Major plans to regenerate a huge area of South Thamesmead have received public backing. ALAN WOODS takes a closer look.
FIGURES from a month-long consultation held during July and August show 84 per cent of participants believe plans for south Thamesmead over the next 10 to 15 years are "going in the right direction."
In fact just five per cent said they did not believe plans were on the right track.
A total of 214 representations were received during the period, including responses from 207 people who filled in a questionnaire at the five road shows staged across the borough.
Councillors sitting at Bexley Council’s public cabinet meeting agreed to endorse the South Thamesmead Regeneration Framework as a guide to the regeneration of the area on November 13.
Chairman of the STRF Champions Group and Bexley Council’s cabinet member for economic development and regeneration Councillor Linda Bailey said: "I was delighted to see how the residents of South Thamesmead responded to the summer consultation.
“More than 80% of them supported all the ideas put forward in the framework.
“As we go into the new year we can all now concentrate on working together to deliver projects on the ground, that will make a real difference and bring about change for this community."
The consultation was held jointly between Bexley Council, Gallions Housing Association and Trust Thamesmead and sets out plans for investment in the area over the next 10 to 15 years.
The most controversial question asked what participants would specifically spend public funds on. Jobs, education and skills were the most popular choice, attracting 16 per cent of votes. The quality of housing, policing and safety and environmental quality were also popular choices.
The overwhelming majority of participants believe Harrow Manorway and Yarnton Way should be re-designed to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Eighty-nine per cent agree traffic calming measures and crossing facilities will make roads more accessible and that walls, walkways and bridges should also be removed to create a safer pedestrian environment.
Improved parks, gardens and open spaces received a huge backing, with 93 per cent of people agreeing many of South Thamesmead’s play areas and green spaces are underused. Southmere Lake and park will be targeted to make them more attractive to visitors, subject to funding, while increased use of footpaths across Abbey Way will be encouraged. Bexley Council has recently gained funding for improvements at Lesnes Abbey Woods too.
Despite the opening of The Link in Belvedere Road, eighty-nine per cent back plans for better local facilities in four neighbourhood hubs across South Thamesmead. Each hub is proposed to be located near a bus stop on a main route and will consist of shops, community spaces and workspaces. Respondents highlighted a need for parking facilities, lighting and security in these areas to make them successful.