Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Charlton, Woolwich

Wilko to open up Charlton store on 2 October as Woolwich closes

Wilko is the latest to open at Millennium Retail Park

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.

Current store is to close

The new store will be located beside Lidl which opened earlier this year.

Lidl Charlton opened in February. Wilko will be next door

Shops near good transport links in Woolwich town centre have been moving to car-centric retail parks in Charlton for some time.

Bugsbys Way can be very poor on foot – no money spent on improving from millions of Section 106

Marks & Spencer is another store which shifted from a shop on Powis Street to one beside a huge car park:

Car park outside Charlton Marks & Spencer

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.

No access soon

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:

Click to enlarge. Traffic for Blackwall will head past retail park entrance

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.

Brocklebank, Sainsburys and Millennium Park expansion all encouraged by 2012 masterplan which did not encourage mixed-use, sustainable development

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.

No mention of cycle lane protection despite ease of installation

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?

16 Comments

  1. Jeremy Nails

    is there a date on the woolwich closure? just thinking clearance…

  2. JR

    Wilko are pretending it’s Greenwich, signs in the windows declare that “Wilko Greenwich” is opening on 2 Oct. Some stores in the Charlton retail park have claimed that it’s because they’re in the borough of Greenwich (like Decathlon I believe).

    But don’t doesn’t make sense here seeing as the Wilko Woolwich store was also in Greenwich borough.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      Haha do they think it sounds better? No one is confusing it for Greenwich. The retail park calls itself Greenwich.

  3. Nick

    Is it any better than using the “new Charlton” google name ?

    • JR

      I just assumed it was the Central Charlton Residents Association who designated New Charlton to let us hoi polloi know we’re not welcome in their group 🙂

  4. Roy

    Wilko are crazy but thats nothing new these days. I go to Wilkos quite a lot in Woolwich but catching a bus then walking to the store in Charlton and carrying the stuff back to a bus stop..hmmm….think there’s a Wilko in Thamesmead which would be easier maybe….Unless you have a car you look at distance and what you have to carry….
    Only good think about the eyesore Tesco building is that the store is in the centre of Woolwich….another example of hollowing out Woolwich which has been going on 30 years

    • Becks

      I have a car and will most definitely not be using the new shop in Charlton. Thamesmead is far easier to drive to. I’ve been stuck in that car park by ASDA far too many times so avoid that whole shopping centre if I can. Knowing there’s an alternative in the opposite direction without a 20 minute queue to leave the car park, why would I bother trying the Charlton branch.

    • The bus stops on Woolwich Road for the retail park are close by and you can walk to and from Wilko’s in less then five minutes.

  5. Steven Norris

    As i have posted before the council are killing woolwich. Building leisure centre is pointless as there wont be any point in going to woolwich as as all the shops will be in charlton an that will be gridlocked. Then it will be queue even more complaints of pollution which will be justified. Why haven’t they got together with Bexley icouncil and Peabody to build a larger shopping centre in Thamesmead as there is a good public transport links with abbeywood, plumstead and the empty bus lanes woulb be worh the cost of putting them in place. So once again Mr Danny Thorpe an your merry bunch of councillors for lack of foresight in running Greenwich borough

  6. Matt w

    Pretty tragic. There’s not much reason to go to Woolwich for shopping as it is. With any luck the success of the Charlton stores will make the area completely gridlocked (as it so most of the time anyway) and shops will move back to Woolwich.

    • Chris L

      The Council were pushing for Wilko to move to the store now occupied by Sports Direct in Hare Street. The lack of car parking beside the shop was the reason they declined. They do sell large items like furniture.

      • fromthemurkydepths

        Thinking of some Wilko’s I’ve used nationwide and many didn’t appear immediately adjacent to car parks. A few mins walk.

        • Chris L

          but how many of those had a bus stop at the door with a no stopping ban for other vehicles? Would you fancy getting large items to the nearest loading bay or car park in that part of Woolwich?

          • fromthemurkydepths

            Branches in Norwich and Bristol to name but two I’ve recently been. Both have bus stops directly outside and no car restrictions

  7. London is different. Car use is discouraged and stopping is an offence.

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