Greenwich Council contractors have moved planters and removed a bollard at the Hills and Vales Low Traffic Neighbourhood opening the road to all traffic once again.
Contractors opened the road last night, though new Greenwich Councillor Pat Slattery stated they had “jumped the gun”.
However it does appear the council have agreed to open up roads in West Greenwich to all traffic in the morning rush hour.
The council recently also asked the Royal Parks to open a road through Greenwich Park to all traffic.
Emergency services had asked back in spring 2020 for CCTV enforcement in West Greenwich instead of physical obstacles.
That wasn’t possible as Greenwich Council had taken 15 years and counting at the time to agree to the use of CCTV for traffic offences – putting them 30th out of 32 London councils for doing so. It finally happened in autumn 2020.
Much talk and little action on the issue in preceding years ensured that when the pandemic struck, the authority had back themselves into a corner and weren’t in a position to consider CCTV even if they wanted to.
Freedom of Information responses reveal the authority kept emergency services in the dark on design. This followed a pattern of secrecy last spring with the public, which compared strongly with some other London authorities where plans to be submitted for funding was discussed in public meetings and placed online. Only very late on did basic information begin to be placed in the public domain.
Back to summer 2021, and the emergency services have apparently not requested the road open in the morning rush hour to all traffic, though Greenwich Council have opted to do so.
The authority still lacks much of a plan to cope with rising traffic numbers long term. Numerous developments across the borough have seen incoming money from housing developers go just about anywhere else compared to improving walking links from new homes to local amenities.
A recent Plumstead 1,750-home project sums it up. Greenwich allocated far less developer income than TfL stated was needed for buses, allocated no money to a rapid bus route that is supposed to pass the site and agreed to downgrade road changes late on. Pedestrians will face underpasses or an extremely narrow pavement to reach nearby station. Amazingly, they were trumpeting it as a win on consultation documents for Plumstead improvements last week.
That’s if they even collect income from developers. Despite being in the top five boroughs in London for new development, they were plum last (32 out of 32) for collecting it in recent figures.
They were also 31st out of 32 for topping up TfL annual income for pedestrian and public realm improvements using parking and developer income. This financial year they allocated zero. Zilch. Nada.
That contrasts with other councils. As an example, Hammersmith and Fulham have allocated £9 million each year from S106 and CIL developer income as part of the existing three-year spending plan:
Over the past five years, Greenwich Council have collected little more via the Community Infrastructure Levy compared to neighbouring Lewisham did in one year alone – despite higher levels of development. If we look at Tower Hamlets, Greenwich are blown out the water. Over £27 million last year collected. In Greenwich less than £6 million since 2015 and £1.3 million last year.
In terms of car-centric policy, just yesterday a post on this site looked at a new planning application for a private gym in Kidbrooke. The council are insisting on an additional 22 parking spaces taking the total to 245.
Is that an authority with a plan to mitigate long term car use increase as many new homes are built?
They’ve continually failed to allocate developer income towards infrastructure updates such as a rapid bus route from Thamesmead to Woolwich – and potentially to north Greenwich, despite approving thousands of homes along the planned route.
TfL have often raised concerns about how little income the authority allocates to improving other existing bus services. In response Greenwich expect TfL to fund the vast majority of projects (despite financial problems) and ignore practices in other authorities.
Recently Greenwich spoke about difficulties with traffic and thousands of new homes in the borough – yet the irony of them failing to collect income owed from developers to improve public transport and walking links, or even allocate income in the first place to increase the appeal of alternatives to the car, seems lost on them.
If you live in areas like Thamesmead or Greenwich Peninsula, can you blame many for driving when a walk to local shops can be so offputting?
In North Greenwich, millions of Section 106 and CIL income from thousands of new homes and numerous new shops in Charlton have seen next to no investment in safer, appealing links between Bugsby’s Way and new housing on Greenwich Peninsula.
In West Greenwich some local people are concerned that opening roads during the morning rush hour will send vehicles past James Woolfe school.
On the Peninsula, more and more people seems aware of how Greenwich have not used incoming money to benefit them if emails to this site are a guide.
The battle between those who drive through the borough, and those who don’t alongside many moving to predominantly car-free housing, doesn’t look like going away.