Government minister sees Woolwich’s riot clean-up

Government minister Bob Neill visited Woolwich this afternoon to see clean-up efforts for himself, and to thank emergency services as the area battles back to normality after Monday’s riot.

The communities minister was joined by Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts and chief executive Mary Ney as they toured the battered town centre, where most businesses are now open as usual following the disturbances.

Mr Neill also visited Woolwich fire station to thank officers for their work, as well as stopping to chat to police on duty in Calderwood Street.

Demolition teams have now moved into the destroyed Blue Inc shop on Powis Street, while contractors have been boarding up The Great Harry pub and the Wilkinsons store, both wrecked by fire. The fate of either building is not yet known.

BT engineers are also scrambling to reconnect 600 phone lines destroyed when a cabinet next to The Great Harry was burnt out by the fire. Business and residential users within 300 yards of the box on Wellington Street were cut off after the fire, and it will take three weeks to reconnect them all.

Despite the destruction in his constituency, and the lack of media coverage, local MP Nick Raynsford failed to mention Woolwich in the House of Commons, instead choosing to follow a string of Labour MPs in questioning Prime Minister David Cameron on cuts to police budgets.

Eltham MP Clive Efford condemned “rightwing extremist groups” using up police resources in his area over the past two nights, calling for locals not to be “diverted” by groups such as the English Defence League. In response, Mr Cameron said there was “no part of society sicker than the EDL”.

Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander, who flew back from her honeymoon after news of disorder in Lewisham, called for “despicable videos” on internet “glorifying” violence to be taken down.







11 comments

  1. hilly

    It’s a relief that a senior government figure is aware of the extent of the troubles in Woolwich, this should help with the rebuilding of the town centre as Westminster have promised to help affected areas.

    It’s also being suggested in local circles that people in the area could try to do more of their shopping in Woolwich from now on, to support regeneration, and to boost civic confidence in the run-up to the Olympics.

  2. Tim

    Good to see camera-shy Chris Roberts in there too – I’m actually anticipating Greenwich Time next week.

  3. Gabriella Coscia

    It is good that government did send someone here for a change as the riots here barely got a mention

    I do hope that Wetherspoons reopen the site and so do Wilkinsons as both are an asset to the area

    I also hope that the burnt out Blue Inc store is rebuilt and they reopen in one of the vacant shops in town

    It would be tragic for Wetherspoons 41 staff and Wilkinsons 89 staff and only opened on May 26th and Woolwich if they do not reopen so I hope they will

  4. Barbara

    Nice to see our local MP where he should be….. No wait he was asking important questions about Woolwich in the House of Commons – No wait…. he was… Well what was he doing for his electorate? Call me a cynic but where was he?

  5. Lucy

    While I don’t want to sound like an uncritical supporter of Nick Raynsford, what a complete waste of a parliamentary recall it would have been if every MP had tried to mention the specific damage caused by the vandalism and thieving frenzy in their respective boroughs….actually what does a recall like this achieve?

  6. collo

    there has been police presence at woolwich square most mornings which is good, wonder if this is due to the olympics coming up?

  7. John Fahy

    Good to see Bob Neill in Woolwich. Where is Boris?. Hope we get some of the funding strands he announced yesterday. After all we all pay the precept. Town Centre is buzzing this morning,people going about their daily business. Many stores open and yes we should be in there supporting their efforts.

  8. Amy

    I really hope all the stores re open. The reason i love woolwich so much is that there are so many places to shop and the wetherspoons pub i was always in, and now if they are not re built i dont think i will have any reason to stay in woolwich .

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