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As stated at the weekend, there was a diary clash this evening; the Abbey
Wood Traders’ meeting (I’m secretary) conflicted with Full Council. The former starts at 6:30
and has never gone on longer than an hour and ten minutes so the plan to get to
Full Council only half an hour late seemed entirely reasonable.
It was not to be. The Traders’ meeting went on until 20:45 and sadly I have missed a Full Council meeting for the first time in seven years, probably a better record than any Councillor but disappointing none the less.
So what was so important about tonight’s Traders’ meeting that justified putting attendance at Full Council in jeopardy?
Both Greenwich and Bexley Councils had promised to send someone from their Anti-Social Behaviour teams to update the Traders on their plans to rid Abbey Wood and Wilton Road in particular of the street drinkers, drug dealers, public micturators, beggars, good time girls and miscellaneous loudmouths who plague the area.
Perceived ASB if not the real thing is driving people away from Abbey Wood’s village shopping area and trading conditions are becoming ever more perilous. The coming of Crossrail will not help if all that commuters want to do is get out of town quick!
Bexley’s ASB representative failed to show up which probably doesn’t matter a lot as the two Councils have been working closely together and will no doubt have the same message.
As you know I am not at liberty to go into any detail about a private meeting but I will say that I am very pessimistic about seeing an improvement any time soon.
The Councils have a few ideas which may over time make marginal improvements but their basic attitude is far too negative. Drinkers sitting on benches? Take the benches away.
Misbehaviour in the public toilets? Close the toilets - and they have.
Any chance they can install CCTV? No, we have no money. What if the traders install their own system? No, you are not allowed to record what goes on in a public space.
Over the past 18 months every promise to improve matters, whether it be by a Bexley Council official or, more often their opposite number in Greenwich, has come to absolutely nothing.
The only time any action was seen was after BiB broke ranks with the Traders’ official position and made a fuss both here and on Facebook.
I am confident that if BiB returns to this subject in a year’s time the story will be just the same.