FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Charlton

Charlton’s new retail park close to opening – how’s it looking?

Back in March I looked at plans for Brocklebank Retail Park in Charlton and wondered if conditions would improve for pedestrians and public transport users by the time it completes.

Five months on, and with work near completion, Darryl from 853 sent me photos showing how it looks. The shops are due to open in September.

Apart from some new paint on the road it appears little has been done to rectify the poor quality of public realm and inadequate conditions for those on foot.

Superstores to left and right not visible in shot. Road marking re-painted

Unless work begins very shortly, little of the money that came in from developers LXB through Section 106 and Section 278 payments appears to have been spent improving the area around the development. £52,000 was given for Highways and Public Realm work:

If no more improvements appear, it makes a bit of a sham of schemes such as “Greener Greenwich“. It cost a fair sum of money to create but what does influence does it have? Lots of Green schemes are announced and see cash going to consultants and then this happens.

EDIT: Literally minutes after this was posted Greenwich Council put out a press release regarding “a new scheme encouraging people to switch from cars to walking and cycling to help tackle local air pollution”. Errr…

Actions speak louder than words.

What has already appeared at the retail park doesn’t give much confidence. Much knee-high fencing has been installed around the site. This forces pedestrians on long detours to reach shops.

Tracks on grass from previous stages of development show pedestrians want direct routes:

Desire lines show what route people want to take. New stage repeats errors

Desire lines on other side of Bugsby’s Way. People don’t want to be forced on detours. Dated thinking perpetuates this

It would have been easy to install more paths and pedestrian access points between the car park and Bugsby’s Way. These could link to those walking from nearby shops, bus stops, Charlton railway station and the road crossing thus avoiding long detours. They could have been placed at intervals such as those shown in red below:

The hinterland between Bugsby’s Way and the car park is a waste of land too. Why not build flats along here with commercial space at street level? Do something productive with it.

A success or failure?

If things aren’t changed in the short amount of time before the new retail park opens then it appears the focus of this development is almost entirely those arriving by car.

It seems pretty mad not to use incoming cash and planning leverage to both push for better conditions for non-car users within the development and better conditions on public roads and paving.

More cars visiting these shops will meet extra traffic in coming years with Ikea, the possible Silvertown tunnel, large new schools such as the 1,600-pupil St Mary Magdalene opening nearby in 2018 and 28,000 planned homes in the vicinity at Charlton Riverside and Greenwich Peninsula.

But the litany of recent Planning Department mistakes give the impression the department is dysfunctional in a range of areas, and tasks such as encouraging sustainable development isn’t working too well.

Couple that to a Highways Department that seems stuck in outdated working methods and the result is a 1980s-style development appearing near Zone 2 London in 2017.

The new owners of this site are a Charity Investment Board. I wonder if any health related charities invested in this?

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. James Dawes

    As a local resident I can testify that this latest retail park is ONLY aimed at shoppers with cars. As far as I can see, there is only one pedestrian access route to these new shops – adjacent to the crossing opposite the Greenwich Retail Park (H&M, River Island etc). There has obviously been no consideration given to consumers who don’t own a car; many of which will need to run the gauntlet traversing the perilous Bugsbys Way. Navigating car parks on foot in these parts is a necessary skill, and for the uninitiated, a daunting prospect when carrying shopping.

  2. Jo

    Ive lived nearby at the new builds on the Peninsula for a year. Its atrocious getting there from here. I won’t do it with the kids on foot or let them go and its so nearby. Can’t believe nothing done so far to improve the whole area

  3. Matt Overton

    I love cycling but there is no way in hell I’d dream of cycling on those roads surrounding the development. Far too dangerous with no provisions of any kind for cyclists. Cycling on the Woolwich Road is bad enough, but at least it has something (a poor, substandard cycle lane that becomes an advisory lane after the Charlton Station junction).

    It’s clear they’ve not done one thing for pedestrians or cyclists. Absolutely nothing at all.

  4. David N

    Just looked at the Ikea’s Pedestrian & Cycle Access Plan (17/0822/SD) from this spring. You may be surprised to find that:

    ” there are good walking and cycling routes to Westcombe Park Rail Station,
    Charlton Rail Station, North Greenwich Underground Station and to bus stops within the site and on Woolwich Road”

    Other than moving the cycle parking further from the entrance that it used to be for Sainsburys, I can’t see they are doing anything specific at all in this plan.

    There will though be the Section 106 contribution: ” to promote sustainable mode of travel to and from the store. This will include improvements to walking and cycling routes in the local area, helping to improve the connections and the
    direct permeability of the site further. ” Who knows where and how this will be spent.

    One wonders how many executives involved, from Ikea, Vectos, Quod and RBG’s Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise & Skills would like to take their kids cycling to/from Charlton station?

  5. Chris Nash

    The whole retail park area is practically a no-go for pedestrians, and it essentially cuts off the North Greenwich peninsula from the rest of the borough if you don’t own a car or use public transport.

  6. Virginia

    I am over 60 years of age and use public transport. I was disappointed when they removed the “temporary ” bus stop between Wickes and Makro. I use the 486 bus (to Charlton village) and when I shop in M & S and Sainsbury’s, have to carry my shopping either back to the Wickes bus stop or Makro bus stop. Obviously no thought for pedestrian shoppers when they removed it.😡

    • JR

      Hear hear, the ghost of the ‘bus stop’ was visible on the road for some time but now it’s a fair old walk from the bus stop to the shops. ‘If you don’t have a car then don’t bother’ seems to be the attitude of Greenwich Council.

  7. Deb

    What happened to the original Brocklebank businesses, in the end?

    • JR

      I don’t have the answer but I’d love to know, particularly as more riverfront businesses are up for the chop – from the Go Kart circuit to the Ropery Business Park (by the Anchor & Hope/Bugsbys Way roundabout). We have blandishments about how they’ll be moved but what has happened in practice?

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