How to ruin a £6.5 million town upgrade: lessons from Eltham
It’s barely a year since Greenwich Council’s £6.5 million upgrade of Eltham High Street completed – with the vast majority of funds being given by TfL. And it’s falling apart in places.
Since completion of the scheme, enforcement of illegal parking by Greenwich has been predictably non-existent much of the time – meaning a newly pedestrianised section on Passey Place is often a car park with granite street furniture damaged by vehicles.
Those granite seats cost a few bob each. Whether they will fix them or ditch given costs will be seen.
Pedestrianised areas or car parks?
The authority this week announced they had issued the most tickets ever in one week – though it’s a low bar. Many cars were still seen parked on paving this week in Eltham town centre. People have been reporting the issue ever since work completed.
Weekends are often bad – it’ll be interesting to see how it is over the coming two days.
Residents are continually raising the issue to apparently no avail. The newly pedestrianised area is not a place to sit down and relax. Most times I visit I witness double parking and cars on pavements.
TfL must love how Greenwich treasure the investment money given to them. If it’s not £6.5 million here it’s the £1.2 million street upgrade from Plumstead to Woolwich which has seen 130 bus drivers signing a petition threatening to not call at bus stops given continual dangerous parking.
Greenwich complain that TfL are not funding some schemes in the borough (which are badly needed) yet TfL may argue why should they bother giving funds if Greenwich simply let places rot after money spent. Especially now given TfL are now seeing cuts and budget issues.
The authority have now hired 10 agency wardens – though problems still persist. It’s odd how they managed to hire so many after saying for so long they couldn’t find staff. To be fair the Cabinet member has said they may look into more and noted just how few were employed when she took over the post.
The council were also one of just three (as of 2017) in London never to have sought authorisation to use CCTV against driving offences. They are belatedly now doing so.
Still, when you’ve got at least a £10 million parking budget hole over the past six years what’s the rush? Why not just raid funds for health, education and other areas to cover it?
This shows a £2 million shortfall in 2015/16 and the same in 2014/15:
This year it’s around £1.4 million. That money was budgeted to pay for concessionary passes for pensioners. The shortfall had to be found elsewhere.
Some have complained that it’s hard to see where parking spots are now located as kerbs removed. Whilst I have reservations about the scheme and certain details such as no kerb – it’s very little to have sympathy with that argument and if driver’s eyes are good enough to be on the road they can see the demarcation lines. It’s hardly a revolutionary scheme – similar exists across London and the country. It’s only new if you never leave this corner of London.
I’ve not noticed anywhere near the same issues at other areas with similar designs. The difference is enforcement levels.
And on that note a post soon will look at how a lack of parking income and budget issues is causing problems compared to other London authorities. Ultimately it goes much further than parking – all areas suffer as budgets are a mess.
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