Lewisham Council begin work on Blackheath street

Lewisham Council have today begun to install raised planters at a notorious rat run in Blackheath. The work on South Row is designed to make life better for pedestrians and cyclists heading between cycle lanes.

With double decker buses now restricted to just 20 passengers and 10 on single deckers, making life easier for those without cars (and also encouraging those with cars not to use them) is crucial.

Lewisham are already getting on with semi-permanent work after announcements in recent days. Initial attempts using plastic barriers in places such as Deptford High Street weren’t very successful.

Southwark allocate £6.5 million from parking each year. 

Lewisham are implementing this work despite no TfL funds in the first funding announcement. It may be using DfT funds or internal funding.

Just over the borough boundary in Greenwich and the authority have mainly just installed temporary, flimsy plastic barriers – without much success as poor parking alongside causes problems. They’ve also squeezed and blocked cycle access in places.

Courtesy Melissa William. OK for a week or two. Not great three months after lockdown begun

There’s very little action on assisting those – particularly the poorest without cars who cannot use buses – to get about.

Lewisham (and many other London boroughs) can start on projects (at very low cost) before TfL funds not only with limited DfT money but because income from funding streams was already in internal budgets for street improvements.

Greenwich allocate zero this financial year from S106 and CIL

Having existing funds allocated can ensure a greater number of projects in coming weeks and months.

Greenwich’s long running parking mismanagement and ensuing income shortfall – totalling over £12 million in recent years – ensures no money was allocated this financial year to compliment TfL’s annual funding to councils (which predates current emergency funding).

Parking budget shortfall in 2016

There’s already little in the kitty to get cracking in Greenwich borough thanks to years of the same lack of action:

Latest parking miss in 2019.

Note how they copy and paste the same thing each year.

Parking income is ringfenced to highways work including street improvements. That £12 million could have achieved much over the past few years.

Because of poor management within Greenwich borough in regards to parking the authority are now placing pretty much all responsibility on TfL to fund improvements – despite many other London boroughs already getting to work on permanent measures that have yet to see TfL emergency funding. You’ll see Greenwich pass the buck time and time again in news stories and social media.

Hammersmith & Fulham allocate £20 million per year from parking

As for when TfL funding does arrive what will we see? Well, who knows, as in keeping with engagement they have revealed very little detail to the public. Bids may be extremely poor but we have no idea.

In previous consultations with TfL on projects such as Cycle Highway 4 the authority completely ignored modern design guidance in replies and were ignored by TfL, we could well see the same again. Silence doesn’t bode well.


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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

12 thoughts on “Lewisham Council begin work on Blackheath street

  • It’s somewhat difficult not to see pride crossings – as much as I love them and support them when friends moan about them – as just gestures when the public realm is so poor and so little is being done in Greenwich borough for people. I’ve yet again today seen pedestrians put at severe risk in four separate locations on my walk to the park and back.

    Enough gestures now Royal Greenwich it’s time to actually do things.

    As I said, I really love the crossings but it seems the leaders of the authority care more about social media views than residents who should expect diligent and attentive work by the authority. I see no sign of it.

    • In what way we’re pedestrians put at risk?

  • The South Row closure is a nonsense. It just moves traffic elsewhere. I happened to drive there this afternoon to visit my daughter in Blackheath via Kidbrooke Gardens. This just forced me down the narrow residential Paragon Place into Wemyss Road which has two schools in it.

    Coming back I had to drive back across the Heath to the Standard and then down Old Dover Road until I got back on to Shooters Hill Road and then via the backstreets to home.

    I saw a Waitrose delivery van signalling to turn right from the Village into South Row, Realising it couldn’t it drove across the Heath to the traffic lights turned left and then turned left again at Prince Charles roundabout back towards the Village. What it was going to do next who knows.


    • It would have to use the Cator Estate. If it tried to approach from Kidbrook Gardens it would be illegal as there is 3 tonne mgw limit there.

      I’m sure the Cator Estate will be deighted to have large vehicles using their roads to get deliveries to South Row, Pond Road, Kidbrooke Gardens, the Morden Estate and the like!

      • FWIW – just a quick update. The South Row closure has now been lifted beacuse, as I said above, deliveries can’t get through without using the Cator Estate or illegally using Kidbrooke Gardens. Lewisham did not think this through at all in their haste to abuse Covid legislation.

  • It’s not a nonsense. I will actually give cycling a go again after trying this stretch before and having cars block the way or nearly hit me.

    Things don’t change overnight on any transport mode. When new bus routes commence hardly anyone uses them at first. People say why bother? Waste of money. A year or two later and full to bursting. The London Overground is another wonderful example of that. First it was just three carriages. Barely full the first few months. Five years later and five carriages are in place and still it cannot be boarded in many places.

    Cycle lanes are the same – assuming they work. The whole problem with them in the area is fragmentation. This now plays a role in linking up the network.

    These arguments have been had forever when pedestrianisation schemes proposed in the 1980s in shopping areas (Bexleyheath didn’t suffer) and other rat runs closed. Deliveries work themselves out. I remember the same thing in the early 1990s. In time people adjust. If they don’t work change it but generally they do. A day or month is not enough time to see. In a year or longer we’ll see like we did before that it improves the situation.

    As for now you have one person at least who will try cycling again so that’s more space for elderly people to get on a bus and one less car on the road for other trips. I suspect they’ll be many more in time. We have to bite the bullet and change things as we simply can’t have millions more car trips with public transport limited.

  • The councils spend too much on subcontractors and substandard work and long overdrawn too. Give a subcontractor £10,000 to do a job and they spend only 6 as the rest goes to the management. Why is the British public such idiots. The world laughs at us…

  • Thanks for the background on Lewisham and Greenwich funding for this. I live on the Cator Estate and most of my neighbours are freaking out about the stopping up of South Row but I support these proposals. South Row is a dangerous stretch with poor visibility and cars drive at speed giving no priority. Cars are accessing via Wemyss Road as someone has taken it into their hands to sabotage the road block but this will soon be prevented with a drop bollard. Good on Lewisham for taken initiative in this period of opportunity to make our streets more healthy and liveable.

    • Car drivers will find other ways and I Just wonder whether this will turn Morden Road and Blackheath Park into a new rat run.

  • I drove past South Row this morning and those blocks are currently on the pavement. I’m not familiar with network of roads in this area, but take it that only confusion, frustration and anger will result.

  • More changes. The Council has moved the blocks to create a ‘pinch gate’ so only one car can go through at a time. This slows any speeding traffic and seems a sensible solution. The gates at the bottom of Morden Road were closed so anyone living in Morden Road can only exit via Blackheath Park or Pond Road.


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