The row sparked by H&F Council's decision to raise its campaign against the Thames Tideway Tunnel to new levels by warning that it could make residents homeless has reached City Hall, with Mayor Boris Johnson dismissing the Council's warning. This comes after the negative publicity generated by this video, forced the Council to disown the claim that people would lose their homes which was made by Raj Bhatia, the chairman of the Stamford Brook Residents Associaton.
As I predicted at the time this was a weasely way for the Council to try to disown its own scaremongering - they of course had full editorial control over the video and chose to release it with Raj's claim very much included. In fact it was one of the first things you saw when you watched it.
Lib Dem Leader at the London Assembly Mike Tuffrey asked this question of Boris and here is his response:
Given your support for the Thames Tideway Tunnels in your Water Strategy, will you be asking Hammersmith & Fulham Council to reconsider their recent publicity which included the suggestion that the construction of the Thames Tunnel could lead to people losing their homes?
Answer from the Mayor:
Thames Water is clear in its site selection methodology that it will exclude any existing housing sites. The detailed construction proposals are expected to be published by Thames Water later this year. I will of course want to see disruption minimised but any project of this scale will mean that some disruption is unavoidable.
I am aware that Hammersmith & Fulham Council has opposed the Thames Tideway Sewer for some time and my officers have met with Councillors to discuss the matter and understand the concerns. I recognise that there are concerns about the potential construction impacts of the project, nevertheless I remain convinced of the strategic need for it and I have said so in my draft replacement London Plan. However I have repeatedly said that the costs of, and the disruption from, the scheme must be minimised.