Another Greenwich pedestrianisation exhibition

All of a sudden, Greenwich Council has announced another exhibition of plans to part-pedestrianise Greenwich town centre, this time starting on Saturday and running through to Tuesday at Devonport House. It’s classic Greenwich “consultation” once again – announced five days in advance, on a Monday night when local newspapers are going to press, but handed straight to propaganda rag Greenwich Time instead.

An earlier display in December showcased a number of different schemes, which looked interesting but lacked an overall vision – what kind of place do we want Greenwich to be? There wasn’t much of a clue as to what the council wanted to do with the space, or what would happen to any displaced traffic or the bus services which terminate in Greenwich. Indeed, the council kept the results of the consultation close to its chest, only revealing it when a Conservative candidate for the area in the local elections, Ryan Acty, put in a Freedom of Information Act request, which he put he published as a comment at the foot of this Andrew Gilligan column on in March.

The initial consultation process has confirmed that almost 90% of those who replied support the principle of improving the town centre environment.

Further, nearly 80 % agree that pedestrianisation of College Approach, King William Walk (part) and Greenwich Church Street (part) is an appropriate way forward.

Of those who support pedestrianisation around 70% prefer the gyratory concept to the idea of a T junction at Nelson Road/Greenwich Church Street.

Following these returns officers are developing more detailed plans about how best to design a gyratory scheme incorporating the views and opinions expressed, it is anticipated that a further consultation will take place on this more detailed proposal in the summer of this year.

The council’s website outlines that “gyratory concept”.

We have now produced a more detailed set of plans, which aim to reflect the concerns and suggestions made by local people.

The key features of the Council’s ‘preferred scheme’ are:

* One-way clockwise gyratory on Creek Road, Greenwich Church Street, Greenwich High Road (east of Greenwich South Street) and Norman Road.
* Greenwich High Road west of Greenwich South Street will remain two-way.

We believe the scheme will address the needs of local residents and visitors whether on foot, on bicycle, or on public transport. At the same time, the scheme should ensure a good traffic flow and reduce congestion.

That’s quite a haul if you’re heading to/from Greenwich South Street – and bad news for some bus passengers. It’ll be interesting to see if the effects on public transport have been considered, as well as the effects on cyclists. The maps used in the last consultation were out of date as well – missing off the decade-old Ha’penny Hatch footbridge linking Norman Road with Creekside in Deptford, also used by many cyclists. Norman Road itself is likely to see its industrial units replaced by new developments over the next few years – have these been factored into the proposals?

I think pedestrianisation could be a good thing – but only if done properly and with a real vision for what the area would be like when it’s done. At the moment, that vision is lacking. Maybe we’ll find out more at the weekend. I hope so – because this is too important a scheme to rush and botch up.


  1. Thanks for posting that up, Darryl, I’d have missed it otherwise. Now, let’s see whether they’ve updated the consultation maps to this Millennium.

  2. The pedestrianisation of College App and KWW are, in my humblest of opinions, long overdue. A ‘shared street’ in front of the Market’s main entrance could allow more stalls to spill outside onto CA, a vast improvement over traffic!

    I assume the gyratory (two-lane all the way?) negates the need for traffic lights at Creek Road/Church St and Church St/ Nelson Road, meaning free-flowing traffic and an end of the regular gridlock there.

    It’s not perfect (and I doubt there is a perfect solution) but the gyratory will only add a few minutes onto a journey and it will mean a vast improvement to our crumbling, noisy and polluted centre.

  3. And just read Gilligan’s NIMBY-esque critique of the scheme.

    Does he perhaps have a better solution?

  4. Strikes me that there’s a slight conflict with overall London transport policy around road design, which has been seeking to remove gyratories (Aldgate, Trafalgar Square, St Pauls/Queen Victoria St, Brixton, Stoke Newington) with greater or lesser success over the past 10 years or more, on the grounds that they encourage higher motor vehicle speeds and are distinctly unfriendly to pedestrians, public transport users and cyclists. Ho hum.

  5. It is one gyratory replacing another, of course – but that’s why the effect on Norman Road (a backwater) interests me…

  6. Who will be paying for it? With millions axed from local authority budgets where will the money come from?

    I second the point above about gyratory’s being a legacy of 60s/70s road planning and they are now being removed across London and the country. They turn areas into urban motorways and are anti pedestrian and cyclist.

  7. Why would we want to encourage free flowing traffic in Nelson Road? This is a main tourist route from the riverside to the park and the Museums.

    I would prefer to make it two way with traffic lights where it joins Greenwich High Street so traffic is stopped sometimes and pedestrians can cross.

    Long term my solution is to divert the railway between Grenwich and Maze hill in a new tunnel south of the Maritimme museum and use the existing rail tunnell as an underground route for cars between Trafalgar road and Greenwich High street with Romney Road / Nelson Road made bus only and lorries banned.

  8. I think there’s a difference between “free-flowing” and “non-stop”.

    The railway between Greenwich and Maze Hill stations took long enough to get built and I don’t think you’d even get away with any further major earthworks in that area. In the 80s, there was a plan to bypass Greenwich in a tunnel under the Thames, mind.

  9. While I’m all in favour of reducing traffic through Greenwich, this needs doing carefully not through a hastily designed bodge-up. Gyratory systems are discredited nowadays and it’s typically Greenwich to be installing something like this just as everyone realises they don’t work.

    From the plans on the Greenwich Council website, it seems that there will be no contra-flow bus lane, making it impossible for the 199 to serve the Town Centre towards Canada Water without a time-consuming circuit. This alone would seem to make it unacceptable to TfL.

    Requiring responses by 15 July is itself outrageous, especially when central Government consultations have to run for 12 weeks minimum unless there’s an extraordinarily good reason.

  10. I live in Deptford – and am strongly opposed to the scheme.

    – Two businesses on Norman Road have told me it would be extrememly damaging to their businesses – one said it would likely put them out of business.

    – It will likely speed traffic – especially on Norman Road – used by at least 4 primary schools and 3 secondary schools as walking routes to and from school. Road traffic accidents being the leading cause of death among young people. At a time when we are meant to be encouraging more walking and cycling – what do we do – speed up traffic and encourage traffic on a relatively quiet road.

    – It has NOT been widely consulted with at least 70% of the people I’ve spoken to being completely unaware of it.

    – It will disrupt bus routes (particularly the 188 and 199) causing delay to the most vulnerable of society.

    – The main advocate for the council is a consultant from Hyder Consulting (this is evidenced by the fact that all my correspondence to the council and to councillors was referred to a man called Brian Hanson ‘L B Greenwich Commission Director’ with an email address from Hyder) – and what do they do? Build roads! I think more than a small vested interest here.

    – As far as I’m aware, Lewisham Council has not been consulted – despite this traffic change having an effect on routes through Deptford, Blackheath and New Cross – this change will create more ‘rat runs’ via the smaller streets for those driving from A to B trying to avoid the one-way system.

    Nimby? Maybe – but I’ve worked long and hard over 20 years to support neighbourhood improvements and cross borough co-operation. So this is what I’m advocating now – let’s not spend millions of pounds so that two small streets can benefit from pedestrianisation in Greenwich Town Centre while the rest of the community suffers!

Comments are closed.