In recent weeks research revealed just how little income from developers and parking Greenwich Council spend improving towns, streets and public areas across the borough compared to every other London Labour Council.
But there’s one area they excel – and that’s installing clutter and street furniture which serves no real purpose – except to often impede pedestrians. They spent £122,540 installing 1,200 wooden bollards from April 2014 to April 2017. To say ten per cent actually do a worthwhile job is being generous.
At the weekend I covered how the authority has installed yet more at a neglected estate in Greenwich surrounded by new builds and bringing millions to council coffers.
Apparently no money is available for trees, children’s play areas or better and safer walking routes from the new developments but as ever cash is always ready and available for new street clutter.
On it goes
Today I was in parts of the borough towards the south and it’s the same story. Sure enough in recent weeks they’ve been busy installing more bollards at a few hundred quid a pop at various random locations.
Maybe this was a dash to spend before the financial year was up – and what else do they know to do but the same old wasteful spending as before?
The work was up to the usual standard. Street furniture has been applied in a scattergun approach often near existing poles and signs.
Much of it is located near the borough boundary. It starts as soon as passing the “Welcome to Royal Greenwich” sign. Dozens of things popping up all over paving and greenery yet ironically more pavement parking is evident as enforcement is still so poor.
Hundreds of thousands spent achieving nothing except to inconvenience pedestrians, particularly those in wheelchairs and using buggies.
The departments are not going to change. Well, its very unlikely. This is what they’ve done for decades and so it need politicians to enforce change yet they seem unable or unwilling to do it.
A recent article on London Reconnections looked at how transport planning is often the domain of able-bodied men. In Greenwich Council are we to assume that the Highways and Housing Depts, who keep doing this, are mainly staffed by men who’ve never had children (or looked after them) nor cared for elderly people so persist with such poor design choices?
Give them a buggy or make them assist a wheelchair user for a week. They may change their ways.
Money could be used far more productively. £130k in three years may not seem a huge sum but that’s a lot of trees to be planted or a couple of play areas for children.
But for now on it goes. More money down the drain; more pedestrians inconvenienced. Same time next year?