Goodbye Asda, hello housing? New Greenwich Council consultation offers clues to Charlton Riverside plans

Charlton Asda: This site could be zoned for housing under a Greenwich Council plan

The area around Charlton’s Asda superstore could be earmarked for housing under plans being consulted on by Greenwich Council.

We’re still waiting to hear what the council has up its sleeve for redeveloping Charlton’s riverside – plans to reveal a new Charlton Riverside Masterplan have been postponed until the spring.

But you can find a few clues about what’s going on in the snappily titled Greenwich Local Plan Site Allocations consultation. It’s not being very well publicised, but it’s happening now and will have a bearing on the future development of Charlton and the wider borough of Greenwich.

This is about allocating particular sites in the borough for particular uses. For example, the unbuilt plots at Greenwich Millennium Village are allocated for housing.

Much of the focus is on Charlton’s riverside area – and that includes the possibility of converting much of SE7’s retail space into housing and community uses.

The Asda site, together with the retail parks and industrial premises that surround it, are part of one area suggested for “residential, non-retail commercial/employment uses, community infrastructure including open space, and an area of search for schools”.

“Current uses are out of-town retail, threatening growth of retail development in other centres,” the consultation says – a not-very-subtle way of saying Woolwich’s development as a shopping centre is being throttled by Charlton’s retail parks.

The effect of Charlton’s retail parks on Woolwich has been a running sore with Greenwich Council for decades. Big box retail first came to Charlton in the 1970s when Makro – aimed at business customers – opened on the site of the old greyhound stadium.

In the early 1980s, Greenwich Council originally refused permission for Asda to open its Charlton store, but was overruled by a planning inspector. Local newspapers at the time reported that plans for a new Co-op store, which would have been the centrepiece of a redeveloped Woolwich town centre, would be axed if Asda went ahead. It’s pretty much undeniable that Woolwich entered a long period of decline from about that time.

Since those early days, retail parks have opened across the Charlton riverside area – with the council’s blessing. The latest – an extension to the misleadingly-named Greenwich Shopping Park – is under construction.

It now appears the council is trying to turn back the tide. The plans don’t affect the retail parks’ ability to trade from their existing sites. But expansion or replacement could be more difficult – and selling up for housing could be more lucrative.

Charlton riverside
Charlton’s riverside has changed since this photo was taken, and is set for more changes

There’s a useful interactive map on the Greenwich Council website – here’s the plans as they affect Charlton and immediately adjacent areas.

Charlton Riverside West (Asda, Ramac industrial estate, surrounding retail parks): “Residential and area of search for schools.”

Charlton Riverside North West Industrial (north of Makro): “Industrial uses compatible with PIL (SIL) and area of search for Waste facility to include a Vacuum Waste Collection Centre and a Reuse and Recycling Centre.”

Charlton Riverside Central (Makro, Stone Lake Retail Park, Stones Foundries, Penhall Road) “Residential, small scale retail, employment use. Seconday and primary school area of search. To include bus and cycle east-west route and transport interchange at the south western corner of the site opposite Charlton Church Lane.”

Thames Barrier approach and Eastmoor Street (car breakers’ yards, etc): “Community open space to include playing pitch which could be dedicated for school use, replacing playing pitch north of UTC building if the existing playing pitch is needed for school expansion.” (A neighbouring zone, Charlton Educational, covers Windrush Primary School and the Greenwich University Technical College.)

Land to the south of Thames Barrier: “Safeguarding for Flood Defences, only a use compatible with this is to be considered, such as Community Open Space.”

Harrington Way (area around Second Floor Arts): “Existing historic buildings to be retained and used for B1, offices , creative uses, studios in accordance with IBP designation.”

Westminster Industrial Estate (immediately to east of Thames Barrier site): “Existing historic buildings to be retained and used for B1, offices , creative uses, studios.”

Morris Walk, Maryon Grove estates: “Redevelopment for improved quality and intensification of residential uses” – which looks like this little-publicised 13-storey tower planned for the site of the Albion pub on the Woolwich side of Morris Walk.

Maryon Road estates: “Redevelopment for improved quality.” No tower blocks, then.

40 Victoria Way (the one remaining warehouse from the old Thorn Lighting site): “Housing.” No surprise there.

Angerstein Triangle, Bramshot Avenue: “Light industry/warehousing.”

This last one’s interesting – the Angerstein Triangle is an old railway yard (there’s still a set of steps linking it to Westcombe Park station) that was once proposed as the terminal for what became the Jubilee Line extension. Perhaps this is still sitting in planners’ minds. Charlton Champion reader Stephen Baycroft suggests it “should instead be rezoned into parkland and/or community facilities” to ease the pressure of lorries coming down residential streets.

Finally, both The Valley and the Rectory Field remain zoned as community open space under the proposals.

Naturally for a set of council proposals that directly affect Charlton, none of the roadshows for the scheme are taking place here.

Instead, you can talk to planners at the Greenwich Centre on Saturday 27 February from 2pm-5pm, and at the Woolwich Centre on Thursday 3 March from 4pm-7pm. More details on the Greenwich Council website.

16 thoughts on “Goodbye Asda, hello housing? New Greenwich Council consultation offers clues to Charlton Riverside plans

  1. JR February 18, 2016 / 14:13

    “Current uses are out of-town retail, threatening growth of retail development in other centres” – yet ion the report not one bit of evidence offered that this is true, and that if it is true that the council destroying competition would improve Woolwich. I don’t want to shop in Woolwich, I want to keep shopping in Charlton. It has free parking, a range of shops and none of the traffic problems of Woolwich.

    The council are being dishonest – ‘threatening’ is vague and offers no evidence, they may as well put ‘a man down the pub told us’. In New York the mayor would not allow any change to go through without data. Where is the data from Greenwich?

  2. maryorelse February 18, 2016 / 16:01

    The Angerstein Triangle is of course actually used as the police car pound – and it does have a number of active rail lines running through it which could limit the number if proposals for it. It was ‘refurbished’ by the Greenwich Development Agency in the 1990s.

    • Rejory March 25, 2016 / 08:11

      I often wondered if it was a ‘ghost’ building to allow advertising to be attached to it thereby circumventing some planning rule or other?

  3. maryorelse February 18, 2016 / 19:09

    Murky Depths – I don’t know what the original planning application was for, but as I understand it there was may have been no intention of finishing it. . The Council would not give planning consent for advertising hoardings along the motorway but it is legal to put adverts on your building – so -put up a framework and come up with all sorts of reasons why you can’t proceed and your advert hoardings are all along the motorway. You may be interested to know that there was another one on the other side. When we had the Liveability money it was taken down – Council officers tried to trace who it belonged to. All the advert bookings were done through pyramids of agencies – they could never find where the money was actually going. As far as I am aware there was never any come back from its removal, and when it was taken down it was discovered the source of the power which lit it was the railway. That was on public land which may be why it was easy to remove – I don’t know what the situation is with the one you have photographed, or who actually owns the triangle.

    • Neil C February 18, 2016 / 19:40

      That’s fascinating; I’d always assumed that that structure was intended to be advertising hoardings. It manages to make an unattractive corner even uglier.

      It’s hard to see what can become of the Angerstein Triangle long term, beyond use for something like the car pound (and we periodically hear rumours that it’s going to close – and in fact was advertised for let for a while, though no one from the council seemed to know why that was). Would it work for housing, given the proximity of the A102 and railway lines, and limited access via Bramshot Ave?

  4. junkmale21 February 19, 2016 / 09:05

    I understand that the council is not keen on a new 13 floor block of flats on the site of The Albion because there isn’t enough space, so it looks like that isn’t going to happen. I am in two minds about this as the current use of the Albion as a rather run down and seedy ‘restaurant’ which produces a lot of noise and litter isn’t ideal, especially as it is next to a children’s playground.

    • fromthemurkydepths March 25, 2016 / 19:16

      Well that seems bizarre. There’s enough space, it helps with the housing shortage and there’s about 6 towers of taller height coming in a 500m radius. The design is poor but scale is fine.

  5. Chris February 19, 2016 / 16:59

    I too am in favour of the shopping area.around Asda. It’s been there long enough, provides a lot of employment for locals and — as JR says — is handy for us as well. It would be nice to have something a little more pleasing to the eye, but lets face it, we need grub and we can’t all afford to shop at little organic places in Greenwich. Charlton is never going to be bucolic. I must confess I find the flats on the peninsular as much of an eyesore as the barns are. At least the barns serve a purpose for me.

    • fromthemurkydepths March 25, 2016 / 19:14

      You can have shops of equivalent in size with much housing above, providing a much needed boost given population rises. Many examples, and not only crappy Woolwich tesco. I’m not advocating either/or.

  6. Di February 26, 2016 / 14:12

    I hate the area around Asda. It is a filthy, litter strewn dump and the source of a lot of anti-social behaviour with irritating little g*ts buzzing around on motorbikes and quad bikes for hours on end. A mixture of retail and residential would be preferable. I personally like the flats on the peninsula – at least some of them are architecturally interesting. They also serve a purpose by providing a home for the people living in them…

  7. dimps March 5, 2016 / 12:15

    Where can more information about the bus and cycle east west route be found?

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