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.
Access to existing business for deliveries would be maintained.
Very much hoping we can do this in Pound Place to help Fabulous Tea Room, Cafe Dee, Aromateaco & Ziyafet. Here are suggested plans I put to @Royal_Greenwich 5 weeks ago… https://t.co/7CKqhb1llg pic.twitter.com/crByKSRilH
— Matt Clare (@MattCElthamSth) July 1, 2020
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:
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.
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.
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.
Seating for 12 people in the space it takes to store one car. pic.twitter.com/UXurBEXvzf
— Doug Gordon (@BrooklynSpoke) July 1, 2020
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.