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!
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.
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.
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.
Cross the bridge and things are little better. Concrete blocks and clutter abound:
Pedestrians are told to cross the street as a concrete block has obstructed the footpath for years.
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:
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.
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.
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.