New Homes in Charlton and Blackheath

Last week I was shown round the Charlton Triangle (a number of former council estates in Charlton just on the eastern side of the motorway, now transferred to Charlton Triangle homes, a housing association that has improved and redeveloped many of them) with fellow councillors Allan MacCarthy (Charlton ward) and Barbara Barwick (Woolwich Riverside ward).

It was great to see all the work that has been done to improve homes there, or in some cases build new ones (such as the newly-completed homes pictured here, replacing old prefabs on Rectory Field Crescent).

Allan and Barbara are two of the nicest people I have ever met in Greenwich, in politics or for that matter any other sphere. Allan is currently Mayor of Greenwich and Barbara is his deputy, and is due to become Mayor herself in May (elections permitting). They wear their chains of office lightly, being unaffected, entirely unpompous and seeing this sort of engagement – seeing the practical difference that is being made to Greenwich residents’ lives- as just as important as the more formal part of their duties.

Charlton Triangle is just one example of how affordable housing across Blackheath, Charlton, Kidbrooke and beyond has been transformed in the last ten years. Over on the western side of the motorway in Blackheath and Westcombe Park, there has been less redevelopment (as most of the blocks here were built to last), but millions has been spent on new roofs, windows, kitchens and so on at council homes, and new affordable homes have been built at Restell Close and Belfield Close. As we all know, property prices remain very high and there remains a great need for good quality new affordable homes – which can be tricky in Blackheath owing to the shortage of available sites and high land values.

Many blocks on Westcombe Park Road and Beaconsfield Close are getting new roofs and windows shortly. At the Kidbrooke Park estate (Brook Lane and thereabouts), where Labour was out door-to-door in recent weeks, homes have been given new windows and many blocks have just had entryphones fitted. To the south, the redevelopment of the Ferrier has already started. A large part of my time as a councillor is spent dealing with queries from tenants and leaseholders in council homes – despite its prosperous image, almost a quarter of homes in Blackheath and Westcombe Park are managed by the local authority.

Greenwich is one borough that will meet its target to bring all its stock (apart from a few estates that are due to be redeveloped) to the “Decent Homes” standard by the end of 2010. You do wonder if this would have happened under a Tory government, or whether a Tory government would fund any more improvements – when I first became a councillor in 1998 hardly any work had been done to the housing stock locally for years because of budget constraints imposed by Whitehall. All that has changed.

Alex Grant

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2 Responses to New Homes in Charlton and Blackheath

  1. Paul Webbewood says:

    I doubt if residents of Kings Highway would share your high opinion of Allan MacCarthy after the way he treated their petition at the Council meeting last July.

    There are indeed many nice people in the Greenwich Labour Party, but none of them seem able and willing to preside over Council meetings in an impartial manner. The prescribed style seems to follow Michael Martin rather than Betty Boothroyd.

    Whoever holds power in Greenwich after May 6th needs to draw on a wider pool of talent when choosing the Mayor, as in a number of other areas.

  2. Pingback: After 16 years as a Labour councillor in Blackheath and Westcombe Park, Alex Grant says thank you and goodbye | Blackheath Westcombe Labour

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