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‘Families lives and safety will be blighted’

Thursday, 28 November 2013

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for a “supersewer” near schools, homes and a church have given evidence to the first session of the Planning Inspectorate’s inquiry into the controversial Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Groups from Deptford and Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey have told the inspectors how the Thames Water’s plans for the £4.1billion project would impact on their lives.

Deptford residents have asked the utility company to look again at its original proposal of sinking the shaft into the Thames at Borthwick Wharf rather than at Crossfields Green which is next to a listed church and a primary school.

Crossfields Estate resident Nick Williams said: “It was a really positive meeting and we were able to put our points across.

“We don’t understand why a more sustainable option like using the Thames is no longer on the table.

“At a time when there is real concern about HGVs and other lorries using London’s roads, it seems ridiculous to push ahead with a proposal which will see all the waste and spoil from the site being taken away by lorries. It would be much better to use barges on the Thames.

“This idea worked for the Olympics so there is no reason why it can’t work here.”

Southwark council has asked people to take part in a special meeting at the Glaziers Hall in Montague Close, London Bridge today.

It opposes the use of Chambers Wharf as a main tunnel drive site because of what it says are the unacceptable levels of disruption to thousands of residents and the pupils who go to nearby schools.

The council says proposed construction activity would result in six years of work, with up to 24 hours a day activity.

It estimates this would result in at least 110 HGV movements per day – about four per hour or one every 15 minutes – down an already busy route used by children, including those attending Riverside Primary School, and particularly during arrival and home times.

Southwark Leader Councillor Peter John said: “We strongly believe these proposals will blight the lives and safety of families living in the Chamber’s Wharf area, day and night, for far too long, and just to make life a little easier for Thames Water.

“Our own assessment shows the reasons given for creating the main tunnel drive at Chamber’s Wharf are not essential to the plans.

“There are other more suitable sites that have been dismissed out of hand that will have much less of an impact on fewer people.”

Phil Stride, head of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, said: “As part of the planning process, we will consider and, where appropriate, respond to representations from interested parties about the proposed construction sites.”


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