Greenwich Council again fail to answer question on Woolwich Works

Greenwich Council’s leader Danny Thorpe (Labour – Shooter’s Hill) stated the Conservative opposition were attempting to create “fake news” last night after questions of budget issues at a major project, even though Labour councillors were raising the issue last week.

Greenwich Council again failed to provide detail of any cost increase at the Woolwich Works creative district during a full council meeting last night.

Despite this Greenwich Labour leader Danny Thorpe immediately sprang to tribal party politics in response to the question (see on the video at 15 minutes and 15 seconds here)

A question last night from Cllr Nigel Fletcher (Conservative – Eltham) on current total costs and expected final numbers was also rebuffed.

In recent weeks this site covered a scrutiny panel meeting which saw councillors including Cllr David Gardner (Labour – Woolwich Common) asking questions about reported costs overruns – but not receiving answers.

Council staff declined to provide a current total and estimate for the project previously costed at less than £32 million, despite an a question from Cllr Ann-Marie Cousins (Abbey Wood – Labour).

Eventual totals as high as £50 million were mentioned and not rebuffed.

Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe stated last night “you cannot be clear about costs of a project or building still in development”.

Final cost

While an exact final figure may not be possible, given the project is two months from completion a failure to give a current total nor estimate of final costs raises questions over project management and transparency.

A cynic may wonder if the intention is to reveal the figure shortly after opening in the hope it somewhat overshadows the news.

While a number of factors are likely to cause legitimate budget pressures, the immediate accusation of party politics from the council leader and continued failure to even provide an update on budgets doesn’t present a great look.

The project occupies a number of buildings within Woolwich’s Royal Arsenal site.

The borough’s Heritage Centre and archive was evicted to make way for the district, which will see Punchdrunk alongside Chineke! Orchestra and the Woolwich Print Fair.

Any budget increase doesn’t appear to have gone into Greenwich Council’s website on the project, which lists incorrect details of opening dates.

Tickets went on sale recently for the first season of events this autumn.

The council meeting can be viewed here.

 

 

 

 

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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.

4 thoughts on “Greenwich Council again fail to answer question on Woolwich Works

  • July 22, 2021 at 10:08 pm
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    Woolwich is a world famous cultural and heritage attraction and yet a few backbench whingers begrudge the necessary investment to maintain this important asset. What would they spend the money on, no doubt they would just toss it in the money pit of social care. Woolwich Works, the clue is in the title, let’s keep it working.

    Reply
    • July 23, 2021 at 10:47 am
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      They weren’t objecting to it as the video clearly shows, but against secrecy with finances.

      Reply
  • July 23, 2021 at 10:39 am
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    This is shocking. The excuse that the project isn’t finished doesn’t work. Anyone carrying a project needs to know how much were the costs to date and project what the cost to completion will be. How can someone in charge not have this information? And if they have, are they even allowed not to disclose it?

    Reply
  • July 23, 2021 at 7:24 pm
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    This comes as no surprise from Greenwich Council who should be able to account for every single penny spent on this project and provide the information when asked. If more money is required to complete the Woolwich works project then they should be honest and open about it.

    Reply

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