Watch This Space

Every time I toddle over to Sainsburys underneath the A102M flyover, I am struck by this vast empty space. I find myself thinking surely there must be a use for it. There’s never anything there, bar the odd shopping trolley, clearly making the long, final journey to Shopping Cart Valhalla and some dodgy fried chicken paraphernalia (it struck me the other day – when did the concept of little wooden chip forks come in? I remember thinking they were ‘a bit posh’ when I was a kid…)

There aren’t even any skateboarders – I mean I know that it’s not a big fashion any more, but if you go up to the South Bank there are still dozens of young people in baggy outfits whizzing around with planks on wheels – I’d have expected to see one or two. But then I guess it’s not that exciting as a skatepark, being flat.

I wrack my brains trying to work out what could be done with this space – I mean, I know there’s the obvious ‘fumes’ issue, but cars are much cleaner these days than they’ve ever been.

I confess I voted for the mural off the old district hospital to be installed there as something to look at at least (it ended up at creepy old Glenister Green in the end and, I admit actually works quite well there, adding ghostly figures to the sinister, low-lit gloom at night) but maybe Art is what’s needed under the motorway. I suppose its being totally empty does at least mean that there are no nasty surprises for anyone walking through there late at night. But there must be something that could go on there from time to time?

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26 Comments to “Watch This Space”

  1. Darryl says:

    Some lighting would make it less creepy – such has been done in Lewisham by the railway bridge at Cornhill Gardens.

    Or just some hardy plants – which would have the added attraction of soaking up pollution.

  2. Maybe some bright coloured lights – like the ones under the bridge near Red Cross Way/ the Menier Chocolate Factory. Any plants would have to be damn hardy – it’s dry as a bone down there.

  3. What about a sculpture/memorial to the cyclists killed in Greenwich traffic on roundabouts such as this? That sounds grim but it could be something positive, light and informative! Heck, they could even incorporate a better cycle lane across the space with specific traffic lights for them (like the Maze Hill intersection, Tower Bridge lane crossing and Wapping cycle routes). Dedicate it to Adrianna Skrzypiec, the cyclist killed there last year by a lorry.

  4. Indigo says:

    This is one of the most dangerous roundabouts in London for cyclists – I believe that the London Cycling Campaign advises that here cyclists should dismount and walk around rather than try to negotiate it in the usual way.

    More lights might be good – I certainly would not walk there at night, and I have lived within 100 yards of this for the last 30 years. But lights cost money to install and run, and Greenwich Council is having to implement 40 per cent cuts.

  5. I must say that I DO go through here at night, and although I’m not wild about it, and am glad when it’s over, it doesn’t actually prevent me from crossing the road. I never cycle round that roundabout and if I ever even think about it Adrianna’s orange bike reminds me not to.

  6. Steve says:

    No graffiti?

  7. Dazza says:

    Snap!! Every time The Other Half and I walk over that way we say the same thing. Vast space and yet nothing in it. We are going through our Mid-Life Crisis and have bought some radio controlled cars and keep threatening to take them down there to use the space (how sad would that be to watch two grown and balding men playing with childrens toys?) I hasten to add we bought them 2-3 years ago and still haven’t done it yet, so dignity is still winning….just!!
    Mind you, don’t tell the developers, we’ll get flats slotted in there!!!! LOL

  8. Brilliant Dazza – a radio controlled car event. I’d watch that.

    Or how about a giant Scalextrix – if everyone pooled their track we’d have a monster cicuit!

  9. Dazza says:

    Let’s go the whole hog and get some train track as well……..
    I know, how about a recreation of Greenwich in miniature?
    Nurse, pills please!!!!!!!!

  10. And Steve – no – that’s the weird thing – even the grafitti artists give this place a wide berth. But I love the idea of a giant Scalextrix/ train set there…

  11. Dazza says:

    So, who should we contact first? Council, Highways Agency, Hornby/Scalextric PR Firm, Model Shop?????????
    I feel my second (third, fourth and fifth) childhood squirming around trying to get out……….

  12. Benedict says:

    Dazza…call Legoland….

  13. Dazza says:

    Should we also think about the Car parking, sorry I mean coach loads of visitors? Tea Rooms, Souvenir Shops, public toilets. Who should we talk to to Market this ‘New and exciting’ venture? LOL

  14. Dazza – if you build it, they will come.

  15. Dazza says:

    If we dug out the main roundabout (a la Waterloo Imax) we could have a great subway system to be able to cross the roads and more space for the Visitor and Conference Centre.
    Legoland hung up when I explained where we wanted to put the main exhibition space….Can’t think why……DisneyLand wanted to have the copyright on the site for the Fairy Castle, I told them where to put it!!!

  16. We could have East Greewich’s own answer to the IMAX in the middle – a nice magic lantern show against a large white sheet

  17. Dazza says:

    Our ‘gimmick’ could be the face masks people will have to wear to stop the diesel fumes!!
    ‘Come to the new and exciting visitor venue where you have to wear breathing apparatus’ God, the copy writes itself!!!!

  18. Dazza says:

    By the way Phanty……white sheet? Wouldn’t be white for long!!

  19. Mary says:

    I think one problem is that various bits of it are owned by different agencies – can remember who owns what – legs, top deck, pavement, etc.

  20. Steve says:

    Hold movie nights there?

    Italian Job? Days of Thunder? Bullitt?

  21. Peter says:

    how about a WW2 blitz film show where the audience would have to wear gas masks to watch the showing (that gets round the car fumes) to add some realistic atmosphere.

  22. pacard says:

    I am totally positive about graffiti! that could make a cool space for teens and crews without risk of being harassed by peers or police. A sort of free-graffio area like the very successful and now trendy (hmmmm) Leak Street tunnel under Waterloo Bridge, opened by the likes of Bansky, Bandits, and other famous international stencil artists. I can only see tons of benefits from that, considering that the area of the riverside, previously very pop with the young artists, has been totally given to developers! and nobody would mind the fumes from the paint :)

  23. Nick Martin says:

    Well, you could use it the same way that the old railway arches were used… board it up, add some access doors, and rent out for low-cost storage or workshop space. But of course, the fly in the ointment is that it would also be an ideal target for terrorists, so that’s one little money-spinner knocked on the head !

  24. cerletone says:

    Come to Lansdowne Lane, SE7. There’s plenty of skateboarders using the road as a skateboard park.

  25. Ariel says:

    I’ve always thought it would be a great space for a pop-up dance concert or theatre piece. Give to the artists and they will find a way to make the space (and all it includes; fumes, rubbish, etc.) into something interesting.