From The Murky Depths

Housing and Development in London

Charlton, Greenwich

Ikea construction in Greenwich underway: A look at the site

Building work on the new Ikea in Greenwich is now well underway. Much equipment and staff are on site before an expected opening date later this year.

The 33,000 square metre store will contain all the meatballs you can handle alongside flat packed beds and wardrobes. You know the drill. Ultra cheap breakfast and hot dogs by the check outs. I’m a fan of the store myself.

The design itself is a pretty bog standard box with some pretty bows tied upon it under the guise of being green and “sustainable” credentials.

View from rear of new store where ecology garden once stood

Despite the widely held belief that people only go to Ikea for boxes of flat pack furniture that is taken home in cars, many do visit Ikea for their cheap cafe and low priced smaller items.

Wind turbine from Sainsbury’s the only legacy of groundbreaking 2000 store

That doesn’t mean there wont be a substantial increase in cars in the area however.

There will, yet many will also arrive by public transport such as nearby Westcombe Park station, on bus and foot.




Heavy traffic on Bugsby’s Way before Ikea arrives. This was taken during an off-peak time (early weekday afternoon)

To have half a hope of sustainability they’ll need to be a huge improvement in streets surrounding the site to have more a trickle of people arriving on foot or cycle.

GMV new builds seen over roundabout. Ikea site directly behind. Massive roundabouts. Crossings are very poor

As covered umpteenth times already, it’s currently a bit, well, shit.

Well, not a bit. Massively shit.

Filthy? Check

No cycle lanes? Check

Streets festooned with excessive street furniture preventing quick and direct pedestrian walking? Check

Street furniture broken? Check

Lack of zebra or pelican crossings? Check

Lack of dropped kerbs in suitable locations for wheelchairs and buggies? Check

Ikea site located behind bus. No dropped kerbs on direct route from shops on Bugsbys Way. Some are located a fair distance on the left forcing detours

But Ikea is nine months away. Surely things will happen before?

Well, we’ve thought that before whilst giant retail shed after giant retail shed opened in the area.

Ikea is due to bring in £1.7 million to Greenwich Council for “transport” alone from Section 106 payments, which is cash from developers to local authorities to mitigate and assist with the impact of development.

Hopefully it’s spent a bit more quickly than Sainbury’s in Charlton, which brought in £514,000 for public realm improvements four years ago (still unspent) and £300,000 for transport (spent but not apparently not locally).

The Parcelforce site on Bugsby’s Way also brought in £234,000 from Section 106 in 2015/16. Again, none spent locally on transport or public realm improvements.

And on it goes.

Will it be different this time? All the walking initiatives and cycle classes count for little if streets are this bad.

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EDIT: There’s often talk over who controls what roads on the Peninsula. This map from Greenwich Council shows most are under their control. Red is Greenwich. Blue is TfL.




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11 Comments

  1. Cal

    Its unlikely it will improve anything. Have you ever been to the area surrounding the Ikea in Wembley. Its a very bleak place.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      Yep I’ve been a couple of times. The difference with Greenwich Ikea is that there is much new housing in the vicinity in Greenwich bringing in tens of millions of pounds. Wembley Ikea has very little housing being built within a mile or two.

      There is the housing around Wembley stadium but it’s a fair bit further than say Greenwich Millenium Village is to Ikea. The retail around Wembley stadium isn’t perfect but some of the mixed use schemes offered an insight into how Charlton and Greenwich retail parks should have been developed. Large shops and a shopping mall at street level, housing above with a pedestrianised area popular with families outside.

  2. Jo

    Traffic has certainly increased since Aldi and Primark opened

    Greenwich don’t have one iota about modern, quality street design.

    You walk around here and you take your life in your hands. More people WILL be run over

  3. Matt

    It’s horrendous now, it will be just as (if not more) horrendous after IKEA’s opening.

    There is nothing forthcoming from the council to give even a shred of confidence the surrounding roads will be anything other than hostile polluted motorways. Same old Greenwich Council, nothing changes.

  4. Mary

    I know I keep saying it and you keep saying it’s not true. The only road Greenwich owns is Bugsbys Way. In any case if they have now taken over the other roads on the peninsula the traffic control lights and so on are still TFL and London buses get the most say on everything. It be more realistic to find out exactly what is in the control of what. And what is happening to the wretched and dangerous busway.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      I’ve showed the map before of who controls what roads and will have to dig it out and upload. TfL control the busway and Blackwall alone. Both are crap but the rest is Greenwich. TfL are not averse to improvements. There are innumerable example of street changes on routes with bus routes recently. There’s nothing really stopping Greenwich doing the same if they pushed for it.

      Off the top of my head Newham are doing work in the Royal Docks (adding crossings and reducing large roundabouts) and work like Eltham High Street and Bexleyheath town centre have just seen major work despite large amounts of buses.

  5. John

    The extra traffic from Aldi/Next/Primark/mothercare caused gridlock repeatedly at Christmas. Quite amusing not being able to park in the Sainsburys car park – only to find Sainsburys empty + the cars must be from shoppers in the other new shops.
    I was hoping that the bad A102 junctions would be sorted out with money from Ikea. Like the Woolwich road/A102 round-about and the now very dangerous (because of new schools) A102/Blackwall lane junction, but I guess that wont happen. Its quite obvious that the traffic simulations they did are bogus because the current road layout doesn’t work now, therefore with no changes, when Ikea arrives – its going to be unworkable.

  6. anonymous201486

    @John: that Sainsbury carpark is currently free and unmonitored, although car numberplates do flash up as you enter. If parking on that site becomes a problem, I am sure that time limited measures will be introduced.

    Traffic will always be bad in and around retail parks – ever been to the Purley Way – and given the major obstacle that is the flyover and off ramps at East Greenwich, very little can be done in the way of improvements for pedestrians. I have crossed over on foot from the bottom of Westcombe Hill to the then Sainsbury’s and only found it tedious and not actually dangerous. I would have thought with the coming of a major store such as IKEA, there will be more buses and/or re-routing but if Greenwich Council has a say, we will all either sink or swim.

    • John

      Parking at the Sainsbury’s/M&S car park is monitored and they do send out tickets if you’re there for too long – but you’ve got 4 hours unless it’s a match day.

  7. stiles

    They may have trouble staying in their lane, they may ride up on the kerb or hit the kerb, and they can even have trouble getting off the kerb when it is time to pull out.

  8. DiFi

    I would love to see Greenwich Council do something creative with the piles of Section 106 money they are apparently sat on. The Woolwich Road flyover is particularly grim, and anyone travelling from Westcombe Park station to Ikea will have the joy of walking under it. The area underneath the flyover could be turned into a garden – something to mitigate the fumes from all of the stationery vehicles queuing to get into Ikea… Sounds implausible, but it has been done elsewhere.

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