Earlier today I covered costings for plastic barriers in Greenwich which appear to cost an astonishing amount and now we move onto Woolwich. Documents submitted to TfL under Freedom of information requests show more eye opening amounts as according to Greenwich Council plastic barriers and a small amount of kerb build out is put at £163,900.92.
If we take off contingency and maintenance, remaining costings still appear extremely high.
The council told TfL in submitted documents they had engaged with the public and revealed they were planning work in Woolwich town centre. In reality they gave no details of what the work would comprise of nor created a website to inform.
What was installed in Woolwich was a small amount of plastic barriers near the station and a very small amount on Thomas Street and Wellington Street.
After many requests from the public they revealed overall costings but no details of specific work. The sum for Woolwich was so high I assumed more work would follow on including cycling wands and permanent changes.
One candidate not included is an area of Woolwich High Street near the leisure centre. One lane is often blocked by the bus stand or parking. It wasn’t considered for any improvement works such as wands for cycling space.
It’s not surprising Waterfront struggles to attract people now with numbers down 20 per cent over the past two years even before current troubles. The car park was sold way back in 2007 and closed around 2017 while walking and cycling isn’t great from the rest of the town centre as the dual carriageway acts as severance from Hare Street. Approaching by the Thames path is not ideal for all.
Mind you, what should be a very low cost project would have ended up in the tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds if other projects are a guide.
In the last post I used examples in Bromley to show comparisons to work carried out in Greenwich town centre. While Greenwich town centre only features plastic barriers and no built out pavement space, Woolwich plans did, and so we can do a better like-for-like comparison. Greenwich put it at £43,000 for a stretch beside bus stops. Bromley place the cost of similar work outside a school including a temporary controlled crossing at £17,000.
Not only do high costs in Greenwich borough raise concern but when the authority had plans why did they continually refuse to reveal or share them with the public? Why are the council’s leadership apparently content with that lack of transparency? A number of people have tried to get answers to no avail.
The issue was so high profile it was always going to come out in Freedom of Information requests. A number of readers messaged me to say they were going to look deeper as so little was being revealed.
What should have been a pretty easy PR win has instead turned into a fail. Meanwhile easy measures to get people out of cars as public transport is restricted just havn’t been done – and what little work has been enacted has cost the public high sums for little in return.
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