Whoever decides on new store openings for Sainsbury’s may well have recently moved to south east London given just how many are opening up shortly. There’s shops planned for Abbey Wood, Charlton, Woolwich and Lewisham. Firstly, we have the large superstore at Abbey Wood, as part of Cross Quarter. I’ve had emails in the past inquiring whether I had any information on how to apply for jobs. It looks like Sainsbury’s have now started advertising both for both here and their large Charlton store (more on that in a bit). Click here and search for either town to see the jobs available.

sainsbury's abbey wood 2

sainsburys abbey woodPhotos courtesy of Brian Barnett. 

Both Abbey Wood and Charlton superstores are due to open by the end of July. At Abbey Wood gold, perforated metal cladding featuring images of trees have been applied, referencing the woods up the road. I’m not entirely sure about it in pics and will have to see in person. Car parking is below the shop. Temporary traffic lights have led to long queues. A permanent crossing will appear when work is finished. Add in thousands of new homes planned to be built around here, plus shoppers arriving by car, and it could become very busy requiring work in future. The road is the main route from Thamesmead to Abbey Wood station.

The controversial block of flats can be seen behind in the top photo, but unfortunately there is no housing above the store. This will be seen as a big mistake pretty soon, being two minutes from the Crossrail station. Paving outside looks pretty narrow and I see no sign of the segregated cycle shown in renders when in planning. I hope post-approval alterations didn’t removed it, and given the green light by the planning department.

Charlton’s branch is also a superstore but has huge car parking beside the shop instead of below. I’ve wrote about what a huge waste of land this is, located just five minutes walk from Charlton station, and should have included a residential element. Greenwich council’s masterplan for the area predated the store by a couple of years and specified retail only. The additional traffic is sure to place more strain on the road network, with many other retail barns also opening soon nearby.

Charlton Sainsbury's superstore with M&S beside
Charlton Sainsbury’s superstore with M&S beside

DSCF0029The cladding here is timbre rather than metal paneling and looks better to my eye. Unfortunately once again, there appears to be no separate cycle lane outside. A painted strip is it.

London must do much better than this, with major developments that have very long road frontages adopting lanes outside where at all possible. With such a huge site footprint this should be easily attainable, and on-foot entrances designed in such a way to avoid conflict. At it’s western end, the store meets two Victorian hold-outs quite incongruously.

woolwich sainsburysOther stores opening in future are at Woolwich and Lewisham. The shop at Woolwich will be below a recently completed block of flats on the Arsenal site, beside the Crossrail station and facing Plumstead Road.

Given the large population and housing increases in Woolwich it’s quite possible they retain the existing store and both will co-exist. This whole stretch lacks a cycle lane forcing cyclists to dice with cars and buses pulling into and out of stops.

No cycle lane again despite more than enough space

The Lewisham branch will be at Barratts’ ‘Renaissance’ development on Loampit Vale. The store will be located below the many new flats built here. Again, the added population should allow existing stores to continue trading alongside. Whilst I’m glad to see supermarkets opening in high density housing developments, as opposed to sprawling out-of-town sites incongruously placed near inner London such as Charlton, the lack of cycle lanes pop up again at this development, despite ample space on wide pavements to provide them. A stubborn refusal to build segregated lanes across London (with limited high profile schemes often the only exception) will prevent many giving cycling a go and instead onto overcrowded trains. Uncomfortable they may be, but not as dangerous and off-putting as many roads in London.

Opposite Sainsbury’s a new Asda will also be opening on the ground floor of ‘Thurston Central’ – a 406 flat development now almost complete externally. This was originally penned in as a B&Q but falling sales have led to store cut-backs. The same thing has also afflicted many supermarket groups, at least for larger stores, but the two large stores at Abbey Wood and Charlton seem to have scrapped through just before the change in policy.