Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Greenwich borough

Better streets: Greenwich v rest of London Part II (Greenwich still bottom of the list)

Van on paving

Last week I wrote a post looking at how much income Greenwich Council will spend  improving public areas and streets this financial year. It wasn’t good.

For a long time now I’ve highlighted how little they spend as a proportion of their own income, but that didn’t do a great job of comparing  and contrasting figures with other London boroughs. So I’ve gone through comparable funds and done just that. And it doesn’t show Greenwich in a good light. This is how it shaped up in terms of money to be spent from parking and developers this year:



  • Greenwich – £206k
  • Lewisham – £1.33m
  • Lambeth – £1.2m
  • Southwark – £765k
  • Ealing – £766k
  • Brent – £6 million
  • Camden – £5.26m

To make up the gap they will use reserve and capital funds which could be used to assist other priority areas – housing, schools etc – but will not.

Public space near Blackwall Tunnel. Homes and hotel planned in vicinity. Trees, greenery etc?

The reason other pots need to be raided is so much developer income is going to GLLaB and the parking department have a £12 million budget shortfall due to years of mismanagement.

Not only does the parking department continue to see such large annual shortfalls (last year was another £1.4 million) but much of the borough’s enforcement has been outsourced to a private company under a deal in which the company retains all revenue.

Abbey Wood estate. Minimal enforcement – and when/if any income is derived none goes to Greenwich

This week I’ve discovered some more borough information. Remember, Greenwich are looking to spend zero this year from parking income and the following two.

They are also looking to spend just £206,000 from developer income via Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy income this year and zero in the two subsequent years – versus millions in other boroughs.

Greenwich figures

Hammersmith & Fulham

Labour-run Hammersmith & Fulham have fewer new homes being built and thus related developer income yet will spend vastly more at £9.1 million a year. That’s £27.3 million over a three year life cycle of Local Implementation Plan funds versus just £206,000 in Greenwich.

Parking revenue is just £20k for each of the next three years. One of the lowest in London but still higher than Greenwich.

Hammersmith & Fulham Figures

Hounslow

This is another Labour-run council. They are proposing to spend £1.9 million developer income this year which tapers down to £1.6 million in 2021/22.

Parking is just £20k a year.



Less than many other Labour councils yet both sums combined are still far higher than Greenwich at £206k this year and nothing the next two.

Hounslow figures

The only councils in any way similar to Greenwich when it comes to lack of focus on public spaces are outer London Conservative councils. And even then, many are far better at securing one-off grant funding from other revenue sources.

Parking is still a mess even after hiring more staff

Bromley

Greenwich’s southern Conservative neighbour seek to spend just £40,000 parking income and £189,000 from S106 this year. Small fry compared to London averages yet still greater at a combined £239,000 than Greenwich’s £206,000. Next year and the subsequent will be marginally higher too.

Bromley figures

Not just funding but engagement

Aside from funding there is an additional problem in Greenwich borough of next to no consultation with the public on this spending. This is a very long-running saga.

The public are rarely asked how money from this scheme should be spent and mistakes are continually made by Greenwich departments operating to very dated design guidelines.

An Abbey Wood scheme was over a year late, asked few were people for feedback and the area covered saw serious accidents within weeks after completion. I witnessed flaws first hand. The Abbey Wood scheme actually replaced a project initiated a decade ago at high expense.

A scheme in Plumstead is more than two years late and again very few people have been asked for feedback or advice.

2017/18 schemes. Plumstead High Street hasn’t happened. Abbey Wood didn’t engage with public

Some details have recently dripped out (not via the council nor Plumstead Cllrs) and already appear to show ignorance of local need and problems.



Similarly, one in Greenwich near the infamous Angerstein roundabout has seen little to no engagement, nobody seems to know a thing about it and work was due to start in February.

Didn’t happen

It’s now delayed with a June date pencilled in. The chances of many people being asked for feedback before it starts are pretty much zero.

RELATED POST: Greenwich allocate just 0.3% of developer income towards parks and open spaces.

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2 Comments

  1. Jo

    You have to wonder if half of Greenwich’s leaders (who live in wealthy parts of Eltham) would sport blue rosettes if they lived a couple of miles south in Bromley?

    Most policies are more suburban Tory than Labour. This shows that up 100%.

    Still, they’ll stick head in sand, fingers in ears and not answer why this is yet these numbers are clear as day that somethings amiss.

  2. Graham

    More spending could be made available for streets if less money from developers section 106 was spent on GLLAB (Greenwich Local Labour and Business). and spent on streets and the public realm as it should be. Also how has Greenwich Council allowed the Parking Enforcement Department to get a 12 million shortfall? Surely Th Council should be taking urgent action to rectify this.

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