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Greenwich Council told to apologise by LGO after ignoring disabled resident's concerns over LTNs

The Woolwich Centre, SE18

The Royal Borough of Greenwich's transport department has been told to pay compensation and review its complaint procedures after it neglected to respond to a disabled resident's concerns about the West & East Greenwich Neighbourhood Management scheme, an investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has found.

The LGO's decision came in response to a complaint made by a resident after concerns were raised with Greenwich Council following an online meeting chaired by the council and LTN designers PJA in April 2023, which failed to adequately address considerations for disabled residents and business owners in the borough.

Despite repeatedly seeking a response, Mr C, as referred to in the Local Government Ombudsman’s report, did not receive any communication from the council until five months later in September. When a reply was finally received, it was completely unrelated to the concerns he had initially raised.

The Local Government Ombudsman's decision report

The LGO upheld the resident's complaint, finding the council at fault and stated it was 'satisfied Mr C will have been caused avoidable inconvenience and frustration' due to the mishandling of his query and subsequent complaint, as seen in an excerpt of the ombudsman's report above.

The council was told to apologise to the resident for its poor communication and take ‘necessary action’ to ensure it adhered to the its own complaints policy within three months of the LGO’s decision, made on 15 March.

In a letter seen by OneGreenwich, assistant director for transport Ryan Nibbs admitted not addressing the resident’s concerns and not adhering to the council’s complaints policy, stating: ‘We failed to address all of the points that you initially raised with us and your subsequent complaint for which I’m sure would have caused you a degree of frustration and avoidable inconvenience.

Letter from the council to disabled resident

‘We did not respond to you in a timely manner, and I am very sorry that we demonstrated poor communication and did not comply with our complaints policy,’ he continued.

Nibbs also confirmed that a review would be undertaken to improve the way the transport team responds to queries and complaints going forward, confirming a dedicated team would be set up to deal with all correspondence received.

Compensation of £100 was also offered which, it is believed, will be donated to charity once paid.

The West & East Neighbourhood Management scheme looks set to be rolled out during the summer. However, it won't be plain sailing until then.

Deputy leader Averil Lekau will face a scrutiny panel on 15 May at Woolwich Town Hall following her controversial decision to go ahead with the scheme, despite overwhelming opposition from residents. The panel will convene after she was challenged by four councillors, three of who are her party colleagues, by way of a call-in.

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