FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Greenwich

Ikea submit detailed planning for their Greenwich store – details here

It seems that the prospect of an Ikea superstore in Greenwich has been rumbling around for much longer than the reality. It’s a little over two years after outline permission was granted and detailed plans were formally submitted last week.

So, what can we expect? It’s still at heart the same big box retail model seen in most of the world. Some of the more innovative stores models that Ikea have adopted are not seen.

It’s clearly eagerly anticipated and I am a fan of the shop. But I do feel they could do much more here.

For a massive site so close to central London the format of a big box shop with no residential component is a missed opportunity. The 1000+ place car park remains. No opportunity has been taken to introduce multi-storey and use land more efficiently.

However there are some differences from the normal giant shed. Looking through the Design and Access Statement reveals they’ll be a box on top for a cafe or events space. Not the most innovative plan given the views afforded though better than nothing. A rooftop garden is also in evidence.

Around the back they’ll also be a garden:

Ikea Greenwich garden

It throws out some errors and arguable points regarding access and transport. What’s the museum bus way it mentions as almost one of the first things in the document? As the main bus route you’d expect they’d get the name right of the Millenium Bus Way.

It acknowledges that Westcombe Park is the nearest station and then comes out with the odd view that walking from the station to the store site has “well-established pedestrian and cycle routes, with dedicated footways and footbridges separated from roads along Peartree Way, Woolwich Road and over the A102.”

That walk is pretty dire, as I covered a couple of years ago. Poor signage, much street clutter meaning legible paths aren’t clear and pedestrians often forced on little detours for no apparent reason.

If they think it’s good enough then apparently no improvements will happen. Will Greenwich Council pull them up and put some income from Ikea into improving this?

It then says some “30% of people in the Royal Greenwich sub-region have access to a bicycle and will be encouraged to visit the site using the Cycle Superhighway and Quietways network”.

There is no Cycle Superhighway. The quietway isn’t much cop.

They use an aerial image to claim this type of store is suitable and that “large-scale mixed-use buildings are appropriate in this context and are visually consistent when observed within the broader view of the Peninsula”.

Firstly, if this was mixed use with residential it’d be less a waste of land. Second, the image used to demonstrate their claim is 10-20 years old as no recent changes and residential schemes are evident.

Nothing is mentioned that I saw about new or better foot crossings to reach the site. Much like what the nearby Brocklebank Retail Park seems to offer, or rather doesn’t, as I covered a few days ago. This is not a pedestrian friendly space as things stand.

There’s a couple more changes to many other Ikea stores – they’ve added a bakery and glass house with seasonal ranges, plants and outdoor equipment

There’s 1013 car parking spaces and 90 cycle spaces – about 65 will be covered. Planning documents mention existing bus provision with no mention of changes – yet we know some routes such as the 472 will likely be cut but plans for any additional routes aren’t known apart from plans to re-direct the 180 from Lewisham to North Greenwich. Buses of course will be serving far more people in coming years with new schools and thousands of flats.

It’s still a big box. One with a bow on top, but still a box. A big opportunity has gone begging to re-work this area and provide a more innovative Ikea to alleviate traffic problems. It’s clear most people are expected to arrive by car and other means of transport are token efforts. How the road network copes remains to be seen.

The planning reference is 17/0672/R

24 Comments

  1. Neville

    Ikea don’t care at all about pedestrian access. To get to their Croydon store you have to go up a staircase framed by a nightmarish dump.

    • Carol

      I just get off the tram and cross the road at the pedestrian lights. I’ve never had to go up a staircase. It’s all flat.

  2. We think this would be a good opportunity for the area!

  3. We think this would be a good opportunity for the area!

  4. Lets acknowledge the reality: most people are going to drive there regardless of where they live. Most people will be out shopping elsewhere an pop into IKEA as part of that process, so be in their car anyway. Very few are going to come by bus, let alone the dream of cycling. The site is almost in the middle of nowhere – ironic given that its in London. It is isolated to say the least and walking there is an uninspiring delight.

  5. Mike S

    Multiple points:
    1) Do they ever try to build residential along with Warehouse boxes? Interested in any good examples
    2) Ikea could vastly reduce car usage by cutting delivery costs to sensible levels

    3) Went to the cinema last night, and the car park was horribly overfilled. Not sure what was going on. Possibly O2 people have finally worked out parking there is far cheaper, and they will have to reintroduce checks, to keep the cinema usable, even if the Ikea space becomes usable again.

  6. Simon

    What seems to be being missed is that the 1000+ car park spaces aren’t just for Ikea – they’re shared with B&Q, the restaurants & the cinema.

    If you work on a pro rata basis, Ikea are only really able to claim about 40% of the spaces…something their planning application conveniently misleads on.

  7. Gordon of Greenwich

    It is going to be utter chaos.

  8. Anji

    “I’m going to cycle to Ikea to buy a sofa” said no-one ever. Having said that, I’m still hoping it gets the go ahead

    • Very true but IKEA have moved away from the old furniture only model. They now hope to attract a large customer base who go to the cafe (these are very popular and very cheap) and supermarket sections, which they’ve focused on here with a bakery etc. Those who arrive then may buy a few small bits for their house. I expect many arriving by car but also large numbers on foot from nearby housing developments and public transport, if the links aren’t rubbish

  9. John

    Ikea is different – people go their for a day out + window shop. Hence brings lots more traffic than the usual store.
    I think the additional traffic along the A102 will cause big delays esp with the constraints of the Blackwall tunnel.
    Also the roundabout (A102/Woolwich Rd) will foul up + expect massive queues along Woolwich rd/Trafalgar Road into Greenwich. Its already pretty bad on the weekend.
    Ikea/council should give guarantees that their traffic modeling is correct. If its wrong, I would hope Ikea would put its hand in its pockets and pay for more improvements to pinch points. And if that doesn’t work, shut.

  10. coolunderpressure

    I actually think the store layout, internal features, external architecture and landscaping are exceptionally well thought out. In isolation they look pretty good. I’m a fan of the store and the local jobs it will potentially create. However all the critical issues that need to be overcome can be boiled down to page 8 of the Design and Access Statement. It’s all about access to the store and the impact on traffic. The document doesn’t really address access issues.

    •IKEA’s S106 contributions
    It looks like the percentage of customers arriving by car has been underplayed. It even appears that IKEA hired consultants to make the case that substantial contributions to highway improvements were not required. The emphasis is on sustainable travel via public transport or even cycling (Ha!). I mean, who on earth lugs a 60kg + TV unit back home on public transport? Unless the S106 contributions lead to significant upgrades to the local roads approaching IKEA from the east and west, and junction remodelling or even new dedicated junctions from the A102, the value of those contributions cannot be taken seriously. I think a Park & Ride scheme could be used to transport passengers to hubs on the A2 and South Circular Road. This would be one way of reducing the increased volumes of car traffic the development would bring. Also a dedicated rapid transit system between North Greenwich/IKEA/Charlton allowing shoppers and their laden carts quick spacious access to local trains would be good to see.

    Questions I would be asking:
    What is the total value of IKEA’s S106 contributions?
    How will those contributions be spent?
    Has RBGC asked for enough funding to pay for significant improvements for car/van access to the site?
    Has RBGC evaluated Park & Ride or other schemes as a means of reducing customer traffic on site?

  11. coolunderpressure

    Oh and the proposal doesn’t even consider the increased traffic levels thousands of new homes on the peninsula will bring. East Greenwich roundabout will be pretty congested in a few years if RBGC doesn’t act now.

    • Most of the housing in the peninsula is without parking only a small proportion of the residents will have car park space and therefore can afford to own a car.

  12. Matt

    People can use the Cycle Superhighway? Do they mean the one that’s been cut back to start at Deptford?!

    The daily cycle commute along the A206 is already grim and dangerous, and walking next to that road isn’t much better. I’m worried Ikea is going to make it unbearable, especially around the flyover – possibly the most dangerous part already. I get the feeling the Greenwich borough really don’t want me to commute by cycle.

    • It appears that is what they mean. There’s a fair bit that looks slapdash, so I doubt they’re even aware its been cut back and won’t pass near the site

  13. Gordon of Greenwich

    I wonder what the plan is for preventing trollies from being taken off site?

  14. Deirdre Malone

    I am familiar with IKEA in Groningen in the Netherlands.
    Traffic is very light and most people cycle in this small city.
    Ikea is 20 minutes walk from the centre of the city and has hire bikes with huge trailers which people use. [because they have good cycle lanes and a different driving culture there]
    But even with this car free culture, proximity of Ikea and small size of the city, the car park is always 3/4’s full. To think people are not going to bring cars is FANTASY.

  15. Marie

    The store looks great, love the idea of the roof garden and some nice landscaping. Would much rather have that than the ugly mess that is the mixed-use Woolwich Tesco development!! There are plenty of new homes being built already…

    However, if there is no investment in the local transport and roads though it will be a disaster. The roundabout under the flyover is already one of the least pleasant parts of London and the current parking spaces will not support an ikea.

    They need to build a multi-story car park or it simply won’t work, the current car park is much smaller than the one at Lakeside, and that car park doesn’t double up as a car park for other businesses cinema/b&q/Nando’s/Pizza Hut/etc.

    That said, as much as I hate to say it, my experience of Greenwich council suggests that you can’t rely on logic or common sense to prevail.

  16. anonymous201486

    I look forward to the coming of IKEA to this corner of SE London and I might even be lucky enough to get one of the 400 or so jobs. Yes congestion will be a nightmare at the weekends, but having gone to the Croydon branch on weekdays, there will not be a significant increase in traffic levels. I do have a car, but I also live on the 108 bus route and could even walk there on a good day.

  17. Pollution is at illegal levels now .if ikea come to town your children shall suffer .stay in Sweden where you belong

  18. james

    Very Poor Start IKEA Greenwich.
    Like many residents in my street I returned home today 17.08.2017 to find the IKEA 2018 catalogue sticking out of my letter box and other houses in my street, advertising that their isn’t anyone at home, putting neighbours and my home at risk. After ten minutes of waiting for Ikea to answer the telephone and explaining that they are putting peoples home at risk, their staff member said what are you unhappy with. That said it all. I had to spell it out to ikea, from a member of the public he should being trying to reassure me that this issue would be addressed, rather than me explaining what should happen and telling him what he needs to be doing.

    This was a waste of my time, as he wasn’t taking this matter seriously otherwise he would have asked for my details. We live in hope that by the time IKEA GREENWICH opens the service standards have become out of this world, please don’t laugh, remember live in HOPE.

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