Wilko are to open their new branch in Charlton on Friday 2nd October and replace the current store in Woolwich. It’s a blow for the town to be losing a well known and popular retailer.
The new store will be located beside Lidl which opened earlier this year.
Shops near good transport links in Woolwich town centre have been moving to car-centric retail parks in Charlton for some time.
Marks & Spencer is another store which shifted from a shop on Powis Street to one beside a huge car park:
The existing Wilko site in Woolwich is to become a new leisure centre which will see the Waterfront close.
The new leisure centre is long delayed (it should be nearing completion now if timescales were kept) which has harmed the finances of Greenwich Leisure Limited (who trade as Better). Wilko is a key reason. No one could apparently find a suitable site in Woolwich town centre for some years which held up the project. Wilko have eventually decided to move to Charlton.
I first covered the move back in May this year. It’ll do little to alleviate traffic in Charlton. Street changes are also coming soon which’ll see more vehicles directed towards Bugsby’s Way as the A2 slip road is closed beneath the Woolwich Road flyover. The map below shows routes traffic will take coming from the east:
The retail park and car parks can be very busy particularly around Christmas.
Retail parks in Charlton begun in the 1980s with Asda. The local authority had little say though by the 2000s planning policy had changed though Greenwich continued to actively support stores which harmed Woolwich town centre. This continued in the 2012 masterplan which encouraged retail parks culminating in a flurry of projects in the 2010s.
Whether people without a car who live to the east around Plumstead and Woolwich will travel to Charlton on buses remains to be seen.
It’s unlikely many will cycle as the council hopes. They refuse to answer questions on whether the existing mandatory yet unprotected lane from Woolwich (which sees cars illegally park daily) will see cheap and easy measures such as wands installed. They are unable or unwilling to enforce parking issues.
So another reason for people to the east to head to Bexleyheath town centre – continuing a long trend as one centre thrived and another at Woolwich stagnated?