When I was in the States on holiday a while ago I remember chuckling as I saw large 4x4s passing through drive-thru coffee shops. Even drive-thru banks with ATMs. Silly Americans. So lazy.
Well a few years on and the average car size in London has increased to pretty much American size with many 4x4s and SUVs now on the streets mainly due to cheap leasing deals. This is part of the consumer borrowing splurge that has hit the UK again over the past five years, but I digress.
And now we have drive-thru coffee shops also appearing. And one in Blackheath (EDIT: It’s in Greenwich. I was mistaken given the site is named Blackheath Retail Park. I should’ve learned when Charlton’s retail parks are renamed as Greenwich).
I’ve been expecting retail parks such as this to be redeveloped given the location and land value. Wickes operate on a few sites in Greenwich borough that must be worth a mint if converted to housing. They’ve been doing it in other parts of London.
A few of these sites were expected to make it into an updated Greenwich Local Plan, which determines the kind of development that occurs on specific sites to guide future plans. Like many planning and housing issues it seems to have disappeared into the ether.
So who knows how long the Costa has. But it’s an interesting phenomena given on one hand there’s talk of the need for far more housing, going green and improving health, yet on the other hand retail parks are still being approved and opened and some of the lazier elements of American life are crossing over, even in inner London.
The planning reference is 17/3679/F