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POLL: Greenwich Ikea - a retail boost or a traffic disaster?
A proposed new Ikea in Greenwich will transform the area, providing hundreds of jobs - or it could be a disaster, bringing a vast increase in traffic and pollution to an already congested area. Which side are you on?
The campaign against a Greenwich Ikea went up a gear at the weekend with campaigners holding a protest picnic in a small open space behind the Sainsbury's on Bugsbys Way.
Ikea's plans will see the pioneering Sainsbury's eco-store demolished and moved elsewhere, despite calls for it to be listed.
Sophie Howard, whose 13-year-old daughter Izzy was instrumental in setting up the No Ikea Greenwich group, said: "What was clear was that many local residents knew little about the proposed development and were shocked that Ikea plans to demolish the Sainsbury's building and the beautiful park behind it.
"It is apparent that attempts to inform the community about this development have not succeeded."
The 45-year-old, of Humber Road, Westcombe Park, said: "The site is adjacent to the Blackwall Tunnel approach road and is likely to attract visitors from north and south of the tunnel, as well as Kent.
"The major access roads will pass through the already heavily congested Greenwich town centre and over Blackheath.
"Unbelievably, Ikea claim its store will lead to a reduction in traffic, despite an even larger Sainsbury’s being rebuilt in the same local area."
She went on: "A proposed Ikea in Sidcup was rejected adjacent to the A20 dual carriageway because it was accepted the vast majority of Ikea customers travel by car.
"That argument has fallen on deaf ears in Greenwich."
For more on the campaign, which is appealing the planning decision and has a petition with around 300 signatures, visit the campaign website.
Outline plans for the store were approved by a Greenwich Council planning board in March, with officers saying it will improve the area's competitiveness, while monitoring would minimise the environmental impact.
Deputy property manager for Ikea UK Steve Pettyfer said: "We have actively sought to engage with the Greenwich community and are delighted so many local residents welcome our plans.
"We received approximately 400 representations during the pre-application consultation period, with 68 per cent of people who filled in a questionnaire indicating they fully or broadly supported the proposals.
"We also recognise the concerns that were raised during the consultation process and as a result have updated our plans with a number of new measures, including the establishment of a green wall and roof, and the creation of a £750,000 fund for measures to promote the use of public transport when visiting the Greenwich store.
"An Ikea store on the Greenwich Peninsular will provide up to 400 job opportunities for local people and be the best connected Ikea store to public transport in the UK.
"We plan to recycle as much of the material in the existing building as possible to build the new store and will include technologies to help to minimise its carbon footprint.
"We welcome an ongoing open dialogue with local community groups as we work towards the next phase in the application process."
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