The following article was posted by Cllr Matthew Pennycook on the Greenwich West Labour website and he has kindly allowed me to reproduce it here.
Last night West Greenwich residents held a meeting in the Prince of Greenwich public house to discuss traffic-calming measures and the Greenwich Town Centre (GTC) pedestrianisation proposals that will come before the Council's Cabinet in the New Year. As local Councillors we were invited to come along to speak at the meeting.
Residents raised a variety of questions about traffic-calming measures that could be introduced to deal with the problems that already face residents in the West Greenwich Conservation Area. The potential impact of the GTC pedestrianisation proposals on nearby residential streets was also discussed.
As local representatives we apologised for any confusion that had arisen out of a small meeting Council officers held with key stakeholders and Resident Association representatives on 28th October. Local Councillors could not attend the meeting due to prior commitments. It was designed primarily as an opening discussion of plans to address the serious issues of rat-running which residents have raised with us and officials over many months. However, during the meeting residents were told by Council officers that a firm date and decision-making body for the proposals had been agreed upon. This was incorrect and as local Councillors we have taken firm action through the Council Chief Executive to ensure that a similar situation does not happen again.
During the meeting we made clear that there have been two public consultations on the GTC pedestrianisation proposals (Dec-Jan 2009/10 and July 2010) both of which were advertised in the Council's freesheet Greenwich Time and on the Council website (a copy of the Council's advertisement and questionnaire can be found to the right hand side of this page). The Council also held an exhibition in Devonport House where residents could question Council officers on any aspect of the proposed scheme.
In addition we explained how as local Councillors we had fought for an extension of the consultation period after July 2010 in an effort to get further feedback from residents. During this period we personally hand-delivered a non-political leaflet on the proposals to every household in the Ward. This leaflet contained our contact details and a freepost tear off slip so that residents could easily let us know their views or get in touch with further questions. From this additional round of consultation we received 30-40 responses from residents across the Ward including those on Crooms Hill, Prior Street, Circus Street, Gloucester Circus, Royal Hill and many more.
We reiterated that the Council is wholly persuaded of the case to address traffic problems in the West Greenwich Conservation Area and made clear our intention to implement an appropriate scheme in full consultation with local residents irrespective of whether any scheme of pedestrianisation proceeds or not.
Council officers in attendance explained that traffic modelling data made available on the 28th is part of an iterative process and information on the potential impact of the partial pedestrianisation on traffic in nearby residential streets will continue to be utilised as the details of the scheme evolve in our discussions with local residents and businesses. They also informed residents that the Council is continuing to work with Transport for London who have been engaged at each stage in order to ensure the arrangements for bus routes (including stops) are properly assessed.
We were at pains to clarify that no timetable for a decision on the partial pedestrianisation scheme has been set, not least because Council officers continue to work through the traffic implications of such a scheme and to consult with those businesses and residents who would still require some vehicular access to pedestrianised streets under the proposals.
A decision on the pedestrianisation proposals will be taken in due course by the Council's Cabinet. This will be a public meeting at which members of the public will, subject to appropriate time constraints, be welcome to speak and make representations. We assured residents who attended that full information on the traffic impact of the pedestriansation proposals and changes to bus routes and stops will be made available to the public for informed input into the decision-making process and to Cabinet members to make their decision in due course.
We will ensure that residents know the date and time of this meeting. If you wish to be kept informed please email firstname.lastname@example.org