GREENWICH cyclists say the £11.4m Thames foot tunnels fiasco has been a “history of mismanagement” to the “detriment” of its users.

It comes after Greenwich Council admitted the scale of problems with the Greenwich and Woolwich tunnels’ refurbishment – which remain unfinished two and a half years after work began in March 2010.

The council is now seeking legal advice about how to claw back government funding from original contractors Dean and Dyball Civil Engineering after they failed to reach their Christmas deadline last year.

It is also launching an independent review into its own project-handling after taking over late last year.

The total cost of the project – which has run over-budget - remains under wraps with the council refusing to reveal the sum at a cabinet meeting last week.

Both tunnels are in poor condition with no lifts in the Woolwich tunnel and unreliable ones at Greenwich – causing a host of issues for cyclists on this essential transport route.

Greenwich Cyclists coordinator Anthony Austin said: “It’s a history of mismanagement to the detriment of cyclists.

“Not only is the tunnel still rather shabby, but the staircases have been partly blocked and are only half the width of the original so it’s really really difficult for pedestrians and cyclist to go up and down.”

The 67-year-old says the community group always tried to work with the council and drew up a petition to flag up concerns but feels they have not always been listened to.

The former journalist said: “It is very frustrating. They simply have not listened.

“It’s been a history of poor mismanagement by Greenwich Council and now they finally admit they have mismanaged this particular scheme and are trying to get some money back, but this is sort of slamming the stable door too late because it was their job to manage this project on behalf of the taxpayer.

“It is a sad case and my personal view is that this project should not be done by the council.”

He added that he hopes to work constructively with the council in the future but believes the project might have fared better as a private enterprise.

Revealing news of possible legal action last week, a Greenwich Council spokeswoman said: “The Royal Borough of Greenwich shares the frustration of tunnel users and the general public over the time taken to complete this project and apologises for the ongoing delays to this work.”