Sainsbury’s and M&S site: Should Woolwich Road be downgraded?

Simon Hall, Charlton resident and the chair of the Charlton Riverside Action Group, sends us this message.

As previously reported, the planning application for a new Sainsbury’s/M&S has been submitted. Considerable debate ensued, and CRAG organised a public meeting attended by the developer – LXB, a number of councillors, and about 25 residents.

It was really good to see such a good attendance, and great that our views were appearing to be heard. However a decision has still not been made.

The application is now likely to come before a planning committee, although to date we do not know when this will be. Many of the objections to the development centred around the fact that the application, as submitted, ran counter to the Masterplan for Charlton Riverside – adopted by the Royal Borough in April this year – which included an ambition to downgrade Woolwich Road between the A102 and Charlton Church Lane.

In order to keep up the debate until the planning committee, an e-petition has been created to gather as many signatures as possible to support our campaign.

Already, we understand, the Royal Borough have initiated further discussions with LXB to look at this specific issue! Please help us keep the pressure up for common sense to prevail. It is CRAG’s contention that by proposing an access point to a 700-space car park for the proposed new Sainsbury’s and M&S from Woolwich Road (as well as Bugsby’s Way) it will increase, not reduce, traffic in that stretch of Woolwich Road, which is meant to be a residential road with buses.

This will have a significant impact on air quality, noise, road traffic accidents and the amenity of local people in Woolwich Road and adjacent residential roads to the south.

The impact on air quality (already poor) should be considered on Woolwich Road, and the council should bear in mind its affect on neighbouring roads (which the supporting documents to the application admit could become “rat runs”) and children attending Fossdene School.

The impact on noise pollution is measured in the supporting documentation to the planning application to at least one decibel (that is 10% more). Surely a strong case to review the junction on the Woolwich Road?

Significant additional traffic will be generated by a Woolwich Road entrance/exit to/from the car park of 700 cars, and much of this will be on Woolwich Road as things are currently configured.

The road currently has no traffic calming measures on it, and is the only road signed by the Council/TfL for eastbound access from the A2/A102 to Charlton Football Club and the Woolwich Ferry, and westbound to the Blackwall Tunnel and Greenwich Town Centre.

This stretch of Woolwich Road is a Road Traffic Accident blackspot. The last fatal accident there was in December 2007.

Allowing cars to go straight ahead from Charlton Church Lane to Anchor & Hope Lane and Bugsby’s Way would make far more sense in terms of access; treating the entrance to Woolwich Road so it is earmarked for access only. Bugsby’s Way can better absorb the additional traffic than Woolwich Road; the junction of Bugsby’s Way and Gallions Road is well planned and the bus lane is to be welcomed, although there will always be an issue with the resilience of the whole road network with “exceptional” events such as the Blackwall tunnel blockage, Charlton Athletic matches, and “only one Woolwich Ferry” in operation.

The Gallions Road/Woolwich Road junction for the new development should be altered. The Council should undertake a review of the entire length of Woolwich Road between the Antigallican and the A102 to come up with a plan – potentially funded from the S106 funding that will be attracted by this application – to downgrade the road and direct through traffic along Bugsby’s Way.

We are keen that as well as disallowing this junction the Royal Borough will also look to consider traffic calming to support its Masterplan aspiration:

(a) A bus friendly road “lip” at the fire station/Hardman Road junction – thus not affecting the operation of the fire station adversely but forcing slower traffic at a bend in the road when it appears to be a regular occurrence that speeding cars veer into the wrong lane, and in the last few years a number of gardens have had their front walls rebuilt due to accidents.

(b) A mini roundabout at the Woolwich Road/Victoria Way junction – incorporating a revised exit for the Travelodge. The developers, LXB, have agreed that this would be within the scope of their plan and would have no objection to this change to their Travelodge scheme. It would be in line with TfL’s “no new traffic lights” objective, and it would also ensure slow down traffic as well as assist local traffic to turn in and out of the Victoria Way junction.

(c) New signage – directing through traffic away from the Woolwich Road and down Bugsby’s Way.

(d) A 20 mph speed limit enforced by traffic cameras and/or “watch your speed” digital signage.

(e) A review of the Charlton Church Lane junction. These traffic calming measures should be considered regardless of the Council’s planning decision in this application, but to not link these explicitly would be to deny the significant affect on traffic that this new M&S/Sainsbury’s will have in an already congested area regardless of any move to direct traffic away from Woolwich Road. As the residential link, it makes more sense to make the vehicular access to the new M&S/Sainsbury’s solely from Bugsby’s Way and to reserve Gallions Road for cyclists and emergency vehicles. This would then enable the Woolwich Road to become more pedestrian friendly, encouraging local residents to walk to the stores and being a friendly way for bus and rail passengers to enter the development. Please help by signing the e-petition (if you haven’t already).

9 thoughts on “Sainsbury’s and M&S site: Should Woolwich Road be downgraded?

  1. Chris June 12, 2012 / 13:06

    I think we’re re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic here.

    It’s going to be a nightmare for traffic whatever happens.

    And whatever you say, this is a place that will not attract many pedestrians. Even those who live within the immediate vicinity won’t go and do a weekly shop and then stagger up Charlton Church Lane with it.

    If you downgrade Woolwich Road, Bugsbys Way will be totally buggered, especially if you reduce its capacity by 50 percent by bunging a bus lane in. As I’ve said before the junction below the Tunnel Approach is hopeless and will be even worse as time progresses.

    I just can’t see a way around this. The new builds/hotel etc will all generate more traffic (remember Sainsburys will be using their new store as a delivery centre for crying out loud) and there’s nowhere for it to go.

  2. therealdecoy June 12, 2012 / 13:50

    I can see a way to deal with this very simply. Leave Sainsbury’s where it is.Then sort the traffic out with time to research it properly. Another common sense suggestion – build housing on the old Wickes site, and keep the industry on the industrial estate. (I am available for consultancy at very reasonable rates.)

  3. Simon June 12, 2012 / 18:28

    I agree with your comments – but we are not starting with a blank sheet. This is about how we can make as much of it as possible a bit better than it will be. I agree that Bugsby’s Way is problematic but at least it is a dual carriageway (with bus yes) and if we have a yellow box with camera on roundabout by Anchor & Hope we could mitigate some of the effects. If applications are thrown out they’ll only end up winning on appeal – like has happened before. Open for any better suggestions we can put to them though!

  4. charles June 16, 2012 / 09:55

    I must say that I strongly disagree that traffic should be encouraged to use Charlton Church Lane.


    • Simon June 16, 2012 / 11:03

      Charles – what I have proposed certainly does not wish to encourage traffic to use Charlton Church Lane. I do think the junction needs review, but not a review that would encourage traffic use. My proposal wants to direct traffic along Bugbsy’s Way and not any other route. Simon

  5. Billy July 3, 2012 / 20:29

    Does anyone know what is happening to Brocklebank ind estate on brocklebank road.

  6. Simon January 8, 2013 / 23:01

    Crunch time now on this application! The Council have a special planning meeting to consider the M&S/Sainsbury’s application TOMORROW (9 January) at the Town Hall in Woolwich, 6.30pm. If you can turn up please do so. If you want to speak in advance contact the Council via their website
    where the papers are also listed. You have to email Jasmine Kassim in advance to speak (her email is on the link above).

  7. adam August 24, 2013 / 18:30

    Ikea are also likely to set up shop too, whether we like it or not. A co-ordinated transport and highways strategy is essential together with measures to mitigate pollution, effective control of parking on residential roads nearby, etc is a must. I suggest this is taken up with Greenwich council before Charlton becomes a blighted no go zone.

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