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Greenwich borough

Greenwich Council go on street clutter spree again

Courtesy Google. Click to enlarge and see BOTH narrow pavements feature bollards blocking pedestrians

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.

Always space for more

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.

Wooden bollards, concrete bollards, metal bollards, unpainted guardrail, signs, brick walls = clashing terrible design

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?

Another success (not what I saw this week)




The work was up to the usual standard. Street furniture has been applied in a scattergun approach often near existing poles and signs.

Sprouting again – apparently at random

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.

Blinding job

Hundreds of thousands spent achieving nothing except to inconvenience pedestrians, particularly those in wheelchairs and using buggies.

Courtesy Google. Great place to stick the bollard by the lamp post. Truly superb work

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?

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13 Comments

  1. Jo

    £130,000 seems a huge sum to me!

    The bollards they use are so flimsy too which may explain why they spend so much. A passing breeze knocks them out of shape or perhaps installation is so poor. A good half are at iffy angles.

    They also age so quickly. Within weeks they look unsightly which adds to the unkempt appearance of borough streets. Why can’t they use painted metal or black plastic which looks like metal yet ages far slower (see Bexley borough) and only where necessary? It wouldn’t actually cost any more and would make the borough’s towns *far* smarter.

    I can never tell whether those in charge actively want areas to be so ugly or are just hopeless? It’s quite some feat.

    I read earlier the council are focusing on mental health with some events. Worthy but tokenistic from this council. Living in such run down places is terrible for mental health. Much like poor design is terrible for physical health if it prevents walking.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      Physical and mental wellbeing are closely linked of course. If they want to improve both they’d invest income and move towards spending at least the London Council average when it comes to developer income and parking income on better streets and parks. No sign at all of that.

  2. Stan

    £122,540? That’s a nice contract for someone.

    That first picture is a disgrace, they’ve just plonked as many as they can down a small quiet street, why force pedestrians onto the road?

    And they’re just so ugly.

  3. Bob

    My street has barely any trees, parking is terrible, the tarmac is breaking up, the council fences are in terrible nick and pavements cracked and the only money spent in a decade is those bloody posts stuck in with no ryhme or reason. No one asks for them. They don’t sort bad parking. WHY ARE THEY THERE!! The great mystery of Greenwich borough!

  4. Ashley

    It’s so unbelievably weird! All this borough believes in is good bollards. They should be ripped up less clutter is better. New paving layed! New roads and more investment and an organised approach to combat illegal parking. This would be a money maker for the council but they are so mismanaged and will never change for the better.

    It’s a shame. The public Realm looks so tired and neglected.

  5. Ashley

    It’s a disgrace! Need Less clutter more investment in Roads, new paving and trees to bring up the areas of neglect for starts. Not forgetting a workable process to combat illegal parking to bring in more revenues

  6. Greenwich Fan

    Mate, PLEASE run for councillor next time round. We desperately need someone that cares and knows how to improve things (starting with the immediate cancellation of that contract with The Wooden Bollard Company). It’s hard to find a part of London that looks and feels as depressing as ours.

    • Greenwich Fan 2

      I agree too. Please run for councillor. I’ve been reading these blogs with growing resent that nothing is being done- you have my full support!

    • Ashley

      Cheers Greenwich Fans

  7. Sue

    On the week i got my latest council tax bill with a letter from the council leader stating how bad cuts were i saw workmen install these things near me. Utterly pointless. Now I see the total cost…

    Its not much in the grand scheme of things but when cuts are so harsh (and they really are) why do they squander money they do have? If anything it makes people think Tory cuts are fake – which they aren’t but Greenwich Council are lessening arguments against them with such stupid and pointless waste.

    I just love they say we don’t have money for this park, or that area, but then do the most idiotic things and we never see the fruit of tens of millions of section 106 income.

  8. David N

    The cycling team at RBGreenwich are very much for HGV drivers going out on bikes for a day to understand what life feels like on a bike.

    So, yes. it’s a great idea to send out the Highways planners with double buggies. And, bags of shopping

  9. Charles Calthrop

    Perhaps Greenwich is being turned into a real-life Crystal Maze. Why else would so many of these physical challenges be placed in Pavement Zone?

  10. East Greenwich Crusader

    And it’s not just wooden bollards. When they introduced the new CPZ in East Greenwich last year they added new pointless posts to attach the parking information to – this despite the fact that we have had controlled parking since 1999 and had plenty of existing posts. Now some bays in my quiet residential street have three posts with the CPZ info on them as though it wouldn’t be valid if it was more than three feet from someone parking. We’ve also got a wonderful collection of ancient signs to things that no longer exist as they’ve long since disappeared under the developer’s digger.

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