Why aren’t Southeastern advertising Westcombe Park station’s proximity to Ikea?

Firstly, can we ignore the myth that everyone will drive to the new Greenwich Ikea. A ton of people will – and the roads could well become gridlock – but that doesn’t mean a sizable number of people won’t walk or take public transport.

We know from studies of other London Ikeas that large numbers do use public transport to reach stores – and those were in areas of lower density and population.

Large numbers of developments in vicinity seen from roof terrace – Greenwich Square Stage 2, River Gardens blocks 4 and 5, Peninsula new builds and more.

We also know Ikea is not like furniture stores such as B&Q – and attracts many people who have no intention of large furniture purchases. It has a “lifestyle” attraction though marketing and diversified stores offerings such as food and very cheap homeware.

And then we have car ownership in London falling off a cliff amongst younger people.

Across the UK, the number of 17-20 year olds with a driving license between 1992 and 1994 with was 48% and 75% of 21 to 29 year olds.

By 2014, 48% had dropped to 29% of 17 to 20 year olds and 75% had reduced to 63% of 21 to 29 year olds. It’s even less in London.

Take the train…or not

With that in mind, and knowing rail is a popular method of transport in cities, why is Southeastern so poor at advertising the new Ikea very close to its Greenwich line?

Courtesy Google

It has not tweeted once to it’s 228k followers that the Ikea is five to ten minutes from Westcombe Park station.

Some people from Plumstead, or Erith would take a train in 15 minutes to the store (and others) if advertised well.

And it’s so much closer than the Jubilee Line.

Now I walked the route between the station and store and know it’s far from good. But many will be unaware and would likely give it a go.

Not a great walk

Perhaps it’s for the best given how poor the walk is, though if the rail operator pressured Greenwich Council maybe things would have happened. But in the franchise system, where contracts are extended by weeks or months regularly, why would they?

Where’s the legibility

And if/when improvements do occur will the franchised operator promote it?

I’ve always found it interesting how private franchises are so often poor at advertising attractions. One argument for privatisation was an apparent commercial nous which often seems absent.


For a flagship “sustainable” store it can often seem everyone is conspiring to make Ikea unsustainable on a wider level.

TfL are cutting bus route frequencies serving the store. Greenwich Council have not installed even the full, yet modest, number of road crossings planned before opening or done very much to improve pedestrian links and Southeastern do not promote the nearby rail line and store.

You’d think someone would have liaised on this given the very high profile and controversial nature of the scheme. It’s been known about for many years.

So, in the car then?

Adverts are far from enough to cover site costs and my rent.

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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.

11 thoughts on “Why aren’t Southeastern advertising Westcombe Park station’s proximity to Ikea?

  • Why would Southeastern promote the store – that’s for Ikea…the safer route to use would be Charlton to Ikea in any case which also makes it easier to use the bus.

    If Ikea really want people on the Greenwich line to know about how to get there via a Southeastern train, they can simply do what others do and that’s pay for promotional media…

    You’ll also find that all the transport improvements needed for the store to operate have been implemented. That would have formed part of the permission

    • It hasn’t been completed. RBG now say completion in summer. My last post covered what has not been done. On the other point – I’m not talking about promoting the store from Ikeas perspective but Southeastern. They’re very poor at attracting people to off-peak rail and various attractions they serve. Promoting Ikea would raise more revenue for them but the broken franchise model often doesn’t make it worthwhile.

      • What hasn’t been implemented are elements of the transport plan etc that are subject to review and analysis in order to ascertain what the actual impact is. The travel plan also places the responsibility of promoting sustainable transport on Ikea.

        Anyone would have thought that this would have formed part of the planning conditions imposed prior to opening:
        • Improved signage, to include Legible London Signage;
        • Improve surface quality along route;
        • Public realm improvements under the A102 flyover and at the approach to the station;
        • Improvements to cover both Peartree Way/Combedale Road route and A102 footbridge

        That’s a RBG oversight… nothing to do with SouthEastern or Ikea.

        If they were bothered about sustainable transport – Ikea and RBG should have ensured the viewing days last week were monitored and encouraged sustainable transport – instead it was mainly car based users and at the end of the day even they acknowledge (inc TfL and RBG) that approx 60-70% of journeys will be by private vehicles… What they should have done is enforce a parking charge (yes I know unpopular).

  • Some valid points raised about Westcombe Park Station, especially the frankly horrific walk to the new Ikea site. It’s also true that many Greenwich IKEA customers are likely to use foot as well as public transport. Those using North Greenwich station and local buses are going to be in for a very rude awakening over the coming weeks. As a regular commuter from Charlton to North Greenwich, I can definitely foresee carnage on these routes.

    Even the loading bays in the IKEA carpark are adjacent to the bus stop – the proximity is poorly conceived, so the ‘blue bag’ mayhem will no doubt cause consternation among regular commuters, especially at rush hour. Imagine the delight of 02 concert goers when they meet IKEA patrons head-on in a scramble for Jubilee line standing space!

    But IKEA will carry on bleating about ‘sustainability’ and ‘customer experiences’ because they know the tills will be ringing. Expect record levels of footfall and thousands of billy bookcases loaded into Volvos this weekend. Or the 161 bus. Or maybe a South Eastern train?

    Let battle commence.

  • Not the best time to close the turning from Woolwich Road into Gallions Road for a few days either. Traffic for M&S and Sainsbury’s can only approach from an already overcrowded Bugsby’s Way.

  • Southeastern don’t want anyone trying to get a double mattress home on the 18.24 to Slade Green.

    • Ha, ha.

      I always explore the transport options of anywhere I intend to visit and I am sure IKEA will feature the station in ‘how to get there’.

  • Southeastern + IKEA = peak From The Murky Depths

  • At one stage the width of the Q was ten persons going as far back to the Oden.

  • The Greenwich line being closed because of engineering works (something which wasn’t apparent when the opening date was confirmed) on the first Sunday might have something to do with it.


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