Murky Depths

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Eltham

Calls for outside seating areas to help business in Eltham

Simple projects aren't being attempted

Conservative councillors in Eltham have called for outside seating on Pound Place in Eltham to boost a number of cafes and restaurants over summer months.

The plans would allow tables and chairs to be set up near the Fabulous Tea Room, Cafe Dee, Aromateaco & Ziyafet.

Passey Place was pedestrianised – then became a car park for many months without any enforcement from Greenwich Council

Access to existing business for deliveries would be maintained.

Since submitting the idea five weeks ago Greenwich Council have yet to reveal any details of plans for the area. Details released to the public are extremely basic:

That’s it

Yes, £142,458 is a very specific number to submit to TfL for money so they must have some clue what it’s for – but of course the public aren’t worthy of knowing.

This area would remain for vehicle access

What we do know is that sadly some in Greenwich Council’s ruling administration are so petty that any idea that isn’t theirs is likely to be blocked regardless of merit.

Nearby Passey Place market

Similar pedestrian measures have been introduced in other parts of London and across the country recently – though the UK has been slower than most countries from Germany to France to the United States. It’s far from a warm-country only phenomenon to have outside seating, as any trip to, say, Bristol or Edinburgh would show. Or Amsterdam, Copenhagen or any other number of cities. Many nations already have strong policies to encourage outside seating.

I expect the reactionaries will be out to moan. It’s often people who rarely if ever travel more than five minutes from their home and havn’t a clue how things are different (and work well) in other areas. Who then go once a year on a trip somewhere, they’ll state how nice it is and yet somehow cannot see that’s because of measures taken to make it an attractive place to spend time.

I’ve been around a bit and lived or spent substantial time in a large number of cities and seen the same story again and again. Changes are proposed and some vocal people complain. It then happens, people generally love it after doom and gloom predictions in opening days and businesses thrive.

General Gordon Square is far improved since buses rerouted – though antisocial behaviour hampers business around the square

You then have great places that people of all types meet and enjoy.

In recent days I’ve even heard people even say pedestrianisation helped the decline in Woolwich. Which conveniently overlooks that it didn’t hamper Bexleyheath or Bromley in the 1990s and 2000s while they retained a wide variety of shops.

There’s a whole bunch of factors that caused decline in recent decades (and problems now) in Woolwich but pedestrianisation often isn’t one of them. If anything, as shopping goes online social meeting places will be the thing to keep town centres alive in years to come. And that means places for friends and families to meet inside and out.

Previous pedestrianised area street furniture hit by vehicles in Eltham shortly after £6.5m project which was mainly funded by TfL

One last point – it’s interesting that Greenwich borough Conservatives are calling for this – as they have for many more progressive measures than the ruling Labour party. It’s often said Greenwich conservatives are more progressive than national Tories (and Labour both nationally and locally).

More examples in Eltham due to non-existent enforcement

This has been seen again since lockdown. Local Tories have been active calling for better cycle and walking links, calling meetings, submitting ideas while the ruling Labour party are left in confusion, generally operate in silence and lag way behind much of London.

Eltham cycle lane hidden behind frequent double parked cars before lockdown. It still happens

Greenwich Labour are more regressive now than not only most of their Labour colleagues across London, but many Tories too. It’s a very odd borough.

 

 

6 Comments

  1. CDT

    I would like to see the new seating in Pound Place Eltham if it helps the following businesses Fabulous Tea Room, Cafe Dee, Aromateaco & Ziyafet. to survive and thrive in the future,

    Outside seating could even help other cafes and restaurants around the Borough to survive where pavements are wider enough or where the area is pedestrianised so able to accomodate outside tables or chairs.

  2. Paul SuperUnknown

    Personally, I’ve lived all over the World, and I’ve never seen a more odd, stick in the mud, small-timers trying to run an urban Burrough! Yet, people continue to (some blindly) vote for them!
    Wake Up, you silly buggers!

    • Steven Norris

      Paul i couldn’t agree more, i was born in woolwich 70 yrs ago an this labour council is the worst I’ve ever known

      • CDT

        I do not actually disagree with you PaulSuperUnkown and Steven Norris,

        I was born and bred in the Borough and still live in the Borough as I love our Borough and the area I live in.

        I have always said change is needed in the Borough as I believe there is so much more potential to improve the Borough and public services especially for the elderly children, disabled, vulnerable children and adults. I would also like to see more investments in our Town Centres to make them thrive again and encourage new businessess in to the Borough.

        I know the Government have made cuts to Local Authorities but it is also down to how the Council spends and priortise it’s own budget. With vital front line services for the elderly children, disabled, vulnerable children and adults. being high priority.

  3. russell jones

    When I ran Biscotti’s Cafe on Pound Place I was always mystified by the table and chair tax that we were forced to pay.
    I never got an explination of what I was actually paying for as the tables sat directly infront of my shop on the pavement. This was an additional tax on top of business rates, for which there was no benefit.
    Good luck with the outside seating but beware I would almost guarentee there will be an additional cost to those cafe owners

  4. Graham

    Russell Jones, We appear to be one of the highest tax countries in the world.

    I do agree an additional tax on the table and chairs outside of your business does seem excessive on top of all ready high business rates. The Council should be supporting the businesses and helping to survive through these difficult times.as businesses start to re-open,

    CDT anyone who has read your previous post can tell you care about our Borough (Greenwich) you can also tell you care about vulnerable people and the services provided to them.

    I also agree the Borough is now asking for change of administration or at least changes on the current Council Leadership Team as we move forward in the future.

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