As Greenwich’s Labour councillors get ready to vote tonight on whether or not they’ll give long-serving leader Chris Roberts the heave-ho, here’s an example of the secretive culture that challenger John Fahy wants to overturn.
Last December, the council agreed to spend £45,000 on further studies into a possible DLR extension to Eltham, which would utilise the tunnel Boris Johnson wants to build on the Greenwich Peninsula (Labour’s Ken Livingstone is opposed to the tunnel) before running above the A102 and A2 to Falconwood.
It’d already spent £25,000 on commissioning a preliminary study – but can Greenwich council taxpayers study the report on its website? Nope.
Indeed, if you ask the council for the report, it’ll only send a hard copy to you. So I’ve scanned it in anyway – so, for the first time in public, here’s the Eltham ‘DLR on stilts’ report (PDF, 18.3MB) produced for Greenwich Council by Hyder Consulting. Apologies for the occasional wonky page.
A few things are striking about the report, notably the warnings about how difficult construction would be; one proposal would involve demolition around the Woolwich Road roundabout in east Greenwich, while the vexed question of just how the line would negotiate the area around Eltham station, where the A2 runs in a tunnel, is deemed too tricky to answer. The line would also have to be 12-15 metres above the A102 through Charlton and Blackheath.
Routes suggested include a line through the Millennium Retail Park in east Greenwich, but a proposal for a single-track terminus at Falconwood would surely limit its capacity. But there’s no thought here to just where DLR trains would go to once they depart North Greenwich – with Bank and Tower Gateway surely at capacity, they would presumably have to squeeze up to Stratford International.
Anyhow, take a read and decide for yourself. You might also like to compare it with Lewisham Council’s report into Bakerloo Line extensions, which also deals with areas in Greenwich borough. And hopefully, after tonight, we’ll get a council that publishes this stuff as a matter of course. Fingers crossed.