At the beginning of March news came through that a rather sad looking Wilton Road, Abbey Wood, was due for a £300,000 revamp. Greenwich council (the boundary runs down the middle of the road) lost no time in calling the traders to a meeting to hear their opinions and take note of any concerns - mainly parking.
It took them just two weeks to arrange that meeting and ask what they would like to see in Wilton Road and encourage the formation of a traders’ association. The leader of Greenwich council chaired the meeting; she is councillor for the Abbey Wood ward.
What has Bexley done in the four months since the grant was announced apart from issue a Press Release which said the money must be spent by March 2016?
Not a lot it would seem.
The first sign of action came last Tuesday night when cabinet member Linda Bailey said (final blog paragraph) she was to hold a meeting the following Thursday. I didn’t expect to get an invitation as I did to the Greenwich meeting but I hoped to get a report from the traders.
Their report was not a lot of use as they had not received an invitation either, it was another of Bexley’s closed meetings but by yesterday they had received a little feedback.
Contrary to the hopes expressed by Labour councillors at the Places Scrutiny Committee, Bexley council is not keen on negotiating with an association but may speak to some traders on an individual basis. One shop owner may have had it right when he described Bexley’s meeting as “warm words and mission statements with no action”.
Another said he had lost all interest, “Bexley council will do what it likes anyway”. He is probably right, it is councillor Bailey’s very own catch phrase.