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Hammersmith and Fulham Council has responded angrily to a letter from Thames Water outlining its plans to acquire some areas of local property from the council.

The property is set to be used by the water giant in the development of the 20 mile long Thames Tunnel, nicknamed the super sewer.

The council says an email entitled "Thames Water seek to acquire an interest in LBHF land", Thames Water's Planning Consents Manager, Chris Stratford, stated: "As you may be aware, we need to acquire some property interests from you. We are obliged to seek to do this by agreement before applying for compulsory purchase powers."

The council also says that, despite not yet having planning permission for the tunnel, a Thames Water official wrote to the council last week with a series of maps highlighting "vast" tracts of land that the water company wants to use for the £4.1billion project.

The council claims the Thames Water maps show council land on Carnwath Road in Fulham, around Frank Banfield Park in Hammersmith and around the Emlyn Gardens Estate near Wendell Park all highlighted as land that the company wants to buy.

It also says the maps show the precise route that the tunnel would take underneath residents' homes and businesses and adds that Thames Water has also marked parts of major roads including Carnwath Road, Chancellors Road and Distillery Road.

However, these maps have not yet been revealed to local residents.

Asked about the letter and email to Hammersmith and Fulham Council, a Thames Water spokesman said: " We are contacting the 14 London Boroughs and other stakeholders that have a land interest along the proposed route of the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

"Land acquisition through negotiation is identified as best practice in the guidance which supports the Planning Act (2008), and our initial correspondence to landowners is the first step in this process.

"Where we need to acquire a property interest, we remain committed to reaching an agreement as an alternative to compulsory acquisition, wherever

The council has fought a long campaign against the super sewer, claiming there are cheaper, greener and less disruptive alternatives to the tunnel, which would run underneath the Thames.

However, its campaign is at odds with the government's plans for the tunnel. In July the Department for Communities and Local Government announced that plans for the Thames Tunnel were being referred to the Planning Inspectorate’s National Infrastructure Directorate.

This organisation decides planning applications of "national importance" in England and Wales.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said in spring this year that it regards the proposed tunnel to be a "nationally significant infrastructure project" when it issued a safeguarding direction to Hammersmith and Fulham Council over the site in Fulham which Thames Water has chosen as its preferred site for building an access shaft to the tunnel.

The direction prevents the council from granting permission for other projects on the site.

Despite the direction, the owners of the site on Carnwath Road - who include the council itself - submitted plans in summer to construct 474 new homes on the riverside site, in buildings up to 12 storeys high.

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August 31, 2012