Murky Depths

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Bexley borough, Greenwich borough, Lewisham borough

Greenwich, Lewisham, Bexley and Bromley miss out on round one of TfL street funding

Towers

The first round of funding for TfL street upgrades has seen many south east London boroughs miss out.

A total of £6.3 million was allocated though future tranches should follow shortly behind on a weekly basis.

Hopefully this doesn’t point to poor bids. We know Greenwich Council have ignored TfL street guidance design for many years – and did so again in responses to a TfL consultation on cycle highway 4. They wanted to keep street clutter – going against a decade of TfL practice and research into safety.

Courtesy Google. Street furniture obstacles on both sides of road for pedestrians

TfL state authorities which saw many projects approved in the first round yesterday were often small-scale decluttering projects. Greenwich Council have a habit of installing street clutter against the tide seen in many other areas.

Public space is neglected in midst of new builds. Poor permeability yet only spending is often new clutter

Measures enacted so far in the borough are not great, though perhaps can be excused as emergency measures. Barriers block cyclists exiting the one-way system towards Cutty Sark. Refuse collection and deliveries are reported as problems.

It’s also notable that authorities that have gained cash at the first time of asking already have structures in place to enact change and consult with the public.  Many boroughs have set up online portals seeking feedback. Here’s Islington for example.

While not a guarantee of success it does assist with bids. Aside from feedback websites, some boroughs have published lists of projects they’d like to implement. Bromley have published a list of 180. We have not seen similar public submissions to TfL from Greenwich. Here’s one example of that 180 in Bromley:

“BROMLEY TOWN Parents and children are often bunched together at the mouth of Farnaby Road, opposite Valley Primary School. As part of a wider approach to helping social distancing outside schools across the Borough, temporary features could be installed here to add footway space and discourage speeding along Farnaby Road. Due to the traffic volumes at this junction and turning buses it is proposed that the measures are carried out in durable bolt down temporary kerbing and black top fill. A temporary controlled crossing will also be installed. [indicative cost: £17k]”

We do not know if Greenwich are looking borough-wide or only at select town centre locations.

Consultation

No website for feedback nor any information in the public domain goes back a long way in Greenwich and is a cultural problem. For example, they do not consult widely on annual TfL funded projects through the Local Implementation Plan and havn’t for years as a matter of routine. Only residents in a very small immediate area receive a letter even if a scheme has widespread ramifications.

This differs from many other London authorities where public meetings seek feedback alongside websites. Submission details are often in the public domain and analysed at council meetings. I used to cover this extensively; many boroughs would have 50 page documents scrutinised by councillors. Greenwich documents were about four pages. Three of those contained waffle and one vague paragraph on projects. And then some projects would never seemingly happen.

Greenwich also allocate far less income from parking and income derived from new developments than most boroughs. It’s zero this financial year. Even Bromley beats that at £90,000 from Section 106. Southwark – which saw 12 projects receive funds in cash announced yesterday – has already allocated £765,000 this year. Lewisham allocated £1.3 million this year.

Southwark also allocate S106 to improving estates including public space – another thing Greenwich do not do.

There is a total of £75 million to be spent in total from TfL (it was part of their bailout) so it would be expected that south east London boroughs will receive funding soon. Greenwich and Bexley have lagged so far in consultation and transparency. Let’s hope that doesn’t bode badly.

 

1 Comment

  1. Graham

    This really does not come as a surprise to be honest.

    I have always thought the four London Boroughs mentioned have always largely been forgotten by TFL when it comes to investment in these areas

    Wether it be improvements to public transport or improving roads etc in comparison to other areas in Greater London which often see much more funds from TFL allocated to them.

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