Greenwich Council Planning & Development Committee Meeting 4/4/96

Three items of relevance to Greenwich and the Millennium were discussed:

1. Cutty Sark Docklands Light Railway (DLR) Station

2. Transport studies for the Millennium Site link from Greenwich/Westcombe Park

3. Greenwich Town Centre By-pass

The current situation regarding item 1 is that apparently all bidders for the DLR Lewisham Extension contract now include a Cutty Sark station in their plans. The successful contractor will be chosen next month (May1996). Meanwhile, for contingency reasons, the Council has issued CPOs (Compulsory Purchase Orders) on all the properties in the site bounded by Greenwich Church Street, Thames Street, Welland Street and Creek Road. This includes Walrond House, which has already been ear-marked for demolition and rehousing of existing tenants, assuming a station is built. Most other existing shops and premises face on to either Creek Road or Greenwich Church Street. No final decision has yet been taken on whether demolition of some, or all, of these premises will be carried out. It will depend on which plan is implemented and on structural surveys being carried out in relation to the effects of underground work that will be needed for the station. If they are not demolished, the premises will be offered back to the existing owners at the completion of the contract for purchase or rent.

A number of separate studies have been, or are still being, carried out on future transport links to the Greenwich Peninsula. None of these have been directly commissioned as a result of the Millennium Exhibition being offered to Greenwich in late February 1996. The studies are:

1. The Greenwich Millennium Exhibition – Transport Study; Steer Davis Gleave, September, 1995

2. Millennium Exhibition/Town Centre – Public Transport Link; Steer Davis Gleave, February, 1996

3. Greenwich 2000/SRB – Draft Delivery Plan, L.B. Greenwich, January, 1996

4. Intermediate Mode Transport Study; London Transport’s new ideas for public transport in Outer London; June, 1995 and on-going

Options referred to in the various reports include the Jubilee Line extension (1998 opening), DLR Lewisham Extension (late 1999 opening), localised improvements to the A102(M), ‘heavy’ rail, ‘light’ rail, park and ‘sail’, tram, guided or trolley buses, conventional bus services, cycle and pedestrian pathways. It is already accepted that simply providing bus services from Greenwich would add to existing traffic levels on Trafalgar Road, and therefore would need to be accompanied by area-wide traffic management including the banning of all existing traffic except public transport. The forthcoming lorry ban, now to be implemented in May, will provide some indication of the effect of such a ban.

Drawings relating to possible ‘light’ or ‘heavy’ links into Railtrack’s existing network at the Westcombe Park ‘triangle’ to the east of the A102(M) motorway were displayed, but were inaccessible for close scrutiny during the course of the meeting. It will be interesting to see how well they relate to the current re-development of the site. Copies of these drawings have been offered.

On the proposed Greenwich Town Centre By-pass, the Planning Committee decided to spend no more public money, even on a proposed further study of toll tunnel options. This was decided on the basis of the fact that even if plans and work were to be ‘fast-tracked’ between now and the beginning of the Millennium Exhibition (apparently September 1999), there would be no guarantee the Greenwich Waterfront would be anything other than a huge building site at that time. It was recognised that the Millennium Exhibition decision was an ideal opportunity to gain funding from both Government and the private sector for the Project, but that this would not deal with the basic problem of the lack of time for the work to be completed.

A statement was made by the Mayor, Councillor Tony Moon, in which he stated that “the impact (and the design) of this paper” (the Council’s proposal) “is to put the river front by-pass on hold until after the Millennium. i.e. effectively for another 5 or 6 years”. As a consequence of this decision he stated that it was now apparent that the Council intended to do nothing about alleviating the impact of traffic on Greenwich Town Centre during the time of the Millennium Exhibition.

Public statements were also made by members of the Greenwich Society and the Blackheath Society in which they argued the case that a more positive line be taken in relation to the by-pass and were subsequently commended for their suggestions by a member of the Committee.

However, despite these statements, and the vague possibility that work on approach junctions and tunnel portals might still be undertaken and completed before the Millennium with the tunnel sections being built off-site ready for laying later, even this approach is very unlikely to be taken up since it would apparently be very inefficient to work in this way and ultimately cost much more.

Web’d by David Riddle
Compiled from Council minutes and personal attendance.
Last updated: 10/5/96

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