Lately I’ve been asking why Greenwich Council have yet to reveal where they intend to spend £3.5 million awarded by TfL next year. Many other boroughs across London have done so. In previous years barely any information has been given to the public despite the large sums being spent. There’s been scant improvement in most places.
Today they’ve revealed where next year’s money will go, and as £3.5 million is actually above what I’d expected, I eagerly clicked to see what was lined up.
And once again they’ve put out a document with very little detail. As with last year it’s severely lacking when compared to some other Councils. Here is Lewisham’s equivalent with far more information. 24 pages in all.
With Greenwich Council there’s a seven page overview, which mostly just explains what the funding is and only a short paragraph to explain each spending category, despite categories seeing hundreds of thousands of pounds. It’s all so thin on detail.
Out of £3.5 million they can only find £255k to spend improving infrastructure for pedestrians. Here’s the entirety of detail in the report:
“Walking package (£255,000) A number of walking related initiatives including general accessibility improvements on footways, Legible London wayfinding system roll-out and new pedestrian crossing points are proposed.”
That’s it. That’s all the detail. How poor is that? What crossing points?
To highlight how poor it is look at what Lewisham offer, where more information exists on an individual scheme than Greenwich provide for entire areas of spending. For example, with Lewisham Council, when explaining just one project:
Informative, insightful and a good chunk of positive improvements there. It’s revealing here that they mention spending at this location despite other money also being spent. Complimenting other sources of funds.
I’ve seen correspondence between Greenwich Council and the public where they give the impression these funds cannot be used alongside existing schemes funded elsewhere. For example, with Peabody proposing some spending around Plumstead station. Not so at all.
Ah, but Greenwich Council also have an appendix here. Surely that will give details for projects? But no, not really. Just bullet points. Nothing like what’s seen above in Lewisham’s report. Here’s Greenwich’s:
We can see that £150k is to be spent on Plumstead High Street. Seems good. But on what? Who knows as they provide no detail at all.
Will it be like at Grove Park and improve public realm around shopping parades and bus stops, remove street clutter and obstacles and see better paving?
It’s listed under ‘Local Safety Schemes Package’ so is this mainly just road spending? I’d like to think not but with minimal details who knows? It’s not in the “Walking and Accessibility” section but has a tick under walking. It’s ambiguous and without any information we can’t know.
Let’s again skip to Lewisham’s equivalent where we actually learn details of what is wrong in an area and what is to be done. This time at Burnt Ash Hill. Instead of one line following a bullet point there’s actual information:
And now Catford. You get the idea. Asking locals and businesses what they want to see, details and again mention of improving shopping parades as they’re often hubs of communities. Make them appealing and many other benefits flow on:
Why aren’t Greenwich Council Officers and Departments including similar information for each project? You’d hope Councillors, paid to attend scrutiny meetings, would be asking questions to find out relevant information for their electorate.
We get no detail on Plumstead High Street, no detail on Trafalgar Road, and no detail on Eynsham Drive in Abbey Wood. Each gets less than many Lewisham project incidentally.
With Eynsham Drive it’s £120k for the whole street apparently, but how much on the main shopping parade? Is this again just on the road? Will money make it more appealing and attractive to stop many just getting in a car and driving elsewhere? So many questions as there’s so few answers.
Once again we come away with little information and no wiser on what will happen with busy public spaces across the borough such as shopping parades, community centre localities and transport hubs such as stations.
Based on what we’ve seen going back a decade it’s hard to have any faith there will be any real improvement to entice people out of their cars and walking. We won’t see any great steps towards attractive, enticing, welcoming and beautiful public spaces or improvements in links to get there. Many areas across “Royal” Greenwich will stay neglected and off-putting, away from the tourist spot of course. We shouldn’t expect much really though when places like this have already been left for decades:
It’s only the local shopping parade for thousands of people after all. The community centre is on the left. It should be a busy, welcoming focal point. It’s not, and unless Greenwich Councillors ask some questions of Council Officers it wont be, like many other places.
In other areas £535k is to be spent on cycling infrastructure. But as before, very little detail beyond bullet points. £120k for the Thames Path is probably the best thing here. I imagine it’s for the plans in Charlton but they don’t see fit to actually say that.
And then there’s extensions of Controlled Parking Zones. £233k at Abbey Wood, Plumstead, Falconwood, Avery Hill, Woolwich and Thamesmead. Again, no information on exactly where.
Finally, £450k on 20 mph zones, and in a rare break with tradition, some actual information.