FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Abbey Wood, Charlton, Greenwich, Transport

Have your say on Southeastern trains tonight

southeasten-train

A new group has been established in Charlton which is looking to campaign for improvements in transport in the area, which will also impact upon the wider area and the Greenwich/Woolwich rail line.

It is meeting tonight at 6:30pm at Charlton Liberal Club.

This is about a minutes walk from the station. Turn right when exiting, walk up Charlton Church Lane and it’s on the left.

There will be a broad range of relevant bodies – Southeastern, Transport for London and other local campaign groups will be there. No mention of Greenwich Council though. The Council’s Regeneration, Transport and Culture committee was supposed to meet tonight but has been cancelled. Maybe some councillors will go instead.

Who scrutinises the scrutinisers?

Despite the plethora of things going on in Greenwich the Council’s meeting wasn’t planning to look into them. You can click here to see the entirety of its committee agenda tonight. As ever, compare this to other boroughs similar meetings which look into these issues with far more depth.

For example, here’s Bexley Council’s meeting agenda tomorrow covering some similar ground. Far, far more comprehensive. If you didn’t click on it above then it’s worth doing so here to see Greenwich’s threadbare meeting agenda to compare. It really is night and day.

Look at item number 9 alone in Bexley’s link (the Regeneration and Growth update) for far more information than Greenwich Council meetings have discussed in many, many months. It even covers areas where Greenwich Council are involved, such as the street upgrade by Abbey Wood station and Thamesmead Housing Zones. Surely Greenwich’s Regeneration Panel should look at these issues too.

It’s similar to when I recently covered how Lewisham Council look into how millions from TfL is to be spent across the borough, and how that process came about. The difference is stark. A 24 page in-depth document at Lewisham for councillors publicly available six months before spending commences. In Greenwich it’s a 2-page document after the spending round has already commenced. All so opaque and hidden away.

It’s the same with millions coming from developers and where it goes. Other borough’s councillors and residents are given far more information by Council staff.

Are Greenwich Council scrutiny panels doing the job of looking into these issues for residents?

Are they more interested in propoganda newspapers than giving relevant, accurate information to the public in contrast to Lewisham and Bexley boroughs, to name just two?

There’s no shortage of things to discuss:

  • Reduction of train services. Since late August there has been cuts of up to 40% at some stations, which impacts Deptford to Westcombe Park particularly hard. Service frequency has reduced in the evening peak to one train every 20 minutes or more. Alongside this many trains have been shortened to 6-carriages from 8 or 10. The capacity cuts are therefore at least 50% with numerous complaints of not being able to board.

se-overcrowding-matt-pennycook

  • Thameslink consultation. This looked like a great addition to the area with trains across London but the consultation raises some worries. It’s possible Southeastern services on the line could be cut. This would see a permanent reduction in services at some stations along the line. Services on the line to Blackheath and Lewisham could also be axed. It’s pretty much impossible to comment on Thameslink proposals when Southeastern plans are hidden.
  • TfL takeover. Are the Department for Transport dragging their feet which could put a whole swath of improvements at risk? The meeting will likely cover this, and I also really do hope the council are fighting hard for this behind the scenes. The new Transport Secretary doesn’t look keen even though Tory Kent County Council are now supportive. No takeover means fewer services, fewer staff, higher fares and in all likelihood fewer new trains or refurbished existing stock.
  • Extra trains. Promises were made of an imminent announcement in January by the then Rail Minister. Only the DfT can sign this off. Many people think Southeastern have power to get more – they don’t. Only over allocation of overall stock not expanding that fleet. They submitted an application for more stock a long time ago but still no confirmation nor information of where any extra trains will go. Exactly why central Goverment and the DfT need to be given the boot and TfL put in charge.
  • Night tube. The Jubilee Line has just had its first ever all-night Friday and Saturday night running. A look at how that changes demand and future expectations of 24 hour running of the DLR and Crossrail.
  • Charlton Riverside Masterplan. Looking at the creation of a new transport route as industrial land converts to residential with up to 5,000 new homes. A resurrection of the ill-fated Greenwich Waterfront Transit from Abbey Wood to Thamesmead then Woolwich, Charlton and terminating at the o2?
  • DLR to Thamesmead. Announced last week but apparently no connection to Abbey Wood with its Crossrail and Southeastern station (hopefully soon to be London Overground).
  • Links from 20,000 new homes on the Peninsula to Greenwich – both east Greenwich and the town centre, plus Charlton too. They’re dire. How will this be improved?

The new Transport for Charlton group also have a Facebook page which is here.

1 Comment

  1. Edward in Charlton

    Thanks. Very revealing. So the borough that has more regeneration, housing and transport change than almost all overs in London according to the Greater London Authority has an authority that isn’t looking into it with any great depth. This looks like a severe failing.

    The contrast in information that Bexley Councillors see at meetings with what Greenwich Councillors do is pretty shocking. How long has this been going on – a year, five years? It may help explain a great deal.

    Did you notice this was supposed to be the first meeting in three months too? And that was the first for three months. So only four a year to look into these huge changes and even then with such limited agendas?

    The people of the borough deserve much more than this.

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