The news that the Council’s bid to the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund has been successful — beating off strong competition from other boroughs — was welcomed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, local businesses and residents alike.
The cash — made up of £2.5m from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and match funded by another £2.5m from the Council — will pay for improvements including new shop fronts, wider pavements and better street lighting.
It will fund the renovation of the currently underused Plumstead Power Station to establish managed workspaces, and create community and event spaces that could provide pop up food and craft markets with an emphasis on encouraging local businesses to grow.
A new traders forum will be established and businesses will be supported to produce business plans and improve their online presence.
Pictured above are Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald, Cllr Danny Thorpe, Cllr Denise Hyland and traders and residents on Plumstead High Street.
The news comes just as work starts on transforming Plumstead library into a multi-functional library, leisure, cultural and sports centre for the community.
Councillor Denise Hyland, Leader, Royal Greenwich, said: “The Council is driving change in Plumstead, investing millions and attracting further funds to improve the local environment. We will continue to work with residents and existing businesses to improve the high street as well as attract new businesses into the area. I am delighted by this additional funding, especially with it coming in the same week as work starts on transforming the library into a multi-functional community centre.”
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability Councillor Danny Thorpe said: “I’m thrilled that the Council’s hard work to ensure the benefits of regeneration are felt by everyone in Plumstead is continuing to pay dividends. This is an amazing week for Plumstead and for our long term strategy to regenerate the town centre, improving the lives of residents and opportunities for local businesses. We are determined to make sure Plumstead residents have access to state of the art services and this new investment will help to deliver that.”
Teresa Pearce, MP For Erith & Thamesmead, added: “I believe that this could be a game changer for Plumstead and shows what can be done when residents and elected representatives work together.”
More than 200 bids for funding were made to the Good Growth Fund, with only 27 bids being taken forward at this stage. Royal Greenwich received the second highest amount of the winners.
Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, GLA, said: “The Mayor and I are determined to use the Good Growth Fund to challenge preconceptions about how regeneration takes place. This project is a great example of how we can work with local communities on projects in a way that will help ensure the benefits are felt by all.”
The Council has further secured £2.7m of Housing Zone money to deliver a transformational public realm scheme adjacent to Plumstead Station, including new road surfaces, wider pavements, better street lighting and safer crossings.
Meanwhile a contractor has been selected and work has begun on the multi million pound transformation of Plumstead Library. Osborne Construction will undertake the project, which is a key part of the Council’s ambitious Plumstead Urban Framework.
The library redevelopment involves the demolition of non-listed existing extension to the rear and the construction of a two-storey extension to facilitate the provision of leisure facilities, public realm improvement works and cycle parking.
The work will also see the renewal of the existing Grade II Listed library building.
Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative Industries & Community Wellbeing, said: “This multi million pound investment will provide much needed new leisure and cultural facilities and a sports centre benefiting people in the local community. It is also an opportunity to regenerate and enhance the original library building.”
As the construction work begins the library will remain operational. To ensure the safety of staff and visitors, in the summer library facilities will be moved to a temporary modular building in nearby Abery Street car park (subject to planning permission).
Work on the new library and facilities is expected be completed by Autumn 2019.
There was more good news for residents of Royal Greenwich in the list of winning bids in this first round of the Good Growth Fund. The Peabody Trust won £1.3m to reactivate a derelict social club and a set of under-road arches. The Thamesmead Community Enterprise & Learning Hub will provide civic spaces, affordable spaces for enterprises and skills and training for local communities.