Welcome to the Royal Borough: New Greenwich hotel sits amid filthy and hostile streets

The very first post on this site a decade ago – give or take – was a look at various hotels planned to open in Greenwich. One of them was an Ibis on Tunnel Avenue in Greenwich in a less than salubrious location.

After 10 years and many, many issues the hotel finally opened in 2021 as the Radisson Red.

Why do I bring that history up? Well, the hotel plans have been around for so long it gave Greenwich Council – sorry, the Royal Borough of Greenwich – ample time to carry out even the slightest improvements to an area long neglected, filthy and unsafe. And have they before or since it opened?

Don’t be silly.

The area is an embarrassment to the council, the borough and the city. Welcome to London!

Room with a view

There’s rubbish dumped in the area that clearly hasn’t been touched in months. Maybe years.

Street furniture is battered. Everything sits under dust and dirt.

There’s no routine cleaning evident whatsoever on the stretch between the hotel and a footbridge leading to the o2, Magazine venue, Design District and North Greenwich station.

It’s a grim old introduction to visitors.

And that’s before we get onto the fact this is supposed to be one of two main routes for residents and pedestrians from new homes on Greenwich Peninsula to access shops and services in east Greenwich, and vice versa for those in east Greenwich to reach the o2, tube station and other sites in the area.

Tunnel Avenue runs alongside the Blackwall Tunnel approach road, and simply looks like it hasn’t been touched in a long time despite the grime from passing traffic.

On Tunnel Avenue a number of cars are apparently dumped. And quite a few of them have been here for a long, long time. It all points to the area being all but ignored by the authority.

And remember, this is supposed to be a major pedestrian link.

Not moved in some time

Piles of rubbish collect at various intervals. The presence of heaps of autumnal leaves gives testament to long term neglect.

Photos truly don’t get across how grotty this whole stretch is.

Leaves have been here so long a mulch lines much of the road. Telltale signs it’s not part of any maintenance.

To compound issues, this is to be the main entrance for 1,500 homes approved at Morden Wharf last year.

Entrance to 1,500 home site is on right

Ah, but that’ll bring in lots of money to spruce it all up you might think even if the hotel and numerous other developments didn’t see any change.

Well, you might think that if you didn’t know the authority who again declined to place much emphases on the area around the immediate development site and allocated penny change from Section 106 income to improve the wider area.

Current route for residents and visitors. New bridge planned – but wider area sees little apart from more traffic lanes

Cross the bridge and things are little better. Concrete blocks and clutter abound:

Street scene

Pedestrians are told to cross the street as a concrete block has obstructed the footpath for years.

Both sides blocked

Yet if you zoom in, paving across the street is blocked too. It’s abysmal for those in wheelchairs. Moving in a zig-zag fashion  is the only way to traverse this street.

Then pedestrians heading from the hotel, possibly in a state of shock at how miserable the area is, meet a railing-fest without any formal crossing.

Note the obligatory car badly parked seen to rear of image if you zoom in.

While there was no money for pedestrian improvements in the area Greenwich Highways have found money to install hey more street cutter along roads with a bonus trip hazard:

Always money for this. When avoiding signs and concrete blocks obstructing pedestrians watch the poor finish at base of railing

It’s been the same story in the area for 20 years as various developments on Greenwich Peninsula and east Greenwich rise and complete.

Much development. Much income to Greenwich Council. No streetscape improvement unless you count ever more clutter impeding people on foot or wheelchairs

If you ask Greenwich why this area is so poor excuses will fly out. They’ll ignore developer income not used to better the town.

The buck is often passed to TfL to fund – though Royal Greenwich have no trouble with funding their Royal street clutter every two yards on every Royal street.

It’s a weak excuse to distract from allocating next to nothing for streetscape improvements to create attractive, safe and appealing areas to use.

What about Community Infrastructure Levy income? Greenwich’s low rate for developers ensure far less is coming in that what should be, and their abysmal record in collecting income means it may all have to go to plug gaps in paying for Crossrail.

Failing to invest is evident all over. “Royal” borough housing estates nearby show similar neglect:

Street furniture across the estate is tired, ugly and battered Residents deserve better than this in the midst of a windfall from numerous major developments.

Tourists seem to have noticed too with comments on review sites such as:

“It was the sheer shock and disappointment arriving at a Raddison hotel and greeted with a scrap yard opposite and navigating our way between road in and out of the Blackwall Tunnel.”

The hotel replied:

“In relation to your points made about the location of the hotel, The Greenwich area is on the up, upcoming in the next few years the council have plans with many upcoming properties, residential and commercial. I hope you can appreciate; we cannot change the location of the hotel.”

Well if they mean a new road tunnel and widened approach roads then yep. Apart from that Greenwich have few plans to improve much of this area.

Site layout

What will compound the issue is a plan for a distribution depot bringing more lorries and vans to Tunnel Avenue.

Without any investment to improve the street and pedestrian routes across the wider area, adding more lorries and vans coming and going with continual deliveries will only put even more people off using this area.

If they approve the depot, it will bring more income, but as we’ve seen a million times the chances of using to improve the local area are slim to none without big changes in how the authority operate.

Pedestrians from hotel and housing could of course use the other route to reach their destination on foot:

Ah, maybe not then.

Pedestrians come a long way below traffic in the area

Lovely.

You what?

Ah, I didn’t mention there’s a 1,600 student school recently built here did I? It’s beside the giant roundabout and pupils can enjoy inadequate and poorly located crossings.

Add school students to residents and visitors who get to enjoy that oh so special Royal splendour in this area.

 

As a private renter with a young family, the cost of living is extremely high.

Support me and the site via Paypal here which allows me to focus time on researching and writing posts alongside taking photographs to document changes. Adverts are far from enough to cover living costs.

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Thank you

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.

18 thoughts on “Welcome to the Royal Borough: New Greenwich hotel sits amid filthy and hostile streets

  • April 22, 2022 at 5:05 pm
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    Can I remind you Murky that a hotel on this site was refused consent by the Council – and to considerable opposition that this was a Planning Inspectorate decision. Perhaps you might like to alter your comments in the light of that. There are various other issues here in regards to siting which you have picked over again and again and which you are well aware of the circumstances surrounding their construction. Just try again, eh?

    Reply
    • April 22, 2022 at 5:10 pm
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      Come on now. Please stop making excuses for lamentable behaviour by this authority and it’s departments. It was approved and so Greenwich should then obtain maximum income to improve the area. Are you advocating they just mope about and leave it a dump?

      What are they doing to improve the area? As you know TfL now control but a fraction. I’ve shown the maps obtained via Freedom of Information requests highlighting RBG control the vast majority of the area .

      Making excuses for a failure for basic cleaning let alone modest sums for upgraded pedestrian links is something else.

      Even if the hotel was never built the vast amounts of new development either side should have ensured investment in the estate and wider streetscape. It’s quite incredible the authority have never bothered.

      What will it take? A 1,600 student school? Nope. 20k new homes. Nope. Hotels? Nope.

      Reply
  • April 22, 2022 at 5:19 pm
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    I’m confused by Maryorelse’s comment.

    If a application wins on appeal Greenwich Council should do absolutely nothing to then benefit the area in which it is situated from resultant income?

    Out of stubbornness? Spite?

    I just want to be clear as that’s what you are stating.

    Reply
  • April 22, 2022 at 5:21 pm
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    We live at the Old Fire Station end of Tunnel Ave and the standard of street cleaning here is embarrassing. I am constantly reporting the state of the area on Fix my Street. I also queried the frequency of cleaning here and was told it is done at least once a week. No way. It is also not right that local residents are picking up the slack re street cleaning. I am so, so sick of it around here. I hope the Greens get some council seats here in East Greenwich. Hopefully we’ll see an improvement.

    Reply
  • April 22, 2022 at 5:45 pm
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    Bizarre comment Mary that if such a proposal wins on appeal we shouldn’t then see funding to contribute and improve our town.

    I voted for you and appreciate what you did as a local representative but that’s such an odd statement. Developers often win but that doesn’t prevent or obstruct an authority fighting for local people pre or post approval at whatever stage of the planning process. I want a council and representatives that battle for funds regardless.

    It’s exactly what we havnt’t seen in East Greenwich for so many years. I truly hope others in the ruling Labour party don’t think as you do but looking around here I fear they do, and we residents suffer for it.

    Ive voted Labour for 30 years here but I’m not sure what it’s got us. The awful Tories in Westminster make it hard but we should be flush with dosh with all the new flats that have filled the councils bank balance. Labour take us for granted and don’t use money from them for this area so I’m going elsewhere. Maybe Lib Dem or Green.

    Reply
  • April 22, 2022 at 7:09 pm
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    @mayorelse Seeing as the article lists how Greenwich only pours its energy into excuses and not action I don’t see what he should ‘just try again”.

    So what about approved applications, why is the area so shabby? The Sainsburys and M&S were approved, the Synergy estate on Victoria way was approved. The area is filthy, I’ll maintained and poorly accessible. And heaven help anyone walking down Anchor and Hope Lane or Lombard Wall, for instance. Both next to or on big industrial or shopping areas built in recent years. Why are those areas so run down?

    I can only hope Labour get booted out this may but the seat is sadly so safe that the turkeys are going to keep voting for Christmas.

    Reply
  • April 22, 2022 at 9:14 pm
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    I have to say I am really perplexed by Mary’s comments. At best, myopic, at worst very ignorant. This article and others previously on this website have rightly highlighted what Greenwich council regularly fails at with public realm, yet Mary’s comments appears to condone the council’s failures.

    The council is hiding behind excuses for doing absolutely nothing about the state of the streets, new developments or not. The only time I see an effort by the council on street cleaning was a week or so leading up to the London Marathon, pre-pandemic. And even that is just the main route, only to look good for all the cameras broadcasting the event worldwide.

    I have walked those streets as a 70s child, and many of them hardly look any different now, due to a lack of maintenance, cleaning and care by the council. With the sun shining (developments = s106 or CIL income), Greenwich council should be ‘fixing the roof’, so to speak. They fail to do this regularly, and council officials as well as councillors are responsible for those failures and inaction. Instead of actually going out to those streets and doing something about them, it is just one poor excuse after another for doing nothing.

    Anyone taking a walk along New Woolwich Road to Woolwich Arsenal DLR or train station will notice the state of the stained pavement there due to a lack of cleaning by the council. The parking in the road delaying buses, and on the pavement obstructing pedestrians does not see any enforcement by the council either. The images in this article of the area around Blackwall Lane are further examples of Greenwich Council’s public realm failures and is an embarrassment. How can the council plead poverty and “Government cuts”, when it hardly uses s106 or CIL income it receives from all those developments along the river, at Thamesmead, Abbey Wood, North Greenwich, and Eltham?

    Greenwich Labour have been in power for far too long and are well beyond very complacent. People really need to get out there on 5 May and make that change, otherwise it will be another four years of complacency and excuses for nothing being done for the people that live and work in Greenwich.

    Reply
  • April 22, 2022 at 9:44 pm
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    Mary, It doesn’t change the fact that the Greenwich Council have done sweet FA to improve pedestrian links on the peninsula.

    Reply
  • April 23, 2022 at 12:01 am
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    When they built the Blackwall Tunnel approach rd, the original plan was to knock down the houses in Tunnel Avenue. A Conservative Councillor John Tate formed a residents association and it battled and got the decision overturned.
    Makes one wonder what the area would have become like if they had knock them down.

    Reply
  • April 23, 2022 at 9:00 am
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    Looks like Dr Who’s been visiting the peninsula (pic 3)

    Reply
  • April 23, 2022 at 9:15 am
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    Dear Mr Smith,
    Thank you, as always, for your detailed and factual ‘development’ stories. I grew up in Plumstead. I lived there from 1961 to 1989. A period of great change for Woolwich and the wider Royal Borough. It fascinates me to read of further changes and new developments and a preponderence of ‘towers’, seemingly everywhere ? In my day, there were only a few really ‘high-rise’ flats, in Glyndon and at the top end of Wellington Street in Woolwich. These towers being constructed using prefabricated precast concrete wall panel systems. Thamesmead, of course, would adopt use of the French ‘Balency’ system of precast concrete manufacture in an industrial scale with the on-site ‘factory’.
    As i said, it is fascinating to see change (mostly), and hopefully for the better, but those of us of a certain vintage will know that change isn’t always a good thing and new problems can be created, as we have seen in Mr.Smith’s excellent reports. Thank you !

    Reply
  • April 23, 2022 at 4:51 pm
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    Even with all the flim flam from Greenwich council, how could the owners of Radisson look at Tunnel Avenue, that has been a shithole for years, and think it was a suitable site for a hotel? I hope potential visitors “walk” the area before making a booking.

    As for street cleaning, I once watched leaves just being swept into the gutter of my lovely street in one of the nicer parts of the boroughs. I reported it to my ward councillor (a conservative) and the next day the crew came back to clean up its dereliction of duty.

    Reply
  • April 23, 2022 at 8:11 pm
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    Thank you John Smith you are spot on.

    Reply
  • April 24, 2022 at 6:29 am
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    The public realm and pedestrian safety in this area is dire and has been neglected for years upon years. There is no excuses for this. Lighting under the flyover has been out for years. We need major improvements to the public realm, crossings and pedestrian access both to the Peninsula and Westcombe Park Station.

    Reply
  • April 24, 2022 at 10:31 am
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    I have to agree public realm is in a dire state in this ares and along Bugsby Way with no investment for years. But as John pointed out this is the same across the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Residents have been taken for granted for far too long. Now is time for change of administration and give someone else a chance. I am thinking of Lib Dems or Greens.

    Reply
  • April 25, 2022 at 1:59 pm
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    You should have learned, by now, that whatever Labour touches or manages, ends up 3rd-world level.

    Reply
  • April 25, 2022 at 7:49 pm
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    I suppose if someone wants to see acts such as Elton John or Take That at the O2 then that’s probably what the hotel is there for.

    It’s a dump of an area though as has already been said and I can’t think of any other reasion for staying in there.

    Reply
  • April 26, 2022 at 6:23 am
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    The Realm is in dire need of investment, Poor outdated design and lack of maintenance as left this in disrepair.

    For too long this shameful administration blames others for their diabolical actions and neglect.

    REAL investment and CHANGE is needed for the residents and visitors of this Borough.

    Do Vote on May 5th. Not for Labour

    Reply

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