‘Green Trafalgar Road’ scheme wins City Hall cash for Greenwich

A visualisation from EGRA of what Woodland Walk could look like
A visualisation from EGRA of what Woodland Walk could look like

Congratulations to the East Greenwich Residents Association, whose scheme to “green” Trafalgar Road has won an £18,000 grant from City Hall.

The neighbourhood group recently raised over £6,000 in a crowdfunding exercise to promote the plan to improve the environment along the main route through the area.

EGRA wants to see street barriers covered with plants, a green canopy and seating in the neglected Woodland Walk alleyway (pictured above), and the return of market stalls to Tyler Street and Colomb Street.

The City Hall cash, part of the Mayor’s High Street Fund, now brings the kitty to over £24,000, but the cash can only be a start – it also wants Greenwich Council to do its bit by removing street clutter and maintaining the area properly.

It’s a big victory for a group that’s not been afraid to take on the council – it recently called on leader Denise Hyland to stand down from its main planning committee, where she is the only borough leader to have a full-time role in planning decisions.

The council’s notoriously tribal leadership will now have to swallow its anger about EGRA’s criticisms to work with the group on its plan for Trafalgar Road. Council officers have already helped with the plan, including securing the future of the market pitches, which have not been regularly used since the 1990s.

Residents would like to see the neighbourhood get a fair amount of the cash the council is getting for the huge developments in the area.

Getting hold of this Section 106 money could be tricky – this cash tends to disappear into borough-wide pots, as the fate of the £1.5m given for the Charlton Sainsbury’s development shows.

But one source could be the cash generated by selling the “pocket park” on Blackwall Lane to a developer, where 20% of the £1m+ receipts have been earmarked for projects in Peninsula ward, which covers Trafalgar Road.

Local councillor Denise Scott-McDonald argued in favour of the sale in July, telling her fellow cabinet members: “I think it’s a great opportunity. The fact that we’re getting 20% of the money is an opportunity for our ward to really put money into areas that we need to be developed.”

There’s also a message here for local groups – moaning about the council simply isn’t enough; you have to get off your backside and do things yourself. Those in Charlton murmuring about whether that area needs a regeneration scheme might like to take note.

If you’re interested in finding out more about EGRA, it’s holding one of its regular open meetings in the Star and Garter pub in Greenwich Park Street at 7.30pm this evening (Tuesday 15th).

Other south-east London schemes to win cash includes the ambitious Peckham Coal Line project – a New York High Line-style scheme to turn disused rail sidings into green space – as well as a social enterprise grocery store in Catford and a plan to turn a disused water tank in Lewisham into an art space.

4 comments

  1. This is great news. EGRA are doing a superb job.

    Although 20% of the land sale spent on better public realm in East Greenwich is welcome, it’s one off income. There’s scope for ongoing income from the huge amount of developments. The council needs to look at its spending focus with section 106 income, and also Community Infrastructure Levy priorities and spending as that now becomes dominant form of developer payments to the council. Unlike many London authorities, improved public realm, streets and parks is way down the priority list in most documents. Even increasing it by 10% would yield a real improvement benefiting pedestrians, cyclists and local businesses eg better walking links from the Peninsula to East Greenwich shops. Apparently a review is coming, though Greenwich only adopted its CIL plan months ago.

    There’s other groups now springing up such as Plumstead People and one in Abbey Wood at an early stage. There’s been frustration from some at apparent lack of council engagement, but it’s early days and EGRA have done a great job showing what can be achieved.

  2. Excellent. I co-funded this, I live around the corner.

    I’m curious to know if they have talked to the Woodland Walk Surgery, or The Crown pub. It’s basically £24,000 of improvement to the street of those two properties, arguably.

  3. Mr. Murky Depths is quite right – the sale of property to fund something else (other than property purchase) is silly. You don’t catch the big local landowners doing it. Once something has gone, it has gone and is no longer for public use.
    I was also going to say – yes – the return of market stalls would be good. But the big thing is getting someone to do them. I think the last stall gave up because ill health was being made worse by standing in the street all day.

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