A notice has popped up on Greenwich Council’s website which suggests the authority will finally look into long term parking problems across many estates.
Parking on pavement and greenery is rife across many areas of the borough, with parking outsourced to a private company named Wings – who appear to do little. That contract was renewed in 2018 despite numerous failings.
The contract ensures every penny of revenue from fines is retained by the private company, though doesn’t appear to incentivise enforcement.
In certain areas of the borough responsibility covers vast areas and parking is pretty much a free for all – though the Housing Department sticks up endless street clutter almost at random in a poor attempt to alleviate the problem which achieves little and costs large sums of money.
One key issue that immediately stands out is once again estate consultation ignores many residents and private tenants who are now a substantial amount of the population. On the very same webpage stating parking will be looked into and ignores private renters there is this:
Ignoring this key demographic makes little sense. Across the country, those in the private rented sector “increased from 2.8 million in 2007 to 4.5 million in 2017, an increase of 1.7 million (63%).” And that’s nationwide, it’s almost certainly higher as a percentage in London boroughs such as Greenwich.
I was contacted previously by a disabled resident in Abbey Wood who had continual problems with a footpath near their home blocked daily by poor parking.
They contacted the authority who only wrote to council tenants about parking on paving – despite the immediate area now being 75% privately owned (it’s possible to tell by roofing work carried out under the Decent Homes program).
The majority of people were either freeholders or private tenants and not Greenwich tenants and leaseholders.
This is a continual problem in the borough and fails to recognise the changing tenure mix across much of the borough in 2020. Instead they often behave as if Right to Buy never happened which in turn saw many homes purchased via Right to Buy becoming buy to let with private tenants.
Unless the consultation actually engages with all residents on estates and shopping parades (many of which fall under the same remit) it won’t be very representative.
The number of children in London living in the private rented sector increased from 190k in 2005 to 550k in 2018.
My view is that some parts of the borough still maintained by Greenwich Council’s Housing Department should be transferred to the Highways Department with enforcement moved from private Wings Security to Greenwich Council’s standard enforcement teams alongside staff increases.
Often there is no difference now in terms of tenure or design layout in Housing Department controlled locations and areas under Highways Department control. Things have changed a huge amount since the 1980s but jurisdiction has not. It also removes the legal issue whereby public estates are classed as private land which can impact enforcement.
For other areas of public realm and streets that do remain under the Housing Department, a new contract is needed rather than the current Wings Security deal which has been an utter failure in preventing poor parking and assisting pedestrians, particular the most vulnerable including the disabled. Hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on ever increasing clutter is not the solution.