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