Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Helping to make Greenwich greener

Following a request by the Leader of Greenwich Council, Chris Roberts, for local groups to do their bit in helping to beautify the parks and green spaces in the borough, a number of volunteers from the Westcombe Society have been working on the flower and shrub beds near Westcombe Park Station.

They have cleared the ground, and planted Narcissus and Crocus bulbs supplied by the Council.

Leader of the group, Barbara Henley said: "We welcome the support given by Greenwich Council to encourage local groups like the Westcombe Society to help to improve the environment. The Council are being very co-operative in helping local groups to combat graffiti - but planting bulbs is a much more creative endeavour!"

Blackheath Standard Christmas Cheer!

Folowing the success of the Westcombe Society's Christmas Bazaar on 19th November, the Christmas tree donated by the NatWest Bank for the Bazaar has been re-erected at the Blackheath Standard by Greenwich Council workers to start the festive season.

Volunteers from the Westcombe Society put the finishing touches by adding Christmas lights.

Dick Allard, Chair of the Westcombe Society, said "We welcome co-operation with Greenwich Council; the Standard looks so much cheerier with the Christmas lights. We hope that this can be done on a regular basis every year."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Walter Bor Award for The Westcombe News

The Westcombe News was, last night, awarded the Walter Bor Award for the Best Amenity Society Newsletter at an event organised by the London Forum. The Society is extremely pleased to have had the News recognised in this way as it represents a huge tribute to all the hard work of Neville Grant, the editorial and distribution teams.

Congratulations to all concerned!

'Heart of East Greenwich' Proposals

English Partnerships have recently engaged with local residents' groups, schools and individual residents in a series of public presentations, exhibitions and workshops. An initial presentation by E.P. and Rick Mather Architects outlined their initial proposals for the site - which is huge! As an illustration of this, one of the most memorable slides displayed was an overlay of the entire Old Royal Naval College, which can sit quite comfortably within the site boundary of the old hospital.

The overall proposals also envisage the relocation and re-development of the Council-operated facilities located at The Arches Leisure Centre, East Greenwich Library and the old Robert Owen Nursery School site and adjacent buildings, although the detailed future of these sites was not included as part of this brief.

The first session on November 7th also asked attendees to grade their reaction to the plans under each of a number of headings from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree. Additional comments could be made by means of 'Post-It' notes.

On November 9th, a full day workshop session discussed six important topics with the Design Team - Public Service Provision, Quality Townscape, Making Connections, Public Realm, Environmental Issues and Prioritising Pedestrians.

An additional session on 11th saw the School Council of St Joseph's Primary School invited to contribute their views. This enjoyable and illuminating session produced some graphic illustrations, particularly for the Leisure Centre, public spaces and an apparently essential jewellery shop!

The final session was held on the 14th. Revised proposals from the Design Team based on all the feedback received envisage the following main features to be contained within the Development Framework to be presented to potential developers;

Woolwich Road traffic
A study is currently underway to review the potential for improving the junction of Vanbrugh Hill, Tunnel Avenue and the Woolwich Road. This will address the current congestion, improve pedestrian and cyclist movements and increase bus access.

Woolwich Road Frontage
The aims here are to provide a strong visual presence with the part of the building on the Woolwich Road junction while at the same time providing a sense of activity and awareness of the Urban Square. It is hoped to achieve this with an exemplary design that is no higher than the 6-7 storey 'Plaza' flats on the opposite corner of Vanbrugh Hill.

The design should include transparent elevations both to Woolwich Road and to the new Urban Square to the rear to allow visual connections whilst the proposed public facilities such as the Leisure Centre, Library and cafes can open on to both sides to allow access. Council office facilities at first floor level will have the facility to extend along the entire length of the building un-interrupted if desired. All this area will be serviced by an underground parking area occupying much the same position as the old hospital car park.

Vanbrugh Hill
The new Health Centre and apartments along Vanbrugh Hill boundary should be designed to respond in height and massing to the existing 'Plaza' building and housing opposite. The new apartments will reduce in height from 6-7 storeys (equivalent to the 'Plaza') at the northern end, down to 3 storeys at the southern end adjacent to Calvert Road. The apartments will also be set back from the road at the higher levels to reduce their visual impact. A combination of terraced houses and maisonettes are proposed with a potential to improve the overall street scene. Overshadowing of the existing flats should be avoided through careful solar modelling.

Public Square
With a sunny southern aspect, it is hoped to encourage a lively mix of uses here and to provide cycle parking with only limited vehicular access. Both passive and active supervision of the area is proposed in order to deter anti-social behaviour. Controls might also include the provision of a small police office. Public access to landscaped 'green roofs' from this area was also proposed.

Communal Residential Square
The main residential area on the site will be located to the south of the public square in the centre of the site. This would surround a largely private square. Potential managed community uses were proposed here included gardens, a creche, and a tennis court. Lying outside this, on the eastern and southern borders of the site, would be 2-3 storey terrace-style dwellings with individual gardens backing on to the gardens of the current Victorian houses in Calvert Road. 'Boulevard'-style roads with strategic calming measures including a central row of trees and controlled parking are proposed for the frontages of these properties.

What Next?
The Development Brief will be prepared with advice from Rick Mather Architects, Nicholas Pearson Associates (ecology specialists) and Mouchel Parkman (transport experts). The Brief will be offered to developers in early 2006 and once a short list has been drawn up, there will be further consultation events with the developers and the local community.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Lovell's Wharf - New Proposals - Public Meeting

The developers of the Lovell's Wharf site have withdrawn their earlier proposals for two tower blocks, each of 30-odd storeys, plus lower-rise blocks of flats. However, they now propose to put the same number of dwellings on the site in five monolithic "slab blocks" of up to 10 storeys.

This is still far too big and dense a development in relation to the surrounding area. Once again local residents must be very concerned about the effects of this and the many other large developments in and around SE10 on the service infrastructure of the whole area: transport, roads, sewage, health and education.

The Greenwich Society is jointly hosting a public meeting with the Forum@Greenwich on Tuesday 22 November, at 7 pm at the Forum@Greenwich in Trafalgar Road. All are welcome to attend.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Work & Learn Centre at the Dome

This Centre, a partnership between Meridian Delta Ltd (MDL) and Greenwich Local Labour & Business (GLLAB), is now up-and-running in temporary offices next to North Greenwich Station. The Centre provides a recruitment service for the MDL site as well as training provision. It will move to more permanent premises on the Peninsula early next year.

For information about job opportunities or training, please contact the Work and Learn Centre direct on (020) 8326 3750.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Policing in Westcombe Park

A question that is to be asked at the next area, Time To Listen meeting to be held at John Roan (Upper) School, Maze Hill, on 21st November at 7.00 pm;

Many local residents are greatly concerned about the incidents that occurred in September, in which a large group of hooded youths created mayhem and terrorized residents in Venn House and the surrounding area in Westcombe Park Road and Coleraine Road. Seemoingly they were in search of a cannabis factory that was subsequently discoverd by local residents.

Following this night of violence, in which the police were called out four times, there have been a number of local incidents which, though small in themselves, add up to a very threatening environment for local residents. Incidents have included: stones being hurled at passers-by; fights and disputes centring in particular in and around the phone box in Westcombe Park Road; evidence of illicit drug dealing; a number of incidents of car crime especially in Mycenae Road (in one case, a car with foreign number plates was defaced with very obscene graffiti). At one stage, local residents found it necessary to mount their own street patrols.

Residents feel that ome criminal elements may have come in from other areas that are more heavily policed. Whether that is true or not, there is an overwhelming feeling that the Westcombe Park area is currently under-policed, and the Westcombe Society, on behalf of residents, wish to urge Councillors to support our plea for an accelerated police programme, so that our area gets the police protection it clearly now requires.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

E.P. Collaboration Events over GDH site futures

English Partnerships would like to invite you to a series of public collaboration events they are planning to run in early November, in order to consult with the local community and stakeholder groups in Greenwich on the future redevelopment of the Hospital site, as well as considering overarching principles for the regeneration of the Heart of East Greenwich project.

The series will take place over three planned events, as follows:

Monday 7 November, 7pm - 9.30pm
Public Meeting and Exhibition I
Venue: Dome marketing Suite

Presentations from EP and Rick Mather Architects on the development framework which is being prepared.
Exhibition material from Rick Mather's work in progress.
Break out sessions for questions and feedback

Wednesday 9 November, 9.30am - 4.30 pm
Stakeholder Collaborative Workshop
Venue: Dome marketing Suite

A series of themed workshops with local stakeholders
Interrogation of Rick Mathers work to date and issued raised at public meeting
Themes include: Quality Townscape; Making connections; Environmental issue;
Public realm: Civic facilities

Monday 14 November, 7pm - 9.30pm
Public Meeting and Exhibition II
Venue: Dome marketing Suite

Presentations and exhibition material providing feedback from the previous public meeting and stakeholder workshops

Please reply to Philippa Bloomfield at English Partnerships on 020 7531 2494 or via email: philippabloomfield@englishpartnerships.co.uk