Community Turns Out in Force at Super Sewer Meeting

Ann Rosenberg Bell reports from Planning Inspectorate's hearing

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An Open Floor hearing of the Planning Inspectorate, which is looking into Thames Water’s 50,000 page planning application for the Thames Tideway Tunnel, or the super sewer as it is widely known, took place on November 20 in Fulham.

Ann Rosenberg Bell, a member of Stop them Shafting Fulham, a coalition of local campaigning groups, residents’ associations and societies fighting Thames Water's plans to use a site in Carnwath Road on Fulham's riverside as an access point to the tunnel, reports from the meeting:

Despite the fact it was a working day, over 150 members of the South Fulham Community attended the Planning Inspectorate Open Floor meeting at the Worx in Heathman’s Row, Parsons Green. Due to some confusion about the start time of the meeting the Panel decided to formally open the meeting at 10am.

Between 10am and 12 noon, twenty-one speakers , who included parents of young children attending local schools, and retired residents with health issues spoke personally about the adverse impact on their lives if Thames Water went ahead with their plan to put their main drive shaft for the Thames tunnel in Carnwath Road.

Speakers voiced their fears for the health and safety of their families and the elderly vulnerable members of the community.

Many speakers voiced the concern of all residents of the impact of traffic on daily life and commented on the fact that the duration of the engineering work would continue for nearly a decade.

One speaker said that many people with health issues affected by stress would die prematurely and many would end their lives living in severely disrupted area where quality of life had been destroyed.

Business owners said that work would be so badly impacted over the 6-8 years of the engineering works that they would have to move with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

Those present were unanimously in favour of Thames Water returning to their first choice of site in Barn Elms where the impact on residents’ lives would be minimal as there were no residents living within 300 metres of the site which would be screened by trees.

It was one of the biggest attendances at an Open Floor Meeting so far.

Nicholas Botterill, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council spoke at 1pm and emphasised not only the adverse impact on residents, but also the fact that this engineering project could stop the regeneration of South Fulham Riverside and cost the local economy tens of millions of pounds over the decade.

The Planning Inspectorate said that anyone who was unable to stay long enough to speak, or was unable to attend, could make their views known at another Open Floor hearing on Saturday 23 November at The Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1 3EE. Registration is 9am – 9.30am when the hearing starts.

Your submission can also be sent by email to ThamesTunnel@infrastructure.gsi.gov.uk quoting reference: WW010001.

November 22, 2013