Hundreds Attend Super Sewer Meetings

Residents grill Thames Water head at drop-in sessions

Related links

Shock U-turn by Thames Water over Super Sewer Site

The full announcement from Thames Water

Letter to residents from Phil Stride, Head of London Tideway Tunnels

Hammersmith and Fulham Council's response

Port of London Authority Safeguarded Wharves

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Hundreds of people attended two drop-in sessions held by Thames Water at Hurlingham and Chelsea Secondary School to find out more and give their views about the prospect of the super sewer construction site coming to Fulham.

The sessions followed Thames Water's bombshell announcement that land at Carnwath Road on Fulham's riverside is a "newly-identified contender" to be a major construction site for the Thames Tunnel.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh plus Greg Hands MP, and assembly member Kit Malthouse attended the first evening's meeting and joined the audience in questioning Phil Stride, Head of London Tideway Tunnels.

The "new option" consists of two adjacent empty plots south of Carnwath Road, Whiffin Wharf and Hurlingham Wharf, plus Carnwath Business Park, which currently houses five businesses including Topps Tiles.

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. "

At the sessions, Thames Water representatives explained that the site, originally considered too small, has now become viable as a smaller space than originally envisaged is now required. However, they admitted that, while most of the shaft would be underground, there would also be a permanent building above ground, possibly up to three storeys high.

They confirmed that the work would take seven years in all, though adding that not all of this would involve construction and that the site's existing jetty would be used to bring in materials and remove waste by the river.

They also admitted that the project would mean the businesses in Carnwath Business Park having to move, although the site which houses Curry's would be unaffected. They emphasised that planning is still in the early stage and no decision has been made, though angry residents at the meeting remained unconvinced.

Thames Water, who are keen to emphasise this is a "genuine consultation" will now carry out a further evaluation of the site and will carry out a further consultation in the autumn.

These plans put Thames Water in direct conflict with Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which has consistently campaigned against construction of the Thames Tunnel. It is proposing 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 the status of the site. Developer Comer Homes has for some time included 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 which cannot be developed for residential purposes and one of three it wants to see reactivated and brought back into industrial use.

Did you attend the meetings? What are your views on Thames Water's plans? Email to share your thoughts with other members of the community.


April 8, 2011