Greenwich Time fantasy v Greenwich Council reality

It feels like I haven’t done much on Greenwich Council’s propaganda weekly Greenwich Time recently, which is a shame because it’s been ripe with things to take the mickey out of. Lots of photographs of council leader Chris Roberts always make GT an essential read for any obedient citizen of Greenwich borough. And there’s been a few of those in the past weeks. But my deliveries of GT have dried up lately, leaving me to scour the web version for cheer as the winter nights draw in and the temperatures drop.

Look! Here’s proof Greenwich Council is cleaning up the streets!


Oh, look, it’s the 250 people Greenwich Council has employed to clean the streets! How nice to see them in the pages of Greenwich Time once again! This jolly gang are a regular feature in the council’s propaganda weekly these days. Of course, if the council had actually bothered cleaning the streets properly in the first place, it wouldn’t need to employ extra people to clean up the mess the borough’s streets are in. Actually, I think the more people employed in cleaning the streets, the better. If streets are kept clean, people are less likely to litter them. And, of course, it’s a way of investing in public services and getting people jobs at the same time. My own local streets are a bit less messy as a result, with street sweepers making regular appearances for the first time in some years.

Except these jobs are only due to last 12 months. They’ll make sure the streets are clean up and a little bit beyond the next council election… then what?

Greenwich Council can print as much old guff as it likes in Greenwich Time claiming it’s working to improve the local environment. The trouble is, local people can see with their own eyes that this is cobblers.

Only a couple of hours ago, I came back from a gig in Stepney by Docklands Light Railway. I got off at Deptford Bridge, on the Greenwich-Lewisham border, to hop on a bus back to Charlton. What sight welcomed me back to my home borough?


Nice. If you turned the other way, you’d see a Lewisham Council bin which was empty. In Greenwich borough, sights like this aren’t rare. What kind of council would let a bin at a busy transport interchange apparently go all day without being emptied? The rats of SE8 will be thanking the council for that. It shows what a task the council has set itself, in trying to catch up on the neglect of the past few years in such a short space of time.

Because the attitude of Greenwich Council is more about what makes life easier for Greenwich Council, rather than what makes life easier for its residents. It’s an old chestnut as far as this blog’s concerned, but it’s worth repeating. Want to get down Charlton Church Lane on a Monday? Have a bit of difficulty getting around? On the day the bins are collected, you might as well stay at home.


That photo was taken last Monday, 2 November, in the middle of the afternoon. Charlton Church Lane is not the only street with a narrow pavement left blocked by the council’s bin collection teams. However many times Greenwich Council claims it cares for the enviroment, the Monday bin collection in Greenwich, Charlton and Blackheath shows it couldn’t give a damn, as long as the basic minimum is done.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I think it needs repeating in the light of Greenwich Time’s constant propaganda assault. Yes, the council has taken on 250 people to clean the streets. But they’re only filling the gaps where it couldn’t do the job properly in the first place.

Taken as a whole, Greenwich Council’s leadership still has a complete disregard for the environment its residents have to live in. And, with the cynicism it shows through the pages of Greenwich Time, it looks like it’s going to carry on treating those residents like idiots as well.


  1. I have to say I love Lewisham Life. I actually look forward to reading it. But then it’s monthly, is a magazine, and is obviously from the council. So I don’t have a problem with it. I think Greenwich could learn a lot from Lewisham. Recent examples are things like Love Lewisham, the iPhone app, how they operate on Twitter etc etc.

  2. good grief, it’s almost as if they have done it specially to piss you off! Lewisham council isn’t faultless in its street cleaning services but it certainly seems to be way better than Greenwich!

  3. Seen this about a leaked document proposing £26.8 million spending cuts if Labour win in Greenwich after June 2010 including cleansweep? –

    One thing I noticed is the wooden poles blocking access on that pathway. Greenwich council just love these things and guard rails – putting them in at a fair old expense. They’ve put some new ones in along a wide road near me where no car ever parks on the pavement, while the street is always filled with rubbish. Wish they’d get there priorities right.

  4. I think I get now that you’re not keen on the bins in the street on a Monday. But I’m less clear what you’d like done about it, and a visit to the Green Party sites hasn’t helped me. Do you want the bins put on the road, or back in the properties? Just shoved through the gate and blocking access? Or are they supposed to figure out where they came from and put them in their original positions? And those with no address on? Mine, tediously, have to go out through a locked back gate, so they’re stuck there until I return and remember. You’ve focused on Charlton Church Lane and Floyd Road, where there are particular problems with houses converted into flats, sometimes with no front garden. Should they have big bins on street corners and take their rubbish down to them? Go to monthly collections? I’d be happy with either of those, but good luck on the doorstep if they become policies. I understand there’s a debate about whether processing mixed recycling is the way to go, but at least Greenwich have committed to it and invested.
    My experience of Cleansweep simply isn’t that bad. Did you just blog about that overflowing bin or did you call them? How soon was it cleared up? There was a black bag dumped outside our house last Monday which wasn’t picked up, but a phone call had it gone within the hour. I can only assume that you have no dealings with Greenwich Leisure, who are genuinely witless and unresponsive.
    Good. Now can I get back to catching up with the early bits of the Capital Ring?

  5. I don’t think putting bins back in the properties where they were collected from should be too much trouble for the council, should it?

    About a year ago, I used to report just about everything I came across, but admittedly I’ve more or less given up because of a lack of any meaningful response from the council. I’m just worn down by the whole thing – this thing gets read by the council and councillors, it’s personally a bit more satisfying to have a moan here than send an e-mail that takes days to be replied to.

    Actual, proper, sensible ideas about this will hopefully go on the Green blog I’m trying to put together at the moment. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll continue to have my cake and eat it.

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