Murky Depths

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Greenwich borough

Greenwich Council to cut funding for street improvements?

Welcome to east Greenwich

Councils across London have been recently rubber-stamping plans on how and where to spend millions of pounds awarded annually from TfL for street improvements across the capital.

The money covers the next three years up to 2021/22 and comes from the Local Implementation Plan (LIP). Alongside TfL money, many councils across London are currently agreeing their own sources of financing alongside.



This post will look at London boroughs and compare with Greenwich. It has some rather stark findings, including that neighboring Lewisham, for example, will spend seven times as much Section 106 income per year from developers on better streets.

East Greenwich streets were supposed to have benefited from LIP funding

And it’s not just Lewisham. Greenwich Council – which will receive nearly £2 million annually from TfL over the next three years – propose spending very little income from Section 106, the Community Infrastructure Levy or parking revenue compared to every other London Labour council I researched.

This screenshot from Greenwich Council’s LIP report shows no confirmed Section 106 spend after next year for better streets nor Community Infrastructure Levy:

They also allocate zero from parking income for better streets. That’s possibly as parking income has been somewhat of a shambles and is over £12 million below budgeted amounts since 2011/2. Another £1.4 million shortfall was presented to Greenwich’s Cabinet last week.

Issues include employing less wardens in 2018 than they did in 2010 despite housing growth and being one of just three councils never to seek authorisation to use cameras against traffic contraventions. Though there’s signs they may be changing with more staff hired – so could that be revised?

Money from parking helps fund the freedom pass. Other authorities manage to fund that and improvements within boroughs. Greenwich’s chronic budget issues prevent that.



Greenwich intend to plug the gap left by a lack of S106, CIL or parking revenue by using “Capital/Revenue Funding” to a far higher degree than other councils. That’s money that could be spent on other important areas – health, education, housing, parks etc – but will not.

Across London

Let’s have a look at how other councils intend to spend revenue from developers and parking income to fund street improvements.

Lewisham propose £1.33 million each year from Section 106 – almost seven times as much as Greenwich. They also propose just half the amount taken from capital funding. Parking is TBC rather than zero in their eastern neighbours plan. They will also look to raise £250k each year from other external funding bids (they have a far better track record than Greenwich):

Next up is Labour Lambeth, who propose allocating £5 million from parking income each year towards better streets and public space improvements, and £1.3 million from S106 and CIL. That means capital funding is just £1 million a year.

Another Labour council south of the Thames is Southwark, who plan to fund street work through £6.5 million allocated each year from parking income and an average of £450k from S106 (though that does vary):

Let’s move over to Labour Ealing now where £400,000 from S106 and £917,000 parking revenue will be allocated annually: 

Brent Council plan to allocate a whopping £12.5 million each year until 2021/22 from parking income to improved public spaces and streets. They’ll also be £6 million from CIL income this year with S106 to be determined alongside future years.

Haringey have yet to finalise plans, along with Newham, Tower Hamlets and Islington among councils I looked into. There was no info yet from Bexley or Bromley.

What the money does

These funds run the range of street work from pothole repairs to better crossings, improved pedestrian links, attractive streets and public space, improved shopping areas and much else. Though in Greenwich it’s normally pretty much only focused on tarmac and street clutter.


I’m running an Easter appeal to help with the site. Info here. Many thanks to those who have helped.


As is clear to see, Greenwich council are operating quite differently to other Labour councils. Despite funding cuts from central government there are, and will be, other sources of funds for public space. If parking wasn’t such a mess for so long large amounts would not need to be taken from other budgets.

Sacred cows appear to be protected at all costs while some areas are ignored, whether it be just 0.3% of S106 income to parks or the possibility of not a single penny going from S106 funds to improve streets for pedestrians and cyclists after 2019/20 – despite obesity increasing, cyclist numbers falling and accidents on Greenwich borough roads rising.

TfL funding

TfL funding never has, and never will be, sufficient to improve public space alone. TfL’s annual £2 million is a fraction of over £90 million received from S106 and Community Infrastructure Levy income every year. I’ve not even mentioned an annual £12 million from the New Homes Bonus in this post.

Quite why Greenwich Council give so little importance to parks, better streets and healthier living compared to almost every other London council – Labour and Tory – is a mystery.

UPDATE: I’ve got Camden data. They will spend £1.3 million from S106 and £4 million from CIL income this year. TBC for other years and can’t see parking data. Another Labour council that exceeds Greenwich by quite some way.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Hedley Shaw

    A start could be to allocate parking fine and parking charge revenues in recently zoned residential streets for the installation of electric charging eg lamp post conversion … this would support the Climate Emergency announcement with focussed action especially in Low Emmision Zone … just join up a bit of thinking and demonstrate that they are serious

  2. Jo

    Does capital revenue also mean sell-offs of land and the like (such as in Plumstead) and instead of using that income for, say, housing so it now goes to prop up TfL money to make up for less parking income than would be expected (and could be used).

    If they had got on top of parking problems years ago none of that would be needed. It’s sickening really that they’ve lost so much money in the midst of cuts. Poor people being made homeless and money to help gone begging. Who ever fell on their sword due to years of shambolic management? The councillors in charge of parking have been promoted right?

    And of course there’s less S106 and CIL as good old GLLaB takes most. How do other councils manage to run job agencies and yet can find money to improve their boroughs – especially considering Royal Greenwich have MORE new building than most?

    The authority is a mess. No one in charge seems to have a handle on how to sort it.

  3. Graham

    What are they going to spend the money received from TFL on?

    Greenwich Council should spend money received from TFL and section 106 money from developers on improving our streets to make them safe.Also it should be spent on our public realm and improving the public transport infrastructure in the Borough.

    I could understand some of the section 106 money from developers being spend on housing improvements to improve the current council housing stock to make them more energy efficient in line with new build properties recently built or under construction with in Greenwich,

    But GLLAB needs to get back in budget and keep with in their annual budget like other Council Departments are made to do every year.

  4. Ashley

    What a Disappointment Greenwich is becoming under Labour. Its shocking. Labour is tired and useless

  5. PaulSuperUnknown

    BRG could start enforcing their own parking instead is farming it out to private companies for no return! (And pigs will fly!)

  6. Graham

    Agreed with you both Ashley and PaulSuperUnknown.

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