|Super Sewer Construction Site Could Be in Fulham|
Thames Water's shock U-turn over tunnel construction site
Thames Water has made a bombshell announcement that land on Fulham's riverside is a "newly-identified contender" to be a major construction site for the Thames Tunnel.
And it is inviting local people concerned about its new proposals to attend special drop-in sessions at Hurlingham and Chelsea Secondary School on April 6 and 7 from 4pm – 8pm, where its project team will be available to answer questions and take note of any issues raised.
The "new option" consists of two adjacent empty plots south of Carnwath Road, Whiffin Wharf and Hurlingham Wharf, plus Carnwath Business Park.
Thames Water is proposing to build the Thames Tunnel, widely referred to as the super sewer, to reduce the level of untreated sewage currently overflowing from Victorian sewers into the river. The tunnel will run for approximately 20 miles through London, and up to 75 metres beneath the River Thames.
The project, says Thames Water, will require a number of large shaft sites at points along the river to allow construction of the tunnel. It had previously earmarked playing fields at Barn Elms on the south side of the Thames as its preferred site in West London, but now appears to have done a U-turn after massive protests by angry residents of Barnes and Putney.
Thames Water says the three adjacent plots of land in Fulham "could now be viable as an alternative to the construction proposed for Barn Elms Playing Fields, which we presented during our phase one public consultation (13 September 2010 – 14 January 2011). This follows a review of all potential sites and our tunnelling strategy. We are also listening to feedback received to date. "
The announcement continues: " Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Unlike Barn Elms Playing Fields, Carnwath Road Riverside is brownfield, not greenfield, and is already designated for regeneration and/or industrial use. It is not important for recreation, would not require any tree felling and is not Metropolitan Open Land.
" The site’s existing jetty, combined with the greater width of the river at this point, would also allow us to use fewer, larger barges to remove soil excavated during construction of the main tunnel and bring in materials.
" On the other hand, more residents and businesses would be directly affected at Carnwath Road Riverside than at Barn Elms Playing Fields. We are also aware that using Carnwath Road Riverside for the construction period would potentially be in conflict with Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s own plans to regenerate the area."
Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which has consistently campaigned against construction of the Thames Tunnel, has reacted angrily to the news, saying it is putting new homes and jobs at risk.
Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, H&F Council Leader, says: " Residents in South Fulham will be shocked that Thames Water are even considering using these prime riverside locations that are set to create thousands of new homes and jobs for local people.
" Millions of pounds worth of inward investment would be lost if Thames Water pushes ahead with this plan and the disruption and noise nuisance will be a major blight to the area for at-least eight years.
" We will fight Thames Water all the way on this as the massive entry compound can only be justified in an area of open land well away from built up areas."
The council has proposed that this area on South Fulham Riverside, between Wandsworth Bridge and the Hurlingham Club, should be developed as a residential area with new shopping faciliies and extended river walk.
However, there is some confusion over its status. Developer Comer Homes includes Whiffin and Hurlingham Wharf amongst its future developments, promising 300 new riverside homes.
The Port of London Authority, however lists Hurlingham Wharf as one of 50 safeguarded wharves in London and one of three it wants to see reactivated and brought back into industrial use.
March 10, 2011