Over the years this site has covered millions of pounds that every London borough receives from TfL annually through the Local Implementation Plan fund to improve local streets and public spaces.
It’s around £3 million on average, and whilst some of that is ringfenced there is scope to spend around a third to half how a borough sees fit to improve streets.
Lewisham and Greenwich Council approach it very differently. Lewisham build up plans in advance through local engagement. Here’s Lewisham’s online consultation and documents about a scheme. Greenwich have no detail of schemes in public.
Greenwich draw up plans late in the day and barely engage anybody. Lewisham focus on public spaces and communal areas. Greenwich do not.
Today at Catford I saw a parade of shops on Sangley Road being upgraded. Trees are being planted and the entire area being improved. Here’s as it was:
Nothing too revolutionary but good work.
Proposed changes aim to:
- Improve the shopping parades making them more attractive
- Make it easier for people to cross the side roads especially those with mobility difficulties, using pushchairs and small children
- Slow traffic to make it safer for pedestrians especially at junctions
- Provide more places to park bikes
- Provide timed parking bays to support local business
Well, it’s not quite so good. Plumstead was supposed to have £150,000 spent in 2017/18. Nothing yet nor any consultation.
Greenwich have just spent £120,000 from the very same LIP fund at Eynsham Drive in Abbey Wood (after the financial year ended when it was due to be spent) and amazingly managed to avoid pretty much any work at the main shopping parade which is the heart of the 3000-home estate.
Some trees were planted a few months before but that doesn’t address many of the issues such as access from certain areas.
I mean, it’s not exactly lovely is it?
Most money has been spent on reversing road changes away from the shops, which were introduced about 10 years ago and have now almost gone back to how it originally was.
A couple of new crossings have gone in which is welcome but it’s baffling how they’ve almost entirely ignored busy public spaces such as the shopping parade:
Consultation was almost non-existent. No online portal or public meetings. Only people living immediately next to work were asked and even then some have told me they heard nothing. Why when the scheme impacts on many?
So that’s one chance of improvements gone. And it looks like another will too, as the authority seems desperate not to spend money from a tower nearby on improving the estate.
What do they have against public realm improvements and creating places people can be proud of? In poorer areas anyway.
Once is a blip. To do so again and again isn’t.