November 20, 2013 Leave a comment
All change! Kidbrooke Park Road traffic experiment begins – and more roadworks at the Royal Standard
November 12, 2013 2 Comments
Later this month a new traffic experiment will start on Kidbrooke Park Road, with potentially far-reaching effects which local residents will want to have their say about.
Ever since the Rochester Way Relief Road (the A2 between the Sun-in-Sands and Eltham) was built in the late 1980s, traffic has been banned from turning right from Rochester Way into Kidbrooke Park Road. This was part of a package of measures to deter traffic from rat-running through Eltham and Kidbrooke whenever the new road was gridlocked.
The problem is that a lot of vehicles ignore this rule, or else turn left and then perform dangerous u-turns in one of the cul-de-sacs off Kidbrooke Park Road just to the south of the junction. Since Thomas Tallis School was rebuilt a few hundred yards north of its previous site, these u-turns are taking place where many schoolchildren cross the road to reach school each day.
Given these safety concerns, the council’s Highways Committee agreed some time ago to lift the ban on right turns here, for a trial period. The experiment will last six months and will start later in November (the exact date is not yet announced). The Highways Committee’s recent report on the matter can be found here.
Twenty-five years after the new motorway opened, it may be high time to look again at the local road network, and ask whether abolishing the ban on right turns here would make the road safer (longer term, the road network will need to be looked at very carefully if and when any new river crossings on the Peninsula are given the go-ahead, though a decision on these is some way off).
But Labour councillors want to see a careful analysis of the effects this experiment has, and proper consultation before any change is made permanent. Lifting the ban on right turns may make the road safer near Thomas Tallis School, which is important, but if it means permanent traffic jams up Kidbrooke Park Road northbound then another solution may need to be found. At the same time, I am asking the Highways department to extend double yellow lines northwards up Kidbrooke Park Road (currently they only go a little way past St John Fisher Church), due to unsafe parking there.
Please let me have your views – by email at email@example.com or by commenting below.
Over at the Royal Standard gyratory, further resurfacing work will take place overnight on Monday November 18th and Tuesday November 19th, starting at 19.00 and finishing at 06.00 the following morning. The gyratory will be completely closed to through traffic over both nights, apart from the section where you enter from Westcombe Hill and exit via Charlton Road (towards Woolwich), which was resurfaced earlier this year. It is possible, though unlikely, that further works may have to take place on the Wednesday night if bad weather delays works on Monday and Tuesday.
November 11, 2013 Leave a comment
How quickly do the architectural innovations of the late Twentieth century become redundant in the Twenty-First! The iconic Sainsbury’s store on Peartree Way, with its partly glazed roof, curved lines and timber cladding, is due to be made redundant once a much larger Sainsbury’s opens down the road off Bugsby’s Way in 2014.
IKEA have now put forward plans to take over the site – and knock down the Sainsbury’s building, which was nominated for the Stirling Prize and won the prestigious RIBA Sustainability Award in 2000. Until now it had been hoped that a new retailer would adapt the building, not demolish it.
Tony Duckworth, one of the Environmental designers of the Sainsbury’s store, predicted last year that the most likely outcome was its demolition (see a blog post from 2012 here). I’m sorry that it seems he has been proved right. Read more of this post
November 9, 2013 1 Comment
There has been a lot of discussion in the local media recently about the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s new policy of charging shops and cafes for putting merchandise, or tables and chairs, on the public highway – the so-called “Pavement Tax”.
As a Labour candidate in Blackheath Westcombe ward, and as chair of South East Enterprise (a business support agency based in Greenwich town centre) I have spoken to lots of people about the impact of the new policy on businesses in Greenwich town centre, Blackheath Standard, and elsewhere in the borough.
There are good arguments for some kind of regulation of trading on the public highway. Most people would agree that it is fair, in principle, to charge businesses for using pavements and highways for commercial purposes. A small minority of shops and businesses – not in Blackheath, but in other parts of the borough – do put excessive amounts of merchandise on narrow pavements, impeding access for pedestrians.
Most other London boroughs (Tory, Lib Dem, and Labour-controlled) already have a charging policy so it is reasonable for Greenwich to do the same. The charges introduced (£7 for the first square metre per week, and £3.50 per week for any further square metres) are lower than what most other boroughs charge.
However, the council needs to be mindful of the impact of the policy on small businesses, which are feeling the pinch due to the failure of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition to deliver proper economic growth. The new charging policy was not well explained to traders, and there was not enough consultation with traders groups. Read more of this post
November 7, 2013 Leave a comment
Well done to the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign. Earlier this year they got the High Court to rule that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plan to downgrade Lewisham’s Accident and Emergency and Maternity services was unlawful. Now they have also faced down Hunt’s appeal against this High Court judgement.
This means the Health Secretary must go back to the drawing board and properly listen to patients and doctors in reviewing hospital services in south-east London. See here for the press coverage of the victory on October 29th, in case you missed it.
The campaign, which Labour in Lewisham has actively supported but not led, has been fantastic – with two large marches (one of them in the pouring rain) attracting 15,000 people each time to march down Lewisham High Street, and a number of smaller events. The campaign has captured the popular imagination across south London, and channelled the anger of local people into a David-against-Goliath legal victory that will go down in history.
It has been claimed by some parties that Labour in Greenwich has not been as supportive of the save Lewisham Hospital Campaign as it could have been. Try telling that to the hundreds, if not thousands of people from Greenwich – many Labour Party members included – who have marched in the rain, collected signatures on petitions, fund-raised and organised meetings on the subject for the last two years. For people in Blackheath, Lewisham is as much their “local” NHS hospital as Queen Elizabeth Hospital is.
But it is not just hospitals that are under threat from the Coalition’s health policies. There are concerns about primary care – such as GP surgeries and health centres - as well. Read more of this post
October 20, 2013 Leave a comment
As many rail passengers will know – but many will not, given the poor publicity so far – train journeys through London Bridge will be severely disrupted between 2015 and 2018 as the station’s rebuilding continues. Please see here and here for previous posts on the proposals.
News has just arrived of four consultation events at stations on the Greenwich line, this week and next, organised by Network Rail and Southeastern.
Called a “special passenger information campaign”, the events are as follows:
Maze Hill: 21-22 October, 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm
Westcombe Park: 21 – 22 October, 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm
Charlton: 24 – 25 October, 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm
Greenwich: 29 – 31 October, 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm