Why I cannot support the Mayor of London’s Silvertown Tunnel proposals

I have never met a constituent who did not agree that the two sides of the Thames east of Tower Bridge should be better connected. The issue is how we achieve that cross river connectivity in a way that contributes to a sustainable local transport system that delivers benefits for local residents in terms of improved air quality, inward investment and expanded opportunities.

In the wake of Transport for London’s (TfL) October-December 2014 consultation, I took the view that the case for a new road tunnel under the Thames linking Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown had not been made convincingly. I hoped at the time that TfL would listen carefully to the concerns that had been raised and respond positively to the range of suggestions that were put forward by the council and others to improve the scheme. [Read more…]

The Greenwich Peninsula: what a difference a decade makes

On Tuesday, after months of negotiations, the Council’s Planning Board will determine whether or not to approve Knight Dragon’s revisions to the 2004 Greenwich Peninsula masterplan. The proposals are wide-ranging but the core issues at stake are an increase in the total number of permitted “units” across the site from 10,010 to 15,720 (a 57 per cent increase) and a corresponding drop in the overall proportion of affordable homes from 38 per cent to 25 per cent (22.7 in this application to be added to those already in the pipeline).

When set against the principles underpinning the original Peninsula vision and the collective expectations of the community, Knight Dragon’s offer falls disappointingly short – a view I expressed candidly to their representatives when they presented their final proposals to me last week.

That is not to say that the proposals do not contain much that is to be commended. The plans for a new transport hub (and cycle superhub) at North Greenwich, new and enhanced open spaces, better community facilities, a riverside running track and improvements to the Thames footpath and cyclepath will improve the quality of life for those living in the area. [Read more…]

If we’re to have an IKEA in Greenwich let’s make sure it’s the right one

Few local issues have been as controversial as IKEA’s plans for a new Greenwich store on the Bugsby’s Way site currently occupied by Sainsbury’s “eco-friendly” low energy supermarket and the former Comet building. I recall vividly the large number of local residents that took the time last year to attend the meeting of the Council’s Planning Board at which IKEA’s outline planning application was considered. They did so not only to express their sorrow at the loss of Sainsbury’s Stirling-prize nominated landmark store (sadly hamstrung by a highly restrictive covenant) but also to raise concerns about what a new IKEA store on the site would mean for an already congested local road network and the noxious air pollution that is its corollary. [Read more…]

Peninsula vision

Enveloped on three sides by the lower Thames, the Greenwich Peninsula is probably most familiar to Londoners as the home of the O2 arena. Many will be unaware that the 190-acres of land that surrounds the world’s busiest music venue is also the site of one of the capital’s largest regeneration schemes with up to 10,010 new homes and 325,000 square metres of commercial floorspace earmarked for construction over a 25-year period. [Read more…]

The Mayor of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone proposals lack ambition. The zone should be made bigger, stronger, and more effective.

The consultation on the Mayor of London’s plan to improve our city’s air quality by making central London an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) ends today (if you haven’t submitted a response please do so here, it only takes a few minutes).

The Mayor’s proposals would require all motor vehicles driven within the ULEZ, which would cover the same area as the congestion charge zone, to meet new exhaust emissions standards with the aim of limiting nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions. The ULEZ would take effect from 7 September 2020 and would apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. [Read more…]

The case for the Silvertown Tunnel has still not been made convincingly

Transport for London (TfL) is once again consulting on proposals for a new tunnel under the Thames that would link Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown. Having been designated a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) by the Government, the Mayor of London’s scheme is in the process of being “fast-tracked” through the planning system with this latest non-statutory exercise a precursor to a statutory consultation expected in the middle of next year prior to formal submission of an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO). [Read more…]

Maintaining the pressure on Southeastern

Like other long-suffering Southeastern passengers I know the frustration that delayed and overcrowded services cause. It’s one of the reasons why I take issue with the Coalition Government’s decision to extend Southeastern’s franchise until 2018 (a decision that stands in stark contrast to their evident rush to sell off the East Coast line, run by a not-for-profit public operator, that will have returned over £1bn to the taxpayer by April 2015). [Read more…]

Getting Greenwich and Woolwich working

After three damaging years of flat lining, the economy is finally growing and new jobs are being created. I hope that will continue to be the case. Yet the recovery is far from secure. It’s going to take considerable effort to deal successfully with the legacy of the global financial crisis and three years of negligible growth.

[Read more…]

Fighting for a better deal for passengers during the redevelopment of London Bridge station

London Bridge is a dark, cramped, overcrowded and poorly designed station. It is by no means an adequate gateway into the capital and often adds to the misery of what are (all too frequently) unreliable services for those travelling into central London from Blackheath, Greenwich, Charlton, Woolwich or Plumstead.

Its redevelopment as part of the Thameslink Programme will therefore be welcomed by many that hope that it will provide for an increase in the punctuality and reliability of services and a transport hub that is more spacious, better connected and easier to navigate.

However, managing the associated disruption to Greenwich line passengers during the redevelopment phase is going to be a major challenge and it’s crucial that everything feasible is done to mitigate it.

[Read more…]