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Bonkers Blog October 2014

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24 October (Part 1) - The Places meeting. Changing the face of Bexley

Some bits of council meetings are very boring and time can drag but the item on Strategic Planning and Regeneration holds no such fears. It includes interesting facts, is delivered at a cracking pace, is not hard to hear and the main speaker is easy on the eye. At least she used to be, on Wednesday Deputy Director Jane Richardson was hidden from my view.

Using a totally inappropriate equine reference Mrs. Richardson said she would “canter through” and so we soon learned that the end of chaos in Sidcup was “within touching distance” and that during daylight hours two way traffic has been in force since the weekend. The over night resurfacing will be completed within days. Traffic disruption will however come back to Sidcup next week when water and gas works commence in Station Road. Presumably too sudden an introduction of free running traffic might give Sidcup a land based version of ‘the bends’ so any improvement must be incremental.

Next on Bexley’s hit list for traffic disruption is Broadway West and after Christmas, Northumberland Heath. How much such things help traders is a matter for conjecture. Bexley council will only say that footfall in Bexleyheath since the regeneration has shown “a modest increase”. Given that a lot of people stayed away last year and the population will have risen slightly that cannot be a good result.

The western end of Broadway will be regenerated on the cheap compared to the more favoured end. The raised shared space will be outside the Esso petrol station and be asphalt based rather than blocked and the Lion Road junction will be revamped. Looking further into the future Mrs. Richardson will be badgering Boris for more money for the Abbey Wood station area with particular emphasis on Wilton Road.
Lion Road
The Agenda listed some of the things wrong with Lion Road that had to be corrected…

Street clutter, collision hotspots, sub-standard street lighting, poor quality paving, badly designed central reservations, a sterile environment, barren walls, inconvenient crossings and inadequate bus shelters so it shouldn’t be too difficult to effect an improvement, but who was responsible for all the original poor designs?

As regular road users will know all too well, there is no sensible alternative route for Broadway West. No convenient Albion Road to take the load.

In Welling Tfl have agreed to remove their traffic light control gear so that it does not obscure the historic cannon. It looks likely they will have to cough up the money too.

Opposition Cabinet member Don Massey, the recent convert to the cause of integrating Bexley into the rest of London, spoke enthusiastically in favour not only of bridges here there and everywhere but tunnels too. A Bakerloo line extension to Lewisham would be “a good thing” as would extending the Overground to Abbey Wood and various points south. “Any crossing would help” but the Overground goes north and not to central London, he said. Councillor Seán Newman reminded him that it crossed all the East/West lines so remained a useful option.

Councillor Massey went on to say that he is lobbying very hard for Crossrail to be extended to Ebbsfleet and he was supported by Paramount who are planning the nearby theme park. Massey, who had spent the day talking transport with the GLA and others, said of the proposed Silvertown Tunnel that “it looks set to go ahead” (I thought the consultation hadn’t ended yet) and a lot of people high up seem to believe the other things will happen too but he has not seen much of it documented yet.

All the audible transport related questions came from councillor Seán Newman who was invisible to me so his Labour colleagues must take the photo limelight. I think councillor Val Clark may have asked a transport question too but she was near inaudible to me as well as invisible.

Note: The comments reported above are not in the original sequence and some elements have been taken from outside the Regeneration Update - Section 7 of the Agenda.


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