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Bonkers Blog March 2015

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12 March (Part 3) - Light at the end of the Crossrail tunnel

Believe it or not the first that the traders in Wilton Road, Abbey Wood knew of getting a hand out from Boris Johnson was when they read it on Bonkers. Teresa Pearce MP delivered a letter to them the next day but four more days elapsed before Bexley council said anything about it. Even now they’ve done nothing more than put a press release up on their website.

Before the good news from Boris broke some of the Wilton Road traders persuaded me to draft a letter to Bexley council complaining of their failure to look again at the parking situation as promised last October. I delivered the draft on Saturday and sent a copy to Lesnes Abbey ward councillor Danny Hackett. As is right and proper after news of the £300,000 came through, he wanted to take on the challenge of persuading Bexley council to do what traders need rather than what Linda, “I can do what I like” Bailey might prefer.

DannyI was only too pleased to drop out of the front line but Danny was kind enough to keep me informed of developments which were two pronged. He immediately wrote to the cabinet member for Regeneration and Development to sketch out his initial proposals and quickly organised a meeting with the traders hoping to see the end of their travails.

It was standing room only in one little shop and after Danny explained the situation the traders agreed they should discuss among themselves what their priorities were and get back to councillor Hackett within just a few days.

I don’t think it is giving much away if I say the street market idea was taking second place to the need for extra parking space. As you can see there still wasn’t any at six thirty in the evening.

Wilton Road
The Abbey Arms will, the traders confirmed, close this Sunday. In all my 28 years of passing it almost daily I have never been inside the building but I have a feeling that may be about to change.

From various good sources I have heard that Peabody tried to buy the pub to build yet more soulless flats and provide even fewer reasons to visit Wilton Road. However they were outbid and if the various good sources are not misinformed J. D. Wetherspoons are going to take over.

That would be stupendously good news for both Wilton Road and the local population because at the moment the nearest pub restaurant to Abbey Wood station is The Yacht in Long Lane, and totally inaccessible by public transport. Yet another establishment I have never seen inside.

Crossrail is currently wreaking havoc on the area but there is a light at the end of their tunnel.


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