I thought now would be a good time to look at east Greenwich given all the changes in the area recently. What’s getting better? What’s not?
Let’s start with streets. Ikea’s Section 106 income brought nothing to the area but a “Low Emission Neighborhood” scheme has arrived – though it’s modest in scale when it comes to public realm work. On Trafalgar Road there’s little to show except raising some junctions to create continuous paths:
The LEN was revealed just after Silvertown Tunnel’s approval was announced and Ikea well underway. Though featuring some good ideas the total spend is pretty low for street work and its hard to ignore the thought it’s a fop after those schemes were agreed.
It includes schemes like discounted electric bike hire – and nice as that is it feels like tinkering around the edges if roads are congested and cycling provision so poor – and parking enforcement on cycle lanes awol. To be fair, this was the first time in a long time I’d been here and not seen a car blocking Trafalgar Road.
It looks like some decluttering has occurred by the road as it didn’t feel so “busy” on the paving and cluttered. I can see that changing soon though once drivers start parking badly. It’s the go-to Greenwich solution instead of effective enforcement.
This corner shop unit (which I believe is an arts project) always does a good job of catching attention:
The retail offering is decent enough with a range of good shops and places to eat.
Heading further east and we reach the infamous junction by Greenwich Centre library and leisure centre. It’s horrible. No two ways about it.
Little is in evidence here so far of improvements to what is an ugly and hostile area.
A “pocket park” is planned though at this spot:
Hopefully it’ll lift the area (and crucially be maintained). Looking out from this spot down Blackwall Lane is pretty depressing – and it’s entirely down to street design and public realm. The buildings are fine. The Thai restaurant frontage is good and new-builds decent enough.
The streets though – untouched since the ’70s – is in severe need of some TLC. Even a couple of council staff painting street furniture would give this area a mini uplift and some dignity. As said a million times – it wouldn’t happen down the road in west Greenwich so why does the poorer area get the cheapest quality materials and not even a lick of paint?
This is the pocket park plan:
The idea of playing table tennis by a polluted spot raised many objections from consultation respondents. Let me just fetch the ball as it bounces into four lanes of traffic.
I hope the rest of the junction sees some attention and not just this corner – even if the bare minimum of paint and some greenery until a proper solution is drawn up when/if Cycle Super Highway 4 is extended beyond Greenwich. In about a decade. So please stop ignoring it.
A few little in-fill new-builds have popped up in the area. One features a coffee shop and flats on a former cycle shop site:
And then another block is almost complete near the planned Pocket Park on a Social Club site:
Looking north now past Greenwich Square Phase 1 and it’s just about possible to see Phase 2 underway – which saw approval to increase the number of flats:
Look at this junction and imagine it with a bit more greenery, improved paving, lighting and less clutter. It’d immediately be more inviting on foot.
Improve surrounds may even get more people going to the leisure centre which saw a big drop in membership last year.
That double height corner unit is also not making use of the location. So many missed opportunities around here.
Woolwich Road continues the theme until the dreaded Angerstein Roundabout under the Blackwall flyover.
This pic was taken last year. The old library now has a sign saying under offer instead of for sale.
As I posted recently I’ve no idea what happened to hundreds of thousands of pounds allocated to this area in previous years – with hundreds of thousands more due imminently. No consultation or plans are in the public domain.
They may surprise us and come up with a great scheme. It’d be nice if the general public knew just what is coming in case mistakes are made.
Limited change then as around a thousand more people move into the Social Club rebuild and Greenwich Square Phase 2 (and others such as this proposal on Blackwall Lane).
The trouble is Greenwich Council are loath to invest in improving streets – even with a multitude of known benefits such as improvements to health – and to improve access to their own struggling leisure centre. They want TfL to do the bulk of heavy lifting – and yet TfL are broke whilst Greenwich has more income coming in from Section 106 and CIL than ever before.