Authority takes top accolade at Local Government Chronicle Awards

Judges who named the Royal Borough of Greenwich as ‘Council of the Year’ have outlined how the borough’s focus on regeneration, growth and investment was a key reason for the award win.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich, currently undergoing one of the most wide-ranging regeneration programmes in Europe, was given the accolade at the Local Government Chronicle Awards last month. The judge’s citation stated that the Royal Borough of Greenwich “worked strongly in partnership” and “used land imaginatively for the benefit of residents” and that “they are a council from the sector to learn from”.

The Royal Borough is seeing house-building and redevelopment on a major scale, alongside major transport improvements and the wide scale modernisation of schools and other community facilities. Key development sites include:

  •  KidbrookeVillage in the south of the borough, which is completely redeveloping an entire housing estate to ultimately deliver 4,000 new homes, new community facilities and improved transport links
  •  The Royal Arsenal site in Woolwich, rejuvenating the former factory site into a plush new waterfront quarter, with 5,000 new homes, new commercial space and community facilities
  • GreenwichPeninsula, which has been completely transformed from a derelict gas works to a vibrant new quarter for London. Two minutes from CanaryWharf and home to the world’s most successful entertainment venue, The O2 Arena, a masterplan for the Peninsula will ultimately see 10,000 new homes and 3.5 million sq ft commercial space built. A new ‘Digital Hub’ is rapidly expanding at the Peninsula, with the Royal Borough’s own Digital Enterprise Greenwich Centre next door to the world-leading digital institution, Ravensbourne.
  • Much improved transport links which include two Crossrail development sites to deliver two new stations, in Woolwich and Abbey Wood, both spearheading and accelerating regeneration in those parts of the borough
  • Extensive and high quality public realm improvement works in Woolwich town centre including the redevelopment of General Gordon and Beresford Squares. All of this forms part of the overall regeneration of Woolwich, which also includes the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s new Woolwich Centre, and the adjacent Woolwich Central site – with 960 new homes and a major new supermarket
  • The new Greenwich Square development in East Greenwich, delivering 645 new homes and the new “Greenwich Centre”, a brand new integrated service centre, leisure centre which will also contain healthcare facilities
  • In addition, the Royal Borough is bringing forward the Woolwich Estates project that proposes the demolition and redevelopment of three Council owned housing estates comprising over 1,000 properties to create high quality, well designed, mixed tenure homes that are well integrated with their surroundings.

Councillor Chris Roberts, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich said:
“I am delighted that our work, especially throughout the challenges of 2012, has been recognised in this way. We have been solely driven by the desire to raise prospects and the quality of life for our residents, to create opportunities and to continue to push forward the fortunes of the Royal Borough of Greenwich to make it an even better place to live, work, visit and enjoy. I am especially pleased that our careful planning has been recognised by the judges – none of this could have happened by itself and I thank everyone across the organisation, and the partner organisations with whom we work so closely. We recognise that a strong growth and regeneration strategy is one of the most fruitful ways in which we can improve prospects for residents and our achievements give us a really firm platform on which to build.”

Acting LGC editor Nick Golding said: “Our judges felt Greenwich’s approach combined a long-term sustainable strategy with successful delivery across a wide range of areas. They were particularly impressed with the council’s focus on growth and investment and its work with those hit by the benefit cap.

“Greenwich’s performance shows that through innovation, inspiration and hard work councils can improve services and bring investment to their local area despite the difficult fiscal environment.”