The last few years have been an interesting time for Plumstead. Despite numerous residents asking for more from Greenwich Council, little has been forthcoming in the way of investment or enforcement.
A much-heralded “deep clean” of the High Street last year didn’t prove successful as many locals couldn’t see any noticeable difference. It hasn’t been repeated since and motorised street-cleaning equipment has been moved to Woolwich where there is “greater need”.
The Warehouse Leisure Centre was shut and the initial £11m plans for a new combined Library and Leisure Centre on the High Street offered the worst of both worlds, along with the potential loss of a Grade II listed building. All the more galling was the lack of notice given to Warehouse users and the loss of some facilities, even after the rebuild. Residents remain perplexed as to why the Council couldn’t just pay the £800k required to repair and upgrade both buildings and spend the rest on much needed renovation, investment and enforcement elsewhere.
Speaking of enforcement, a local campaign to improve Plumstead High Street led to some much-needed enforcement notices to local shopkeepers and many sprucing up their storefronts. However, the sledgehammer approach also penalised legitimate businesses with tidy shops and revealed unauthorised developments behind 68 Plumstead High Street that had been refused planning permission years earlier.
On planning, it was revealed last week that Greenwich Council failed to submit evidence to the Planning Inspectorate, despite repeated requests, resulting in the granting of yet another betting shop at appeal – and then they tried to hide the evidence. On the night before the revelation Greenwich Council Deputy Leader Danny Thorpe was busy at the public relations exercise “Better Together” blaming everybody else.
It isn’t the first time this year – they also failed to deal with a planning application for a communications mast at Foxfield School. Another in Brewery Road looks like it will be upgraded to 15m despite the 10m one installed this week not even being live yet.
With the explosion of HMOs around the streets of Plumstead, a lack of financial support for the local community-run Plumstead Make Merry, and more, it’s no wonder that people are peeved and ready to take the matter into their own hands. New resident or old – there’s a lot more that unites us than divides us.
Enough is enough.
The Plumstead Party is a proposed new resident-led group which will be set up to contest the 2018 Greenwich Council elections and lobby for the creation of a Plumstead Community Council.
It will be free of any ties to traditional political parties.
Policies will be set through a series of local meetings and the main aims will be properly representing the interests of local residents and ensuring money raised in Plumstead stays and is spent in Plumstead.
We aim to represent all residents, whether they are lifelong locals or recent arrivals, to get the best deal for Plumstead and everyone who lives here – not a pressure group for either gentrification or the status quo.
Local politics and services should not be under the control of national political parties. Too many of our council meetings are currently dominated by party political themes and policies over which the council has no control.
Residents’ Associations are feature of local government elsewhere in the country and successfully allow local people to determine for themselves where money and services should be directed.
We believe that Plumstead residents should represent, and know what is best for, our area rather than political party activists who live and work elsewhere.
Our local area needs urgent investment – money raised here shouldn’t be spent on pet projects elsewhere in the borough.
“Plumstead” is covered by a number of council wards under the current local authority boundaries.
We propose fielding three candidates each in Glyndon, Plumstead and Shooters Hill but, if more people are interested, there’s a good argument to field candidates in wards like Abbey Wood and Woolwich Common too.
If you live further out, why not consider forming your own Charlton Party or Eltham Party? Many of the issues we face here in Plumstead are also affecting these areas.
A loose federation of local residents’ parties could be one solution to our current one-party state. We could even register as one united, umbrella organisation, The Greenwich Party.
In order to contest the 2018 local elections under the “Plumstead Party” banner we will need to nominate officers and register with the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office.
We will also need a simple constitution and a bank account so that we can accept donations and pay for leaflets, etc.
Donations will be required to get the message out across Plumstead – a leaflet for every household in a ward costs around £200.
Rather than being a conventional membership organisation we propose that anybody who donates, however large or small, can vote during our upcoming candidate selections.
We need people who are willing to organise events, deliver leaflets, stand for council and much more. We also need people to talk to their friends about the project and ask them to get involved and vote for change.
Ideas? We’re open to them.
If you’d like to help in any way, have thoughts about the project, or even want to let us know that you’d vote for a Plumstead Party candidate in your ward, please get in touch.
Visit the website at https://the.plumstead.party