B&Q Greenwich store could go in plan for 1,400 homes on Ikea car park

London Square render
The scheme would see housing built above Ikea’s car park

East Greenwich’s B&Q store could be replaced by a major new housing development on the site of the current Ikea store car park.

Developer London Square has opened a consultation into its plans for the Millennium Retail Park, which would see Ikea and the Odeon cinema remain, but the 20-year-old DIY warehouse disappear.

Up to 1,400 homes could be built in a proposal that would link Greenwich Millennium Village and existing communities in east Greenwich after nearly a quarter of a century. Details are sketchy, but London Square promises to “transform the existing site and create a new neighbourhood that will deliver new homes, cafés, shops and new pedestrian-friendly spaces, including a new public square at the heart of the site”.

Most buildings would be around seven or eight storeys, but some could be up to 20 storeys tall. Car parking for Ikea and the Odeon would be below the development, potentially on the ground floor. The development site does not include the Sainsbury’s petrol station left over from when the supermarket moved to Gallions Road in 2015.

Ikea car park
The site is currently a 1,000-space car park

“We are working to agree a temporary parking solution with Ikea for the construction period,” the developer says. Work on the scheme could begin in spring 2023.

Nearly a quarter of the homes – 24.5 per cent – would be for London Affordable Rent, about half market rent, with 10.5 per cent being for shared ownership. Like most major new developments in the area, it would be car-free, with residents banned from obtaining parking permits.

B&Q Greenwich
B&Q last spring: the DIY chain’s lease is running out

The developer plans a “green shield” to protect the development from the adjacent A102, which is likely to be also carrying Silvertown Tunnel traffic when the development is finished. It says it will “comprise a mix of trees, planting, a living wall and building massing adjoining the Blackwall Tunnel approach, that will protect the site to the north from the pollution and noise created by this busy route”.

“The development will serve as an ecological bridge between the suburban gardens of Westcombe Park and the green spaces within the Greenwich Millennium Village Ecological Park,” the developer adds in the consultation.

A similar principle is used nearby where blocks in Greenwich Millennium Village are designed to shield residents from the aggregate works at Angerstein Wharf.

The site has been a retail park since 1999, when Sainsbury’s opened its ill-fated “eco-store” on the site, with the cinema and other retail following after that. Ikea replaced Sainsbury’s two years ago. Before the site became a retail park, it served as a sports club for the nearby gasworks, before the Metrogas club moved to Avery Hill in 1989.

Two months ago, Greenwich councillors approved detailed plans for the final phase of Greenwich Millennium Village, backing plans for 489 homes on a site across Bugsby’s Way from B&Q and Ikea.

London Square render
The developers promise new retail space in the scheme

The scheme could potentially form a template for redeveloping the Charlton retail parks to the east of the site. None are currently in line for development, although a recent council planning document suggested the Makro site off Anchor and Hope Lane “should accommodate a mix of small and medium sized commercial, retail, leisure and community uses and flexible SME space”.

London Square is currently redeveloping the old Greenwich police station site on Burney Street into 59 homes. Its other developments include the former Crosse and Blackwell factory in Bermondsey and the old Royal Star and Garter Home in Richmond.

The consultation is open at mrpgreenwich.co.uk, with virtual events taking place at 6pm on Thursday 25 and Monday 29 March.


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Westcombe Hill low-traffic neighbourhood: We’ll be watching effects in Charlton, council says

Eastcombe Avenue
Residents in Eastcombe Avenue regularly complain of rat-running traffic

Greenwich Council says it will monitor the effects of closing Westcombe Hill to through traffic on neighbouring streets in Charlton and take action if necessary.

The council is consulting on plans to stop through traffic running down Maze Hill, Vanbrugh Hill, Halstow Road and Westcombe Hill in response to persistent jams in residential roads in east Greenwich and Blackheath. Buses, emergency vehicles, walkers and cyclists will be able to use the roads as normal.

Maze Hill has been particularly badly hit since the upsurge in traffic following the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as similar traffic measures in west Greenwich and in Greenwich Park. Westcombe Hill is often used as an alternative to the six-lane motorway-standard A102, which runs alongside it.

Similar schemes across London – aimed at tackling a long-term increase in motor traffic in London, much of it borne by residential roads; as well as to make it safer for people to walk and cycle when public transport is restricted – have proved highly controversial, with often bitter campaigns for and against them. The west Greenwich scheme, which saw streets around Royal Hill and Hyde Vale blocked with planters, saw competing petitions both for and against the scheme and misleading claims that the ambulance service had objected. Two opposing campaigns have sprung up in Greenwich: Greener Maze Hill and Greenwich Gone Too Far.

Westcombe Hill
A camera will be placed on Westcombe Hill to restrict traffic

This scheme will see cameras put in place on Maze Hill, Vanbrugh Hill and Westcombe Hill; planters will be installed on Halstow Road. One option mentioned on an online consultation is to make the measures only operate in the rush hour, with free access at other times.

While most schemes are clearly aimed at making back streets safer, many drivers will consider the three roads with cameras as main roads – particularly Westcombe Hill, which older motorists will remember as the main route to the Blackwall Tunnel until the late 1960s and is served by four bus routes.

Responses to the council’s proposals on its consultation website have been overwhelmingly hostile, although it is unclear how many respondents live within the affected area and how many are drivers from outside who object to the upheaval of taking a different route. In the Blackheath Westcombe ward which makes up the south of the area, 36 per cent of residents do not have a car – a figure that rises to 48.8 per cent in Peninsula ward to the north, which suffers the most from congestion.

One risk of the Maze Hill and Westcombe Park scheme is that traffic will simply move to another rat-run – Eastcombe Avenue and Victoria Way, which are already blighted by traffic heading to and from the Charlton retail parks. TfL analysis given to councils last summer indicated that Charlton and the western part of Woolwich was the area of Greenwich borough most suited to hosting a low-traffic neighbourhood.

Victoria Way
This rat-run via Victoria Way is unaffected by the new scheme

There are no formal plans at present to deal with the rat-running in Charlton, but the council’s cabinet member for environment, sustainability and transport, Sizwe James, said the new scheme was “just the start”.

Asked if the council had contingency plans in place if that happened, the cabinet member for environment, sustainability and transport, Sizwe James, said: “During the experimental period we would assess any impact on surrounding areas including the Eastcombe Avenue and Victoria Way routes. Schemes can be improved, and additional measures put in to reduce traffic on other residential streets.

“Due to funding arrangements, we cannot work on all areas at once, but we have got more proposals in the pipeline for other areas which we will be consulting on soon. This is just the start.”

He said the consultation was for “initial proposals” and added: “Any measures would be implemented as an experimental scheme with a full consultation forming part of this process.”

Westcombe Hill
Westcombe Hill is paralleled by the six-lane A102

“Our proposals are based on traffic analysis and concerns about increasing traffic raised by local residents. We’re collecting residents’ views on traffic levels in recent years, whether levels have increased and how residents have been affected,” he said.

“If we don’t act now traffic will only continue to get worse. It has already doubled over the last decade in London and in our borough alone between 2014 and 2019 the number of miles driven on our roads increased by one hundred and thirty million.

“People who choose to drive through residential areas are disproportionately affecting everyone’s quality of life – due to air and noise pollution, speeding and illegal parking.

“The proposals would not stop anyone from using their car if they want or have to, but would direct vehicles on to the main roads that were designed to carry them in the first place.

“Why should the health of our residents and in particular our children be at the mercy of drivers who do not even live in the borough taking short-cuts through residential areas because that’s what their mobile sat-navs told them to do. It may even make people question what their first choice of transport is if they feel safer walking, cycling or wheeling because their streets are no longer dominated by heavy traffic.

“If we want to reduce the amount of people with heart disease, osteoarthritis and cancers caused by inactive lifestyles or asthma and respiratory diseases caused by car exhausts then we have to be brave and we have to begin somewhere. The gases from these vehicles are causing a third of all our emissions too – making the planet warmer and directly contributing to climate change.”

A consultation is open at greenersafergreenwich.commonplace.is.


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TfL ‘monitoring’ effects of widened bus lanes through Charlton

Woolwich Road
Transport for London says the widened lane improves safety for cyclists

Transport for London says it is monitoring the effects of widened bus lanes between Charlton and Woolwich after over 2,000 people signed a petition calling for them to be removed.

The lanes have been widened between Anchor and Hope Lane and the Woolwich Ferry to assist buses and improve safety for cyclists, cutting the ordinary traffic lanes down to one in each direction.

In January TfL consulted on plans to build a segregated cycleway between Charlton and Woolwich, which would have had a similar effect, but after the coronavirus pandemic the route between Greenwich and Charlton was prioritised instead. Eventually TfL hopes there will be a continuous cycle route between Tower Bridge and Woolwich.

Bus lanes were widened as an interim measure – and introduced to Woolwich Church Street for the first time – to speed up services and to add some extra safety for cyclists. However, they have been blamed for increased congestion on Woolwich Road and Woolwich Church Street.

A petition created three weeks ago by Gagandeep Singh says there are “vehicles queuing up all day and evening”. By Thursday evening it had gained 2,359 names. One signatory claims it took them 90 minutes to travel between Woolwich and Charlton; another said: “It’s impossible to get out of the roundabout at Warspite Rd. Traffic jams are terrible all day long.”

While there has been a huge jump in traffic since the end of the first coronavirus lockdown, there has been congestion where drivers attempt to filter from two lanes to one at the junction with Anchor and Hope Lane. While the wider bus lanes – which replace narrow cycle lanes on Woolwich Road – allow cyclists to overtake buses at stops, they are not continuous. This means riders still have to take their chances with HGVs and other fast-moving traffic at roundabouts – despite the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on the route.

Woolwich Road
Two lanes merge into one at Anchor and Hope Lane

A Transport for London spokesperson told The Charlton Champion the widened lane had been introduced as part of its Streetspace programme “to create more space for people to safely walk and cycle”.

He added: “The bus lanes push general traffic and HGVs further away from cyclists; making this corridor a much more pleasant and less intimidating route, and provide a link from Woolwich into the Cycleway that is currently being built between Greenwich town centre and charlton. These lanes are an interim measure while we work on the permanent scheme that was consulted on earlier in 2020, and which would provide a two way segregated cycle lane taking people from Woolwich all the way into Greenwich, and eventually into central London.

“Bus lanes protect buses from congestion and ensure journey times and intervals between buses are more reliable. Bus lanes will help guard against a damaging car-led recovery by improving bus journey times and safety for Londoners making journeys by public transport and the increasing proportion travelling by bike.

“Changes made as part of the Streetspace programme are being introduced on a temporary basis under temporary traffic orders, and will be monitored after implementation to ensure they deliver the expected benefits. Monitoring along the A206 corridor will include reviewing cycle flows, perception of safety, collision rates, general traffic flows and bus journey times.”

Woolwich Road
The widened lanes do not run across junctions

He continued: “We are reviewing the operation of the bus lanes with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and the data we are collecting is helping to inform these ongoing discussions. Where appropriate, adjustments to the scheme will be made if they aren’t performing how we expected. The new measures will be in place for up to 18 months, after which the monitoring strategy will form a key part of discussions between TfL and the council as to whether the scheme should be removed or made permanent.”


CYCLEWAY 4 PROGRESS

Woolwich Ferry to Anchor and Hope Lane, Charlton: Bus lanes as interim measure, funding for cycle route not yet certain

Anchor and Hope Lane to Farmdale Road, Greenwich: Work yet to start

Farmdale Road to Old Woolwich Road: Due to open early December

Old Woolwich Road to Old Royal Naval College: Uses existing routes

Old Royal Naval College to Norway Street, Greenwich: Awaiting funding application

Norway Street to Rotherhithe Tunnel: TfL in discussions with local councils, plans due in coming months

Rotherhithe Tunnel to Tower Bridge Road: Complete


Work is continuing on the cycleway between Old Woolwich Road and Farmdale Road, which will see a safer crossing put in place for riders at the Angerstein roundabout. It is due to open in early December – about two months later than planned.

The TfL spokesperson said: “This is later than originally anticipated for a number of reasons, including delays in our supply chain for temporary materials, issues with ducting identified when on site and a recent design change to Vanburgh Hill bus stops to assist bus operations.

“We are currently finalising plans for the section of cycleway between Charlton and Anchor and Hope Lane and will announce our proposals and construction timescales shortly.”

A small section of Cycleway 4 is already open between Tower Bridge and Rotherhithe Tunnel; TfL said this week that plans for the section through Deptford would be announced “in the coming months”.


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