All of a sudden, Greenwich Council has announced another exhibition of plans to part-pedestrianise Greenwich town centre, this time starting on Saturday and running through to Tuesday at Devonport House. It’s classic Greenwich “consultation” once again – announced five days in advance, on a Monday night when local newspapers are going to press, but handed straight to propaganda rag Greenwich Time instead.
An earlier display in December showcased a number of different schemes, which looked interesting but lacked an overall vision – what kind of place do we want Greenwich to be? There wasn’t much of a clue as to what the council wanted to do with the space, or what would happen to any displaced traffic or the bus services which terminate in Greenwich. Indeed, the council kept the results of the consultation close to its chest, only revealing it when a Conservative candidate for the area in the local elections, Ryan Acty, put in a Freedom of Information Act request, which he put he published as a comment at the foot of this Andrew Gilligan column on greenwich.co.uk in March.
The initial consultation process has confirmed that almost 90% of those who replied support the principle of improving the town centre environment.
Further, nearly 80 % agree that pedestrianisation of College Approach, King William Walk (part) and Greenwich Church Street (part) is an appropriate way forward.
Of those who support pedestrianisation around 70% prefer the gyratory concept to the idea of a T junction at Nelson Road/Greenwich Church Street.
Following these returns officers are developing more detailed plans about how best to design a gyratory scheme incorporating the views and opinions expressed, it is anticipated that a further consultation will take place on this more detailed proposal in the summer of this year.
The council’s website outlines that “gyratory concept”.
We have now produced a more detailed set of plans, which aim to reflect the concerns and suggestions made by local people.
The key features of the Council’s ‘preferred scheme’ are:
* One-way clockwise gyratory on Creek Road, Greenwich Church Street, Greenwich High Road (east of Greenwich South Street) and Norman Road.
* Greenwich High Road west of Greenwich South Street will remain two-way.
We believe the scheme will address the needs of local residents and visitors whether on foot, on bicycle, or on public transport. At the same time, the scheme should ensure a good traffic flow and reduce congestion.
That’s quite a haul if you’re heading to/from Greenwich South Street – and bad news for some bus passengers. It’ll be interesting to see if the effects on public transport have been considered, as well as the effects on cyclists. The maps used in the last consultation were out of date as well – missing off the decade-old Ha’penny Hatch footbridge linking Norman Road with Creekside in Deptford, also used by many cyclists. Norman Road itself is likely to see its industrial units replaced by new developments over the next few years – have these been factored into the proposals?
I think pedestrianisation could be a good thing – but only if done properly and with a real vision for what the area would be like when it’s done. At the moment, that vision is lacking. Maybe we’ll find out more at the weekend. I hope so – because this is too important a scheme to rush and botch up.