Greenwich News
Greenwich.co.uk no longer maintains the News section on this website. These articles remain here as an archive of our coverage between 2008-2012. For updates on Greenwich, check out our Greenwich forum section or see what's happening on the best of the local blogs. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with local happenings.

Council’s town centre car parks are south London’s most expensive

December 21, 2012 by  

Burney Street Car Park

GREENWICH town centre now has the most expensive council-run car parks in the whole of south London, research by Greenwich.co.uk has found.

The council almost doubled charges in its three town centre car parks at Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich Park Row and Burney Street in 2011.

Visitors now pay a minimum of £2.50 an hour to park. Councils in neighbouring Bexley and Lewisham charge just £1.00 and £1.40 respectively.

Greenwich Council intends to raise its parking charges again to £2.70 an hour next year.

Use of Greenwich town centre car parks has dropped by around 40% as a result of the new charges, with just 13% of visitors now coming into town by car.

Visitors also spend far less than in other nearby town centres. A study by TfL found that people spend an average of just £20 per visit in Greenwich compared to £31 per visit to Woolwich, £33 per visit to Bexleyheath, £39 per visit to Bromley and £48 per visit to Croydon.

Just 26% of those surveyed say that they come to Greenwich to shop. This is lower than any of the other 14 London town centres in the study.

Our research found that it is now cheaper to park in parts of central London than Greenwich, with Southwark Council charging just £1.50 an hour for its car parks.

Only one other council-run car park has a higher hourly charge in South London. Buckner Road car park in Brixton has an hourly charge of £3. However, unlike Greenwich, visitors are able to pay to park for less than one hour, with prices starting at just 20p.

Research by the Conservative group on Greenwich Council found that the number of parking hours paid for in Greenwich town centre car parks dropped between 37 and 42 per cent since the charges were raised.

Meanwhile parking revenues have only increased by relatively modest amounts. In Greenwich Park Row car park, the council have increased takings by just 10% despite raising charges by over 90%.

Greenwich council admitted earlier this year that the new charges have raised less than half of the extra revenue they expected.

The Leader of the Conservative group on Greenwich Council Spencer Drury said today the cost of parking was hurting local businesses:

“Raising parking charges in Greenwich has clearly reduced the number of people travelling to the town centre by car. Many people I speak to are actively choosing to go elsewhere as a result of the expense of parking in Greenwich, for example with many watching films in Bluewater rather than the wonderful Picture House because it costs an extra £10 to park in Burney Street as opposed to nothing out of town.

“With the Olympics reducing car visits still further, the Council must not put charges up any more in 2013, as I think any potential gains in revenue from parking will be lost with lower business rates as shops lie empty.”

The latest census showed that car ownership has dramatically dropped in London over the past ten years, with many more people now using public transport.

However, TfL found that fewer people use the bus to visit Greenwich than all but one other London town centre, with visitors highlighting “less traffic” as the main priority for improvement in the area.

The council today defended the increased charges, saying that they “compare very reasonably with other key destinations in London.”

A spokesperson told Greenwich.co.uk:

“Greenwich Town Centre is in a World Heritage Site and is one of London’s biggest tourist destinations. We therefore have to very carefully manage parking within the town centre and part of this is to set charges accordingly. Parking charges within the town compare very reasonably with other key destinations in London.

“The town centre also benefits from excellent public transport links – DLR, rail, river and bus access, which we would encourage residents and visitors to use to travel to our renowned shops and attractions.”

Asked whether they will proceed with plans to raise charges again in April, the spokesperson said they would be “happy to review” the charges and “discuss the implications with traders.”

Equestrian centre nears completion as council launches legacy report

December 13, 2012 by  

Comments Off

A NEW equestrian centre on Shooters Hill is nearing completion.

The facility will be run by Hadlow College and offer a range of equine courses for various age groups, including degree courses in partnership with the University of Greenwich.

"American barn" type stables from Monarch at Shooters Hill equestrian centre
American style barn

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Equine bath

Horse gym at Shooters Hill equestrian centre
Horse gym being delivered

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Surface material donated by London 2012 – it had been used in Greenwich Park.

The facility will also host a new therapy centre where horses can be referred to by vets and one of the only equine baths available in the south east.

Surface sand used at Shooters Hill has come from Greenwich Park. It made up about 1/80 of the surface material using in the park this summer and has been donated by London 2012 organisers.

Hadlow College’s Derek Payne told Greenwich.co.uk there had been an uplift in interest in equine courses since London 2012. “Especially on the equestrian sport side, for people that want to start riding or take it more competitively. Many had been looking at it for leisure but now are thinking more seriously about it as a career,” he commented.

A new “pegasus crossing” outside the equestrian centre will allow horses to cross the road in to Oxleas Wood.

The press were invited to see the new equestrian centre and also the new “sports hub” at Hornfair Park on the day that the council launched its Legacy Report.

Read Greenwich.co.uk tweets from the launch event

The report, which is available to download here, outlines the benefits that the council claims the area has received through its role as a host borough.

Greenwich.co.uk changing, new forum launching soon

December 13, 2012 by  

AFTER over four years of delivering news, photos and features for a Greenwich audience, Greenwich.co.uk will be taking a break from after Christmas.

Since starting in 2008, we’ve invested in great content from local writers, had some of the best photos and tried to keep readers informed about what’s happening in their town, and in their town hall.

We’ve attracted high profile contributors, including Andrew Gilligan and Nick Raynsford MP and even had some local stories, such as the controversy of broken in headstones in St Alfege Park, picked up by the national press and blogs across the world.

After Christmas we will be taking a break from posting news and photos to Greenwich.co.uk but we will in place of that have an exciting new forum where you can set the agenda by discussing the local issues that matter to you.

As well as the new forum, Greenwich.co.uk will also still have the only local What’s On guide you control and brilliant Charlton Athletic match reports from the incomparable Kevin Nolan.

And before Christmas, we have lots more surprises lined up and will be publishing end of year interviews with the Leader of Greenwich Council Chris Roberts and local MP, Nick Raynsford MP. We’ve also been speaking to the leader of Greenwich Consevatives, Spencer Drury and the new chair of Greenwich Lib Dems Chris Smith.

If you have enjoyed Greenwich.co.uk since 2008, remember there’s still time to get our souvenir calendar for 2013 featuring some of our favourite photographs from 2012.

Standards Committee finds “no malicious” intent over cabinet member’s breach

December 11, 2012 by  

AN INVESTIGATION in to the behaviour of a Greenwich Council cabinet member has recommended he apologise to a full meeting of the council but accepted he acted “without malicious intent” and “had not gained personally.”

The Standards Committee met yesterday morning at Woolwich Town Hall and took evidence from Cllr John Fahy, who was accused of failing to declare that he and the Chief Executive of Greenwich Leisure Limited were directors of the same charity, Meridian Link.

The committee found that Fahy has “no close business or social relationship” with the GLL boss and “technically” did not have a “personal interest to declare” at the cabinet meeting that saw library services transferred to GLL. The committee did, however, conclude that it would have been “preferable” if the councillor had declared his involvement in Meridian Link.

But the committee, chaired by Dr Susan Blackall, did find the Code of Conduct had been breached as Cllr Fahy had not registered his involvement with Meridian Link within 28 days of becoming a Director although they accepted this had been an “oversight” for which he had apologised.

The report concluded:

“That no further action be taken but it is recommended that Councillor Fahy makes a statement of apology to full council for his failure to register his interest in Meridian Link and to declare his involvement with Meridian Link at the November 2011 meeting of the Cabinet. In reaching this decision the Committee noted , the fact that there had been no malicious intent on his part; he had apologised for his omission and had not gained personally as a result.

Cllr Fahy told Greenwich.co.uk he was “very relieved” with the outcome.

He continued:

“This episode in my life has been a steep learning curve. I never faltered in my belief that I was not guilty of any wrong doing in this or any other matter during my period of public office which has spanned over thirty years.

“While I fully admit my failure to register the interest within the prescribed period, this was not done in any wilful way. The fact that I was removed from my Cabinet role in Olympic year was a bitter blow for me but I will continue to work tirelessly in the interests of residents of the Borough and those that elected me to represent them.”

Cabinet member to appear before Standards Committee

December 8, 2012 by  

A MEMBER OF Greenwich Council’s cabinet will this week appear before a meeting of the Standards Committee.

A meeting of the committee will take place on Monday at Woolwich Town Hall behind closed doors. Although the published agenda doesn’t name the subject of the investigation, this website understands they will be considering a complaint against Councillor John Fahy.

Cllr Fahy will be responding to claims made about his handling of the transfer to library services to social enterprise Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) earlier this year.

The cabinet member, who was in charge of culture and preparing for London 2012 until just a few months before the Games, and the MD of GLL are both directors of a charity supporting education and sports projects in Ghana.

Cllr Fahy was unavailable for comment and Greenwich Council declined to comment.

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