Denise Hyland: Leader of Greenwich council

Denise Hyland

Transport infrastructure – it’s what gets us around, from A to B, from work to home, from hospital appointments to a great day out with family and friends – and we’re fortunate that our Borough is incredibly well connected, helping you to get to all the places that you need to be.

I am delighted that the newly built Abbey Wood station opened just last week, offering more trains to and from the city with extended platforms, new lifts and public areas.

You can see that a great deal of planning and thought that has gone into the design and overall look and feel of this lovely new station. I have no doubt that travellers using it will find it a most welcome addition to complement the other improvements being made there locally to spruce up public spaces, roads and businesses.

And with the new Elizabeth line coming to the station next year – as well as Woolwich – the new station, and this additional transport infrastructure in our Borough only helps to make Abbey Wood an even more desirable location for people to want to come and settle.

Still on the transport theme but for our cycling friends out there, we are just starting work on the section of the Thames Path known locally as the ‘Missing Link’.

Work will be completed in two phases and will include a new elevated structure that will sit atop the River Wall, and over the river to link King Henry’s Wharf to Warspite Road. The second phase will see work to upgrade the safe route through the Westminster Industrial Estate and the construction of a ramp from the estate into the Thames Barrier site.

This will allow users to connect back to the Thames Path without the current inland detour. It is anticipated to be complete and open by spring 2018.

Still on transport, but of a completely different kind… I was thrilled to see the opening of the eagerly anticipated Charlton Skate Park two weeks ago, and just in time for half term too.

We were adamant that the Skate Park was developed in conjunction with local people and I am very pleased that it was designed following extensive consultation with focus groups including local residents, park users and skaters of all ages. Whether you’re a young skater, an older skater or just need to keep the kids entertained, get along and take a look – it really is amazing.

I have received several enthusiastic letters from parents which is fantastic as it shows how valued the new skate park is. Adding to our sports facilities here in Royal Greenwich, work is progressing well on the new Sutcliffe Park leisure centre on the borders of Kidbrooke and Eltham, which will incorporate in indoor BMX and Skate Park – I’m looking forward to the opening event in January next year.

On a completely different topic, and one that can sometimes be very hard for families to discuss, is organ donation.

Colleagues and I at the council recently passed a motion to support the national ‘Yes I donate’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

England’s transplant consent rate is one of the lowest in Europe as many people do not discuss or record their wishes with their families. Did you know that three people die every day in the UK while waiting for a transplant and many others lose their lives before they even get on to the transplant list? Just one donor can save the lives of several people, restore the sight of two others and improve the quality of life for many more. So, don’t delay – tell your family about your decision, and sign up to join the organ donor register now at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.