Ikea plans giant advertising tower to loom over Charlton and Greenwich

Ikea visualisation
Next exit: Ikea-town

Ikea wants to build a 48-metre (157ft) high tower at its new store in east Greenwich, which is due to open next year.

The Swedish furniture giant wants its titanic totem to advertise the location of its controversial outlet to drivers approaching on the nearby A102.

But even the visualisations it has submitted to council planners show it will loom over the surrounding neighbourhoods, with the mattresses-to-meatballs retailer’s presence being inescapable for thousands of locals.

Ikea visualisation
“Are we there yet?”

The store was given the go-ahead by Greenwich councillors four years ago at a stormy planning meeting, with residents complaining that the surrounding road network would not be able to cope with the huge demand set to be unleashed by the flat-pack furniture firm.

Since then, the firm has sponsored a “sustainability” prize at a business awards run by the council, while councillors joined Ikea executives at a ceremony to mark the start of building work on the site, with deputy leader Danny Thorpe praising the company for “working directly with local community groups”.

Blackwall Lane
View from Blackwall Lane, Greenwich (the Ikea totem is actually above a traffic light)

However, Ikea’s latest plans look set to be a headache for councillors – particularly at election time – with even a visualisation at the bottom of Blackwall Lane, half a mile from the store, showing the retailer’s yellow and blue logo dominating the view.

Signage from the Bugsby Way retail parks has caused upset for local groups for decades – the geography of the area means residents up the hill in Blackheath or Charlton can find retailers’ logos suddenly popping up to disrupt their views across London.

Three years ago, Sainsbury’s illegally installed an illuminated sign despite having planning permission refused, while there have been some complaints about the lighting from Primark’s new store.

To have your say on the totem, visit Greenwich Council’s planning search and look for reference 18/0718/A.

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