FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Abbey Wood

Crap parking off the scale in Abbey Wood

I’ve long seen how abysmal parking is in much of Abbey Wood. It really is pretty bad. A short walk often reveals dozens of cars on the grass, pavements, blocking dropped kerbs, on double yellows and more, and is symptomatic of wider issues of parking across Greenwich borough as well as neglect in certain areas. A reader has been in contact with a plethora of photos showing how dire the problem has become.20170702_102238

For the disabled, elderly and parents with buggies in particular, the situation is pretty bad. It appears to have got to the point where someone in a wheelchair simply couldn’t travel down many streets. These photos were mostly taken on just two days within a small area.

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The leader of Greenwich Council is Denise Hyland, who is a councillor for Abbey Wood though lives in Eltham. Greenwich Council have been been informed numerous times and done very little to act, as the scope of the problem shows.

Let’s not here more weak lines again about cuts from the council for this. A visit here would net thousands in fines and hiring more staff to monitor and enforce would be cost neutral.

One incredible thing that came out in previous communications with other readers is that Greenwich Council weren’t even aware that pavement parking wasn’t permitted in London. It’s been illegal in London since the 1970s unless spaces are clearly defined.

I should add that financial figures out from Greenwich Council last week show they are again millions out on expected income from parking. Last year they received £1.4 million less than forecast, or an “outturn shortfall” as they call it. That means cuts elsewhere or tax rises.

They’ve been about £2 million out each and every year for five years at least, as I covered here. Vast sums out, year after year, and little ever done to improve the situation. Does that seem like a well functioning authority? And what have the elected local politicians been doing for 5+ years?

I’ve no idea how they could make that shortfall up…

It’s no shock that they’re way off-target every single year when fines are non-existent in many places, and avoiding Controlled Parking Zones means driving onto paving and grass. Laughably they have just consulted on expanding CPZs in the area. Why bother if enforcement does not occur? The people who do pay seem to be mugs.

The resident who contacted me with all these photos (there’s many more) said the council had written a letter in April to some residents but have never followed it up. And the letter itself is bizarre – it appears directed to council tenants and tells them about their tenancy obligations. However Right to Buy has resulted in the majority of homes now being privately owned freeholds.

You can tell if a house is still council as it had replacement roof tiles which are a lighter shade. Only about 25% of homes are still council, but Greenwich seem to act like they all are.

A crucial problem here is that they leave parking enforcement and maintenance to the Housing Department, due to it formally being a 100% council estate until the 1980s, which as the letter shows means no enforcement.

It makes no sense to now classify land and greenery in this area as Housing Department land. The grass verges need to be re-classified as Highways land and NOT Housing land as happens in other areas. If that’s done its far easier to fine and act on this endemic problem.

You can bet if they do try a solution it’ll mean more street clutter costing many thousands of pounds (often with negative effects of obstructing vulnerable pedestrians and creating eyesores) instead of doing the obvious which is classifying all part large expanses of greenery as Highway Dept land, then send wardens down. And hire more of them.

For more examples of very poor anti-pedestrian design along those lines click here.

Here’s some great examples in Abbey Wood of waste: sticking up the odd bollard at hundreds if not thousands a pop that does nothing:

Greenwich Council say they put them in to stop paving damage, as seen above. But the odd one does nothing, and covering every inch of paving isn’t often feasible. Patrols by traffic wardens is most effective and cost neutral.

Yet there’s somehow always cash to splash on wooden bollards, often to little effect; £122,540 since 2014/15:

This situation is laughable really in terms of funding allocation but when you see people in wheelchairs or parents struggling with a buggy it shows the impact of selfish drivers and lack of enforcement. Yet they’ll keep doing it unless fined.

The Housing Department has seen this proliferate despite numerous notifications by residents is overseen by Cllr Averil Lekau. The Highways Department is overseen by Cllr Sizwe James. Greenwich’s reports on continual parking problems comes under the Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills banner, such as this showing a £2 million shortfall. Cllr Dan Thorpe has regeneration in his brief:

They all need to ask hard questions about their departments, staffing levels and investigate and pursue measures to re-classify large amounts of land so action happens.

This is a council that has seen more new housing than almost any other area in the entire country, let alone just London. What’s happening to all the associated income? The New Homes Bonus cash from Central Government; the Section 106 payments from developers? Where’s the £3.5 million from TfL to be spent this year on transport related measures which can include paving improvements? Still nothing from Greenwich Council to consult on how they will spend. Years and years of it have yielded few results.

Problems are widespread. Parking shambles also continue at Eltham shortly after a £6+ million upgrade project with the new public space at Passey Place becoming a car park and new granite street furniture hit by cars. The situation by Plumstead station continues to be a mess with cars blocking bus stops at the recently completed £1.2 million road upgrade, funded by TfL.

I’d be interested to see photos of issues – they can be sent to fromthemurkydepths@gmail.com

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6 Comments

  1. Angie

    Thanks for this article. A very close friend is mobility impaired and lives in Abbey Wood. Its often very hard for her to get out the house and live a semi independent life, and paving obstructions are a big factor.

    Greenwich Council have been informed many times and in 12 years we have NEVER once seen a warden or a ticket on any car. That says it all. If councilors lived here they wouldn’t put up with it.

  2. Adi

    Its all over the place. Abbey Wood does have it bad though. That area is pretty much ignored. People know they can do what they want. Locals must wonder where their council tax goes. Such a scruffy place. Anyone ever got a response from local cllrs Clive Mardner. I never have on numerous occasions. They seem to not care at all.

  3. Bob

    All that money they could raise and reinvest in transport schemes in the borough – better paths and links. All being squandered through ineptitude. Thanks “royal” Greenwich

  4. Ben

    Who is in charge of parking? Elthams a bloody mess at the moment. Woolwich is ridiculous at times. Its everywhere. Why are they allowing it?

  5. O

    The Housing Department can barely look after their core responsibilities – homes – so god knows why they are looking after (badly) streets and parking. Take it away from them but improve other departments too, which as you say, are poor themselves but at least have more legal power. What’s so obviously frustrating is the scale of issues means it would not cost anything due to increased revenue, bit they simply cannot be bothered it appears. Such widespread neglect. I will email councillors myself as fixmystreet does nothing, but expect to be fobbed off again.

  6. Gemma

    I live in Abbey Wood and have seen how just in the last 16 months or so since I’ve started driving how bad the parking seems to be especially towards Harrow Manor Way, as a pedestrian it’s maddening and I don’t have mobility issues so I can fully understand how hard it must be for parents with buggies and those who are mobility impaired – but where are we supposed to park?

    I have returned home from work and had to park streets and streets away from my home purely because of customers from the dental practice on ampleforth road absorbing what little parking is available, whilst the parking on the pavement is out of hand most residents aren’t intentionally going out of their way to make others lives hard there is just very little choice about where to go, I find a lot of space issues with my neighbours are down to very large cars parked in bays meant to hold five only accommodating four and houses having 2 vehicles or more between them, not to mention people parking in the disable bays long term.

    I understand fully I can be fined for pavement parking , and I don’t want to be parked there either but what viable options are there?

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