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Another Greenwich borough estate ignored as money from new build tower goes to GLLaB

Courtesy Google

It’s the same old story again I’m afraid. Another new and expensive development of flats is to be decided next week near a deprived and neglected estate in Greenwich borough. And once again, Greenwich Council have opted to not give a penny to nearby estates as heavily criticised council job scheme GLLaB swallows funds again.

In recent years sums allocated from developers through Section 106 total:

  • GLLaB £40 million+
  • Local Community – £10.9 million
  • Health – £10.5 million
  • Parks and Open Space – £7.2 million
  • Public realm – £8.9 million

This time the scheme is Saxon Wharf on Norman Road. Aside from the customary money for affordable housing and carbon offset schemes, the only solid figure for where developer income will be spent is Greenwich’s job scheme.

I covered plans for this new development when they were first announced back in March. It’s 16/17 floors and 145 homes on Norman Road on what is currently a skip storage site.

Meanwhile an estate nearby us scruffy and unwelcoming, as are many others within a wider radius:

Courtesy Google.

A fraction of £145,000 for GLLaB could plant some trees, open up the space, improved lighting and paving, a mini play park and even provide a spot for a takeaway kiosk. Passing footfall is growing fast due to many new homes along the Creek and the DLR station nearby.

Something for local people who see huge developments in their midst.

Neglected estates

Over the last week I asked former council leader Denise Hyland (and Abbey Wood cllr) why £1.3 million to be given to Greenwich Council via Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy payments – from a recently approved block in Abbey Wood estate – will see zero allocated to the estate by Greenwich Council. GLLaB gets £400,000.

The reply states that developers and council officers make the decisions. Publishing details after is not enough. That does not help deprived areas – cllrs need to fight for their areas and policy permits that.

Surely the electorate vote in politicians to speak up for residents and determine policy for civil servants to follow. There’s no reason for Greenwich’s planning authorities to be sending so much to GLLaB according to their own policies.

The guidance for how money is spent, named the CIL Regulation 123 list, includes 12 areas for spending:

There’s nothing there to justify GLLaB (which has many issues according to users emailing me) taking the bulk sum time and again to the detriment of estates, parks, better streets, health or education.

This week Greenwich Council are advertising for Ikea via GLLaB. Is this really needed?

A fairer allocation and split of income is possible under RBG policy but not enacted – and income is in the tens of millions each year. Some areas on the CIL 123 list are overlooked nine times out of ten. GLLaB is almost always there claiming the bulk.

GLLaB, lets not forget, is an organisation that has seen heavy criticism from users and recently advertised zero hour jobs alongside those with days of unpaid training, alongside not offering the London Living Wage.

I can’t think of one other London council that neglects parks and estates, to name just two areas, to such an extent whilst shoveling so much to a job agency – let alone one with such issues.

6 Comments

  1. Ripley

    This rather strikes a chord after having attended a meeting with the Director of Housing & Safer Communities for Royal Greenwich Council the other week regarding the sale of public land to Pocket Living.

    It was evident after a few questions were asked that the Section 106 return on the above wouldn’t even cover painting a few doors.

    It’s doubtful these sales of public land will benefit estates nearby whatsoever – as in the example here.

    It seems this is now against Greenwich Council’s ideology, which is increasingly Neo-liberal.

  2. Graham

    Greenwich Local Labour and Business (GLLAB) should be made to face facts and look at reducing staff like every other Council Department have had to do over the last few years. The remaining staff could be split between working in other Training Providers in the Borough or at the Woolwich Centre (Just metres away. We also have the Eltham Centre in Eltham which they could use on certain days of the week.

    The Old Library Building could then be sold for redevelopment in to upgraded business premises or period flats. Raising some funds for the Council and saving the Council millions of pounds in the upkeep of this old library building which needs upgrading.

    Greenwich Council are throwing too much money at GLLAB which is not helping many of the users who attend there for help and support.

    Greenwich Council need to spend more of the money received from section 106 returns and other levy’s received by the Council on upgrading existing older council homes and council estates.

  3. anonymous201486

    Do my eyes deceive me, £40 miliion goes to GLLAB. What on earth to they do with it? Incidentally, I know that estate pictured above and remember going past it when the scaffolding went up. It barely looks any different since the works.

    • Greenwich resident

      I believe they upgraded all of the windows to double glazing which is a welcome addition for the residents but does nothing for the surrounding area which is dire. What’s worse, it is surrounded by new developments (completed and proposed), which serve to highlight its neglect further.

      • fromthemurkydepths

        Standard Greenwich Housing Department – only concern themselves with the building itself when their remit covers grounds around, which as you state, is pretty awful.

      • anonymous201486

        New windows are welcomed – they did the same to a low rise block in which I used to live. The worse thing Greenwich could do is slap cladding to the exterior, but I guess no one will do that post-Grenfell.

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