Bad sports – tell Decathlon its new store is in Charlton, not Greenwich

Charlton Decathlon
We could have been writing about Decathlon’s opening day offers instead

Europe’s top sports store, Decathlon, is preparing to open a new store in Charlton next month. But it doesn’t want to shout about it.

If you’re a keen runner or cyclist, or have ever picked up football training gear, you’ll probably know about the chain, whose only other outlet in south-east London is in Rotherhithe.

It sells quality sports equipment at low prices. You might have seen its Btwin bikes around the place, or its Kipsta training gear. (And you can buy Ritter Sports at the checkout too.)

Now the French-based chain is preparing to move into the former Next store in the Bugsby’s Way retail parks.

Which is great news for Charlton. But it would be even better if Decathlon could actually admit that its store is in Charlton.

Yes, it’s that same old story. Decathlon is currently billing the store as being in “Greenwich”. Not with an SE7 postcode, buster.

Sign our petition and tell Decathlon to call its store “Charlton”.

Homesense Charlton
Nope.

We’re used to second-rate retail shed chains and other imposters claiming to be in the posher place down the road. Which is why you won’t read about Homesense on this site.

There’s even “Starbucks Greenwich” on Woolwich Road, two miles down the road from the actual Starbucks Greenwich.

But we thought better of Decathlon.

Please sign our petition, and tell Decathlon they can do better than this.

Decathlon website
Maybe the Portsmouth one’s actually in Southampton

Charlton means sport, after all. From Charlton Athletic to the muddy pitches of Charlton Park, Charlton Lido to the skate park and cricket hub, Hornfair Park’s BMX hub to Charlton Park rugby club, there are few names in south London with a bigger sporting tradition.

And loads of people who will buy football, swimming, skating, biking, rugby and cricket gear because they identify with Charlton. Think of the marketing opportunities for Decathlon.

Greenwich, meanwhile, means the same old tourist stuff. Outside SE10, it’s an empty boast.

Shame, really, because other stores are proud to be in Charlton. Asda has never pretended to be anywhere else in over 30 years. Its newer neighbour Sainsbury’s proudly boasts of being in Charlton Riverside. And look at Primark’s store boss when he opened for business last year

It’s a small thing, but one that grates. And when we asked Decathlon why it was naming its new store “Greenwich”, it didn’t respond. So let’s do something about it.

Please sign our petition, and let Decathlon’s management know that we’re proud to be in Charlton – and they should be too.

We’ve done this before – heading off a plan to rename Charlton Lido as “Royal Greenwich Lido” in 2013. Let’s do it again.

  • The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7. Help us by telling us your stories – or buy the author a coffee.
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    Greenwich MP demands ‘leadership’ on air quality after Charlton study reveals illegal pollution

    Woolwich Road
    The busy Woolwich Road runs past Windrush Primary School

    Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook says “leadership” is needed to deal with dangerous levels of air quality in the area after a community study found illegal levels of pollution outside a primary school.

    The study from the Valley Hill Hub group, conducted in October 2017 and released last week, shows nitrogen dioxide pollution of 70.2 microgrammes per cubic metre outside Windrush Primary School on Woolwich Road – well above the legal limit of 40µg/m3.

    Official levels are recorded over 12 months, but the Valley Hill hub study provides a snapshot that is consistent with figures recorded in recent years by campaign and residents groups such as No to Silvertown Tunnel and the Charlton Central Residents Association, as well as Greenwich Council’s own readings.

    The worst level of pollution in the study, which covered an area between The Valley and Little Heath was found at the bus stop at the foot of Charlton Lane (77.5μg/m3), while Charlton Village opposite the White Swan recorded 49.5μg/m3.

    Away from main roads, the roundabout at the Charlton Lane/Thorntree Road junction recorded a not-illegal but still harmful 36.5μg/m3. The lowest level was 22.8μg/m3, recorded in the middle of Maryon Wilson Park.

    The study was funded by Greenwich Council’s ward budget programme after the Valley Hill Hub found that much of its area was not covered by the council’s own air pollution monitoring scheme.

    Volunteers placed tubes on lamp posts and left them up for four weeks before sending them to a lab for analysis.

    ‘Results are extremely concerning’

    Pennycook said: “The results of the Valley Hill Hub monitor project are extremely concerning. They provide yet more evidence of what is beyond doubt a public health crisis.

    “No one is immune from the impact of toxins present in the air we breathe, but air pollution disproportionately affects the most vulnerable among us including young children attending Pound Park Nursery, Thorntree Primary School and Windrush Primary School.

    “We need leadership at all levels if we’re to reduce pollution and improve air quality across London.”

    Woolwich Road
    Pollution is high along the A206, but only a small part of east Greenwich has been made a “low emissions neighbourhood”

    ‘Greater priority needed for traffic reduction’

    The study was conducted with Network for Clean Air, which has worked with other local groups in examining pollution in their own neighbourhoods, as well as No to Silvertown Tunnel in looking at the issue across south-east London.

    Its co-ordinator Andrew Wood said: “The air pollution monitoring done by Valley Hill Hub showed levels of air pollution much higher than the annual permitted legal limit beside Windrush Primary School on the Woolwich Road, and near the limit at Kinveachy Gardens too.

    “The local authority should undertake continuous monitoring at these sites, and action is needed to reduce emissions from buses and traffic. Greater priority is needed for cycling and traffic reduction in the Charlton area.”

    While Greenwich Council has implemented a Low Emissions Neighbourhood along the A206 in a small area of central and east Greenwich – following local campaigns against current plans for the Enderby Wharf cruise liner terminal – little has been done to deal with pollution along the rest of the A206, through Charlton, Woolwich and Plumstead, even though this is also a serious issue.

    Fears of increased traffic

    Furthermore, council-backed plans for the Silvertown Tunnel, the recent expansion of Charlton’s retail parks and the under-construction Greenwich Ikea have heightened fears that pollution will only get worse with more traffic coming through and to the area.

    At a London-wide level, some measures have been taken to clean up the bus fleet – particularly on services running through the congestion charge zone – but the Greenwich, Charlton and Woolwich areas have been overlooked for “clean bus zones“, although they will benefit routes that run through Lewisham and New Cross.

    Charlton will (just) be covered by the expanded Ultra Low Emissions Zone, which will run as far as the South Circular and is currently due to for introduction in October 2021.

    For more on the study, visit the Valley Hill Hub.

  • The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7. Help us by telling us your stories – or buy the author a coffee.
  • 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.

  • The Charlton Champion provides news and information about issues and events in London SE7. Help us by telling us your stories – or buy the author a coffee.
  • Love Charlton Park? Got an idea for it? Come to the Friends of Charlton Park AGM

    Charlton Park
    Before the snow: Remember when you could see the grass in Charlton Park?

    The all-new Friends of Charlton Park have been in touch…

    The first AGM of the new inclusive Friends of Charlton Park will take place on Wednesday 7th March at Charlton House (Old Library) at 8pm.

    All welcome.

    There’s a chance for everyone to join on the night. And we should be hearing from special guest Jackie Smith – Greenwich Council’s cabinet member for parks.

    If you love the park – or have an idea to make it better (Parkrun, anyone?), go along – you’ll be made very welcome.

    Developer Rockwell told to consult community about new Charlton Riverside plan

    Rockwell Charlton Riverside
    What Rockwell says the development’s residential garden areas will look like

    The developer hoping to build the first major housing development on the Charlton Riverside has been told it needs to properly consult the local community before Greenwich Council will decide on its plans.

    Rockwell, which is acting for Channel Islands-based Leopard Guernsey Anchor Propco Ltd, plans to build 771 homes on land behind and next to Atlas Gardens and Derrick Gardens, including five 10-storey blocks.

    But local residents’ groups complained that Rockwell had not consulted them properly on the project – which has changed dramatically from the developer’s original plan to build glass towers on the site.

    Now they have been told by Greenwich Council that Rockwell has been advised to, and has promised to, consult residents on its proposals.

    Led by the Derrick and Atlas Gardens Residents Association, a loose coalition of local organisations has now formed around the proposals, including the Charlton Society, Charlton Central Residents Association and others – with the shock of the Fairview Victoria Way planning decision prompting many to keep a close eye on the Rockwell scheme.

    Charlton Society planning chair Roden Richardson said working together and using social media was proving to be effective.

    “Any number of people are now contacted simultaneously and instantaneously to distribute a given message,” he said.

    “In the case of the latest application that meant all our fellow community stakeholder members and councillors, leading council staff, the Greater London Authority and, of course, our MP, all virtually at the touch of a button. If we handle this kind of thing wisely, it might begin to help a bit to make community and council more like constructive partners than frustrated strangers.”

    In total, 11 new buildings are planned for the site, with space for retail and commercial use alongside Anchor & Hope Lane. 210 car parking spaces are planned. But the developer only wants to provide 5% “affordable” housing on the site, although its application says it is in talks with Greenwich Council about a “growth scenario”.

    Cratus Communications, the lobbying company which has former Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts as its deputy chairman, involved in the project. Former Greenwich chief executive Mary Ney is listed on the Cratus website as an “associate”, while one-time Greenwich Labour borough organiser Michael Stanworth heads up the company’s London lobbying operation.

    Councillors oppose Fairview’s 10-storey Victoria Way development

    40 Victoria Way design
    The plan includes 10-storey blocks next to the railway line (image taken from the original application)

    Three local councillors have submitted objections to developer Fairview’s plans to build 330 new homes and 144 car parking spaces on a warehouse site off Victoria Way.

    Greenwich Council’s main planning committee will meet to decide on the application on Tuesday 9 January, but the plans – which feature two 10-storey blocks, one 9-storey block and three 8-storey blocks – have attracted local opposition due to their height and design.

    Peninsula ward councillor Stephen Brain and Charlton’s Allan MacCarthy and Gary Parker have raised concerns about the proposal, along with the Greenwich Conservation Group, the Charlton Society, and 125 individuals.

    10 members of the public supported the application, some citing the 35% “affordable” housing provision – 23.3% social rent, 11.7% “intermediate”/shared ownership.

    Brain calls the development “out of scale” and complains about loss of light – concerns echoed by residents in Dupree Road and Gurdon Road – while MacCarthy says it is “too large”, “out of keeping with the principally Victorian and other later housing of the area” and will worsen existing congestion, posing particular risks to pupils at Fossdene School.

    40 Victoria Way proposal
    View up Victoria Way taken from the original application

    The Charlton Society has branded it a “monolithic, totally alien imposition” that is “devoid of human scale or any sense of enclosure”, suggesting the smaller next door development as a template to start from.

    Transport for London wants to see most of the parking spaces removed from the scheme, which sits between both Westcombe Park and Charlton stations, while the Greater London Authority has also raised concerns about the high level of car parking spaces.

    40 Victoria Way application

    The level of opposition from councillors marks this out as a particularly sensitive application within Greenwich Council’s ruling Labour group.

    Worth watching will be whether council leader Denise Hyland and deputy leader Danny Thorpe take their places on the planning committee – Greenwich is rare among London boroughs in having the council leader directly involved in these decisions – and whether the relatively high number of homes for social rent have helped seal the deal.

    Consultation for the proposal has been handled by Cratus Communications, whose deputy chairman is former council leader Chris Roberts. In July 2016, Hyland and fellow planning board member Norman Adams joined Roberts on a town twinning trip to Berlin.

    A much more modest development close to Eltham station was rejected by the same committee in September on the grounds of lack of car parking.

    The 9 January meeting will also decide on a 100-bed extension to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on land facing Charlton Cemetery.

    Charlton Primark: Hundreds queue to bag bargains as store opens

    Charlton Primark
    Charlton’s new Primark is open for business

    Hundreds of people turned up on Thursday morning to be among the first to rummage through the racks at Charlton’s new Primark store, which was opened this morning by Charlton Athletic players Johnnie Jackson and Ben Amos, along with club ambassador Keith Peacock.

    The 47,000-square foot store is Primark’s 183rd in the UK and 21st in London. It employs 216 staff (there are still 16 vacancies), with 50 in their first ever jobs. Among their tasks will be looking after 243 mannequins.

    It’s been a huge effort for the retail giant to get the store open – staff only got the keys last Wednesday, and have been busy unpacking 14,000 boxes of stock.

    A little look around before the rush…

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton
    Apparently these tassel ear-rings are Primark’s biggest seller…

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton

    More stats: there are 50 fitting rooms, 20 cash desks, two “recharge” seating areas and a coffee shop. Like we said, it’s a retail giant.

    Proud store boss Sunny Vadhar thanked his staff at the opening…

    See, he says “Charlton”. They say “Charlton”. Unlike some of the other chains in the retail parks, the Primark team know where they are and are proud to be here.

    After a few words from from Primark chief executive Paul Marchant, the outsized scissors came out…

    …and then the moment the crowds were let in. It’s a perfectly choreographed moment. You can see why people who have opened scores of stores in their careers were still looking genuinely excited.

    And they kept coming. 400 people? 500 people? We all lost count.

    So there it is. Primark’s arrival completes the Brocklebank Retail Park, and we’ll have to live with the traffic jams it’ll bring. We’ll deal with all that another time, but for now, we’ve a plush new clothes store on our doorstep that’s given lots of people employment. And one that was kind enough to invite us and show us around, rather than just imposing themselves on the area and pretending their store is in Greenwich.

    So go and have a look. Maybe leave the car at home, though…

    Charlton Primark

    Charlton Primark

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton

    Primark Charlton is open for business from 9am-8pm Mondays to Saturdays, 11am-5pm on Sundays. Thanks to Primark for the invite and the tour.