Murky Depths

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Greenwich, Greenwich borough

Why are Greenwich Council advertising Ikea events?

Here’s an odd one. Greenwich Council’s website is being used to advertise Ikea over the Christmas season.

At first I thought it must be due to some sort of public service element – such as recycling or related to charity – but having clicked through it appears not. Click here to see it in full. Here’s a screengrab of part of the page:

It’s basically an advert – and one featured on the homepage. The authority also know outlets like the News Shopper often simply reprint this stuff word for word, getting the advert even further exposure for Ikea.

Income?

One obvious question is are the authority getting advertising revenue for this? If not why are they promoting them?

In an age of pressed funding, adverts on council websites have been adopted in other parts of London – though this is put up as a local event story.

Ikea opened earlier in 2019

The council have been staunch supporters of an Ikea for years. The company opened earlier this year in Greenwich and has long been controversial for a bunch of reasons. It’s not that many people didn’t want a new shiny shop, but the use of a giant retail shed located in inner London during a severe housing crises was very odd planning in the 2010s.

Greenwich have missed housing targets for years – and failing to adopt mixed-use development at large out-of-town style retail sites increases the likelihood of subsequent building on parks and other areas against local wishes.

Tower is being appealed

There’s two appeals ongoing right now for developments elsewhere in the borough where complaints of over-development are made from many local people. Those appeals, and others down the line, are more likely to succeed due to the council not adopting sites like Ikea for mixed-use housing and retail.

Another controversy was induced traffic. A number of “sustainable” initiatives were adopted. Some were dropped within months such as usage of pedal cycles for deliveries.

Ikea community garden neglected months after opening

Some have stated that traffic is no worse now than before Ikea opening. Well, much of Greenwich is clogged each day. To be fair it was hardly great before, but it’s a cumulative impact. Things didn’t fall apart overnight.

Walk from local station to Ikea is still abysmal for pedestrians. Little has been improved

If you have a local road network with little resilience, such as Greenwich, a large new shop inducing traffic – and with very poor public realm for those on foot – is going to bring many cars to the area. It may be fine some of the time, but when something goes wrong the impact is heightened.

Trafalgar Road is slow moving most of all day, every day

It’s a drip, drip, drip effect as various buildings, homes and shops open with no real plan. Silvertown isn’t it as that is due to bring 30 per cent more traffic.

Awards

Ikea sponsored the Greenwich Council’s Business Awards in 2019 which offered a meal overlooking the Thames at the Intercontinental hotel in Greenwich.

The list of sponsors is interesting. The potential conflict of interest is obvious. Many sponsors are large developers with interests in the borough. The leading sponsor – not pictured – is U+I. They are developers behind Morden Wharf (having sat on the site for at least six years in a housing crises) and plan developments at other sites such as Charlton.

Morden Wharf plans

And why the council’s struggling GLL leisure centre operator is a sponsor is unknown. Since taking over Bromley libraries, strikes are ongoing due to pay and conditions being cut.

Courtesy Greenwich Council. Picture from 2019 awards ceremony

But back to the original point, just why is a local authority putting up an advert for a multi-national company on its homepage? Why not a local business?

UPDATE: I’ve received a few comments to say Ikea have been gaining free advertising in other ways including in the council’s Greenwich Info paper. I had a look and saw this:

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. David N

    Also, I noticed in GreenwichBinfo, the piece about our Christmas events (spark-taculars) in Thamesmead & Woolwich says “Look out for IKEA giveaways at both events.”

  2. Graham

    I am guessing it pays to advertise.!! But I doubt very much indeed that local residents will benefit from any schemes when Greenwich Council uses their websites and vehicles to advertise events in the Borough.

    Which is a shame as many areas and homes are in urgent need of upgrading.

    • Ashley

      Totally agree 100% with Graham.

      What formidable change or differences will benefit residents of this borough?

      Minimal I expect.

      We should be promoting the greatness and wellbeing of this Royal Borough.
      But the Realm is in dire need of investment, Poor outdated design and lack of maintenance left in disrepair.

      These are their main priorities, which are overlooked continuously by this failing administration.

      These would be my priority. But what would I know.

  3. Graham

    Ashley you know a dam sight more than the current failing administration on Greenwich Council.

    As a Royal Borough the administration should be proud of our Borough and our heritage and be doing everything in their power to improve the public realm, open spaces and our buildings many of which are left to fall in to disrepair. Including many of their own older housing stock and buildings. But to me sadly they seem to be neglecting many of the areas that need improvements.

    • Ashley

      Cheers mate, its unbelievable for a Royal Borough with no drive for investing and delivering essential improvements and Renewal upgrades to our Public Realm, Safety, roads, open spaces and their housing stock. All Allowed to fall into disrepair.

      Labour have been in power for too long, a shake up is desperately needed. A change of leadership, Party and yes not Labour with their neglectful ways because they feel they can go on winning.

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