News in London and beyond

Woolwich

Temporary Woolwich streetscape work put at £164,000

Courtesy Paul Billington. Basic work cost large sums

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.

Minimal ambition? Work in Woolwich – click to enlarge

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.

Woolwich High Street. Parking is common increasing danger for cyclists and other road users

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.

Not considered for emergency 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.

Woolwich High Street

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.

 

9 Comments

  1. Derek Small

    As a certain sitcom ‘old moany’ used to say Murky… “Unbelieeevable!” But RBG have some serious public explaining to do, but who are they accountable to? Are the Tories on council going to pick up on this, or since strong candidates are rarely fielded in a Labour stronghold can we not rely on them sensing a quick kill?

  2. Gustaf

    Maintenance of some plastic boundaries costs even more than the installation and materials costs?
    Like I said elsewhere, this rieks of corruption and some people in the borough must have been going on very nice holidays…

  3. Matt w

    This is really sad for everyone. The approach ranges from no transparency to utter contempt for everyone that lives works in this borough. Could someone else have done a better job, yes. Could they have done more with the same money, yes. In actual fact Greenwich had quite a sizable budget but blew it to the wind. This money could have really improved cycling and public space and instead it’s been squandered into crap.

  4. Anon

    There is something seriously wrong with this council and it’s councillors. I don’t understand why the rest of London does not scrutinise this borough as much as Tower Hamlets, for example. If there was even a whiff of money mismanagement/corruption there it would reach the NATIONAL press within a matter of hours. I wonder why Greenwich is left off the hook and only us residents ever hear about this kind of thing. Where is the accountability? Not only are the Labour Cllrs not doing their jobs (they don’t even respond to emails when you need their help), the Conservative cllrs are not even bothered to act as the opposition. No accountability, checks or balances seem to be done at this council. We need new cllrs (preferably independent) who genuinely care about improving the borough instead of just taking home their allowance.

    • Comment by post author

      fromthemurkydepths

      The Tory response isnt great. They had some great ideas for Eltham and were actually more progressive than Labour in Greenwich borough (it’s a weird borough) which the ruling party ignored, but the opposition should be asking questions right now.

  5. Graham

    I remember reading on one of the local jpurnalist websites that Greenwich Council Labour Leadership said they were going to hold a lot of meeetings in private and with only Labour Councillors present.

    Well that is wrong on so many levels and ask the question on trust ?? Where is the opneness and transparency ?

    As Covid-19 will be around for a long time yet I think Greenwich Council would have been better spending this money for the wider pavements etc to be made permanent. As the cost of these temporary plastic barriers seem extremely high.

    Drivers and pedestrians just move these plastic temporary barriers out of the way anyway.

    All future developments inncluding the new development planned as part of the Spray Street on plumstead Road beside the Woolwich Covered Market should also allow for wider paving so pedestrians and people waiting at bus stops etc can pass each other safely.

    • HonestPolitician

      Corruption very much alive and kicking. No surprise there.

      The press is not independent (it’s not profitable enough to survive without donors) so you can’t expect them to report on this sort of thing – it’s not in their commercial interest.

      Just look at what has happened with money being given to firms for PPE and vaccines. When will the sheeple wake up? Oh yeah they’re too busy watching videos of people dancing on tik tok and instagram

      • HK

        Exactly, £millions of our tax money have been handed over to vaccine manufacturers in a blink of an eye with little oversight!
        The social distancing measures implemented by the council are imo opinion pointless.

        Again people will just vote in Labour out of habit or due to blind loyalty. If you are not happy with Labour, please don’t vote for them! That doesn’t mean you have to vote Tory, just vote anyone else but Labour (independent etc)

  6. John Jackson

    What would the cost have been to permanently widen the pavement?

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