From The Murky Depths

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Greenwich borough

Greenwich borough parking problems finally acknowledged – but will anything change?

Start of £1.2 million cycle and bus lane.

Greenwich Council have finally acknowledged they have a problem with poor parking across the borough which has led to a £10 million budget shortfall.

As 853 reports, at last weeks full council meeting they announced some measures to help. But do they go far enough?






Firstly, they will hire more staff. Cllr Jackie Smith, in charge of Community Safety and Integrated Enforcement, said: “We have had a few more in, we have had permission from the chief executive to go up to our full complement of parking wardens by using temporary wardens”.

There isn’t a number of additional staff mentioned, and what if the full compliment is too low? Numbers employed have been threadbare for at least eight years:

I recall hearing similar last year about hiring extra. Little changed. The addition of more Controlled Parking Zones means a handful of extra staff will achieve little if they have to patrol new zones instead of hot spots such as Plumstead station. Rush hour, midday, weekday, weekend; it doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to the problem.

Eltham’s new £6 million street upgrade is similar.  I often pass and pavements are car parks. Saturday night is usually bad. The granite paving will be ruined. In a wheelchair or pushing a buggy? In the road you go.



Income shortfalls

Greenwich have consistently failed to raise expected budgeted income from parking. It was £3.4 million below in 2015/16 and 2016/17 alone:

It’s more than £10 million since 2012.

Just today a new school has opened at Greenwich Peninsula which will build up to 1,650 pupils. Just a few more staff for new developments and parking zones is running to stand still.

Wing Security

It was also revealed at the meeting was that they’ve outsourced huge swaths of the borough to private company Wing Security. They patrol Housing Department land and certain shopping areas.

In a terrible deal, Greenwich have given them the contract to enforce areas and keep every single penny. They’re throwing money away.

Abbey Wood estate

Vast areas such as Abbey Wood estate – site of 3,000 homes – have been given away. Wing appear to rarely, if ever, visit. Poor parking is endemic. I’m there regularly and it’s the same spots day after day – and has been for years.

Greenwich have not only given away the ability to patrol these areas but also receive any income from fines. Baffling at a time of cuts.

Seven cars on paving day in day out in same spot near CPZ. No action appears to be taken as similar for years

One way to make it easier to enforce parking issues would be to reclassify grass verges and certain areas from Housing Department control to Highways Department jurisdiction – and then use a bolstered number of staff to enforce.

Hiring

At the meeting it was claimed they’ve attempted to hire more staff but failed on two occasions to find anyone. Hmmmm.

That seems to suggest wages are too low. Given wardens would almost certainly be self-funding given the scale of problems, raise the wages?



And why not use GLLaB? It swallows huge chunks of public funds but hardly has any jobs available. At the time of writing it barely lists any. Could it be used?

Another issue is the mention of temporary staff. Why, as new parking zones, new schools and new homes are permanent?

As 853 reported, Greenwich are the second lowest of 32 London Councils and TfL in terms of fines.

Ticketing people for being a centimetre outside a line is not desirable but Greenwich have swung to the other extreme to the detriment of buses and pedestrians – particularly the disabled, elderly and parents.

Constant reporting

But the problem is clearly widespread. My mailbox is full of it. Two emails this morning alone. Many pictures sent. People showing me how they’ve contacted Greenwich dozens of times with no impact.

A standard scene in Woolwich Town Centre

Last week a trial of closing roads by schools started with a Greenwich Council promo blitz. A good idea – yet in Abbey Wood (at least) some parents instead parked and drove on paving just outside the area with no enforcement. Probably as the power to enforce has been given to a company that has little interest in doing so.

Improve streets affected

One of the worst areas is the recently installed £1.2 million bus and cycle lane from Plumstead to Woolwich, It has been reported hundreds of times.

TfL cannot be happy they’ve funded this and yet services are hampered by Greenwich Council. The council at the meeting claimed they were “robust” in enforcing the spot.

What is “robust”? An average of 2.5 ticket per week. With a dozen cars often seen, that is not robust.

With parking revenue ringfenced for transport, the lack of enforcement means less money to begin a cycle of improving streets and the public realm.

Let’s see if new staff actually are hired, and what a full compliment actually consists of. And in addition, when that disastrous out-sourcing contract ends and enforcement brought in house.




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9 Comments

  1. Paul SuperUnknown

    How about linking the pay of Traffic Wardens to a percentage of the fines they issue, rather like Sales, the more tickets issued, the more one gets paid!
    With the way people choose to ignore parking restrictions, this could add up to hundreds, if not a thousand, or more pounds per week, for eager go-getters! And with pay like that, there’d be no lack of money-hungry applicants!

    • fromthemurkydepths

      Not keen on that. That leads to nonsense tickets being issued like in Bexley

    • Local resident

      Slightly different angle, but in north Greenwich they’ve been tightening the parking restrictions (eg days ans times permitted). Without consulting or informing residents though, so my parents got stung when they visited, wrongly assuming it was the same as previously.

  2. Nick Patton

    And parking meters in the Royal Hill area still don’t accept the new one pound coins!

  3. Disappointed

    I really don’t believe RBG has tried to recruit. For God sake someone put the RBG finance dept to work and get them to produce some figures to help make an informed decision. What do they do all day, count the money received from rent and council tax?

    In short if RBG paid double the London living wage say £18 per hour and the person worked 35 hours per week. The weekly salary would be £630. Multiply that by 52 that gives an advertised salary of £32,760 per year. Now let’s add on the hidden additional costs of hiring a person. Employers NI contribution (14%) and employer pension at approx. (6%). Plus let’s say £350 for uniforms and £250 for annual health checks, totalling another £600 per person. Add another £1500 just for good measure (I may have missed something) the total cost to the council per traffic warden is £41,412. Now if RBG were to recruit 20 more people, the annual bill would be £828,240 per year. Is the council stating that they cannot spend £828k to get in anything upwards of £10.m?

    Look I am not a mathematical genius but anyone can see that it is financially beneficial to raise the rate of pay to attract a high number of applicants.
    There are people in London working a lot harder for minimum wage. Is RBG saying they have not applied? There are people who would want a job that fits around their personal circumstances, are RBG saying that they also did not apply. Where did RBG advertise……………the morgue.

    As for sub-contracting this out to the private sector, has RBG not heard of ‘value for money’. Remember it’s the electorates’ council tax RBG is using to line the pockets of the private sector. Plus, if I read this post correctly, RBG hasn’t even got the good sense to monitor the service they receive from the private companies.

  4. Stephen Jsmee

    I was told by a warden that , they can only do little at the new 1.2million pound bus lane due to no yellow lines along that stretch of road , and that TFL will have to put the lines in place , before tickets can be put on cars, if it’s a bus lane 24/7 Then cars should get a fine for entering the lane , which you have to do , in order to park there

  5. Paul SuperUnknown

    Parking in my development, Trinity Walk, is so restricted that I cannot park here, EVEN WITH A BLUE BADGE!
    The, so called, Disabled Bays have been allotted to flats that were supposed to be given to Disabled Persons (they were not) but able-bodied people live in them, as a result, able-bodied people are allowed to park in MARKED Disabled Bays, and residents with a Disablity are issued with parking fines for their Carers parking to pick them up for Doctor’s Appointments and other necessary daily tasks. I, myself, have paid for 8 £80 fines, already, with no relief in sight.

  6. Charles Calthrop

    The area around Westcombe Park is a fine place to park if you don’t fancy paying or have a permit. The late (and not-at-all missed) car rental place kept abandoned cars waiting for refit for months on the road and its still quite common to see cars without permit sitting happily on the street day after day. Why, there’s even a Golf parked on the pavement (the whole pavement) right next to the bus stop right outside the old C.A.Sperati factory.

  7. anonymous201486

    Greenwich Council’s lack of action on parking is a disgrace. Hire more parking enforcement officers to issue tickets and start towing away vehicles that are illegally parked.

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