Labour admits it has ‘no plans’ for The Mound

A Labour Cabinet Member has admitted that the Labour-run council has 'no plans' for the regeneration of the shopping precinct on the Coldharbour estate, even as local Conservatives’ Mend The Mound campaign continues to extract concessions from the council on improvements to the shops. 

In response to questions raised by Coldharbour and New Eltham Conservatives Cllr John Hills and Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst at Wednesday’s council meeting, the Labour administration was unable to give an answer as to why they have left Number 8, The Mound empty for two years –despite a local couple’s ongoing struggle with the council to open up a Cafe on the premises.

Labour cabinet members also confirmed that headway was only made in progressing the local couple’s bid for a new Cafe in January of this year, immediately after local Conservatives handed in their Mend The Mound petition, signed by 652 residents and users of the shops.

In a response that opposition Conservative councillors have called “extraordinary”, Labour Cabinet Member for Housing Steve Offord admitted in writing that Labour councillors have “no specific plans for the regeneration of the shopping precinct on the Coldharbour estate”. This admission of neglect comes despite huge public support for local Conservatives’ 3-point plan to Mend The Mound, calling on the council to take action on empty premises, lighting and CCTV.

The petition, which secured a commitment to improve lighting in February and is still running in support of the other two aims, has now reached 750 signatures and is backed by every local trader. 

Cllr John Hills, Chairman of Coldharbour & New Eltham Conservatives and President of the Greenwich Conservative Federation, said: “It is completely unacceptable that the council refuses to answer our questions over why it has taken two years, and the handing in of our Mend The Mound petition, to make any headway at all with this local couple’s bid for a Cafe at Number 8. The council needs to take steps to ensure this never happens again – and to expedite the remaining stages of the process so the Cafe can open up as soon as possible.”

Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst, who handed in the Mend The Mound petition at the council meeting at the end of December, said: “Here we have an admission from a Labour cabinet member, in black and white, that the council has no plans for The Mound. This Cafe could have opened nearly two years ago - and the council needs to tell us why it has delayed the process for all that time. It is not enough to dodge the question.”

Council candidate Matt Hartley, who organised the launch of the campaign last year: “Residents will be shocked but probably not surprised that Labour has finally admitted it has no plans for the shops on the Coldharbour estate. Fortunately, our Mend The Mound campaign is forcing them to improve the area anyway – first by securing the new lighting improvements, and now by prompting them to finally progress this Cafe application after a totally unnecessary two-year delay. We will continue our campaign until we see the real action we need from the council to regenerate the shops.”

Residents and users of the shops can sign the Mend The Mound petition in support of the campaign's aims at http://www.your-councillor.com/chne/petitions/ and also support the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MendTheMound