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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    Ikea coming to Greenwich – can we stop it grinding Charlton to a halt?

    Ikea plan
    As you may know already, Ikea has planning permission to build a store on the site of the old “eco” Sainsbury’s in Greenwich – a prospect which has flat-pack furniture fans five miles already reaching for their car keys, and residents who live a mile away groaning.

    Campaigners against the store recently switched to a strategy of damage limitation after being advised that a legal challenge would be unlikely to work, since Transport for London had agreed with Ikea’s claim that the development would not add extra traffic to the area.

    The new Ikea will come on top of a relocated Sainsbury’s plus M&S at Gallions Road, another an expanded retail park close to the river, and a relocated Matalan on Woolwich Road.

    For its part, Ikea has been talking to local residents’ groups, including the Charlton Society and Charlton Central Residents’ Association.

    The Charlton Society says:

    “How can we make the best of this situation? What do we, as neighbours of the proposed store, want to see to prevent Ikea grinding local transport to a halt? What do we think the store should look like? And what part should Ikea play in the local community?

    “The Charlton Society’s planning committee is talking to Ikea about the future. We’d like to hear your ideas. Should the road junction at the Woolwich Road flyover be altered? How can we make it easier for people to have goods delivered? What extra public transport would you like to see? And how can we improve on Ikea’s trademark blue box?”

    Ideas include emulating the new-ish Ikea store in Altona, Hamburg, which is aimed at attracting a 50/50 split between car drivers and those coming on public transport, on bike or by foot.

    Do you have any ideas you can feed into the process? Let the Charlton Society know.