Application in for new Charlton Sainsbury’s and M&S

View of Sainsbury's from Gallions Road

Detailed plans were released this week for the proposed Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer stores, set to be located within Charlton’s retail park.

These images form part of developer LXB‘s application to Greenwich Council. A planning board will then decide whether to approve or reject these plans – likely to be some time in June.

View of M&S and coffee shop from Woolwich Road

There’s several elements to this application including an impact assessment on retail in much of south-east London. A thorough report by consultants WYG states that:

“The enhancement of the retail facilities at Bugsby’s Way will not affect Woolwich’s status as a Major Centre, nor its prospects of being re-designated as a Metropolitan centre in the long term.”

Their reasoning behind this are the new developments in Woolwich, such as the Tesco, that WYS believes will regenerate the SE18 area, keeping shoppers from getting into their cars or straying onto a bus and travelling over to Charlton.

Another talking point recently has been the downgrade of the western end of Woolwich Road (from Charlton station to the flyover) and how these new developments will impact on the near 24,000 vehicles that use the road on an average weekday.

An equally in-depth report by transport specialists Vectos makes no mention of this, however. It references the draft supplementary planning document that appeared in January. But doesn’t take into account the changes made for the finalised version that states clearly a wish to downgrade the road.

This website understands the developer LXB have been told by TfL and the council’s highways department that alterations to plans won’t be considered until the road has actually been downgraded.

Meaning, the proposed reshaping of Woolwich Road for deliveries and customer access (including current work being undertaken for the Travelodge) don’t take this downgrade into account.

This agreed Charlton Riverside Masterplan also calls for an upgrade to Charlton station which would surely mean a re-think on the junction next to it.

Would it be outrageous for me to suggest that a coherent plan for Woolwich Road, using a bit of foresight, might save a lot of time, money and upheaval in the future?

Two different diagrams highlighting proposed changes to Woolwich Road

The old retail barns that currently occupy this site lay dormant, aside from the odd illegal rave. Wickes is the last store still operating and is believed to be moving into its new home next to Matalan in the next two weeks.

If approved by the council’s planning board the new Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer would be looking to open before the end of 2014.

Members of the public can comment on these proposals and view all the documents by visiting Greenwich Council’s planning website.

About Matt

SE7 resident, journalism student.
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27 Responses to Application in for new Charlton Sainsbury’s and M&S

  1. Mary says:

    Matt – I hope you don’t mind me reminding you, and your readers, that the three local councillors for Peninsula Ward are always grateful to be kept in touch with resident’s views on this – as with everything else. All these changes in the area are desperately important and we need to know what you think about them.
    Mary

    mary.mills@greenwich.gov.uk, dick.quibell@greenwich.gov.uk, miranda.williams@greenwich.gov.uk

    • Matt says:

      Sure Mary. Sorry if you feel I’ve kept you in the dark with regards to my grumbles. My question to all three ward councillors and anyone who wants to listen would be – what’s happening with Woolwich Road? It seems like the road layout may change dramatically over the next few years with no holistic long-term aim (through no fault of the developers I should add).

  2. therealdecoy says:

    There’s no urgent local need for these supermarkets is there? In fact I’d suggest quite the opposite. It does seem crazy to plan these blocks, especially as they are separated from the rest of the retail park rather than integrated with it, before the future road infastructure has been settled.

  3. Mary says:

    Matt -I wasn’t getting at you. Just making sure your readership was aware we were here. Will do some asking about Woolwich Road – and chase up a few other things too.

  4. IG says:

    Seen as your keen to see feedback on this site, I just posted the below comments to the Greenwich Planning Website:

    I do support the proposal, however I have the following comments:

    I’m a little confused. The comments made as part of the Charlton Masterplan was for rationalisation of the Retail Units within New Chartlon – in order to improve upon the current design. The current design is one of blocks of retail units and the new plans appear to uphold this design. In my opinion it would be far better to make the retail units more pedestrian and public transport friendly. There should at the very least be a through STREET between the current “Peninsular Park” shops of Next, Boots etc allowing access to the new Sainsbury’s/M&S site. The current design of having to walk round the whole shopping parade would surely drive people into their cars to move round the block instead of walking. Also, I would have thought the retail units themselves would prefer a more integrated shopping centre type experience?

    Additionally, it would be preferable to have dedicated pedestrian access routes from the bus stops round the sites into the retail park, rather having people follow the main routes in that the car would take (plans not clear on this).

    Finally, I’m unsure from the over-site pictures (see link: http://onlineplanning.greenwich.gov.uk/acolnet/documents/51322_2.pdf) as to what the retail unit ‘A3 Retail’ and ‘A3 Pod’ would be – they both front the Woolwich Road, so would be key in presenting a better image to the road.

    Many thanks,
    Inde

    • Matt says:

      Think I may be able to answer those questions. From what I understand M&S were intent on having their own delivery access entrance, rather than just using Sainsbury’s. This meant that a pedestrian through-road would either have to cross one of these access routes or divert through the backyards of the existing outlets. This is a health and safety issue I’m told. So the only solution is having pedestrians pushed to the outer roads and cross these access routes on the streets surrounding the park.

      Not sure about the second point, but from what I can tell there are fairly chunky pavements surrounding the units and there should be a few pedestrian walkways so we won’t have to use the same route as the cars.

      A3 Pod is a coffee shop, Which one? Take your pick from the top three franchises I guess.

      A3 Retail are smaller units that would house your more “local” shops. I think it’s undecided as to who will occupy these.

      Hope this helps.

  5. Chris says:

    I fully confess to being somewhat bewildered by all this.

    I just can’t see how the traffic can be managed. People say Bugsby’s Way is a dual carriageway but one lane is effectively blocked by people turning left into Asda/the retail site. Shove all the traffic from the Woolwich Road onto it and it’ll be gridlock.

    Also, where does the traffic that would have used Woolwich Road go? You’re directing it onto the peninsular by making them turn right onto Bugsby’s Way. To get off they would have to go past the crowded Asda junction, left at the roundabout, past the current Sainsburys and then onto the main road again via the awful junctions under the flyover.

    Or is the idea to make such a mess of it they won’t come along the bottom anyway?

    Mary, shove some red light cameras under the flyover and all Greenwich’s financial problems would be solved within a few weeks.

    • Matt says:

      I agree, I don’t think Bugsby’s Way could cope with it if there was a downgrade/ traffic restriction, though I would welcome it (as you may be able to tell). I was hoping some clever boffin would come up with a decent idea. One better than what was originally tried and what we’re now putting up with.

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  7. IG says:

    Thanks for the in-sight Matt. It does help shed more light on the decision making process re, having a pedestrianized through street, but I don’t think it is the right decision for Charlton resdients.

    As I said, I am in favor of M&S and Sainsbury’s moving too the site, however if the current plans are adopted as detailed (with no through-street or dedicated pedestrian access routes from bus stops etc) then the failure would lie with Greenwich council’s failure to articulate and impose their vision from the Charlton Masterplan.

    Masterplan or vision type documents should set the adherence criteria for developers. The Masterplan refers to rationalization of the retail units, and should really go into more details as to how pedestrian access, layout etc should be improved. Unfortunately it would appear that the developers for the Sainsbury’s and M&S site are exploiting this lack of detail in the Masterplan to impose the will of their clients. Tail wagging the dog if you like.

    Greenwich planning should note that the current plans for M&S and Sainsbury’s are discontinuous from the Masterplan for Charlton. Let’s hope they can come up with a better defined vision too – one that we can hold them to account for.

  8. Harry S says:

    Hi,

    My name is Harry Sadleir, and I work for LXB. It is really good to see your feedback on the application here. Having read through the comments, we just wanted to clarify a few points already covered in the application documents.

    Issue 1: The proposals provide a lack of integration with the rest of the retail park area.

    The layout of the site has been designed to improve integration between the retail areas. The wide footpath along Woolwich Road to the south of the site will encourage pedestrian use. The development will help to create a ‘frontage’ that will encourage movement between the retail sites.

    The adjacent Travelodge development (already permitted) helps to open up the site, and dramatically improved connectivity between the Greenwich Shopping Park and Woolwich Road. There will be an almost continuous covered walkway between the application site, along Woolwich Road to the Travelodge site, then continuing along the front of Travelodge to the Greenwich Shopping Park. Improvements to the Bugsby’s Way frontage also encourage pedestrian access from the site to the northern edge of the Greenwich Shopping Park as well as the new Wickes and Matalan redevelopment to the northern side of Bugsby’s Way.

    Issue 2: The development should be more pedestrian and public transport friendly – create a ‘street’ between the SSL/M&S site and the Greenwich Shopping Park

    Due to the arrangement of the Greenwich Shopping Park and the level difference between the two sites, it is not possible to create a safe link between the proposed Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer development to connect it to the Greenwich Shopping Park. We did look at creating a link to the rear of the Greenwich Shopping Park, but due to the location of the service yards, this led to health and safety concerns from the retailers. The proposed layout, with the enclosed service yards, ensures a safe pedestrian route between the two sites.

    Improvements will be made to the Woolwich Road frontage, including an improved footpath, the majority of which will be covered (except at the crossing of the servicing area).

    The three proposed A3 units along Woolwich Road will encourage pedestrians to make the walk from the site to the remainder of the retail area and create an active frontage. Over 50 cycle hoops will be provided at site to encourage cyclists to come into the retail area. This will be further encouraged when the Cycle Super Highway opens along Woolwich Road in 2015.

    Issue 3: There should be dedicated pedestrian access routes from the bus stops round the sites to the retail park

    The proposals include increasing the pedestrian permeability within the site, particularly through the provision of a pedestrian route fronting the Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer stores, connecting directly to Woolwich Road and Bugsby’s Way. This route in turn links with bus stops on both roads which are immediately adjacent to the car park. The signalised junctions proposed at either end of Gallions Road allow pedestrians to cross safely to bus stops on the opposite side of the carriageway

    Issue 4: The plans do not take account of the downgrading of Woolwich Road

    The proposals encourage the downgrading of Woolwich Road by improving the Woolwich Road Streetscape by providing active frontages and improved pedestrian facilities. The improved all movements junction at the junction of Gallions Road and Bugsby’s Way encourages cars to travel northbound out of the site along Bugsby’s Way.

    Issue 5: How will the traffic be managed?

    A significant investment in highway infrastructure is proposed on Bugsby’s Way, including bus priority measures and an all movements junction with Gallions Road. This provides convenient access from the Peninsular to the west and / Charlton and Woolwich to the east for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

    In line with the adopted Charlton Riverside SPD, the proposals enhance pedestrian crossing points on Woolwich Road through the provision of a signalised junction at Woolwich Road / Gallions Road incorporating pedestrian crossings on each arm. This provides new connections between the Development and other retail uses in the Bugsy’s Way area, and with residential areas in Charlton to the south of Woolwich Road

    Issue 6: Compliance with the Masterplan for rationalisation of retail uses

    The adopted Charlton Riverside SPD identifies the opportunity to address the existing issues with the retail area in Charlton through the development of an active frontage along Woolwich Road, with some smaller scale A3 uses and tree planting. In line with the SPD, the proposals include an enhanced frontage to Woolwich Road, with the development of four small A1/A3 units, and a comprehensive hard and soft landscape scheme to Woolwich Road, to encourage active use.

    The SPD also identifies that the retail area should be reconfigured to provide a more permeable block layout. Given the layout of the Greenwich Shopping Park and the Asda/Peninsular Retail Park sites which are out of the applicant’s control, it is not possible to create a fully integrated retail area at this stage. However, the proposals, along with the adjacent Travelodge site, do improve the permeability through the site, and encourage pedestrian traffic between the various sites, as set out in more detail above. This will create a precedent for the other retail schemes in the area to follow when they come up for redevelopment / refurbishment in the future in line with a general ‘Design Code’ for the area.

    As set out at Appendix 2 of the Planning Statement accompanying the Retail Study, although the planning application proposes an additional 1,826 sq. m of retail floorspace at the application site itself, there will in fact be a reduction of 1,059 sq. m when taking account of the wider area, including the Matalan site and the site of the new Wickes store.

    • Simon says:

      Harry – thank you for this helpful statement. As you know, the Charlton Riverside Action Group has already been in considerable discussions with you, and we have welcomed your willingness to engage in debate positively. We are pleased therefore you have agreed to come to our Public Meeting on Wednesday 23 May from 7.30-9.30pm at Charlton Liberal Club (I am hoping I can convince Matt to do a feature on it).

      I have three comments regarding the points you have made at this stage, and hope you can take them on board:

      1. The M&S/Sainsbury’s car park needs a better pedestrian interface. If you look at the way pedestrians access the present Sainsbury’s at North Greenwich you will see that the points pedestrians are “let in” to the car park to access through to the store don’t interface well – and therefore alternative routes, killing the grass and establishing alternative paths, have been adopted. I fear that the same will happen unless you get this right from both Woolwich Road and Bugsby’s Way to the new car park. Another improvement to assist pedestrian flow would be to slant parking spaces. This again will give the impression – in what is already being marketed by you as an “Eco” site – that it is not all about the car!

      2. There are some well established trees that your current plans appear to just tear down, much as you plan to do with the willow tree in the Travelodge Car Park. Out of town retail developments seem to be full of new trees that don’t get tended well and take a while to grow to any degree of greenery. Are you able to review and see which of the current well established trees in the area between the end of the terrace you will demolish and Gallions Road you could incorporate into your scheme? Surely a cafe that appears to be the proposition would benefit from outside seats and established tree shading?

      3. The Gallions Road junction goes against the downgrading plan for Woolwich Road in the Charlton Riverside SPD. Your own documents show it will increase traffic levels on Woolwich Road, and that includes at least a decibel extra of noise pollution for those of us who live on Woolwich Road. Traffic calming is already necessary, and cyclists and pedestrians already live in fear of any encounters with the road – the zebra crossing by Victoria Way is a case in point as you saw when you walked the road with me last year. Clearly the junction of Woolwich Road and Charlton Church Lane is the key one that needs revision? If this was changed significantly then there would be no need for the Gallions Road additional access and all car traffic could be funnelled into Bugsby’s Way. I expect this will form the main subject of our discussions next Wednesday, and many of residents’ objections.

      There also remain issues regarding the Travelodge site – can you get back to me off line regarding my email? Thanks. Simon

  9. Chris says:

    Thanks for posting this Harry. I’ve had a quick skim but it seems to me that we’ve got an awful lot of traffic being crammed onto the peninsular one way or another here. The junction underneath the flyover will have to be altered radically as far as I can see.

  10. IG says:

    Thanks Harry, appreciate the efforts you have gone to in your response here. I have the following comments on the issues raised:

    Issues 1 , 2 & 6:
    Efforts such as a covered walkway, or ‘frontage’ are better than no efforts to encourage integration, but let’s be honest, this isn’t going to stop the majority of people wishing to travel from Sainsbury’s over to the retail shops from driving their cars round the block to the other car park, adding the high-lighted congestion issues on the roads. This isn’t an out of town greenfield development site here, the car should not be king.

    I can see your trying to make the most of the current configuration of the retail park, but you sum up the issue when you say that the layout is “out of the applicant’s control, it is not possible to create a fully integrated retail area at this stage.” In other words, the vision of the masterplan does not state expressly that all the shops in the retail park should be remodeled as part of a single coherent plan. The travelodge site was met approvingly by most on this site, but then we weren’t to know about the Sainsburys/M&S development, the Sainsbury’s/M&S development is restricted by the already approved Travelodge site and I have absolutely no doubt that the developers for the newly modeled Asda (and surrounding units) will use the same excuse. To make matters worse, the Chartlon Masterplan high-lights ALL the retails units, including the Travelodge to part of the Masterplans scope (see map area in the plan). Please can we have the one plan for the whole retail area published at once, we all know the draft documents are out there. This may be more of an issue against Greenwich planning rather than LXB, I’m really not sure, but I am sure that LXB have raised similar concerns. IF this is done, plans for a through road and reconfiguration of loading area etc would be easily achievable.

    Issue 3: Some good proposals here. Could we also get a signal junction for the bottom of Victoria Way?

    Issues 4 & 5
    Not sure how cars will be “encouraged” to go north down Bugsby’s way? I’m a motorist and I would always pick the quickest route to the A2 if I was heading towards the A2. What may of course encourage me to head north along Bugsby’s way is that fact that the Woolwich Rd is snarled up with traffic every Morning, Evening, Weekend and match-day :-)

    Thanks again,
    Inde

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  15. Gabriella Hudson says:

    I hope the scheme gets approved as the Sainsbury’s store in the Pennisular is dated and rather small. I don’t particularly like the one in Woolwich despite it’s modernisation the surly staff put you off going there.

    A larger Sainsbury’s and a larger M and S can only keep more retail spend in the borough as away from Stratford’s Westfield and keep more local shopping local. As for the Woolwich M and S store closing. I think it’s unlikely given it’s a purely outlet store and even Sainsbury’s pay such a low rent and having modernised the store they are still likely to be in their location once the huge Tesco opens.

    This development creates jobs. It will cause traffic problems but may be better bus services and better train services the answer with a shuttle and less parking spaces.

    I hope Caffe Nero take the A3 unit. There are too many awful Starbuck’s in this part of London and even Costa Coffees but no Caffe Nero’s

    • Rejory says:

      I am concerned about the extra traffic with no extra infrastructure but agree about the Caffe Nero!

      • Gabriella says:

        Sadly, I was wrong about the closure of M and S Woolwich. Thinking about it, Greenwich Council are to blame here for approving this scheme without getting an agreement to keep Woolwich open. What’s the betting Eltham M & S goes too.

  16. Charles says:

    I am concerned that more traffic will be using Charlton Church Lane(CCL).

    I am strongly against traffic being diverted into CCL from Woolwich Road.

    I am also opposed to the idea that vehicles be allowed to cross straight over the Woolwich road from CCL.

    Charles

    • Simon says:

      Charles – for clarification: CRAG is not advocating diverting any traffic into CCL from Woolwich Road. Changing the left only to straight on only should make little difference, and I am not advocating other changes to CCL. The overall junction should change though – but basically to direct westbound traffic right to Bugsby’s Way with limited (i.e not two lanes) straight on clearly signposted “Local traffic”. Bus lanes would continue of course. Does that clarify? Think we both have the same objective here … Simon

  17. Sian says:

    I live at the Fossedene School end of Eastcombe Avenue, and having read about these plans (I knew there was something planned, but hadn’t really looked into it), I’m concerned about increased traffic on Eastcombe Avenue. Like Charlton Church Lane and Victoria Way, we’re already a rat run between the Standard and Woolwich Road. Whilst I can tolerate the busyness of the road at the moment, I don’t want it to increase because I have a young family (and a cat!). I understand from neighbours that the Council have been resistant to putting in traffic calming measures before now, which is odd seeing as there’s two primary schools nearby. Have Greenwich Council said anything about how the roads in our area will be affected? I see Charles mentioned Charlton Church Lane as a potential concern…

    • Simon says:

      Sian – I understand your concerns completely, and definitely agree that Eastcombe Avenue would benefit from traffic calming (particularly the middle bit where traffic goes too fast). I think that the bit by you is marginally better as buses turning in and out tend to slow down traffic.

      I firmly believe that without the changes I propose the traffic on Eastcombe Avenue, Victoria Way and indeed Charlton Church Lane will increase. Firmly directly traffic to use the dual carriageway on Bugsby’s Way is the only sensible way forward. I think altering the Charlton Church Lane junction – not to increase traffic into CCL at all by the way Charles – would help. Traffic could be funnelled to the right, and just a single lane firmly marked “local traffic” could go straight on towards the Victoria Way end of Woolwich Road. The other calming measures I have suggested – such as the “lip” by the fire station and a mini roundabout at the end of Victoria Way would also help, and I’d of course happily add cameras for good measure.

      The “lip” option I suggest would probably help on Eastcombe Avenue at some point … these are the elongated up along and down again type humps that would still mean the buses and the traffic that takes the cars to the pound could use the road but would deal with people speeding. I suggest you put some pressure on your local Councillors, and would be happy to join forces between the CRAG campaign around Woolwich Road and your suggestions for Eastcombe Avenue (and also Charles’ desire not to increase traffic on CCL).

      Simon

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