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Greenwich borough

Greenwich Council again failing to spend money on walking and cycling

New school on left. New hotel on right (finally now moving again). No crossings

Greenwich Council have submitted their latest annual plan to Transport for London on how and where they will money on street and public space schemes across the borough.

Every three years boroughs draw up an outline plan to show how they’ll top up core funds from TfL. Over the next three years, Greenwich Council have allocated the lowest amount to improving public space out of any London Labour council when it comes to income from parking and new development.

Anti-pedestrian design in Greenwich

They are also behind almost every Conservative Council too. Even car-friendly Bromley are ahead with £90k next year and zero allocated in Greenwich.

They had a chance to alter in year two of three. It appears they are not doing so to any real degree. A token amount will be spent on more Controlled Parking Zones – and that’s about it.

Work here delayed time and again

All the talk of active living, reports on health and walking, PR drives in Greenwich Info and the rest appears to be little more than hot air. When it comes to actual funds for action it’s nowhere to be seen.

street design is 30+ years old

They are extremely reluctant to top-up TfL funding using their own funds derived from parking income and from new developments via Section S106 and Community Infrastructure Levy income – as almost every other London borough now does.

Ignored

The dysfunctional parking department doesn’t help, which has at least a £10 million shortfall over the past five years.

Public space near Blackwall Tunnel.

It should be noted I’m referring to routine transport projects here. Each council have major projects alongside. The last was Eltham High Street upgrade. The next is Greenwich town centre’s one-way system removal. Every London borough has funding for major schemes and this post is looking at the separate pot for routine, smaller scale projects where borough funds can have a big impact.

To partly make up for the shortfall in allocating parking and developer funds, the council are taking money from other funds which could be used for housing, healthcare and education, to name just three areas.

Improvements here delayed again and again

Next year’s LIP projects does include some promising schemes, but if they’d followed other London boroughs they’d be far more projects ready to go to transform the borough. As it is, the list is limited and most areas will see no change once again.

This is not people-first design

£600k is proposed for primary cycling routes. There is no info what they are as is all too common with Greenwich council. Drawing up schemes through consulting in advance is never at the forefront. In recent years a lack of engagement has seen mistakes made.

In terms of other projects, much is penny change in the grand scheme of things, including:

“£100,000 is allocated towards our Low Traffic neighbourhoods programme.
This will include modal filters to address rat running and other measures to
address vehicle dominance in key areas in the Borough. Work is underway to
prioritise locations ahead of the 2020/21 financial year.”

And, err, that’s about it for traffic reduction alongside more parking zones. Proposed CPZs from two years ago are still not in place.

That £100k allocation would be far greater if Greenwich borough were anywhere near to reaching the London council average.

At the top of the tree in London is Hammersmith & Fulham, who are allocating £20 million next year alone toward streets and transport schemes from parking revenue, plus £9 million from developers via Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy – in addition to TfL money.

Dated design at estate entrance off Norman Road. No trees. No greenery.

In Greenwich borough a measly £187,700 is allocated to pedestrian improvements. Pitiful levels. But you don’t get much if you allocate very little.

In fact, why don’t we list some other boroughs when it comes to parking and developer contributions that will top-up TfL’s annual funds next year:

  • Greenwich – £0 confirmed. Possibly a token sum for parking zones TBC
  • Hammersmith & Fulham – £29 million (at the top by some way)
  • Lewisham – £1.33m
  • Lambeth – £1.2m
  • Southwark – £765k
  • Ealing – £766k
  • Brent – £6 million
  • Camden – £5.26 million
  • Hounslow – £1.8 million
  • Bromley – £90,000. CIL is TBC

Greenwich is more akin to some suburban Conservative boroughs than inner London – and even then they’re trailing. Despite a new Cabinet member for Public Realm little seems to change when it comes to allocating cold hard cash.

Approach to Ikea and Charlton shops from Westcombe Park station

Despite this, time and time again you will hear Council Officers and Councillors state issues of funding for roads, streets, public space, cycling and pedestrian improvements are down to TfL.

Pretty much every project to improve public space in the borough – with one or two exceptions – is not funded or led by Greenwich Council. When it comes to utilising income for the benefit of walking and cycling they don’t do it. They had a chance to rectify that and climb from the foot of London councils. They havn’t appeared to do it. Anyone surprised?

If you want to see a list of other London council spending plans in this area I wrote two posts earlier this year. Click here for part one and here for part two.

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Ashley

    It’s a sorry state of affairs, a Royal Borough with High levels of incompetence by this outdated Labour administration. Greenwich is Long overdue a change of governance,party and leadership.

    It’s 48 years of negligence, overspending on less appealing wasteful projects, bollards and offshoots.

    A cabinet member for Public realm which brings no formidable change nor ideas for improvement.

    Greenwich Council must start utilising income from S106/CIL and TfL for the benefit of the Realm. public safety improvements, and our much loved green spaces.

    A strategic plan for renewing footpath/roads, streetlight upgrades and improvements for every aspect of the borough.

    A plan to declutter unnecessary street furniture I.E bollards or safety rails.

    Make our housing estates more green, landscaped, clean and appealing.

    A strong emphasis on dedicated teams to maintain park and green spaces.

    Cleaning teams for each ward to keep our streets and estates clean on a daily basis, not just on bin collection days.

    Not forgetting a workable process to combat illegal parking, abandoned untaxed vehicles blighting this borough.

    This would generate significant revenues and more investment.

    • Yona

      All you mention is spot on but raise that to them and they will simply start saying it is all central government cuts or TfL. I wonder what the excuse for their incompetence would be if Labour were at n10? (Oh wait , they were for like years before and still the council was pretty crap)

  2. Charles Calthrop

    The consultation notice for CPZ suggestions/price increases in the Westcombe Park area arrived this morning. My response will be to mention in explicit detail how parking and enforcement around the affected zones can be improved with the S106 funds otj question how its being spent. It will most likely be ignored but given how few opportunities we have to make our voice heard, I’m not missing the opportunity.

  3. Graham

    Another great article from Murky giving us the facts we do not get to here about from anyone else other than from fellow local journalist 853 and the Charlton Champion.

    Totally agree with Ashley, Yona and Charles who I think have covered everything in the comments.

  4. Graham

    Hear about even.!!

  5. RB Greenwich boasts most of the first and finest footpath network in London, the 52 mile Green Chain Walk which dates from 1977. The Borough collected small sums from the other SE London authorities and manged the entire system on their behalf. To do this it employed one member of staff, the Green Chain project officer. In 2016 the project officer took early retirement.

    Greenwich’s response was to reduce the footpath’s budget to zero and cease collecting the contributions from the other Boroughs. The result is that decades of investment in the path’s infrastructure is going to waste and the whole of SE London is seeing its best walking resource wither.

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