Eltham Regeneration Agency: "Expensive PR exercise"

ELTHAM North Conservative Councillor, Spencer Drury, has dubbed the Eltham Regeneration Agency an expensive PR exercise and questioned Labour’s commitment to making the project work.

Cllr Drury has found that the ERA has still not employed a single person since its creation, has a board which is made up from mainly people whose interests lie outside of Eltham, and that the ERA missed the deadline for its one spending commitment.

In 9 months, the ERA has spent £75,000 from its £250,000 budget, to commission a transport study to consider bringing the DLR to Eltham, Kidbrook and Falconwood. The study was tabled at the last minute for a cabinet committee meeting on 15th December 2009.   Labour claimed that the report was urgent as "...... the initial findings of the study will be able to feed into the Mayor of London’,s evolving Transport Strategy if submitted before the deadline of 12 January 2010."    Cllr Drury has established that no findings were submitted before the January 12th deadline.

On top of this, not one person has been employed to work for the ERA as the council claim "the Agency does not require additional staff resources" outside the council. Yet in August last year a spokesman for the council was quoted as saying "The Eltham Regeneration Agency is in the process of being set up and the initial board meeting of the new agency is planned for September. It is intended that initial staffing for the agency will include a co-ordinator and project worker and it is anticipated that staff will be in post later this year."

Moreover the board is made of people not based in Eltham. The Town Centre Manager, the Eltham Town Centre Partnership and local Residents Associations are not on the board.

Spencer said: 

"Labour hope that they can fool the people of Eltham by simply issuing a press release. They have so far shown no focus on Eltham, not even allowing an Eltham based Councillor onto the board of the ERA. They have wasted £70,000 on a study which they told us was to feed into the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy but missed the deadline and have so far not submitted a single word about the DLR extension.

"I am yet again saddened by the cynicism and incompetence of this Labour Council. I thought that when they set up the Regeneration Agency for Eltham they might at least think about how to improve Eltham, but with 9 months gone it seems they have done almost nothing at all."

Parliamentary Candidate for Eltham David gold said:

"Shops and businesses in Eltham have struggled through the deepest recession in living memory and well established businesses have gone to the wall.  Warm words and promises of help mean nothing when not a single person has been employed.  The mystical Eltham Regeneration Agency remains another of Greenwich Council's unrealised dreams.  It is shameful that in the face of such desperation on the High Street Greenwich leaders are chasing headlines rather than rolling their sleeves up and offering real help."