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Only a small fraction of BiB readers follow its Twitter posts so please forgive this one from last Friday being repeated here.
It was deliberately provocative and was a follow up to the blog dated 28th August which was by request of the Abbey Wood Tradersְ’ Association at their meeting on 9th August.
Earlier that day Twitter had exploded with adverse comment about Wilton Road. (For readers new to this subject, Wilton Road is currently the main access to Abbey Wood station and the new one is due to open in only six weeks time. The centre of the road is a boundary line between Bexley and Greenwich Councils.)
The traders were very concerned about the Twitter criticism but not especially surprised; they are not unaware of what goes on outside their shops.
They asked me to seek assistance from Danny Hackett (Labour, Lesnes Abbey ward) and Teresa Pearce MP. The AWTA Chairman separately contacted Bexley and Greenwich Councils neither of which replied. (†)
The cries for help fell on deaf ears but potential shoppers have continued to voice their support on Twitter for combatting the widespread Anti-Social Behaviour. Today the AWTA Chairman has authorised me to provide those supporters with more background information which might encourage them to further pressurise officialdom. Not to beat about the bush, officialdom has done absolutely nothing to help in more than a year.
The police claimed to have closed down the brothel a year after being told about it but the girls are still there and they wouldn’t be if there was no ‘work’.
I have been to every AWTA meeting since they began in 2015. The two Councils recommended it be set up when Mayor Boris Johnson offered the cash to do up the shop fronts. Not unnaturally the Councils wanted to liaise with just one person and not all 20 traders independently.
Abbey Wood Councillor Denise Hyland (Greenwich) was at the first meeting and maybe the second but has not been seen since.
Formal minutes were not taken until February 2016 when I was lumbered with the job. All the meetings have been audio recorded because my note taking skills are close to zero. The recordings allow accurate minutes to be written but there is no way any audio will ever be published, however its existence could prove, if necessary, that many Council guests have made promises and done nothing. Police too.
As recorded here a few days ago no one has covered themselves with glory. Fine words but no action beyond organising contractors to do the shop refurbishment and that finished a year ago.
With no support forthcoming from any official quarter attendance at AWTA meetings has dwindled. Except that Peabody and Network Rail have been good at keeping the traders abreast of their developments, the Chairman agrees with me that nothing has been achieved all this year. Even the Village website set up with much fanfare has been effectively abandoned. When I looked recently it was still looking forward to the January 2017 sale.
None of the traders are happy with the situation and at their most recent meeting on 7th September, while listening to some shocking tales of what has been going in Wilton Road recently, I furtively phoned Councillor Danny Hackett (Bexley Labour) and asked if his ears were burning. I told him what was going on and he offered there and then to organise a meeting of interested parties to see what action might be taken. He in turn contacted Teresa Pearce MP and she has already won the support of the two borough police forces. If the Wilton Road problem is ever solved Danny may legitimately claim much of the credit.
Someone who may not be able to is Abbey Wood Labour Councillor Denise Hyland. Responding to Twitter comment today she expressed concern with the Anti-Social Behaviour. If she knew nothing about it before then she should be ashamed of herself. It’s the centre (not geographically!) of her patch. I suppose a Council Leader has other priorities but does she never go to take a look?
A year ago both Councils warned the traders licenced to sell alcohol that they would have their licences “reviewed” if the street drinking continued. There had been complaints. (See Photo above to see where drinkers throw their empties.)
Isn’t that just typical of useless Councils that they pick off the easy target? Tackling the street drinkers might be difficult so attack the livelihoods of traders and those who might want to buy a bottle of wine while on their way home to their evening meal.
But nothing came of it anyway, just more hot air from Council bureaucrats.
Police have done nothing, senior Council officials have done nothing (but some have been promoted to a higher level of incompetence) and the very few politicians who have taken any interest - that’s basically Danny Hackett - have failed to deliver.
But right now their attention appears to have been grabbed and whilst eight years of Bonkers have proved that it is impossible to shame Bexley Council into action, it will not stop attempts to do so.
Council neglect of Wilton Road is evident in other ways too. The drain hole shown is blocked solid with rubbish and last Friday’s short shower caused the road to puddle.
Today’s heavier rain necessitated Network Rail’s gully sucker being put on standby so that it could clear the flood every ten minutes. Why has Bexley Council done nothing about the floods which have gone on for 30 years? I have photographic evidence of the long standing problem going back to 2009.
Greenwich Council is just as useless. The traders say the BMW shown here has been parked there for two weeks without attracting any interest from Civil Enforcement Officers.
I don’t know for certain that is absolutely true but the same vehicle can be seen in the same place in a photo I took last week.
Last week’s News Shopper reported that Lesnes Abbey ward - which includes Wilton Road - has the highest level of Anti-Social Behaviour in the borough of Bexley.
† Maybe coincidence but Bexley Council replied by telephone today. A whole month late.