Ikea planning application

Furniture giant Ikea claims its proposed Greenwich store would improve air quality in the local area, according to documents sent to Greenwich Council.

But its detailed figures show any improvement would be “negligible”, while pollution would actually get slightly worse at Greenwich Millennium Village.

It says its plans to encourage traffic to use travel to the store via Blackwall Lane and Bugsbys Way, rather than coming off the A102 at Woolwich Road, would help cut pollution around the notorious junction.

The company claims the store will not result in any extra traffic heading to the site, which is due to be vacated by Sainsbury’s and Matalan in 2015 – it actually claims “there will be a slight reduction in traffic generation compared with the previous use of the site”.

Letters were sent to residents who attended November’s consultation event claiming the development would be “beneficial” for air quality. Now it is asking for outline planning permission for the scheme, and residents have two weeks to get their views to Greenwich Council.

Letter sent to local residents

Ikea’s air quality assessment shows the company has not commissioned any air pollution monitoring itself. Instead, it is relying on figures estimated from Greenwich Council monitoring stations and diffusion tubes.

While all local sites will still break European legal limits of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of nitogen dioxide, Ikea’s figures claim a “slight beneficial” effect on areas to the south of the flyover along with a small worsening of quality around the Millennium Village.

Ikea air quality assessment

Ikea’s plans to encourage consumers to use Blackwall Lane and Bugsbys Way to access the store would mean extra traffic passing to the south of Greenwich Millennium Village, as well as the site of a new primary school planned by Greenwich Council. Ikea’s estimate for Southern Way (42.6) is lower than figures recorded by the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign in June 2013 of 50µg/m3.

Ikea’s transport assessment claims there “will be a reduction in vehicle trips during the weekday PM peak as a result of the development proposals, and only a slight increase in vehicle trips on the Saturday peak”.

It adds “a lower level of parking at the Millennium Retail Park will mean that trips generation will be more constrained compared to the existing London stores. This will encourage the uptake of sustainable means of travel”. It predicts 65% of customers will come by car.

It says the Greenwich store will have a smaller catchment area (of 2.17 million people) than its other stores. This roughly runs from the West End to Dagenham and Crayford, and from Orpington to Leytonstone. But other figures included with the application show areas as far out as Canterbury and Ashford, Kent, will be within an hour’s drive of the store.

Ikea says 39.1% of that figure will come from north of the river – a change to existing travel patterns which will put more pressure on the Blackwall Tunnel and the congested A12 through Poplar and Bow. 13.4% of trips would come from “Woolwich Road west” – largely via the central Greenwich world heritage site.


The application contains a letter from the Greenwich Society saying it “welcomes the coming of the Ikea store”, although calling for the existing Sainsbury’s store to be retained.

The application can be viewed at Greenwich Council’s planning site by entering reference number 13/3285/O. Comments need to be with Greenwich Council by 11 February.

22 replies on “Ikea claims Greenwich store ‘would improve air quality’”

  1. Hmm… Intuitively I just can’t see the road network being able to cope with the Saturday rush at all. The Purley Way and Lakeside stores have much more room around them for queuing traffic etc but it still causes gridlock most Saturdays. I also don’t see how there not being enough parking can be portrayed as a positive – visitors from outside the area aren’t going to realise this until they arrive and join the queue.

  2. How did they work out the impact significance? Have they done a statistical analysis to see whether any of the changes they report are actually significant over and above the natural variability in readings you will see in data from pollution tubes?

    I would look myself but the document won’t load from RBG’s website.

    I see no reason to say that a change of -0.4 is negligible but a change of -0.5 is slightly beneficial.

  3. The parking situation may not deter first time visitors but would certainly impact on repeat visits and word of mouth will soon carry. Personally I might well prefer a trip to Lakeside where not only is parking abundant but I’ve also got the option of lots of local shopping.

  4. I think the council are snookered. The area needs the jobs and development. Hopefully they can get funding from IKEA or central government to make changes to the road system to cope. Some sort of one-way system may need to be implemented to provide enough capacity and encourage traffic to come off the A102 at Blackwall Lane -> Bugsby Way to approach the store and leave via Peartree Way to get back on the A102.

  5. Saturday is already grim in that area regarding traffic without Ikea and marshaling traffic is a little different from putting up barriers in stores
    Suggesting that a lack of parking is a good thing is beyond contempt, as Omar has said, you only realise that you cannot park once you get there and then drive around the car park until a space is found. Bus drivers are helpful but I think they’d draw the line at getting a flat pack wardrobe on to a bus.
    Should the air quality assessment not show a decrease, what will happen?
    Apparently bus priority measures are planned for Bugsby’s way so this will also lead to more congestion for private vehicles as is already the case at Peartree Way.
    It was however nice to see a nod to GC with the addition of a green roof, we have plenty of flower pots going spare if Ikea needs them – buyer collects …..
    Add to this an expanded Sainsbury’s and an M&S and it’s going to get very messy indeed but I assume
    GC will welcome the business rates equivalent of bums on seats. This is no bad thing in itself but what’s the plan if the infrastructure can’t cope – did I just say if?
    I hope Charlton won’t be playing at home too often.
    Just my opinion.

  6. The parking is hopelessly inadequate, yet they are not adding to it – the current site has 1,017 parking spaces, which includes parking for B&Q and the cinema.

    Para 3.5 states…..
    “The Greenwich Millennium Retail Park and Millennium Leisure Park car park currently has approximately 1017 parking spaces. This includes 46 disabled parking bays and 24 parent and toddler bays. It is not proposed to provide any additional customer parking in relation to the IKEA scheme and therefore the existing parking will continue to be utilised.”

    The Thurrock and Croydon sites are roughly the same size in terms of floor area but have 1500 car parking spaces apiece, but on busy days cannot cope with the number of shoppers. Yet the Greenwich site will have effectively 2/3 the parking, but two other major users – if I was the cinema or B&Q I would be very worried indeed.

  7. I can not understand why The Ikea store is now causing all the concern. The whole idea of building retail parks is to attract business. The car parks can only hold a limited amount of cars. They should strategically place electronic signs to show when the car parks are full. Now talking about Air quality I think its all to late to be shouting about that. We already have a large industrial estate stretching Woolwich Dockyard to Blackwall Tunnel, We have a new Sainsbury’s transport Depot open. A new Sainsbury’s MEGA store on the way. There is also the re opening of Matalan to come to. The entire area will be gird locked. there’s also problems in the tunnel to consider too. GAS MASK anyone !!!

  8. Steve – the green roof is to compensate for the loss of the little nature area at the back – you know how you can go and sit beside the pond, and watch the birds, so instead you will be able to ……………….er …………..

  9. I imagine that during much of the week the area will actually be quieter than right now with Sainsbury’s.
    But at the weekend…..

  10. Seriously, the green roof is supposed to be compensation for the removal of the little nature area?! How are the two equivalent exactly? Why can’t they re-create that area nearby – how about next to the Ecology Park so people can actually enjoy it?

  11. Not convinced by the claim of improved air quality. Each time I have tried to assemble anything from Ikea, a red mist of rage has descended for at least a short period. On occasions, the air in my vicinity has also turned blue.

  12. Parking will be woefully inadequate. The whole traffic in pear tree way on a weekend is abysmal and needs some kind of improved traffic system. I visited matalan on sat afternoon and the parking was awful it took 10 mins to park ! Please revise the parking and the traffic management as we want ikea here

  13. Clearly a pretty serious multi storey car park is needed. It is true that b&q and the cinema will also suffer badly from the overcrowding.

    While at it they should also build one for the o2 (perhaps on the site of the station car park) and stop wasting acres of prime well connected land on flat tarmac parking. This would also allow traffic to be much better managed to one part of the peninsula and mean that it wouldn’t cause the snarl ups that block the buses coming to and from North Greenwich on event nights.

  14. It’s all in the planning, mate. We should be grateful. Somewhere in Kafka Kastle (the Woolwich Centre) there must be an ikeas man . Ooh, sorry! (add this to list, Stu/Katrina, another shocking example of local democratic activity).

  15. A multi-storey car park may solve the parking problems but we don’t (as yet) have a multi-storey road network, and the roads surrounding this site are already at a standstill most days.

    Do those who support this proposal seriously believe that an out-of-town furniture warehouse and multi-storey car park would make the best use of this ‘Zone 2’ Inner London site?

  16. Anyone know what is happening with that plot of land bounded by Bugsby’s Way, PearTree Way, W-Parkside and Commercial Way?
    It looks overgrown and abandoned waste land every time I pass it on the 132 pass from North Greenwich.

    Probably big enough for an IKEA and a multi-storey car-park…

  17. As you well know I’m not suggesting thousands of new spaces, just enough to be realistic for the retail park and to replace 1 for 1 the existing wasteland that is the 4 or 5 current o2 and station car parks. There’s a big difference between reality and the delusion that anything but a tiny percentage of people are ever going to be able to cycle and bus everywhere. While the peninsula has excellent public transport links much of South London doesn’t and people are always going to drive sometimes. Modern cars are so much more efficient than even those from 5 years ago and sustainable living is about so much more than vehicle emissions anyway.

    Also the land in question is for a future phase of gmv which I suspect will be built in not too many years judging by the current rate of construction and sales to random far eastern investors.

  18. I guess this is what happens when you build an out of town shopping area…. in a town.
    It is all for your benefit and turnip production will be at an all time high – rejoice!

  19. Evening all:
    If anyone is planning to write an objection letter about IKEA but isn’t exactly sure what to object to here are a few suggestions below provided to me by Paul Hinkin, of Black Architecture who is campaigning to save the Eco-Sainsbury’s there. (Any mistakes in translation are mine, not his.)

    If you do write or email to the Greenwich Council Planning Office please quote Planning App 13/3285/O. You have until Feb 11th to get an objection letter in, although I hope they will extend that by a bit as their website has had lots of issues recently and was down for 24 hours + on Tuesday.

    It’s probably true to say that the Ikea store is very likely to happen. Greenwich Councillors are unlikely to put quality of life issues for residents above 400 jobs. But it’s also true to say that the more objection letters they get from concerned people, the more concessions they will feel duty bound to get from Ikea regarding parking and pollution etc etc.

    I think it’s worth writing and I’ve just done my own letter.

    Imagine trying to get along the Woolwich Road on a Saturday afternoon when Charlton are playing at home, there’s a big event on at the Dome, AND there’s an Ikea sale.

    This list is not intended to be complete but offers a few pointers that are best expressed in your own words.

    Air Quality
    The area surrounding the site already experiences unacceptable levels of atmospheric pollution. (See other posts on 853.) To place an Ikea here will attract a great deal of additional traffic to the area and creating higher levels of pollution from cars and lorries serving the site

    Parking Provision
    The outline application assumes that there will be no additional parking on the site but this will result in a level of parking significantly lower than IKEA’s other stores once the requirements for the B&Q store and cinema are taken into consideration. The car park on site has 1000 spaces to be shared with the cinema and B&Q. Other Ikeas out of town have 1500 car places and still cannot cope with the demand on a Saturday afternoon. This will result in further pollution as customers have to drive around the car park searching for somewhere to park.

    Sustainable Transportation
    The outline application assumes that 35% of customers will come by public transport but the store is not located near to a station so customers will need to take a bus from the station. The nature of many of IKEA’s products which are bulky will discourage public transport access and the need to use both tube and bus must call into question the high percentage of customers that IKEA claim will shop by public transport.

    Increase in the number of vehicles accessing the site will create noise nuisance for residents living in the area surrounding the store, particularly due to the large numbers of heavy goods vehicles required to service such a large store.

    Scale, Bulk and Mass
    The outline application assumes a two storey store arrangement which is significantly larger in scale compared to the existing buildings. The floorspace of the store will be over six times that of the existing Sainsbury’s store and will result in the destruction of the garden and demonstration reed bed habitat to the rear of the existing building. The bulk and height of the building along with its overly dominant blue and yellow colour scheme will create unacceptable visual intrusion.

    Impact on existing Local High Streets
    The location of a destination retail store of such considerable size in a remote out of town location will draw trade away from existing high streets in the area and create unacceptable impact upon existing retailers.

    The nature of this site and its remoteness from a train or tube station will result in lower levels of public transport access than those claimed in the application documentation and this will lead to additional congestion of the surrounding road network that is already at or above its capacity during peak periods.

    Impact of IKEA’s 2 hour drive to store model
    IKEA assume customers will drive up to two hours to reach their stores. By placing one in this location it will attract customers from along the A102/M2/A2 corridor as far as Dover.

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