Greenwich councillors in Plumstead for photoshoot – after new development ignores town

Greenwich councillors including the leader and cabinet member have appeared in Plumstead for a photoshoot weeks after the authority decided that a major development in the area should ignore Transport for London and their own policies to utilise available funds to improve the area.

Local councillors and the leaders were there to promote new shopfronts in Plumstead High Street and minor public realm changes, though thousands of new residents at two major developments recently approved will not be able to safely and easily walk or cycle to those very shops.

Shopfronts included in July 2021

The authority ignored TfL advice during the planning process as recently covered here, and Greenwich’s Planning Department decided to not spend a penny of income from 330 homes approved earlier this month to improve links from homes to the High Street and railway station.

Thus ensuring those shops being visited for the photoshoot are not safely and easily accessible to thousands of new residents.

This excellent video taken over the past week (not by me) shows how poor and offputting the link between new homes and the station is. The underpass starts at 13 seconds and the site of 1,750 homes is at 23 seconds.

What’s happening?

It’s worth taking a step back now and looking at what they are promoting.

Back in 2015 Greenwich Council decided to draw up the Plumstead Area Framework.

Underpass link from 2,200 new homes to shops and railway station

It included various ideas including improvements to the station area and the gyratory.


Back then there were no solid plans for new homes in that area. Since then, however, around 2,200 have been approved, including The Reach (Completed – 66 homes), West Thamesmead Gateway (1,750 homes) and now Fairview’s blocks (330 homes).

1,750 homes approved near Plumstead station

Despite continual applications and approvals each planning application has gone before the council’s Planning Board with a report and funding agreement from the Planning Department accompanying each meeting which  ignored improvements, councillors have then approve and suggestions in the 2016 Framework ignored.

From area framework

Agreements between developers and the council have also seen the authority’s Planning Department ignore their own policies seen in various reports, including Greener Greenwich (2016), Improving Physical Health (2019) and now the Carbon Reduction report 2021.

Greenwich actions often do the opposite to own reports

There were many congratulatory tweets from both Tory and Labour councillors about the latest Carbon Reduction report – though councillors from both barely mention relevant issues in planning meetings.

Extract from 2021 report

After Greenwich adopted the 2016 report they then agreed a joint project with the Greater London Authority to spend millions. Totals have varied between £4.4m and £5.2 million.

Much welcome.

Since then White Hart Road has been improved:

This is to link to Plumstead power station, which is well out the way of passing footfall.

Plans for a market and workspace at the power station have been drawn up.

Shop fronts on the High Street will also be upgraded, as covered here.

Shopfront plan

This is all great news for the area, though the authority really could and should have gone further and used incoming monies from new housing projects to enable business to benefit from those moving to 2,200 new homes, and those moving to the area to access all the shops, amenities, services and public transport links along Plumstead High Street.

They did not.

As it is, key points from that 2016 framework appear now to have been ditched, which raises another key point.

Allocating funds for substantial funds for improvements would require Greenwich to take the lead. If we look at almost every recent improvements of any scale, it’s led and funded to a sizable degree by outside parties. Often TfL or the GLA.

Left to their own devices Greenwich will not, or can not, enact changes of scale and merit.

Pedestrian routes are poor for thousands of incoming residents

If we see what Greenwich Highways achieve when left to their own initiative it’s the very opposite of modern policies for encouraging active travel and reducing car use.

Endless clutter, ugly streetscapes and vehicle dominance rule.

Councillors could perhaps focus less of photoshoots and more on changing deeply flawed department such as Highways, and reforming Section 106 and CIL funding priorities in the Planning Department.

A number of reports have seen absolutely no change in how income is allocated, and yet another one last week means little right now until we see evidence of change.

Want to bet on what the next big planning application before the Planning Board shows?

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J 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 “Greenwich councillors in Plumstead for photoshoot – after new development ignores town

  • Real improvement is needed to the Public Realm… New pavements, updating existing Street lighting to LED.. hanging baskets and cleaner streets in and around the High Street. Not empty promises and photo opportunities. Thats Labour all over. We mustn’t forget May’s local elections in 2022.

  • I doubt any of them have ever walked out from the station and gone the route thousands of residents will.

    A fleeting visit for all of them. Back in the car and safely back to Greenwich or Eltham?

  • The public realm is a disgrace in this area and is an eyesore. The area has seen more than it is fair share of violent crimes. So much more could and must be done to improve this area including major improvements to the public relam. Making it easier and safer to walk and cycle to the shops and station.

    Local bus services also need to be improved increasing frequncies on some existing bus routes and introducing new bus routes to provide better links across the Borough of Greenwich and neighbouring boroughs of Bexley and Lewisham. With evening services also improved to make travelling by bus safer and quicker for women and vulnerable people.

  • I believe that Councillors Matthew Morrow and Angela Cornforth do live in Plumstead. The other two in the picture are the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council so they can’t be local to everywhere

  • Economic liberalism is just another term for good, old fashioned capitalism. Neoliberalism is another. Whatever you call it, business is in control and politicians do its bidding. Nothing must stand in the way of making money.

  • Correct! Context is important here though: considering the content of the preceding comment and who it’s trolling on behalf of.


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