Transport for London have resumed funding boroughs across London for local transport projects with £1.477 million allocated to Greenwich Council.
Total allocation available to boroughs is limited due to TfL’s current funding problems and annual funding is below previous levels. Given extremely high levels of inflation impact will be felt, but it will be limited.
Much is also only for design work. One idea is £250,000 for changes in Greenwich town centre. It’s for “development of the Greenwich town centre Liveable Neighbourhood scheme”.
This will of course not fund full-scale pedestrianisation which was priced at £5.4 million back in 2017.
There’s a lot of other small sums in the double digits that will see limited impact, such as £34,000 for cycle parking.
Another is £60,000 to look into three cycle routes.
One reason I long covered this fund was due Greenwich having a very poor record of supplementing TfL’s annual allocation with their own revenue, from local sources such as developer income and parking revenue.
Now TfL’s funding is restricted it’s ever more important for boroughs to contribute to create meaningful change.
The previous three-year round of LIP funding saw Greenwich bottom among all of London Labour councils (I trawled through various borough reports) and below the majority of Tory boroughs in using those funding sources to supplement TfL’s total.
In a news story announcing the funds, Greenwich do acknowledge an intention to supplement, but no levels are mentioned.
The last three year funding round saw just £208,000 Section 106 and Zero in Community Infrastructure Levy funds.
That contrasted starkly with many other London boroughs. Before the pandemic I traced funding allocation topping up TfL’s funding on an annual basis.
This, for example, was Hammersmith and Fulham. They would allocate £20 million in parking revenue (zero in Greenwich) and then £54 million annually from Section 106 and £5 million from the Community Infrastructure.
In the three year time span up to 2020/21, £87 million was allocated to transport projects in addition to TfL’s annual allocation. In Greenwich it was £206,000.
Neighbouring Lewisham were not at the level of Hammersmith & Fulham, but at £3.99 million from developer income alone in three years they far outspent Greenwich at £206k.
Other south London Labour boroughs also did far more to top up annual TfL funds, including Lambeth:
This is a crucial reason why every time residents, local groups and petitions ask for action Greenwich throw their hands up and state it’s all down to a financially hampered TfL.
The authority are finally now seeking to rectify their CIL mess which set very low levies on developer sin 2015 and then failed to revise in 2018 as previously committed. That however will not happen until late 2023.
In recent months they’ve also again shown little interest in allocating Section 106 funding from major developments, ignoring TfL requests in the process. This includes a major Woolwich development either side of Tesco.
You can read all about that here. Greenwich planners claimed developers wouldn’t contribute, though they did manage to obtain the full sought amount for other pet projects aside from sustainable transport.
And when it comes to parking, the borough is still a mess with a dysfunctional department failing to obtain revenue and ignoring continual hotspots of illegal parking. They now blame reduced traffic post pandemic.
The authority also now have CCTV enforcement against moving traffic offences, but when Freedom of Information figures were obtained the number of fines issued was bafflingly low, with some sites of chronic problems seeing fines issued in the single digits over an entire month.
Until those issues are rectified and Greenwich move even close to the London borough average, many proclamations in r various strategies such as the Carbon Neutral report and the new Transport Strategy will not be achieved.