It’s the lull before the storm. Bexley’s Cabinet will present its budget next Monday prior to it being rubber stamped
by Full Council in two weeks’ time. Bexley Conservatives are already trumpeting the best bits,
but is there a catch?.
An announcement that caught my eye was the £1,500.000 they claim to be investing in order to finish off Harrow Manorway, the main thoroughfare between Abbey Wood and Thamesmead. Is it new money?
When the Crossrail project began Network Rail allocated £6 million to upgrade the surrounding public realm and Bexley Council has been busy spending it since May 2017. I know it seems a lot longer and it hasn’t helped that work should have finished last Summer.
Some have argued that it has been grossly over-engineered. Do we really need all those German granite blocks? Perhaps we don’t but it would be hard to argue that the finished article - those bits that are complete that is - look pretty good.
Do Bexley’s taxpayers really have to find another £1·5 million to finish the job? I scoured the published Agendas for clues. Is it all down to delays?
Looks like it.
£797,000 spent in 2016/17, £2,705,000 in 2017/18 and a year ago it was anticipated that £3,035,000 would be spent in 2018/19. They are now saying it is only £2,662,000.
That’s the six million of Crossrail funding pretty well mopped up and now it’s going to go one and half million higher.
Bexley Tories have cunningly dressed it up as a good thing and not because they somehow - it may not have been all their fault - overspent the original budget.
It wasn’t the only bit of bad news lurking in the bowels of the budget statement; a whole load of charges are going up.
Despite the recent recommendation that Bexley Council should encourage local shopping with short term free parking, it is in general going up in price.
The increases are mainly in the 10% to 15% range; how can they not see that raising prices by 10% whenever there is not an election around the corner simply drives people away? I have had four Amazon parcels delivered since last Sunday.
If you think 10% plus is bad, try delving further. 24 hour parking is up by between 20% and 30%. Some annual season ticket prices are up by 30% too.