Murky Depths

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Greenwich borough

A fresh start for an improved Greenwich borough?

Will we see improved towns and public spaces in years to come as Greenwich Council now has a new Cabinet member for public realm?

Council leader Dan Thorpe has given Deputy Leader Cllr David Gardner the brief of managing public spaces. I’ve followed Gardner for years on social media and he’s  long realised and highlighted the need for better streets and public spaces whilst highlighting the good work of organisations such as Living Streets.

Car dominated streets in area of high housing growth

Hopefully this will be a turning point with a focused Cabinet member able to apply pressure on Departments to modernise behaviour and create towns that encourage healthy and active living. And not just that, but improve links from new-builds to existing communities and businesses.

Funding

Much can be achieved on a modest budget and through alterations in working practices. Smarter design is free – or even a cost cutter. Spending £124k on 1,200 bollards in two years is wasteful and often counter-productive in encouraging walking given numerous pedestrian obstructions created.

New Woolwich squares a vast improvement – but smaller scale work can be transformative too

Cluttering up streets costs money yet in the grand scheme of things £124k isn’t huge sums when a large development can bring in £5+ million in Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy payments, and so for transformative change an increase in budget will be needed as Greenwich trails almost every other London borough when it comes to investing in public realm and parks from parking and development income.

Much design is 30+ years old

If that can be rectified – and it may well be with Greewich hiring more Civil Enofrcement Officers – alongside someone who gets the issues and can push cultural change then we could see a borough with far more money to improve town centres, shopping parades, housing estates, parks and children’s play areas.

Thoroughfare to shopping parade in Abbey Wood. Trees removed. Lack of active frontage. General neglect.

This week the council announced £60k to improve a children’s play park in Plumstead. All very welcome. Spending less on clutter and more income from developers and parking income could see much, much more of that borough-wide to the benefit of many.

No pressure David!

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3 Comments

  1. Simon

    Is does make me laugh when one of your Bollard blogs comes up in my email as a new post…..

  2. Ashley

    We will have to wait and see how this new appointment turns out before the next local election. Can we really see any change for the better when you’ve been in power for decades!!! Like I’ve mentioned in a recent post! Less clutter, more investment in new paving, Roads, trees revamping neglected tower blocks and not forgetting our local parks for a start. less waste spent on a free pointless newspaper and removal of all bollards and a thought of revenue making opportunities such as clamping down on illegal parking, littering and flyposting/tipping.

    Come on Greenwich. A change in leadership and administration for the better is needed.

  3. Jim D

    He could start by reinstating the cycle parking that’s been removed across the road from Greenwich Picturehouse and across East Greenwich!

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