Cost of Northumberland Heath improvements questioned in comparison to Bexleyheath (From News Shopper)
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Cost of Northumberland Heath improvements questioned in comparison to Bexleyheath
The head of Northumberland Heath Community Forum has questioned why improvements to the area will cost only a fraction of the £3 million spent on Bexleyheath.
Bexleyheath Broadway was remodelled during major works which ran last year from January through to October.
Compared to the multi-million pound project, only £100,000 has been earmarked to spruce up public space around Bexley Road and Mill Road in Northumberland Heath town centre.
Community Forum chair Isaac Kwakye told News Shopper: "Northumberland Heath has never had anything done to it but if you look at Bexleyheath they spent millions there.
"Right from the word go we were restricted."
The proposals by landscape architects MeiLoci include planting new trees, removing existing metal benches and installing new stone ones and replacing areas of paving.
There is also a plan to stretch banners on lamp posts along Bexley Road depicting the history and heritage of Northumberland Heath.
Mr Kwakye said: "I am happy the council gave us a meeting and listened to us but disappointed with the fact that certain things cannot be done.
"Most of the paving they are going to stick with but if you go to Barnehurst all the shop fronts have been tarmacked free of charge."
The council plans to replace these benches and planters in Mill Road.
Following a meeting with Northumberland Heath ward councillors and council officers on June 10, Mr Kwakye said he was pleased the council had agreed to extend the banners further along the Bexley Road.
But he remains concerned trees installed to replace existing planters could be vandalised while new stone benches would be uncomfortable to sit on for elderly residents.
Conservative ward Councillor Philip Read said it was "chalk and cheese" to compare the plans with the Bexleyheath remodelling, which was funded by a grant from Transport for London.
He said: “We have been on at Councillor Linda Bailey for four years for these funds because it’s a long time since anything’s been spent on Northumberland Heath.
“It’s far better to focus on things that are practical and doable rather than go down blind alleys and do things we just haven’t got the funds for.
“One of the central aspects of this improvement is to give Northumberland Heath a sense of history and identity and the banners will reflect that.
“We view this as an exciting development because it’s going to brighten up the area and hopefully it will make it a more attractive destination for other traders to come in.”
The council hopes work will start in the first week of August.
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