Thames Water Stick with Plan for Fulham Super Sewer Site

"No new information or issues" identified to change proposals

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Join the discussion on this story on the Fulham forum

Thames Water have announced they do not intend to change their plans for super sewer construction sites, including Carnwath Road in Fulham, following recent public consultations.

The water company admit that the Carnwath Road proposals attracted the most comments during the consultation - 3,138 and two petitions.

However, their report on the consultations says: " In light of the feedback we have received, we believe that no new information has been highlighted that would change the conclusions of our site selection process to date.

"Carnwath Road Riverside therefore remains our preferred site to drive the main tunnel to Acton Storm Tanks and receive the main tunnel from Kirtling Street; and to receive the Frogmore connection tunnel, driven from Dormway Street.

"Additionally, new new information or issues have been identified which would fundamentally change our proposals for this site."

Thames Water however do say they are continuing to refine detailed proposals for the site to improve the design and reduce the impact on the local community and the environment.

These refinements include replacement of the proposed ventilation building with a smaller fan structure and filters, relocation and reduction in size of the permanent above ground structures, relocation and redesign of the ventilation column, provision of landscaped open space and possible increased use of the river to reduce the number of lorries on local roads.

Thames Water say they will now progress with preparation of an application for a developement consent order.

You  can read a summary of the report here.

In April the Department of Communities and Local Government served a new safeguarding direction on the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham which prevents the council from granting planning permission on any application on the drive site.  

The department had issued a previous direction in March, overriding the council in protecting the site.

At the time a Communities and Local Government spokesman said: " The Government considers the Thames Tunnel to be a nationally significant infrastructure project and our decisive action now reduces the chance of delay and the possibility of escalating costs from sites being lost that may potentially be needed for building this project."

Hammersmith and Fulham Council have responded angrily to the news, calling it "ludicrous and arrogant".

Cllr Nick Botterill says: " This is neither a green nor sustainable approach and is certainly not a good use of £4.1billion when money is tight. The fact that Londoners are enduring a hosepipe ban when Thames Water is allowing fresh water to simply go down the drain is crazy and reveals their misguided approach to water management.

" To compound this hair-brained approach Thames Water is now completely ignoring the Mayor of London, the local council and thousands of residents by confirming the use of a tight knit residential area as their main sewer construction site."

The council say they have written to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to welcome his pledge to call for a thorough review of the scheme. However, there is some confusion over the Mayor's exact position on the scheme. Last month he was accused of an "obvious deception" , having promised to back local campaigners fighting the scheme at a meeting in March, but having supported the tunnel in writing just one month earlier.

When offering his support to campaigners, the Mayor also appeared to forget that he and the Port of London Authority both wish to see Hurlingham Wharf,  which is part of the land on Carnwath Road earmarked by Thames Water, brought back into industrial use. It is one of 25 safeguarded wharves west of the Thames Barrier, which means it is protected from redevelopment into non-port use.

The proposed site, to the west of Wandsworth Bridge, collectively called Carnwath Road Riverside by Thames Water incorporates Carnwath Road Industrial Estate and Whiffin and Hurlingham Wharves.

Construction would take around six years and would result in an industrial building on the site as well as the access shaft beneath. Thames Water has produced an image of what the building might look like.

The council's plans for the site, as outlined in its South Fulham Riverside draft supplementary planning document are for different redevelopment plans, which it says would transform the area from its industrial past into a new residential mixed-use area.

These plans, which it says received overwhelming support from residents at recent workshops coordinated by the Prince’s Foundation, include the construction of at least 2,200 new homes, plus shops, community facilities, public spaces and the opening up of the river for water based uses.

May 17, 2012