Aldi to take on former Toys 'R Us store in Bell Green [Planning Approved]




I’m opposed to this, unsurprisingly, just as I was opposed to it being located right next door where the Gas Holder sit, because it’s going to create more traffic and pollution which the area cannot handle atm. I feel a supermarket will create a lot more journeys than Toys R Us.

I presume there will be a planning application for change of use? Can’t really see how they could pass it if they refused the other application based on traffic and pollution.

Has anyone seen TFL’s recent school air quality audit? Haseltine schoolchildren get to play in the traffic fumes (particularly the reception children, who are even more vulnerable). Lovely. :expressionless:

Quite like to see a Hobbycraft or something instead (although demolishing the unit and planting trees would probably be a better use of the land).


Planning document DC/18/108701.


I would be in favour of an Aldi store opening and really hope it gets the green light, its a retail park so I would be surprised if the traffic would stop this given that this was a Retail unit before and is not an additional unit.


Me too and it may make Sainsbury’s up their game.


Yeah. Sod the kids.


Let’s keep the debate friendly please


Not everyone is driving there, I always walk down to get my shopping and so do others


No issues with this application as it’s already using an existing retail unit that would otherwise go empty. It’ll also save Lower Sydenham’s cost conscious from going to Sydenham or Catford to get their cheap food.


On what basis will it increase traffic and NO2 in an existing retail park with good access off of the public highway? I don’t want to get into whether this is wrong or right but you have to look at everything in the round - not knee jerk. It could reduce traffic and fumes?.. Some shopping habits may be shopping at Sainsbury’s/ Waitrose or ‘one the others’ and then a shop at either Lidl or Aldi for essentials… Having an Aldi next to Sainsbury, therefore, could reduce the traffic in the local area if this were the case?

Crux of it is we all need to get out of our cars - start walking and cycling. We all need to stop buying plastic bottles and food encased in plastic that ends up in the ocean, we all need to eat more local, in season, produce… and so on…


Public transport as I’ve mentioned before needs improving to Bell Green. A 3 bus per hour connection to Forest Hill is a joke, while the 202 avoids the retail park.


A lot of buses actually do go to the retail area. E.g. the 194. So it should be possible to catch another bus, if you get off the 202.


The point is we shouldn’t have to take two buses to get to the retail park. Perry Vale has had a dire bus service to FH ever since the 194 was cut back to Bell Green.


Don’t quite understand your point. Would you prefer to leave the site derelict? Or maybe have it used by an organisation that no one wants to visit? Surely there is a finite number of customers for supermarkets so it doesn’t really matter if they visit Sainsbury’s or Aldi. What would your solution be, bearing in mind that a cash-strapped borough like Lewisham can not afford to waste chances to earn revue.


Opposing a change of use doesn’t mean you want the site to remain vacant, although that would no doubt contribute positively towards reducing the pollution in the nearby primary school playground, which breaches safe levels. If you read my first post, I said I would prefer a Hobbycraft or something, so hardly opposing any use of the site…

A change of use requires planning approval and allows me the right to comment, which I have done and my opinion is that an Aldi will likely generate more traffic than a shop the site is approved for. This is because the nature of their business, which realistically means most people arriving by car in order to carry heavy shopping home. I also believe that a reasonably large Aldi, with plenty of parking, will result in more journeys from out of the immediate area, because they are not as common as Sainsburys and offer cheap food. So they will tempt in shoppers from further afield.
They opened one by a junction south of Penge a few years ago and there were queues to get in, with traffic unable to get through the junction until they belatedly placed a yellow box outside the entrance. That’s what I imagine we have to look forward to.

Frankly, the area needs redevelopment. The Gyratory needs to be closed on the southern part and turned to one way on the northern part. The bridge on Southend Lane needs to be changed so double deckers can get through and widened to remove the bottle neck which creates lots of stationary traffic. We need more trees and vegetation to keep the pollution back from the surrounding pavements and playgrounds. Then we can talk about opening up the area so that everyone in a 10 mile radius can get some cheap food.

Same story with the first application for the gasholder site. Aldi = lots of journeys. An office space would create far less. In both examples the site is being utilised. But some folks can’t see anything other than what’s on offer or nothing at all.

To be perfectly honest, the whole site should be demolished and replace with a mixed use housing development, as we are seeing in other areas. In my humble opinion.


It’s not going to reduce traffic and fumes in the area is it?

Crux of it is, the playground at Haseltine school breaches safe levels for NOx. Children are being poisoned.

A supermarket naturally generates more journeys than non food retail (in most cases). One of the reasons a change of use is required.


toys r us will have been a1 use class, the same as Aldi. Opposing on a change of use will be futile because it’s strictly not a change of use.


The planning application is a change of use “Change of Use of the vacant ‘Toys R Us’ (A1 Use Class Non-Food) to an Aldi (A1 Use Class Food)”
At present the site does not have permission for “Use Class Food”
So it is certainly not a foregone conclusion that A1 food would be allowed (in fact it was specifically limited by a judicial review when planning permission was granted). Whether this decision will be ‘under-ruled’ by the council after a number of years could be interesting to watch, but I would suggest that given the previous restrictions it might be better decided by the planning inspectorate, which has Secretary of State authority, and would be better to over-rule a previous judicial decision.


I agree with some of your points, especially about the railway bridge in Southend Lane, although I’m not sure how the problem could be solved without causing massive disruption for several months, not only for local residents but for everyone on the route attemptiing to reach central London by train. I believe that to compare the traffic problems at Bell Green with those suffered by the Aldi at Penge is disingenuous, however. The shop at Penge is at the junction of two major roads while Bell Green is on an industrial estate which can be accessed from two directions so I cannot see similar problems occurring. There are, of course, also two Aldi stores nearby, at Catford and Penge as well as four Lidls, so, again, I think you are exaggerating any traffic problems that might be caused and would suggest that Aldi’s aim would be to pinch customers from Sainsbury’s which, according to other posts on this site is going downhill fast. I know nothing about Hobbycraft stores, but my neighbour described them as ‘rip-offs for middle-class people with more money than sense, too much time on their hands and too lazy to visit local shops which sell the same goods at cheaper prices.’ If it does indeed come down to a choice between this and a place where you can buy reasonably-priced food in a cash-strapped area, it sounds like a no-brainer. Your suggestion that the whole site be redeveloped for housing is a lovely idea but do you suggest would pay for it? Incidentally, having lived in the area for half a century, I feel I should say that the standard of public transport has never been better, with at lease half a dozen bus routes passing through Bell Green serving almost every part of Lewisham.


The Aldi is never going to generate the same level of traffic as Sainsbury’s next door. If anything, it’ll encourage Sainsbury’s customers to shop in both stores.