Darryl

8 September, 2014 at 7:32 am

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