Complaints about poor parking have been widespread recently across Greenwich borough. Areas such as a recent £1.2m million TfL road upgrade are cited almost daily.
A reader has now sent in figures of how many Civil Enforcement Officers Greenwich Council employ after a Freedom of Information request.
Here’s what Greenwich Council told them.
So the latest figure show they have less in 2016/17 than seven years ago. Given population growth alongside many new homes, new schools (where problems are widespread) and shops this is pretty bizarre.
Central Government cuts can’t be blamed as traffic officers are self-financing. Indeed, not having enough has led to at least a £9 million budget gap over the past five years.
There is talk of hiring more wardens and a figure of five has been mentioned. Assuming no employees left since last year (and it’s probable at least one staff member did) that takes it to 24. Is that enough with all the new builds and new schools like the large St Mary Magdalene’s now being built at Greenwich Peninsula, which will have 1,646 pupils including a 420 place primary school, a 900 place secondary school and a 300 place 6th Form alongside 200 staff.
There’s also forthcoming expansion of parking zones all over the borough. Five extra officers may just be focused on those areas, meaning endemic problem spots like the new £1.2 million cycle and bus lane from Plumstead to Woolwich, or Abbey Wood estate, are missed off.
It looks like they’re running just to stay still.
I doubt anyone wants to see the sneaky Bexley Council approach of trying to trick drivers, but neither is Greenwich’s abject failure to implement parking rules good enough.
Changes are needed for the good of pedestrians, school children, shopping parade access, emergency services (parking blocked Fire Engine access recently a day after parking issues were highlighted at Greenwich Peninsula) and more.
Why that has been ignored the past seven years despite millions less than budgeted coming in is a mystery. And whether five more wardens will be sufficient now remains to be seen. It’s a good step, but enough?
OCTOBER 2018 UPDATE
Hiring a handful of extra staff appears to have achieved little. Parking problems are still endemic in the same areas and parking income is still well below budgeted levels.
Given income is ringfenced for public realm and street projects, it’s another reason many streets are so poor.