There’s been a lot of bad stuff gone on while I’ve had my eye off the Greenwich Time Ball, but it’s not all horrors. Two projects especially, that we discussed at length over the years, have come to fruition.
I am utterly delighted that against the odds Severndroog Castle not only survived being a vandalised – and vandalisable - ruin earmarked for private offices to become a fabulous observation tower for all. I love visiting, and the views, especially in winter, are fabulous.
Then there’s the swing bridge across Capital Quay. It was on, it was off, it was a high-rise affair, it was shelved. The money was ear-marked, the money was already spent. But now we have it and no longer do we have to trudge round Creek Road risking life, limb and lungs to get from one part of the Thames Path to the next.
But the success of these two projects for me only highlights how much else needs to be done to keep Greenwich as vibrant and individual as it can be given the blandification of the steel and glass dreariness springing up around us. I worry for the safety of the Thames Path further down, one of the few remaining bits where you can feel you’re in somewhere that is both industrial and wild, is under serious threat of steel and glass.
This fabulous glass fantasy is currently open to all, if a little crumbling around the edges. If it is sold, there is no guarantee that it will be even retained, let alone for public use.
The Friends of Avery Hill Park are organising a Facebook campaign – being an old and crusty Phantom I can’t find my way around Facebook so you’ll have to find it for yourselves, but I don’t see why a similar campaign that fought and won Severndroog couldn’t be arranged here – there was already applications for lottery funding to help restore the gardens. I, for one, will be happy to get behind any such project.
It has a slight advantage over Severndroog too, commercially.
While Severndroog is beautiful, it can’t take vast numbers of people so it’s not great for weddings or parties – Avery Hill could, with a little rejiggery, be perfect – though of course for me part of its joy is the quiet seclusion you can find just walking in any day…
So – a pat on the back for projects complete, a call to arms for projects to come…