It’s been a long while coming, but councillors finally voted last night to back plans to to move Greenwich’s Sainsbury’s to Gallions Road, Charlton, in a new site along with an M&S and other shops.
Greenwich Council’s planning board voted 8-1 in favour of the application, despite concerns about traffic congestion and air pollition on Woolwich Road.
As well as the two superstores, the scheme will provide 850 jobs as well as a “high street” frontage of other stoes in front of the Rose of Denmark pub.
One councillor, Steve Offord, was heckled by members of the public for saying it was “inevitable” that the council would have to accept drivers entering the complex from Woolwich Road. Local campaigners had argued that customers should have to use Bugsbys Way, to tak traffic off the A206.
Council leader Chris Roberts suggested a compromise solution, where a fund of money from the developer should be set aside for traffic improvements after the store had opened, to calm fears of rat-running on Victoria Way and other streets. He also backed calls for a second entrance to Charlton station on Troughton Road, although this is subject to a separate process.
The only dissenting councillor was Kidbrooke with Hornfair Labour representative Hayley Fletcher, who acknowledged the scheme had great promise but was full of “missed opportunities” to promote sustainable transport on the Woolwich Road, dubbing the air quality statistics in the area “frightening”.
(Other councillors referred to the bad air quality on Woolwich Road, despite Greenwich Council’s Labour group voting to launch a campaign to build a third Blackwall Tunnel to add more traffic to the A102 – see petition against it.)
Most speakers were in favour of the development, but many were sharply critical of the lack of measures to control traffic. Developer LXB said it had offered Transport for London money to extend bus route 202 from Blackheath Standard to the store, to compensate people who would usually take the 108 service to the Greenwich store, but TfL insisted the bus network was fine as it is.
Chris Roberts suggested the council should take a tough line with TfL on the issue, adding that existing route 129 was only created thanks to a planning application put in for the Millennium Dome.
To see short summaries of what was said during the meeting, see this Storify round-up. The new store is likely to open in 2015.