March 2014 with Greenwich Council

Notes on Fogwoft/Royal Borough OF Greenwich Meeting
5 March 2014
Present: Cllr Denise Hyland, Tim Jackson, Cllr Mary Mills, John Phillips, Francis Sedgemore, Mike Shallcross, Ian Blore
1. Progress of refurbishment
Tim Jackson presented the current progress situation (see at end of these notes) with the following additional information. The lighting upgrade had just begun at Woolwich and would start by 20th March at Greenwich. The work would proceed by sections and whilst under way those sections of the tunnel would be one way. Cleaning would take place at the very end of the works in both tunnels. In short all work was on programme and on budget and all milestones had been met with no additional risks identified.
A delay in opening the fitted lifts at Woolwich is for warranty purposes, whilst the planned lighting level of 150 lux could be adjusted downwards if found to be necessary. The possible very short overnight closures for electrical works should be limited to one night and may be avoided altogether.
2. Online survey on considerate use
Francis Sedgemore reported on Fogwoft’s plans for an online survey connected to the website which was due to be launched w/b 11 or 18 March. Fogwoft was not soliciting comments but would report factually on the results of the survey at a given time. TJ confirmed that any change in the use bylaw would indeed need to be publicly consulted on. Ian Blore commented that two public meetings by Fogwoft had not revealed any strong desire for a change. Both showed a consensus to keep the status quo of pedestrian tunnels, but FS reported that there were arguments about relaxing the ban on cycling overnight and that a wider test of opinion would be useful to all, as well as open the debate on use of the tunnels. Fogwoft stressed that any bylaw was meaningless if not enforced, a point that was accepted by both Cllr Hyland and TJ.
3. Traffic count plans
TJ confirmed that counts in the Greenwich tunnel would be taken in March and the results would be made public. The counts would use CCTV footage and record 1 weekday and 1 Saturday and Sunday, all 24 hour. The data would differentiate users with bicycles, those without, and those using buggies. Regrettably the software could not distinguish between those riding or walking cycles. This would be the beginning of regular traffic counting, perhaps 2 or 3 times a year, certainly in the Greenwich tunnel. IB welcomed the counts, which would help build basic usage statistics.
4. Future events and Signs
It was decided to hold a Fogwoft event at the Greenwich Tunnel after the completion of the refurbishment in May, probably early June. It was noted that RBG is reluctant to take the lead on this, considering the history of the refurbishment. DH described the whole saga as “rather like childbirth”. Mary Mills reported that in late May the Greenwich Industrial History Society would be hosting a talk on the tunnels. IB referred to the Greenwich Council tunnel leaflet (which was one of the few with a price at the Tourist Information Centre). An estimate of the current stock was promised by TIC (this is over 7500) since it may be useful to update it. It was recommended that a mixed media approach to signs and publicity be adopted and that it should perhaps be multi-lingual. TJ suggested that signage could be grouped into:
a) Basic Health and Safety which is being taken care of under the refurbishment
b) Outside directional – which MM stressed is really necessary at Woolwich
c) Inside directional – where it was agreed that both tunnels were in need of improvement
d) Heritage, which could use both visual plaque-style and web-based information, with wall-mounted codes for smartphones with page links.

It was agreed that Fogwoft would prepare the first steps of a mechanism to develop a way forward perhaps eliciting the ideas of local artists and interested design students, of which several are in touch with Fogwoft.

The current progress information is shown by the RBG report below:

Greenwich & Woolwich Foot Tunnels refurbishment project
Update for Fogwoft

1. Overall
Works are on schedule for completion as programmed and previously advertised:
– Works at Greenwich will be wholly complete by May 2014
– Works at Woolwich will be wholly complete by June 2014
From the users perspective works at Greenwich will be complete at the end of March and works at Woolwich will be finished in mid-May – any remaining works will be minor and/or behind the scenes.
2. Current position
– All surveys, significant design work and procurement completed.
– Bomb damaged section within Greenwich Tunnel has been painted
– Stairs at Greenwich are fully open
– The new roof is in place at Greenwich North (and scaffolding is being removed)
– The new lifts are being fitted at Woolwich
The Council has received no complaints about the works.
3. Future visible activity/milestones
– End February – Greenwich North roof fully visible (scaffold completely removed)
– Mid-April – Greenwich North site compound chiefly demobilised and area around rotunda restored.
– End-April – Woolwich (North & South) new roofs complete & scaffold being removed
– Start-May – New lifts at Woolwich open for public use
4. Additional notes
(a) At some stage works (i) to complete painting of Greenwich lift shaft surround and (ii) to the electrical intakes of both tunnels will need to be programmed. There is a possibility that one or both of these activities will require the tunnel(s) to be closed while works take place. Any closure would be short duration. The project team are working on ways to ensure any closures are of minimum duration and at time(s) that would minimise user inconvenience.
(b) The performance of the Greenwich Lifts continues to be good.

Note prepared: Tim Jackson (28.02.14)