Emergency services raise problems with Greenwich Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Emergency Services in Greenwich have raised issues with Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in the borough.

According to emails obtained via Freedom of Information requests from Greenwich Road Closures, the London Fire Brigade highlighted concerns earlier this year over the possibility of using bollards on Anglesea Road in Woolwich following concerns in Greenwich.

In addition, they raised continual parking problems in the area which hamper emergency service response times.

Most recent streetview from Google shows cars on double yellows

They stated in an email to Greenwich Council in February 2021 that a camera-based system which would still permit fire engines would be preferable.

London Ambulance Service

The London Ambulance Service also raised concerns will bollards and stated their crews do not have access to keys unlike the Fire Brigade.

Just some of the LAS’s concerns

The NHS also enquired whether cameras were being looked into in March 2021 after two reported delays in Greenwich on Crooms Hill and Bradyll Street.

September 2020 email

Since then, there has been some moves towards camera-controlled LTNs instead of physical obstacles.

Met Police

Like the London Ambulance service, the police stated they do not have keys for fixed bollards. They also had to ask for exact details.

It must be said though that some of the police comments are pretty nonsensical. They oppose a raised planter, for example, as it could store a knife. So could every bush and bit of greenery going. So could any bin store, or a whole range of things.

An armoury in hiding
Cameras for enforcement or physical objects

Cameras for traffic offences were not used anywhere across Greenwich borough in 2020 when a number of emergency LTNs were installed. Other boroughs did use them.

One reason for this is likely to be that Greenwich did not seek authorisation for many years to use cameras to enforce moving traffic violations after being given the power to do so in 2005.

Twenty nine of London’s 32 boroughs had done so by early 2020. Only Kensington & Chelsea and Bromley had not.

This extract from a Greenwich report a year before 2020 highlights the issue:

Taken from Greenwich Council document in Feb 2019

Greenwich Council had been talking for years about seeking approve for camera usage, but progress was glacial. In reports they blamed others, though most other authorities had successfully gained approval long ago.

This extract from a 2017 meeting was the authority discussing the issue a whole three years three years before finally seeking and gaining approval:

By the time 2020 rolled around Greenwich Council had agreed but still failed to submit the paperwork to ensure CCTV was an option. They only switched them on in the autumn – and messed that up.

Consultation

Emergency services were also raising a lack of exact information in 2020 on Greenwich Council’s plans.

You may recall at the time this site was regularly highlighting how secretive Greenwich Council were on plans submitted to TfL. They simply were not putting them in the public domain unlike many other authorities.

While many LTNs and other measures did not require formal consultation, plans were still in the public domain for many boroughs.

It took for this site obtaining details via a Freedom of Information request to see plans submitted to TfL.

Not only were Greenwich Council not sharing them with the public, but they weren’t with the emergency services as an email shows. It states “there is no information, graphic or design included” when emergency services were asked about plans:

Other boroughs were providing costed projects with detail. Greenwich submissions revealed in public were almost entirely lacking any detail.

Divisive

The use of various measures to alter streets in 2020 and beyond has of course divided opinion and become a hot topic.

Wherever you stand on them, these documents do again reveal a secretive authority with departments happy to keep the public unaware, let alone some councillors and the emergency services.

Either those departments had no real plan or idea what to do (and we’ve seen similar for many, many years with annual transport spending via the Local Implementation Plan fund with lack of information, engagement and bodge jobs) or they did have a plan but felt happy to keep it secret.

If so, there’s little excuse for it. Many, many other boroughs – both Labour and Tory – did not act that way. They happily discussed and published plans. Much of it was incredibly in depth and clearly wasn’t drawn up in a hurry, as long standing plans were in place with a ready to go pipeline of projects. This is just one example from Bromley. It includes details and cost:

Nothing even remotely similar was evident in Greenwich borough.

That secrecy continues a long pattern and touched on issues this site has covered for at least five years. When TfL gave Greenwich Council millions each year from the LIP, Greenwich simply refused to engage, consult or often apparently have any plans for what to do with it.

Public information was about as vague as they could get away with. We had road names and a figure but no detail of what was included:

2017/18 planned schemes. Some never spent. No details on what each project would entail. £50k on Strathden Road. On what though? they refused to say in advance.

The authority would then rush into spending, make basic mistakes that engagement could have picked up, which then cost more money to rectify. Eynsham Drive in Abbey Wood was one example.

The document also reveals the same old problems with parking and weak enforcement, and just how slow they are to use powers given to them.

The only two other councils not to use CCTV was Bromley and Kensington and Chelsea. Quite traditional “true blue” Tory councils that in all likelihood didn’t actually want to. Though as seen, Bromley did already have a pipeline of projects ready to roll and weren’t secretive about them.

Greenwich didn’t appear to even consider cameras from 2005 to 2017, then when they did failed to gain approval for three years.

And so when measures were called for, Greenwich didn’t even have options for what was best on any given site.

Time and again their lethargy comes back to bite, and yet some councillors allow poor departments to waft along making mistake after mistake.

 

 

 

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John Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

8 thoughts on “Emergency services raise problems with Greenwich Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

  • July 5, 2021 at 6:39 am
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    I think monitoring the roads with cameras 24/7 would be a much better way as will not only catch drivers using the roads when they should not be it will help to catch the ever growing amount of drivers who ignore the speed limits espcially the 20 MPH speed limits in residntial areas and near scchools.

    I totally support the emergency services calls for these roads to be monitored by Cameras as emergency services also have the added problem of also being delayed by the new cycle lanes through East Greenwich leading up to the Angerstein Roundabout which also causes traffic delays the traffic as cannot get pass buses waiting at bus stops.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2021 at 9:25 am
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    Thanks for this. It doesn’t really matter whether you are for or against all these changes (fwiw I am against the bulk of them), the lack of consultation is a disgrace.
    Many of the problems that have arisen as a result of the council’s arrogance over this were entirely predictable. Who would have guessed that if you block off Royal Hill, Crooms Hill and the like that north/south traffic would move east? It aint rocket science.
    By consulting or talking to people many problems could have been nipped in the bud. But oh no, secrecy must prevail.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2021 at 9:47 am
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    Cameras for moving traffic offences cannot be used for speeding offences. They also cannot be used for most illegal parking except in certain circumstances including parking on a bus or mandatory cycle lane and on “keep clear” markings outside schools.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2021 at 9:55 am
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    And things like this will continue while the lazy Greenwich councillors know that their positions are permanently safe due to the Labour-leaning demographics of this borough; they know they will continue to receive their allowances while doing nothing. There will be no meaningful improvement within this borough until its people start making a change at the polling booth, but I highly doubt that will ever happen due to its demographics.

    Now that WFH is looking like more than just a pandemic fad, I am actively working on selling up and getting out of here.

    Reply
    • July 5, 2021 at 10:04 am
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      As I often say most London boroughs are one party states and that doesn’t look like changing due to archaic voting systems, however many managed to consult on LIP funding for the past decade while Greenwich resolutely didn’t. Almost all others were on the ball and sought approval for CCTV many years before Greenwich. Many others are on top of developer income, engaging on how that is spent and a multitude of other things. Or at least nowhere near as secretive. Greenwich were dead last last year on collecting funds – and spent almost none of what they did collect even excluding Woolwich station commitment.

      The only way it’ll change is internally. Greenwich borough local Labour groups do little too often. They continue to select cllrs who coast through and are miles from being on top of their brief. Some in the Cabinet are also pretty hapless and clueless on what’s happening in a whole range of areas. It can often be put down to a rotten internal culture within the ruling party.

      Reply
  • July 6, 2021 at 6:53 am
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    Tired and John Smith you are both not wrong in what you say.

    However, rules around Camera usage could and should be changed to cover all offences to make our roads, pedestrians and our Borough safe for everyone.

    Reply
  • July 6, 2021 at 10:10 am
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    A shame, as it seems that consultation, communication and transparency could have/could still solve many of these issues.

    Reply
  • July 7, 2021 at 3:09 pm
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    Absolutely Gude at Synsera Home.

    Reply

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