Murky Depths

News in London and beyond


Did Greenwich Council keep their promise to clean Plumstead High Street?

It’s not a shocking statement to say Plumstead High Street needs big improvement. In terms of the street and public realm, there’s lots of street clutter, a messy paving design and poor levels of deep cleaning which all leave much to be desired. Street sweepers battle against the tide, doing good work, but it’s far from enough.

Greenwich Council seemed to accept this about a year ago when they said it would be deep cleaned with jet washers. All the equipment is at Woolwich so it’s not anything that’ll cost much or be difficult to organise. It still took about six months.

In June and July it finally happened. But not everywhere. A stretch from the station to the shops wasn’t touched, or at least well done. Other parts were but this stretch, which gives a first impression of the town to visitors, always remained filthy. Here it is in late July:


I took that pic as I’d just read on twitter that they’d cleaned up the street. Got off a train and thought “hang on a minute”. Clearly they hadn’t. Not here anyway.

Other stretches further up were a lot cleaner. Not perfect as not all grime can be removed, but still clearly evident. I thought maybe they’d missed it. But I never really saw any change. Here’s September:


This is a pretty long and busy stretch. Anyway, fast forward to last night and there’s a Council Meeting. I am alerted to this response from Cllr Jackie Smith, Cabinet Member for Community and Environment, when a question was asked about the cleaning:


Shortly afterwards I saw these tweets:


Really? See photos above. Then this:


As ever, cuts from central government make things much harder but this neglect goes back way, way before cuts kicked in.

In other news Greenwich Council still wont say where they will spend £2.6 million from TfL beginning April 2017. Transparency and democracy in action. Some is ring-fenced for specific projects but much of the money has flexibility with councils able to decide within broad categories. One is “Corridors, Neighbourhoods and Supporting Measures” which permits town centre improvements.

Other borough’s have revealed their plans. Lewisham Council consulted local groups looking for feedback and will improve half a dozen town centres. Brockley, Crofton Park, Catford and more.

Not only do Greenwich Council not consult, engage or inform on this money they then don’t reveal what they plan to do until the last minute.

And they like to often give the impression it cannot be used to improve town centres, shopping areas and public spaces for pedestrians. It can. You only have to look a couple of miles west to see. They like to tell people that only bids for external funds can improve areas, and of course these aren’t guaranteed, and as they’re not guaranteed that’s why so many areas are in a state. Don’t you believe it. There’s guaranteed funds around to improve towns.

1 Comment

  1. Paul

    I live in West Thamesmead and am getting fed up of the litter and fly tipping here. RBG seem obsessed with picking up leaf litter, yet ignore the rubbish. Any plot of land is game to dump household waste and bushes seem to hoover it up. RBG seem unwilling/unable to do anything. Meantime it’s like living next to a rubbish tip.

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