Murky Depths

News in London and beyond


Eltham High Street is being dug up again

It may have only just “completed” but roadworks are now underway on Eltham High Street.

To be fair, widening the pavement here was always in plans though building the cinema over the road prevented it.

What has changed is the need for a permanent pedestrian crossing. Original plans didn’t have one, with a temporary crossing installed while cinema building work was ongoing. That was removed. Now the decision has been made to create a permanent crossing.

Looking past Vue and the oldest bus still running daily in all of London

It seems a bit odd to widen paving at this point as I never encounter any problems. It’s other parts of the High Street where raised planters needlessly narrows paving space making pushing a buggy annoying. On a Saturday it’s stop start, stop start.

Pinch point. Annoying on a busy Saturday

Trees would suffice instead of raised planters. And they probably won’t be maintained. Some of the stone chipped within months.

Raised planters damaged within months

Eltham Cllr Spencer Drury has covered the scheme here. If only more councillors wrote about what is happening on their patch and kept people informed.

Also, some interesting little bits came out about this scheme. In a council meeting this week there’s a financial report. The upgrade scheme cost around £6.5 million with TfL paying for most of it.

The famous sign. It was a tiny fraction of overall costs

Greenwich Council received £12.2 million from central government last year as a result of large numbers of new homes being built. The 4th highest sum out of 356 UK authorities.

In a financial report the only mention of where money from this fund was spent was Eltham High Street work. There is no way a substantial part of that £12.2 million went towards it – even with follow up roadworks. Where did the rest go?

This is all that is contained within the report:

Eltham High Street’s upgrade cost around £6.5 million. According to 2016/17 figures, Greenwich contributed around 10 per cent maximum (happy to be corrected here if anyone has recent figures). So £650,000 out of £12.2 million.

What happened to the rest? Where did it go? It’s not ringfenced so could have gone anywhere, and probably did good work, but why is that not mentioned? Are we supposed to believe it without knowledge? In any case, it hasn’t gone to parks or streets in many areas that have seen, or will see, large new developments.

It hasnt helped these structures

It continues a pattern of little information on just how income from new developments is being spent, in addition to Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy – which are ringfenced to specific areas. Even then, exact details of spending areas are far from readily available.

Nor has it gone to this park in Eltham

We know, for example, that Greenwich spend substantially less than just about every other London council on using incoming funds related to new developments to improve streets, public spaces and parks. For all the press releases, coverage in their newspaper and endless reports, action is not there.

Even allowing for 50 per cent of all S106 and CIL income heading towards Crossrail at Woolwich, the sheer number of developments in Greenwich borough results in extremely high sums of income and doesn’t explain a vast gulf in annual spending between comparable London Councils. You can see the numbers here.




  1. Paul SuperUnknown

    It’s all in GLLAB, follow the money!

  2. Jack

    They need better enforcement – the high street furniture is being destroyed by people who can’t drive and think all parts of the high street are a open car park…

  3. Reg May

    There has been minimal amount of money being spent on the bowling green in the pleasaunce, and it supposed to be a conservation area, the green has deteriated over the past few years, it would be nice if some of the money could be spent on upgrading the green. Reg May

  4. James Hobbs

    How can you be so sure the money that hasn’t been reported to the public has been spent wisely? Eltham Council have a history of reckless spending on things no one needs or asked for – that sign cost £40k for example. Eltham has a major issue with Child Obesity which could do with having some money thrown at it.

  5. Chris

    I’m disabled live top flat my flat infested black mould roof needs complete refelting water runs down walls drips through ceiling every thing damp stinking of mould council doesn’t give a shit over 20years been fiting them no joy Greenwich council should be ashamed

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