Monday, 7 March 2011

Super Sewer: Thames Water accused of closing park

Imperial Wharf Park is now the venue our Council is portraying itself as valiantly fighting to protect against evil Thames Water and their dastardly plans to site an entrance to their "super sewer" or Thames Tideway Tunnel as the huge pipe is more formally known. The Evening Standard has the story here.

This, as regular readers will recall, is a renewal of ancient hostilities. Our Council back in 2009 launched a campaign to save first Ravenscourt Park and then Furnival Gardens from being destroyed by the water utility who, they said, had already decided to plant what they poetically called "super sewer stink craters" in them. I called on you to support their campaign, assuming the Council must be telling the truth.

To cut a long story short the Council were first of all found to be telling porkies and secondly were roundly criticised by the Mayor, the Government and surrounding Councils all of whom are in favour of the project which will deal with the huge amounts of raw sewage that is discharged into the Thames every year as a result of our Victorian era sewer system which, put basically, can't cope with all of our poo. I even went down a sewer to investigate, which you can read about here.

This is the same Council, by the way, who are now forcing through a developers plan against the express wishes of local residents in Hammersmith which will itself destroy Furnival Gardens with a bridge linking the riverside with two plush luxury flat complexes on King Street. So they obviously didn't care about Furnival Gardens that much after all.

Speaking to me this weekend a spokesperson from Thames Water said:

'We are analysing feedback from our public consultation and also looking at different construction options to minimise disruption and the use of greenfield sites. But we are not considering any sites with existing planning permissions or any additional greenfield sites.

"Where a site appears promising we will talk with local residents and businesses in the same way as we have done elsewhere, being open, transparent and listening."
I would have thought a newly opened park, like Imperial Wharf, would constitute a 'greenfield site' by anyone's estimation - so it seems once again that our esteemed Council are needlessly scaremongering and that there is no real threat to the park. What I find doubly astonishing about this behaviour is that the Council themselves will shortly be having meetings with Thames Water - as will every riverside Council - about this and other issues to do with the tunnel. Why is our Council the only one to pump out provocative press releases instead of simply talking to the company instead? It does nothing to advance the interests of residents, in fact it just serves to scare them, and brings absolutely no advantage whatsoever.

Unless you're a Council obsessed with getting headlines.

Frankly coming from a local authority who even stooped so low as to get a local cheerleader to warn that local residents could even be made homeless by the project that they knew was never actually coming to Furnival Gardens, and then themselves push through a project to destroy the park themselves on behalf of property developers and against the wishes of the same local residents, you'll excuse me if I take anything they say on this subject with a bucket load of salt. I suggest you do the same.

In the meantime Thames Water's consultation on where they do actually site the entrance points to the sewer can be found here.

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