Greenwich Sainsbury's, 14 April 2014

Recognise the green space above? It’s the little eco-garden behind Sainsbury’s in Greenwich, which is due for demolition along with the supermarket if Ikea’s plans to build a store here go ahead.

It’s also going to be where the No Ikea Greenwich Peninsula campaign will be launching with a picnic a week on Saturday (12 noon, 26 April), to fight against the arrival of a store which it’s feared will generate huge weekend traffic jams.

Greenwich Council gave the scheme outline planning permission last month, with planning board members Denise Hyland, Steve Offord, Clive Mardner, chief whip Ray Walker and council leader Chris Roberts ignoring over an hour of public criticism to endorse the proposal, after it was rushed through the planning process.

Campaigners have already sent a blistering open letter to outgoing leader Roberts, branding the site “clearly unsuitable for a standard Ikea store”, adding: “This is not responsible planning; this is planned chaos.”

This would be the first Ikea store in a congested residential area and the only Ikea in a Royal Borough. When Greenwich was granted Royal Borough status in 2012, you visited local primary schools to celebrate, handing out commemorative coins. Only two years later, you cave in to the pressure of an out-of-town furniture retail giant, wilfully disregarding the health of its residents and the impact this development would have on both the Unesco heritage site and the Greenwich Millennium Village.

We will not rest in our efforts to make the public aware of your actions and to use every means possible to put a stop to this outline planning consent going ahead.

The campaign has Facebook page while a a petition to Boris Johnson, who has to ratify Greenwich Council’s controversial decision to give the store outline planning consent, has also been set up.

Roberts announced his intention to not seek re-election as a councillor last Friday, and the council has now gone into purdah ahead of 22 May’s election – essentially, the council must avoid controversial issues and leave those to the political parties fighting he election.

But there’s clearly a rush to get something through planning ahead of Roberts’ departure – a previously-unscheduled planning board meeting has been called for 6 May, just 16 days before the poll.

In 2010, the last planning board meeting was six weeks before the poll, and the gap was five weeks in 2006. With future council policy somewhat uncertain following Roberts’ departure, and a whole load of big schemes being rubber-stamped over recent weeks, it’ll be interesting to see just what’s being rushed through on 6 May.

8.45am update: Boris Johnson’s office has told the protesters he will not intervene to overturn Greenwich Council’s decision to support the planned Ikea store.

22 replies on “Residents launch fight against ‘planned chaos’ of Greenwich Ikea”

  1. “The only Ikea in a Royal Borough…” *rolls eyes*

    I assume it’d be alright if they’d decided to stick it in Lewisham then…?

  2. No, Lakeside is near enough thanks. However, Greenwich Council seem ever so proud of their ‘Royal’ status, so the idea that it’s cheapening it might sway one or two brain cells in the Council chamber. Fight with whatever might work, I guess

  3. Exactly. There’s a serious point here about Greenwich Council and the Mayor of London approving a scheme that will encourage tens of thousands of additional cars to the area, when they’re supposed to be committed to reducing traffic and pollution.

  4. Of course there’s a serious point, so why on earth detract from it by focussing on the fact it’s the only Ikea in a Royal Borough? So what? Who cares? Enough already with the Royal Borough nonsense.

    Greenwich Council and the Mayor clearly don’t give two hoots about increases in traffic, after all this isn’t the only scheme they are backing that will bring traffic misery to the area and beyond.

  5. Given that the Royal Borough has already given the scheme outline approval, I would have thought that the best way to get any kind of a result from this mess would be to now focus on getting the council to attach conditions to the detail that try to mitigate some of the potential effects? It seems pretty clear to me that Ikea is going to happen. Why not make them put in money towards some cycling infrastructure, rebuild an eco park somewhere nearby etc etc as a condition of permission? Pick your battles and all that.

  6. I would expect Greenwich’s decision is ripe for judicial review, but the clock is ticking and they’d need to find a lawyer willing to work for free.

  7. Boris as usual is not interested if it’s not making him or his mates money. He’s quite happy to call in schemes when he wants to, e.g. when he wants more luxury flats that’ll go on sale in Hong Kong or Dubai and that no one round here can afford. He’s just not interested in this one because it’s only a bunch of ordinary (presumably) people asking him for help with trivial things like air pollution, congestion and a small park. And what happened to the Mayor’s Pocket Park thing – no point saying “we created 10 pocket parks” if you destroy 10 existing ones. At least a condition of this plan could be that they rebuild the park nearby. I was there on Sunday and it looked really nice with some beautiful trees and a hedgerow, a real pity to destroy it.

  8. It doesn’t matter anyway as customers won’t be able to park there during the week because commuters from Kent use the car park for free, jump on a bus and get on the tube leaving their cars in the Royal Borough.

    I’m amazed no-one (apart from the commuters) have sussed this.

  9. You don’t ease congestion by restricting trade and targeting businesses, but improving infrastructure. There is congestion because there are too many people – and that includes all you “locals”. You want to live in one of the biggest cities in the world but want a village atmosphere. Time to get real or move.

  10. IKEA are well aware of the issue regarding all day parking commuter parking as this was raised during the consultation. They will put controls on the car park to prevent this once the store opens. What happens to all the cars that park there for free at the moment – they’ll clog up all the surrounding streets without parking controls – mostly Charlton – where that can get on a bus to North Greenwich.

  11. Good points from Clogsilk and Chris. As a “member” of the R’BoG i am in theory looking forward to Ikea being next door, though that said i never go through Purley Way for reasons obvious to anyone who has ever tried to driver through there when its busy. Ikea, yes, bridging the gap (sic), yes.

  12. highest children’s asthma rates in the country along Greenwich bottom road to Woolwich. How’s that for an argument point

  13. The commuters won’t park in Charlton because of the CPZs. The Kent folk disappeared after they were introduced, but they have gradually realised they can park at Sainsbury’s/the Odeon, walk 20 yards and get on a bus to N Greenwich.
    They don’t seem to have the appetite for longer walks/bus journeys.
    The car park is also becoming a lorry and coach rest point. Soon the ‘ancilliary services’ folks will be popping up there…..just imagine!

  14. Chris – not all of Charlton is in a resident permit-controlled CPZ. Our bit of Charlton – the Wyndcliffe Triangle – is free parking. We’re the nearest area of free parking for Westcombe Park station via the foot tunnel, and our streets had some commuter parking before Sainsbury’s became a ‘park and ride’ for North Greenwich. We also get matchday parking here as well. I fully expect to see the commuters return once IKEA take over the site and intend to petition the Council to take this into account when IKEA submit their detailed planning application.

  15. “You want to live in one of the biggest cities in the world but want a village atmosphere. Time to get real or move.” Would love to be able to move, Sven, but can’t afford to, so until then let’s try and make life liveable around here including the basic right of reasonably clean air and being able to move around. I know what you mean, but just because it’s a big city doesn’t mean there can’t be quality of life too.

  16. I appreciate that the level of pollution is something awful and has a very serious impact on health. I feel sorry for the residents affected.
    But the peninsula is going to continue to become more built up with new apartment blocks, hotel, commercial units and this will definitely increase traffic anyway. The IKEA is perhaps the cherry on a very unhealthy cake for the residents.
    The fact remains that the pollution as is needs to be addressed and removing IKEA won’t remove it. Perhaps allowing IKEA in might provide a fillip to get approach roads redesigned etc (naive in the extreme maybe).

  17. Any Great Crested Newts in the pond? – maybe a rare bat or two somewhere else…
    Air quality – well Europe plans to fine the UK £300M, I guess you would have to model the traffic pretty well to prove its going to get worse with the arrival of Ikea.
    Note: Woolwich fly-over already over the legal limit

    If Ikea invested in a road restructuring (there is a lot that can be done in that area) and agreed to close the store if their sales caused a back up on the A102 (which it shouldnt be worried about if their traffic prediction is correct), I am sure it would have more support

  18. An IKEA would not be suitable anywhere within the boundaries of Greater London – especially around Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley boroughs which are so densly populated (bringing traffic problems and air pollution by itself) that building an IKEA will make travel around these areas practically impossible.

  19. Collo- yes. I’m very concerned by the extraordinary proliferation of high rise apartment developments going up everywhere. Not only will this increase the air pollution but there’s no infrastructure to support so many new residents (and their cars) in terms of hospitals, schools and roads.
    As for the Swedish meatballs and fake wood palace, I fear it’s inevitable. As Lakeside is so unpleasant, I can see it being extremely busy, with all that that entails.

  20. at last some sense! Thank you Federica Bargeghini. Other comments in reply to Darryl have be idiotic. Making a stand against further air pollution in Greenwich (& Lewisham & Bexley) is not a naive idea! just sensible and intelligent. The air quality along the river level in Greenwich is of the worse in the UK and has the highest incidents of childhood asthma in the UK. I must assume those with the most naive replies either don’t have children; don’t care that their children’s lungs and airways are being damaged, or they will use oxygen tanks when travelling to and shopping in IKEA

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