June 18, 2014 by Rob Powell
AN OAK tree planted in memory of Vice Admiral Hardy was unveiled in Greenwich yesterday.
The planting of the English Oak marks the 180th anniversary of the appointment of Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy as the Governor of Greenwich Hospital in 1834. He was the flag captain to Lord Nelson and it was to he that Nelson famously said "kiss me, Hardy" as he lay dying.
The tree, planted by the Nelson Society, is close to the old hospital mausoleum in the grounds of Devonport House under which Hardy was buried following his death in 1839.
The unveiling was carried out by Paul Ganjou, Chairman of the Nelson Society. The new leader of Greenwich Council, Denise Hyland and deputy mayor of Lewisham, Alan Smith joined Richard Upton, CEO of Cathedral Group - owners of Devonport House - at the event.
Richard Upton commented: "I am delighted Cathedral Group has been able to plant the Hardy oak tree near to Hardy's burial place. It was a pleasure to welcome the new leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the deputy mayor of Lewisham to Devonport House. I look forward to there being a closer working relationship between the two neighbouring boroughs."
From L-R: Cllr Alan Smith (Deputy Mayor of Lewisham), Cllr Denise Hyland (Leader of Royal Greenwich) and Richard Upton (CEO of Catheral Group)
Local MP Nick Raynsford and St Alfege's Chris Moody were also in attendance, along with representatives from the Nelson Society, Devonport House, Greenwich Hospital, the Greenwich Foundation, the Greenwich Society, the 1805 club and local businesses.
The blessing of the oak was carried out by Revd Susan Blackall from the Old Royal Naval College chapel.
Almighty God, bless this oak,
that it may grow in strength, beauty and resilience
and that it may inspire the lives of all who pass this way
with the example of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy,
in his heart of oak
and in his loyalty and love
for his friend, Lord Nelson, and for his country,
and for you, most steadfast and loving God:
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
THE FLAGSHIP of the British navy arrived at Greenwich at lunchtime today.
On a grey, wet day, the 176-metre long HMS Bulwark transited through the Thames Barrier, passed the O2 and Old Royal Naval College and then moored at Greenwich Shipping Tier.
The visit by Bulwark, under the command of Captain Dean Bassett, is one of a number of events this year to mark the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines. The ship will also receive a visit from the First Sea Lord who is to present the awards for the Royal Navy's prestigious Peregrine Trophy photo competition.
The ship will open its doors to the public on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Tickets for the chance to explore the Albion-class assault ship were quickly snapped up once available but there will be exhibitions and presentations in the Old Royal Naval College grounds this weekend for landlocked spectators.
For Greenwich-based Royal Marine Callum Tacey, 22, the visit to London is a proud chance to come home with the ship he works on.
"When you get the opportunity to come in to London, it's a good feeling to be at home again, whilst at work too." What landmarks did he look out for as the ship came in to London? "The view of Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs reminded me of home - it would have been the Cutty Sark but we were facing the other way!"
His role on the ship is as a Signaller. "We maintain comms with the boats, make sure the radios work and we pass information on up the chain of command such as contact reports or if there are casualties. That all gets sent up the line through us," he explains.
With the First Sea Lord on board, a spectacular air and seaborne capability demonstration will take place on Thursday evening between 8.30pm - 8.45pm.
Once she leaves Greenwich early on the morning of June 3rd, Bulwark will head to Portsmouth for a capability demonstration off of Southsea and then sail to Normandy for D-Day commemorations.
After being turned at Blackwall, the ship was towed past the O2.
She passed the Old Royal Naval College.
The stern of HMS Bulwark
Crew member Agostine, ship's captain Dean Bassett and Royal Marine Callum Tacey from Greenwich
Greenwich as seen from HMS Bulwark
THE LABOUR group on Greenwich Council has chosen its new leadership team following local elections last week.
Councillor Denise Hyland is the new leader of the group and Councillor John Fahy is the new deputy leader.
Hyland defeated Jackie Smith for the leadership and Fahy was victorious against incumbent deputy, Peter Brooks. They will become the leader of the council and deputy leader of the council respectively at the council's AGM.
It's thought to be the first time Greenwich Council has been run by a female leader. Outgoing council leader Chris Roberts didn't stand for re-election after announcing last year he would be standing down.
The decision by the Labour group came just days after last Thursday's local elections which saw them increase their control at the Town Hall, gaining three councillors at the expense of the opposition Conservative group.
Greenwich Tories now have eight councillors. Their highest profile loss was that of their deputy leader, Nigel Fletcher, in the Eltham North ward.
Following a meeting of the new Conservative group Spencer Drury has been re-elected as their leader and newcomer Matt Hartley replaces Fletcher as Deputy Leader.
In the Greenwich West ward, Maureen O'Mara, Matthew Pennycook and Aidan Smith were elected. In Peninsula, Labour's Stephen Brain, Chris Lloyd and Denise Scott-McDonald won.
The election saw the departure from the town hall of the popular Peninsula ward councillor Mary Mills after 14 years.
GREENWICH town centre now has the most expensive council-run car parks in the whole of south London, research by Greenwich.co.uk has found.
The council almost doubled charges in its three town centre car parks at Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich Park Row and Burney Street in 2011.
Visitors now pay a minimum of £2.50 an hour to park. Councils in neighbouring Bexley and Lewisham charge just £1.00 and £1.40 respectively.
Greenwich Council intends to raise its parking charges again to £2.70 an hour next year.
Use of Greenwich town centre car parks has dropped by around 40% as a result of the new charges, with just 13% of visitors now coming into town by car.
Visitors also spend far less than in other nearby town centres. A study by TfL found that people spend an average of just £20 per visit in Greenwich compared to £31 per visit to Woolwich, £33 per visit to Bexleyheath, £39 per visit to Bromley and £48 per visit to Croydon.
Just 26% of those surveyed say that they come to Greenwich to shop. This is lower than any of the other 14 London town centres in the study.
Our research found that it is now cheaper to park in parts of central London than Greenwich, with Southwark Council charging just £1.50 an hour for its car parks.
Only one other council-run car park has a higher hourly charge in South London. Buckner Road car park in Brixton has an hourly charge of £3. However, unlike Greenwich, visitors are able to pay to park for less than one hour, with prices starting at just 20p.
Research by the Conservative group on Greenwich Council found that the number of parking hours paid for in Greenwich town centre car parks dropped between 37 and 42 per cent since the charges were raised.
Meanwhile parking revenues have only increased by relatively modest amounts. In Greenwich Park Row car park, the council have increased takings by just 10% despite raising charges by over 90%.
Greenwich council admitted earlier this year that the new charges have raised less than half of the extra revenue they expected.
The Leader of the Conservative group on Greenwich Council Spencer Drury said today the cost of parking was hurting local businesses:
“Raising parking charges in Greenwich has clearly reduced the number of people travelling to the town centre by car. Many people I speak to are actively choosing to go elsewhere as a result of the expense of parking in Greenwich, for example with many watching films in Bluewater rather than the wonderful Picture House because it costs an extra £10 to park in Burney Street as opposed to nothing out of town.
"With the Olympics reducing car visits still further, the Council must not put charges up any more in 2013, as I think any potential gains in revenue from parking will be lost with lower business rates as shops lie empty."
The latest census showed that car ownership has dramatically dropped in London over the past ten years, with many more people now using public transport.
However, TfL found that fewer people use the bus to visit Greenwich than all but one other London town centre, with visitors highlighting “less traffic” as the main priority for improvement in the area.
The council today defended the increased charges, saying that they “compare very reasonably with other key destinations in London.”
A spokesperson told Greenwich.co.uk:
“Greenwich Town Centre is in a World Heritage Site and is one of London's biggest tourist destinations. We therefore have to very carefully manage parking within the town centre and part of this is to set charges accordingly. Parking charges within the town compare very reasonably with other key destinations in London.
"The town centre also benefits from excellent public transport links - DLR, rail, river and bus access, which we would encourage residents and visitors to use to travel to our renowned shops and attractions.”
Asked whether they will proceed with plans to raise charges again in April, the spokesperson said they would be “happy to review” the charges and “discuss the implications with traders.”
December 13, 2012 by Greenwich.co.uk
A NEW equestrian centre on Shooters Hill is nearing completion.
The facility will be run by Hadlow College and offer a range of equine courses for various age groups, including degree courses in partnership with the University of Greenwich.
The facility will also host a new therapy centre where horses can be referred to by vets and one of the only equine baths available in the south east.
Surface sand used at Shooters Hill has come from Greenwich Park. It made up about 1/80 of the surface material using in the park this summer and has been donated by London 2012 organisers.
Hadlow College's Derek Payne told Greenwich.co.uk there had been an uplift in interest in equine courses since London 2012. "Especially on the equestrian sport side, for people that want to start riding or take it more competitively. Many had been looking at it for leisure but now are thinking more seriously about it as a career," he commented.
A new "pegasus crossing" outside the equestrian centre will allow horses to cross the road in to Oxleas Wood.
The press were invited to see the new equestrian centre and also the new "sports hub" at Hornfair Park on the day that the council launched its Legacy Report.
The report, which is available to download here, outlines the benefits that the council claims the area has received through its role as a host borough.