The Assistant Chief Executive’s Growth and Regeneration Report to the Places Overview and Scrutiny Committee is usually, for me, the highlight of the evening but last week it was something of a let down.
The format adopted by Chairman Melvin Seymour is to assume that everyone has read Mrs. Jane Richardson’s twelve page report beforehand and go straight into questions.
One must wonder if Councillors bother because when I read it I found parts of it confusing and just plain wrong.
About areas on my own doorstep it says that work started on the Northern end of Harrow Manorway last July while my photos show that it was well underway two months earlier. When referring to the Abbey Wood station works it refers to traffic management following the bridge removal. What bridge removal? The only bridge removal was half a mile from the station.
And the regeneration works in Felixstowe Road and Gayton Road will start this month. Really? There is no chance of that happening and earlier reports have always said January to May 2018.
About the new Crossrail station the report says the final new section of track was laid in September 2017. Not in Abbey Wood it wasn’t, track laying was all done and dusted last March when a set of points to connect to the North Kent line was installed.
As if that wasn’t enough mistakes the report goes on to say that the Kent bound platform opened last August. Wrong again. A whole year wrong.
Not a single Councillor noticed.
Councillor Joe Ferreira (Labour, Erith) asked if refurbishment of Erith’s Carnegie Building was on track for work to start late this year. “We are chancing our arm a bit” came Jane’s reply but with luck the schedule still holds good.
Councillor Cheryl Bacon (Conservative, Cray Meadows) wanted to know the total number of houses built in the borough over the past twelve months not just those which are part of major schemes. No one knew the answer.
Councillor John Waters (Conservative, Danson Park) commented on the new car park ticket machines in the Bexleyheath shopping centre. The old ones do not accept £5 notes, the new pound coin or card payments, but the new ones will. What he didn’t say, probably he didn’t know, is that from tomorrow charges will sky rocket, some more than doubling.
Councillor June Slaughter (Conservative, Sidcup) makes a habit of slipping in a last minute question and Tuesday 17th October was no exception - except that she didn’t really have a question. She wanted to put on the record how pleased Sidcup residents were to see the hanging flower baskets organised by the BID (Business Improvement District) and excited by the prospect of a picture house in the old Blockbuster store. She was less enthusiastic about the shrinking of Sidcup’s public library but very pleased with what she saw when Peabody showed her their plans for Thamesmead. Pity they keep being put back.