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  • hilly 2:33 pm on June 1, 2014
    Tags: , , , , , transport   

    Traffic Tunnels under Shooters Hill 

    Drawing from F.C. Elliston Erwood's Road Works at Shooters Hill, Kent

    Drawing from F.C. Elliston Erwood’s Road Works at Shooters Hill, Kent

    Traffic tunnels seem to be in vogue at the moment, whether it be the proposed Silvertown tunnel or the Mayor of London’s proposals to put stretches of the South Circular Road underground and to dig an Inner Ring Road tunnel round central London. This despite evidence from the 2011 census that car ownership in London is dropping, and research showing that building new roads generates more traffic.

    Shooters Hill hasn’t been immune to tunnel planners’ dreams. An early proposal is included as an appendix to a slim 1947 monograph “Road Works at Shooters Hill, Kent, 1816”, by F.C Elliston-Erwood in the Greenwich Heritage Centre’s search room. Frank Elliston-Erwood, who lived on Shooters Hill, was a distinguished local historian. He was at different times president of the Greenwich and Lewisham Antiquarian Society and twice president of the Woolwich and District Antiquarian Society. He was a member of the WDAS for 70 years, first joining as a teenager and continuing until his death in 1968. One of his interests was the New Cross Turnpike Trust, and it was from their minute books that he extracted the information for his paper about road works on Shooters Hill.

    The paper is mainly about how the New Cross Turnpike Trust tried to create employment in the economic depression which followed Wellington’s victory at Waterloo and the end of the Napoleonic Wars. It was “a period of commercial and industrial upheaval, coupled with misery, poverty and unemployment”. The Trust decided to allow £1000 out of their tolls at a rate of £50 per week to employ as many poor men as they could at a maximum wage of 10s (50p) a week in work such as the “the digging or quarrying of gravel or stones” and “the levelling or reducing of hills”. On Shooters Hill they moved gravel from the steeper parts and deposited it in hollows to smooth out the incline. The result can still be seen, for example on the western side of the hill on the road opposite Craigholm where the pavement rises above the road following the original slope of the hill. Similarly on the eastern slope there is an embankment on the Oxleas Wood side of the road.

    The map and plan at the top concludes the paper. It shows a proposal for a road that bypasses the steep top of the hill, running parallel to Shooters Hill but on the Eltham side of Severndroog Castle. It was planned to run through a deep cutting and about 400 yards of lamp-lit tunnel. Needless to say the proposal was never implemented. The author of the plan clearly liked his pubs – the map includes the Bull, the Red Lion and the Fox and shows the bypass heading towards the Green Man in Blackheath. The Fox was the old Fox under the Hill, which subsequently was moved further down Shooters Hill Road.

    A more recent proposal for a Shooters Hill tunnel was considered as one of the options for a new Thames Crossing which Transport for London consulted about last year. Option D6 in the Assessment of Options Report was for a Woolwich Tunnel joining the South Circular to the North Circular.  The proposal is complicated by the presence of other tunnels in the vicinity – the Woolwich Foot Tunnel and Cross Rail, not to mention the DLR, so it would have to be a deep tunnel underneath all the others. Also the steep slope up from Woolwich towards Shooters Hill makes it difficult to start a tunnel close to the river, leading to the proposal shown below with a tunnel entrance all the way up at Eltham Common. This means that the tunnel would be some five or six kilometres in length, the longest road tunnel in Britain.

    Shooters Hill Tunnel section from TfL's Assessment of Options

    Shooters Hill Tunnel section from TfL’s Assessment of Options

    Shooters Hill Tunnel map from TfL's Assessment of Options

    Shooters Hill Tunnel map from TfL’s Assessment of Options

    The South Circular at Eltham Common where the entrance to the tunnel would be is shown below. Just imagine this green scene replaced by a huge, 4-lane tunnel portal, like the entrance to the Blackwall Tunnel. Fortunately the proposal was discounted. There were a number of factors leading to the decision not to take this option further. It was felt that Well Hall Road would become a bottleneck, limiting the tunnel’s capacity and reducing journey time improvements. It would be difficult to upgrade Well Hall Road because it is residential and has houses on both sides. Also it was “unlikely that the scheme could be built without negatively impacting on the housing lining the A205 through Eltham”.

    The tunnel was felt to be too far away from the river to benefit residents closer to the Thames, for example in Woolwich, and would not connect to the major roads along the south side of the river, and so would not contribute to development along the river. Then there was the possible cost of up to 6km of bored tunnel, estimated at £1.5-2 billion. All things considered a Woolwich Tunnel doesn’t make sense.

    South Circular at Eltham Common looking North

    South Circular at Eltham Common looking North

    The TfL East London River Crossings: Assessment of Options document mentions, very briefly, another tunnel under part of  Shooters Hill. Section 6.234 on page 167, which discusses the proposal for a “local” bridge at Gallions Reach, says (my emboldening):

    In the longer term, any fixed link provides the potential for the highway connections to be amended or improved over time, to best suit the prevailing traffic and regeneration needs of the area. For example, the connections to the strategic network could be improved in the long term, such as through the provision of a direct link to the North Circular together with a tunnel south to the A2. This could potentially address the local concerns about traffic on residential roads in Bexley by providing an effective by-pass, while delivering large journey time benefits to the wider area by providing a more easterly strategic orbital route. In time this could replace the Blackwall corridor as the main strategic route, and deliver benefits to regeneration in the Lower Lea Valley.

    So once any Gallions Reach crossing is in place any changes in traffic level – the then prevailing traffic – could lead to the building of additional roads, such as one through Oxleas Wood, to create the major easterly strategic route.

    Concern about increased traffic levels on residential roads south of the river as a result of a new river crossing at Gallions Reach were heightened by a report produced for the London Borough of Newham on the Economic Impact of Gallions Reach Crossings. It presents the results of traffic modelling of different options for a Gallions Reach crossing, generated using  Transport for London’s highway model of East London known as ELHAM. Amongst the results was a map showing northbound traffic flows in 2021 assuming a bridge was built at Gallions Reach. The snippet below shows the area south of the river.

    Snippet from Figure 2.6 of Newham's Gallions Reach crossings study showing traffic flows northbound if a bridge is built

    Snippet from Figure 2.6 of Newham’s Gallions Reach crossings study showing traffic flows northbound if a bridge is built

    It’s a difficult map to read, and it took me some time to work out what it was saying. The green blocks represent high traffic flows, and the large block in the middle of the picture is the Gallions Bridge itself. Working southwards from the bridge, the high traffic flow roads seem to be: Western Way, down to the gyratory near Plumstead Station, then up residential Griffin Road, across Plumstead Common on Warwick Terrace and then along Swingate Road, Edison Lane, Wickham Street to meet Bellegrove Road: none of these roads is designed for large traffic flows. To the west there are also high flows  in Plum Lane, and to the east large flows down narrow Knee Hill. And, as usual, the modelling doesn’t cover what would happen if one of the other Thames crossings was blocked, which seems a common occurrence at the moment, and all the traffic heading down the A2 to the Blackwall Tunnel turned off to Gallions Reach.

    There is no analysis of the impact and costs of a tunnel from Gallions Reach to the A2 in the Assessment of Options document. As can be seen on the snippet from cbrd.co.uk web site’s superb UK roads database below, if the tunnel went from Gallions Reach all the way to the A2 at Falconwood it would have to be longer than a 5-6km tunnel from Eltham Common under the Thames, and well over twice the length of the UK’s longest road tunnel the 3.2 km Queensway tunnel in Merseyside. If it were a bored tunnel it would cost more than the £1.5-2 billion estimated for a Woolwich tunnel. Should a cheaper construction option be chosen then people’s homes in Plumstead and ancient Oxleas Wood would be threatened yet again.

    CBRD (Chris’s British Road Directory) Google Earth overlay for Ringway 2

    CBRD (Chris’s British Road Directory) Google Earth overlay for Ringway 2

    If the “prevailing traffic” following development of a Gallions Reach bridge led to a revival of plans for a road to the A2, along the lines of Ringway 2, one of the consequences would be the massive road junction shown below – splat on top of Woodlands Farm. It has been suggested that a Transport for London document revealed by a recent freedom of information request shows that a road through Oxleas Wood is included in one of the traffic scenarios that TfL are modelling for the Mayor of London’s Roads Task Force.

    Shooters Hill interchange on CBRD (Chris’s British Road Directory) Google Earth overlay for Ringway 2

    Shooters Hill interchange on CBRD (Chris’s British Road Directory) Google Earth overlay for Ringway 2

    • Deborah 6:44 pm on June 2, 2014

      Extremely worrying that the ELRC is raising it’s ugly head yet again, especially if the Silvertown Link turns out to be a red herring.

  • hilly 11:08 am on January 9, 2014
    Tags: , , , , transport   

    The Infungibility of Trees 

    A path through Oxleas Wood

    A path through Oxleas Wood

    Last July was the 20th anniversary of People Against the River Crossing‘s victory in its campaign to save Oxleas Wood from a six lane motorway, yet it still seems that the woods are not safe. The statement by badger-bashing Environment Secretary Owen Paterson that “clearing ancient woodland for houses and roads could be allowed as long as developers promise to plant 100 new trees for each ancient one felled” exacerbated my insecurity because the “Disneyland absurdity” of trying to recreate an ancient woodland was one of the key arguments PARC used to defend Oxleas.

    Fungible is one of my favourite words. It means interchangeable or freely exchangeable. For example a pound coin is fungible. If you lend someone a pound coin you would be happy to get any pound coin in return. People, obviously, are not fungible, though sometimes corporate bean-counting spreadsheet bashers behave as if they were.

    Are trees fungible? I don’t think so. At a simple level a 500 year old Oak tree is clearly not equivalent to a new sapling, and when you take into account the land where the tree is growing, its ecology and history, it is even more clear. When one side of the equation is a  hazel or chestnut tree whose shape has developed through centuries of coppicing, that is part of an 8000 year old woodland and that stands in a historic landscape that provided the raw materials for the construction of the Royal Navy’s great wooden ships, there should be no dispute. And what about rare trees like the Wild Service Tree that are found in few places in the UK, that are difficult to grow from seeds, reproducing through suckers from existing trees,  and that are indicators of an ancient woodland ecology. Irreplaceable.

    CBRD (Chris's British Road Directory) Google Earth overlay for Ringway 2

    CBRD (Chris’s British Road Directory) Google Earth overlay for Ringway 2

    This was the heart of the argument that the Oxleas Nine and PARC made to oppose the compulsory purchase orders for the roads to feed the East London River Crossing. The route through Oxleas Wood, Woodlands Farm and Plumstead was slightly to the east of Ringway 2,  shown on the snippet above taken from cbrd.co.uk web site’s superb UK roads database. The orders were for:

     A total of 101,713 square metres of land within the Eltham Park, Oxleas Wood and Falconwood Field area comprising:
    (a) 9,223 square metres of land in Eltham Park, on both sides of the railway line between Eltham and Falconwood British Rail stations; the main part extending east from the swimming pool on the south side of the railway and a small piece lying opposite the swimming pool to the north of the railway (Plot 1);
    (b) 29,777 square metres of land in Oxleas Wood, between Rochester Way in the north and the railway to the south; (Plot 2);
    (c) 9,393 square metres of land at Falconwood Field east of the junction between Rochester Way and Welling Way (Plot 3); and
    (d) 53,320 square metres of land in Oxleas Wood, extending in a wide strip northwards from Welling Way to Shooters Hill/Bellegrove Road (Plot 4),

    As David Black explains in “The Campaign to Save Oxleas Wood”, because the order included “land forming part of a common, open space or fuel or field garden allotment” there had to be land given in exchange that was equal in area and “equally advantageous to the public”. However the land proposed to be given in exchange was part of Woodlands Farm, which already provided some amenity to the public, and it would be fenced off for ten years to allow trees to grow and even then would not have the ecosystem and history accumulated over thousands of years of the woodlands it was to be exchanged for. The objectors argued that this was not equally advantageous to the public.

    The Environment Secretary seems to be saying that this is no longer a valid objection and that the only thing that matters is the number of trees planted.

    This is important because there are still proposals to construct a river crossing – ferry, bridge or tunnel – at the same place as the East London River Crossing. The reports from previous consultations admit that the road network south of the Thames is inadequate to support such a crossing, but doesn’t suggest how this can be rectified, other than a throwaway suggestion of “a tunnel south to the A2”. This is not a convincing suggestion. Elsewhere the report dismisses the option of a tunnel replacing the South Circular to Woolwich in part because it would be “the longest road tunnel in the UK by some margin”; a tunnel under Plumstead and Oxleas to the A2 would be far longer. Also the proposal for a tunnel under Oxleas Wood as part of the East London River Crossing scheme was dismissed on cost grounds, unless it were a cut-and-cover tunnel, which would destroy the ancient woodland anyway.

    The conclusion from the consultation about the replacement for the Woolwich Free Ferry  and the development of a new Silvertown Tunnel was that further work would be done and that for the Free Ferry options which include a new crossing at Gallions Reach a further consultation would be held at the end of last year. Presumably this has been delayed. TfL said:

    In the coming months we will undertake further work to determine the traffic, environmental and regeneration impacts and benefits of the possible new river crossings, building on the initial assessments we have undertaken to date. We anticipate a further consultation later this year on options for replacing the Woolwich Ferry, including the options recently consulted on, allowing stakeholders and members of the public to consider the findings of our impact assessment work and enabling a decision to be taken on a way forward in the summer 2014.

    TfL’s work on the traffic impacts of a Gallions Reach crossing will not, in my opinion, be complete unless they include a convincing, costed proposal for solving the inadequacies of the transport network south of the Thames that politicians commit to. Otherwise the additional traffic generated by the new crossing will overload local residential roads leading to pressure for new roads and a renewed threat to our heritage ancient woodland. It’ll be interesting to see whether TfL provide this as input to their promised new consultation.

    Are trees in ancient woodlands fungible? If you don’t think so there is a petition on 38 Degrees asking Owen Paterson to Save Our Ancient Woodland and to “stop the proposal under ‘Biodiversity Offsetting’ to allow the destruction of our Ancient Woodlands for building.”

    The pictures below show some of the flora of Oxleas Wood that we saw on Barry Gray’s Bluebell Walk last year. There are more photographs in a Flickr set, including Butchers Broom, Ladies Smock, Wood Sorrel, Wild Garlic and, of course, Bluebells.

    Leaf of Wild Service Tree in Oxleas Wood

    Leaf of Wild Service Tree in Oxleas Wood

    Stitchwort flowers in Oxleas Wood

    Stitchwort flowers in Oxleas Wood

    • Jo Lawbuary 12:49 pm on January 11, 2014

      what an excellent post. Biodiversity offsetting is possibly the most moronic of all the coalition’s policies. It shows their true intentions; as asset-strippers where a quick buck is to be valued above all else. I hope we don’t have to fight for Oxleas again.
      By the way, Oxleas also has Cretaegus laevigata -Midland hawthorn. Another ancient woodland indicator.
      Can you please add me to your mailing list. Thanks.

  • hilly 9:15 pm on May 8, 2013
    Tags: , , , transport,   

    River Crossing Results 

    Woolwich Free Ferry at Sunset

    Woolwich Free Ferry at Sunset

    Transport for London have published the results of the River Crossings Consultation which they ran earlier in the year. It shows that more than 70% of respondents supported a Bridge or Tunnel at Gallions Reach (71%), and a tunnel between the Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown (77%). Smaller numbers, just over 50%, supported a new ferry at Woolwich (51%) or Gallions Reach (52%).  The TfL diagram summarising the results is included below.

    Interestingly Greenwich was the borough with most respondents, 34% of the total replies came from the borough. Greenwich people showed the highest percentage level of support for a new ferry at Woolwich and the highest level of opposition to the Silvertown tunnel. Those from Bexley had the highest level of opposition to a ferry or bridge at Gallions Reach, with 25% strongly opposed to a bridge out of 31% expressing opposition. Not surprising given the anticipated appalling impact of increased traffic on narrow roads in the borough such as Knee Hill.

    Snippet from TfL Report on River Crossing Consultation

    What happens next? Well TfL will be considering the issues raised and will produce another report responding to them later in the summer. However they do give some indicative milestones. For the Woolwich/Gallions Ferry options they are:

    … the overall indicative milestones for progressing the review of Woolwich/Gallions Reach options are set out below:
    • April – September 2013: Traffic modelling, engineering, economic analysis and development potential, charging strategy and wider benefits
    • October – December 2013: Gallions Reach options consultation
    • March – April 2014: Presentation of Gallions Reach consultation to the Mayor
    • May 2014: Mayoral announcement on Gallions Reach preferred option
    • Future milestones depend on option chosen but, subject to funding, it is possible to implement a ferry by 2018 or a fixed-link by 2025

    And for the Silvertown tunnel:

    … the overall indicative milestones for progressing the Silvertown tunnel are set out below:
    • April 2013 – February 2014: Traffic modelling, engineering, economic analysis and development potential, charging strategy and wider benefits
    • March – May 2014: Preparation of DCO consultation for Silvertown tunnel
    • June – August 2014: Statutory public consultation on proposed DCO for the Silvertown tunnel (i.e. post decision on Gallions Reach which is planned for May 2014)
    • September – October 2014: Analysis of results of statutory consultation and presentation to Mayor
    • October 2014 – June 2015: Preparation of Environmental Statement and associated documents to submit DCO application to Mayor and Board for approval for submission
    • June 2015: Submit DCO application for Silvertown tunnel plus any additional consents required
    • June 2016: Commence procurement process with OJEU notice
    • December 2016: Decision by Secretary of State on Silvertown tunnel
    • July 2018: Contract award
    • 2018 – 2022: Silvertown tunnel construction

    If the Mayor gives the go-ahead the detailed analysis of the options – Traffic modelling, engineering, economic analysis and development potential, charging strategy and wider benefits – will be done by September this year for the eastern-most options and February next year for the Silvertown Tunnel. I suspect it is only then that the real debate can start.

    I won’t repeat what I think about the proposals, it’s been covered in previous posts, apart from one observation. On the Bluebell Walk through Oxleas Woods last weekend, in the midst of the historic cants of coppiced Hazels and Chestnuts deep in the wood , the walk leader Barry Gray pointed out an old metal tube sticking up a couple of feet out of the ground. This, he explained, was a relic of the water table analysis of the proposed route through the ancient woodland of a motorway from the A2 to a bridge at Gallions Reach. There seems to be a consensus that the roads leading to the Gallions crossing are inadequate for the expected traffic flows. If we’re not careful the woods will be threatened again.

    Oh, and of course it will be the end of the Free Ferry: the new crossings will all be tolled.

    River Thames at Gallions Reach

    River Thames at Gallions Reach

  • hilly 9:26 pm on April 26, 2013
    Tags: , transport,   

    Greenwich Core Strategy 

    Detail of Assembly by Peter Burke in the Royal Arsenal

    Detail of Assembly by Peter Burke in the Royal Arsenal

    Commenting on the Royal Borough of Greenwich Draft Core Strategy is hard work. It’s not just that the Strategy itself is 235 pages of planner-speak, but there are also a large number of supporting documents, such as the Sustainability Appraisal and the Tall Buildings Assessment. Some of them, like the  Areas of High Archaeological Potential document and the Biodiversity Action Plan, are quite interesting but still a lot of information to try to assimilate.

    But it has to be done, even if these consultations seem to be cynical. The Core Strategy and other documents that make up the Local Plan will be the basis of planning decisions in Greenwich until 2028 ao it’s important that they are right. The strategy is wide-ranging. For example it proposes building an additional 32,235 houses in the borough by 2027 – the population is expected to increase by 22.5%, more than a fifth, from 2010 levels to 288,000 by 2027. It also enshrines support for the Silvertown Tunnel in policy C3, critical transport infrastructure. But it doesn’t mention betting shops anywhere.

    The current consultation is the last opportunity for public involvement in deciding the planning strategy before it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate will then chair a formal “Examination in Public” (EiP), which is likely to be a number of round table hearings depending on the volume of comments. However only people who have made comments at this stage of the process, and who have indicated that they want to attend, will be able to participate.

    The London Tenants Federation have been holding workshops to help tenants and other community groups  to influence planning policy. For example,  providing guidance on how to make comments on the Greenwich Core Strategy: they should be on the basis of whether the plan is a sound document, which means:

    1. Positively prepared – the plan should be prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development;
    2. Justified – the plan should be the most appropriate strategy, when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence;
    3. Effective – the plan should be deliverable over its period and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities; and
    4. Consistent with national policy – the plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework.

    The LTF will be holding a workshop on 7th May which will provide guidance  for community groups who want to make written responses to the consultation. Jenny Bates from Friends of the Earth will provide analysis of the  environment & climate change and transport sections of the strategy. It will also cover topics such as Housing, Economic Activity and Employment, Regeneration and Transport. Email info@londontenants.org for details.

    The closing date for comments of the Greenwich Core Strategy is 14th May 2013. You can do so through the Greenwich Consultation Portal.

    The Places of Greenwich according to the Core Strategy

    The Places of Greenwich according to the Core Strategy

  • hilly 6:39 pm on March 5, 2013
    Tags: , , , , transport   

    Cynical Consultations? 

    MOPAC  Draft Police and Crime Plan Front Cover

    MOPAC Draft Police and Crime Plan Front Cover

    Scene at King William Court, University of Greenwich:

    Question: Why are you reducing the size of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams?

    Answer: We’re increasing the number of police in the Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

    Later ….

    Question: The Safer Neighbourhood Teams work really well, why are you reducing their size?

    Answer: We’re increasing the number of police in the Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

    Later still ….

    Question: I’m against the reduction in the number of officers in the  Safer Neighbourhood Teams, why are you doing it?

    Answer: We’re increasing the number of police in the Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

    I felt a strange mixture of confusion and deja-vu  by the end of the Mayors Office on Policing And Crime (MOPAC) consultation event at the end of January. We had been told that each Safer Neighbourhood Team would be reduced in size from two police officers and three police community support officers (PCSOs) to one police officer and one PCSO. We had also been told that the number of officers allocated to SNTs in Greenwich would be increased by 88 (and that we should be grateful for that). Why the difference? No-one was saying, even after a direct question about how SNT resourcing works. It was quite easy for the panel to avoid questions because the chair had cunningly combined questions into groups of three before they were answered, so some questions just weren’t addressed. We did find out that the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime had to attend a large number of consultation events (poor chap), but not what was so interesting on his mobile phone. We’re also going to have sheriffs apparently.  Hopefully the Sheriff of Shooters Hill won’t meet Robyn Hood in Oxleas Woods.

    I think what was being proposed was that each individual SNT would have fewer officers assigned permanently to it, but there would be a larger pool of officers who would be temporarily assigned to individual SNTs on an as needed basis. It would have been nice to learn how this would work in practice, but the consultation event was kept strictly to one hour, which wasn’t really enough to cover all the issues raised by the new Police and Crime Plan 2013-2017, which also proposes the closure of Woolwich and Greenwich police stations.

    The Consultation on the Police and Crime Plan 2013-2017 finishes tomorrow, 6th March 2013, so there’s not much time to register our views. There’s an on-line form for comments.

    A consultation has also started on the Draft Fifth London Safety Plan (LSP5) which, amongst other things, proposes the closure of 12 fire stations including Woolwich. Again there is an online survey to give our views, and we have until the 28 May 2013 to do so.

    Entertainment at the start of the Save Lewisham A&E March

    Entertainment at the start of the Save Lewisham A&E March

    The MOPAC consultation event made me wonder whether it was worth responding – will it make any difference if everyone says they don’t want police stations to close, or will they just go and do it anyway? There is a recent precedent with the consultation about the South London Healthcare NHS Trust and the proposal by the Trust Special Administrator to close  Accident and Emergency at Lewisham Hospital. Despite the majority of respondents saying they were against the proposal, and despite 25000 people marching through Lewisham to object, and despite nearly 35000 people signing a petition against the proposal,  the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt,  decided to do it anyway.

    The Transport for London consultation about the Thames river crossings and the possible closure of the Woolwich Free Ferry seemed to be better than others inasmuch as their reports on previous public feedback suggested that some notice was being taken of our input. But now we hear that Greenwich Council is trying to get the power to build a bridge at Gallions Reach whatever we say and whatever TfL decide!

    What a lot of consultations!  And it can be quite hard work to respond to them: the TSA draft document about South London Healthcare  was some 373 pages of largely impenetrable management gobbledegook; not an easy read. Is it worth the effort when it seems that politicians treat the result so cynically? Yes, I think it is as it is one of the few ways possible to make our views known. But politicians shouldn’t complain about public disengagement with the political process, such as low turn out at elections, when they themselves fail to engage with the public when they get the opportunity.

    One last consultation to mention, as it will shape future planning decisions in Greenwich.  As the council’s e-mail about it said:

    Royal Greenwich is preparing a new planning policy document called the Core Strategy with Development Management Policies.  This document will replace the existing planning policies for the Borough (the Unitary Development Plan) and will be used by the Council to help shape development up to 2028.

    I found the Unitary Development Plan very useful as a means of making reasoned objections to proposed property developments –  it lays down the policies that the planners use to decide what can be built where – so it’s important that its replacement is suitable for the same role. As the Planning Consultation Portal says:

    When it is adopted, the Core Strategy with Development Management Policies will become the key strategic planning document for Royal Greenwich. It will be used to help shape development and determine all planning applications.

    Key features of the proposed strategy are explained in the latest draft document. They include:a significant number of new homes by 2028 the creation of two new mixed use urban quarters at Charlton Riverside and Greenwich Peninsula West. Strategic and development management policies will be used to guide development applications in the borough. These cover a range of topics such as open spaces, infrastructure and environment and climate change.

    Following previous public consultations on the Draft Core Strategy with Development Management Policies we are due to begin our 12 week consultation period on the Proposed Submission Version on the 19th February 2013.

    We have until 14th May 2013 to comment through the Planning Consultation Portal. You will need to register to be able to comment.

    Woolwich Fire Station _ London's oldest operational fire station

    Woolwich Fire Station – proposed for closure

    The Blue Lamp at Woolwich Police Station

    The Blue Lamp at Woolwich Police Station – also proposed for closure



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