FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Greenwich borough

Greenwich Council still clueless on where to spend £3.5 million from TfL this year?

At the end of last year I covered how Greenwich Council will be receiving millions of pounds from Transport for London this financial year to improve areas across the borough, like all local authorities in London. There’s some broad categories that spending must fall under but also a reasonably large degree of freedom within those boundaries. Some of this cash can improve shopping areas, cycle lanes, parks, estates and a fair bit more if the desire is there.

In Greenwich’s case, it’s £3.5 million of funding coming from April 2017.

Back in December, almost no details were public in Greenwich borough. Most other council’s plans were further advanced due to ongoing talks with local people through local wards meetings and the like. Greenwich don’t do that too well, so no details were out there, nor ideas given by locals to draw on.

Throughout this article there’s photos of run-down sites this money could improve. Let’s see if any get some.

Base of council flats at Abbey Wood estate. The main shopping area for a 3000-home estate is around the corner. Improving this approach would be a perfect use of these funds

TfL put out press releases a few months ago listing what most boroughs are planning. Much of it sounds fantastic, and a few are listed down the page. To no one’s surprise Greenwich borough was not listed in the list trumpeting improvements.

When the council and councillors were asked about the funding last autumn and winter, silence was often the norm and at one point they were confused where money was going, suggesting things would be covered that the fund cannot be used for. And in areas where it can, we heard it was not possible or would only be a secondary consideration at best.

It was a bit of a mess, and has been for a decade at least. Tens of millions have achieved relatively little across Greenwich borough because of this.

Tower block entrance in Plumstead.

A couple of councillors did say they liked the idea of consulting with the public and also asking for feedback online. Sadly, but probably inevitably, nothing has happened in the four months since.

Now the financial year is here. Still no word from Greenwich Council. Other boroughs had schemes planned months ago – TfL put out a press release last December of various projects. Greenwich still havn’t put out any detailed information on where they will spend this money. Another squandered year coming then?

Greenwich Council managed space

Based on what little we have seen, instead of creating attractive town centres and parks they’ll be much money for consultants and much new street clutter.

Greenwich council managed space in West Greenwich from new developments to Cutty Sark DLR

So what’s happening elsewhere? Last year I covered what Lewisham do. Below are some other examples from TfL, with much mention of how other councils, both Labour and Tory, work on better public realm, tree planting, new paving, and generally making spaces more attractive. This helps businesses and shops, fosters community pride, gets people out of cars and walking or cycling.

Ugly, car dominated shopping parade and community centre at Woolwich Common

Croydon show exactly what can be done, and exactly what places like Plumstead need.

Out of Croydon’s total allocation of £2.9 million (Greenwich gets £3.5 million) Croydon will spend “£750,000 for public realm improvements in South Norwood town centre such as widening and decluttering footways and cycle paths to enhance pedestrian and cyclist accessibility and experience”.

Will Greenwich use TfL money to do this in Plumstead? So far the signs are no, for yet another year.

Lakedale Road in Plumstead. New paving, cycle parking, trees etc with these funds? Happens elsewhere.

Over in Havering, out of a total £2.3m, “£250,000 for Romford Market Place and a new market building. This will involve public realm works, re-paving, tree planting and the introduction of play equipment for children”

In Westminster there’s £3.6m altogether, including “£200,000 to develop cycling, walking, bus and public realm proposals to transform the Strand and Aldwych area in partnership with the NorthBank BID”.

Another press release from TfL shows some other schemes.

In Hammersmith, there’s “£120,000 to develop Parklets and Pocket Parks – a green open space for people to relax in while taking in the activities of the local area.”

Greenwich borough has no shortage of scruffy or underused green spots that could be improved:

This site in Eltham could be improved

Over at Plumstead this spot at Lakedale Road could be improved:

The mess of different street furniture, colours used, materials and paving do not even show rudimentary design knowledge.

At Kensington, “£350,000 to design and implement pedestrian and cyclist improvements in the South Chelsea area. Works will include reducing street clutter and guard railing, tackling congestion hotspots, improving road safety, bus stop accessibility and servicing provision North / South cycle route linking Belmont Trail and the proposed Quietway route between Brent and Harrow Weald.”

Hillingdon will use “£535,000 to improve access to local shopping parades for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as installing a mix of wayfinding signs. The funds will also cover works to improve connectivity between Bakers Road bus station and the High Street in Uxbridge Town Centre.”

It goes on and on. All things needed in Greenwich borough but which aren’t happening it would seem.

Greenwich Council have almost no plans at a detailed stage in the public domain, have carried out no consultation or asked residents for ideas and so it appears as though they will once again not spend money on improving the heart and souls of many towns, the public space, the shopping parades, the parks and squares. They’ll spend it somewhere, but a year later how much will be achieved? Most places will still be a mess.

Councillors know there’s election in just over a year. It all seems bizarre to allow council departments to be so lethargic and deny many areas improvements that are sorely needed when the funding is there to improve them. Are they that complacent or is retirement in the offing for many?

There’s some good ones there but either they aren’t shouting loudly enough or being ignored.

 

7 Comments

  1. Plumstead person

    Do many care?As articles regularly state the money is there to improve many areas from developer income, external government and charitable funds plus this TfL pot. I guess we will find out if councillors care if they stand up and fight for better in their wards. If not they clearly don’t and do not deserve a vote next year.

  2. Cheryl

    I have long known that Greenwich Council is lethargic, to say the least! I have lived in the borough for nearly 60 years and have seen it degenerate greatly. It has always been a working class area, but people had pride and took care of their properties and environment. I worked for a charity funded by the Council and was a victim of the mind set of the people who worked there – many saying ‘that’s what happens in the Council so it should happen here.’ – which meant not working the hours they were being paid for; using their mobiles for personal calls instead of getting on with their work; going for walks ‘to clear their heads’ when they had done hardly any work; going off to a coffee shop for their tea breaks; not answering their phones. I could say more. So, is this how Greenwich Council operates?

  3. coolunderpressure

    The worst thing about it is that Greenwich council have been allowed to get away with this year after year. I have no doubt that the money will be frittered away on a half thought out scheme. Like the one way cycle lane on Plumstead Road that is ended by a car lane at the approach to a left turn and no improvements to all to the other side of the road, leaving Eastbound cyclists playing with traffic.

  4. Cocochoo

    It’s so frustrating to know that the council still do not have any plans for this money. Plumstead High Street in particular could really do with an injection of some of this capital and the cleaning up of it to begin with, as well as better parking along Lakedale Road in addition to perhaps some greenery. Currently it’s disgusting to walk through and the divide between a modern and upcoming Woolwich and a flailing Plumstead is huge. Sort it out Greenwich Council- get residents involved and listen to our opinions!

  5. Nicole

    Well there’s no excuse for no visible and meaningful street and park improvements now is there? It will only not happen if this Labour Council are again inept and rush things through to use (waste) money apparently again.

    So I expect loads more signs say 20 mph which are ignored, lots more ugly poles and signs stuck up on every street which only serve to make lives harder for pedestrians navigating pavements.

    This Labour council are rubbish at creating towns that people admire and find attractive, except the obvious. But when left in charge at Plumstead, Thamesmead, Abbey Wood, New Eltham, east Greenwich, lower Charlton, most of Woolwich etc ugly places seems to be the aspiration.

    As others have said my vote is NOT going to Labour now as they’re a shambles and do little yo improve areas even with funding out there. So who? Are greens credible in the borough?

  6. Oo

    Here in Thamesmead / Abbeywood we could do with this badly. Areas like Grovebury Road shops. So messy. And poor design. So much worse than much of London. Do Royal Greenwich and Labour take us for granted?

  7. Robert

    Wait for this to mess up some more junctions with no eye for design or being in keeping with current street furniture or materials. Many streets are a mess for the eyes. No coherency in design. Who is coming up with it?

    Standard paving, quality street furniture and lighting. All needed and desired but rarely seen except in favoured spots.

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