Our Council have dramatically escalated their campaign against the Thames Tideway Tunnel by releasing a video in which one of the key supporters of their campaign warns of people actually losing their homes as a result of the project. The hugely provocative claim is made in the opening sequence of a film the Council have produced to showcase their approach to public services in the Borough.
This very professionally done film opens with the Chair of the Stamford Brook Residents Association (and Des O'Connor lookalike), Raj Bhattia. He talks enthusiastically of a local partnership between residents and the Council, who he claims are united in their opposition to the Thames Tideway Tunnel, or "super sewer" as he on-message calls it, which he warns could cost jobs, parks and even homes!
Sorry, but when did the Council escalate this campaign into warning that people were going to actually LOSE THEIR HOMES as a result of this project?! And what evidence is there of this? And if there is no evidence how can the Council justify spending our tax payers money on even putting this allegation out into the public domain, which will only cause huge worry among those living by the waterside? Note I said - put this into the public domain. Let's not hear any weasel words about they being the words of someone other than the Council - he says it on a Council video which they had full editorial control over and have chosen to release to the public with a claim that people may lose their homes.
Thames Water have been in touch in the hours since this story went up to say that they have pointed out - in exasperation - that their Site Selection Methodology document, which is available on the company's website, and which all local Councils have seen and commented on, makes it clear that existing housing is not at risk. Any such demolition would, in any case, be contrary to the Mayor's London Plan.
What is a real shame is that there is a fair amount of other really good information on this film, particularly on new NHS and Police services which all sound really really good. Some of the unique projects they talk about and the real results are hugely credit worthy - 40% better burglary rate than the rest of London according to the Borough Commander is not something to be sniffed at. I would happily be reporting this as a good news story if it wasn't for the shock claim at the start - did the Police, TfL and Health staff realise they were going to be featured in such a politically explosive film?
So well done Council for the things you've done right - but why start the video with such unsubstantiated rubbish about the Tideway Tunnel?