Charlton's next retail park nears opening – will things improve for pedestrians?

It’s about six months behind schedule but it won’t take much to complete Charlton’s next retail park bringing four large stores alongside 450 additional car parking spaces.


Traffic congestion is a known issue in the area, and this development has understandably slipped under the radar compared with Ikea, the Silvertown tunnel, large new schools and 28,000 planned homes in the vicinity at Charlton Riverside and Greenwich Peninsula. But it will generate traffic with popular stores such as Aldi, Primark, Next and Mothercare.

When in the area last week it was evident that conditions for pedestrians are still pretty dire with no indication of imminent improvement works. Walking from Argos towards the Bugsby’s Way bus stops and new retail park meant walking in the road and car parks for part of the trip.

I contacted someone I know who works for Greenwich Council and asked whether anything was planned to improve paths and crossings and told no. I hope that’s a mistake and works just aren’t in the system yet as the whole environment leaves much to be desired.

Pedestrian desire lines were obvious on routes where no paving is provided to walk on:

Pedestrian desire line evident

People wanting to walk forward from this spot are expected to take the long way round, or more likely they’ll just follow what many people already do and traipse over grass and then jump the barriers or walk in the road.

Over the road and there’s no quick way to bus stops from Wickes. People clearly make their own way with another desire line evident in the grass.

Car is still king here. Greenwich Council have done almost nothing to encourage bus users, pedestrians and cyclists and make life easier for them. Despite new builds bringing in much cash through “planning gain”, aka money from developers to the council for infrastructure improvements, there’s no sign of any changes.

The location of crossings is not particularly convenient and the whole environment is run-down, poorly sign-posted and not particularly legible on foot. Most things – paving, signage etc – seem encased in dust and grime.

So much money is coming in from local developments and so little apparently being spent on improving walking and cycling conditions.

And this is despite much money being spent drawing up things such as a “Green Strategy”, which was implemented last year. And is seems a bit of a joke to have plans for a “Low Emission Neighbourhood” in west Greenwich and the Peninsula, also announced last year, when the most basic things aren’t being done in many parts of the local area to make walking and cycling appealing.

Greenwich Council’s website states that the Low Emission Neighbourhood, funded by TfL, will be:

“focused on improving air quality in the Greenwich West and Peninsula wards. It will use a mixture of ‘smart technology’ and tried-and-tested techniques to reduce transport emissions and make the area a more people-friendly neighbourhood.”

All sounds very nice. The reality for most of the area is much different. People on foot and bikes face a very difficult link between the Peninsula and Greenwich, as do those heading to and using the expanding retail parks. So far little has been done there despite a decade’s worth of money coming in from developers which should’ve improved the situation.




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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

6 thoughts on “Charlton's next retail park nears opening – will things improve for pedestrians?

  • Walking to the retails parks over there is so, so grim. The journey from the Woolwich Road Flyover via Horn Lane is embarrassing with litter and dirt at every turn. I never seem to be off fix my street these days…..

  • I often drive to this area to shop with my family. Ideally I would leave the car in one of the car parks and walk, but the poor/non existent pathways for pedestrians mean that we drive to get to retail outlets that should be a 5 minute walk with a clear direct walkway. I don’t feel good about having to do that, but it beats walking through car parks dodging cars and traipsing across muddy pathways with young children and a buggy in tow. Come on Greenwich Council, sort this out!

  • I would have liked to have seen a ‘lay by’ type area for buses to pull in as part of the new development. Too often I am stuck behind buses at the present stop. The pedestrian seems to have been omitted from the plans as its a disorganised and badly planned mess to walk between the shops on either side of the road.

  • I cycle to the shops here reasonably regularly, and it’s pretty terrible – huge roads with dodgy and bumpy cycle tracks that are increasingly shut due to construction, not to mention the air pollution and noise from all the speeding cars. And now Greenwich council is getting rid of the dedicated bus lanes, which will make the bus option even slower.

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  • Greenwich Council really do need to look at improving pavements and crossings for Pedestrians along Bugsby Way by the retail parks to make this road safer, Cars really do speed along this road.


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