Public meeting with Thames Water, Tues April 21

Cllr Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, speaking at a past SYR public meeting

Cllr Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, speaking at a past SYR public meeting

SYR supporters and all local residents are being urged to attend an important public meeting on the use of Chambers Wharf for the Thames Tideway Tunnel (the so-called “supersewer”), which will take place on Tuesday April 21 at 1930 at Riverside Primary School. We have invited LB Southwark Leader Peter John to chair the meeting, which will be attended by new Tunnel CEO Andy Mitchell and by the contractors who expect to be appointed for the eastern tunnel (a joint venture of Costain, Vinci, and Bachy).

We have been working closely with LBS preparing the way for the Community Liaison Working Group which has the potential to act as an effective communications channel and influence on Thames Water, the Infrastructure Provider which will build the tunnel (to be appointed in coming months), and the contractors.  In the meantime the public meeting on April 21 will provide the first proper opportunity that local residents, businesses etc. affected by the construction of the tunnel have had since consent was given by ministers to use CW as a major drive site last September, to pose questions and express concerns. We have already achieved important concessions on the original scheme proposed by TW, now is the time for us to build on that to ensure that they not only honour their legal commitments on mitigation – but go beyond them, and with luck come up with more money than is already on the table for community enhancement projects.

So PLEASE DO COME on April 21, and urge your friends and neighbours to do so as well! A show of real community concern will help in exerting pressure on the authorities to do right by the Chambers Wharf community who have been saddled with a massive local burden for nearly a decade.

Tuesday April 21 at 1930 at Riverside Primary School, use the entrance on the corner of Emba Street and Farncombe Street.

Thank you as ever for your continuing support!

Best wishes

Barney Holbeche, SYR

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SYR condemns disgraceful tunnel decision

SYR condemns disgraceful tunnel decision

SYR condemns the government’s disgraceful decision to override its own planning inspectors by authorising the use of Chambers Wharf as a drive site for the Thames Tideway Tunnel. The inspectors agreed with SYR and LB Southwark that CW as a drive site was not justified due to adverse local impacts on residents and that alternatives should be looked at.

Ministers contradict themselves. They claim on the one hand that the residual impacts on the quality of life and health from noise “are less than significant” due to mitigation measures, but at the same time concede that noise and disturbance impacts weigh against consenting the development and that “the impacts at Chambers Wharf will be adverse and of long duration”. They then go on to give consent nonetheless. This is manifestly disingenuous, unjust and an insult to local residents who are being made sacrificial victims for the project when the inspectors, who actually heard the evidence, agreed that less impactful alternatives are available.

It does the credibility of the major infrastructure planning regime no good in the eyes of the public for proposals that were shown to be flawed in preparation, and then shown to be half-baked when tested at the Examination, to nonetheless be given consent by ministers with minimal regard for the impact on Londoners unfortunate enough to have to suffer for what is perceived as the wider good. Ministers have broken the faith by which people impacted by major projects could at least expect to be treated fairly and sympathetically, and given the green light to a company notorious for its corporate arrogance to do its worst to Londoners. This controversial project has just become significantly more controversial, a decision which will come to haunt politicians, officials, and Thames Water and its owners and potential investors.

Decisions on the tunnel: the key documents
The key documents on the tunnel decisions made by the Government are the decision letter by the Secretaries of State, and the main report from the Inspectors. You can read how the Planning Inspectors found for SYR’s and LB Southwark’s cases to reverse the direction of drive of the tunnel so that it would be driven from Abbey Mills instead, and why ministers have overruled them, on the link below. The sections of particular relevance to Chambers Wharf are:

Decision Letter: paras 67, 69, 74, 86, 108-112, 140, 144, 145, 148, 149

Inspectors’ report: section 12 on noise and disturbance, section 13 on socio-economic effects, section 14 on transport strategy, section 17 on site selection (main discussion on unsuitability of Chambers Wharf as a drive site, and potential suitability of Abbey Mills as a drive site instead at paras 17.142 to 17.293 )

12th September 2014

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Last Chance to tell inspectors what you think of Thames Water’s plans for Chambers Wharf

Another open floor hearing has now been called in the evening when Southwark residents can tell the planning inspectors what they think about the super sewer proposals – the plans for Chambers Wharf in particular.

Save Your Riverside (SYR) urges all of you to attend the hearing which is at 6.30pm for 7.00pm start on Monday February 3 at Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London SE1 9DD. The Hall is under London Bridge on the way to Southwark Cathedral in Montague Close – an extension of Tooley Street.

9 Montague Close London SE1 9DD

Glazier’s Hall, 9 Montague Close London SE1 9DD

SYR chair Rita Cruise O’Brien said
“This really is the last chance for our community, who are facing years of misery from Thames Water’s plans to use Chambers Wharf as a major site for driving the super sewer tunnel, to have their say.

Residents and our local MP Simon Hughes and councillors expressed their concerns effectively at the November open floor hearing – but as that was in the daytime many people were frustrated that they could not get there.

The evening meeting on February 3 gives all of you the opportunity to express your views direct to the panel of inspectors. They will recommend what should happen to Chambers Wharf to ministers who make the final decision by the end of 2014. Everyone who is concerned about the impact of the super sewer should to turn up to say so to the panel. It is very much in the interests of individuals, families, schoolchildren, and businesses to get Thames Water’s plans changed and the more people who say so the better chance there will be of doing just that”.

We have raised sufficient funds to cover the costs of our excellent barrister and the most celebrated acoustic expert in the country at the Examination Hearings on Chambers Wharf in November.

But the Inspectors have called for additional hearings in January and February.
We need more funds to pay for this essential additional testimony. We have had an excellent run so far. Help us to continue!!

You can send a contribution to
“Save Your Riverside”
Nat West Tower Bridge
Sort Code 60-21-34
Acct. No. 56125402

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Residents invited to Super Sewer Open Hearing

Save Your Riverside (SYR) is urging residents and Londoners to voice their opinions on the super sewer at the upcoming planning inspectorate open floor hearings across the city. The Examining authority (ExA) has decided to hold open floor hearings in a number of locations and venues that are close to some of the application work sites and communities that it has received most representations from.

9 Montague Close London SE1 9DD

Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close London SE1 9DD

Residents local to Southwark and any Londoners opposing the proposed solution should attend the hearing on Friday 22 November 2013 at Glaziers Hall 9 Montague Close London SE1 9DD near London Bridge station. The Hall is under London Bridge on the way to Southwark Cathedral.

Registration is from 09.00am to 09:30am. The hearing start time will be 09:30am.

We must make a good show to demonstrate our opposition. This will be your last chance.

Commenting on the importance of attending the hearing Save Your Riverside’s chairwoman Rita Cruise O’Brien said: “It is absolutely critical that any residents who want to air their opinions against the proposed solution and the use of Chambers Wharf in Southwark attend the open hearing. This sewer will ruin the lives of thousands of local residents and school children in an area that just isn’t suitable for a project of this scale and the thousands of proposed lorry movements per day. We can only urge the Inspectorate to please reconsider the proposed route and look at alternatives to Chambers Wharf and other highly residential sites, to a route that would significantly reduce the overall impact. Thames Water did also admit that it would be possible in theory to avoid the site altogether by using Abbey Mills as the drive site instead.”

Southwark Council has submitted its written representation and Local Impact Report to the Planning Inspectorate and Leader of Southwark Council, Cllr Peter John, will be voicing the council’s strong concerns about the proposals.

Cllr 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 that 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, and Thames Water are wrong to suggest otherwise.

“I would welcome anyone who wants to come down and join us on Friday to show how strongly they object to these plans.”

Each interested party who has notified the ExA and indicated a wish to speak will be called in turn and will be allowed a maximum speaking time of five minutes for their oral submission: a group or organisation will be allowed a maximum speaking time of fifteen minutes. SYR will also be making its own submission.

Oral submissions should be based on representations previously made in writing by the particular participant. However, representations made at the hearing should not simply repeat matters previously covered in a written submission, but rather provide further detail, explanation and evidential corroboration to help inform the ExA.

Each party who wishes to speak will be invited forward in turn to speak at a table set up in front of the Examining authority. The remainder of the seating will be set up in theatre style to accommodate those waiting to present evidence and those who are attending to hear the submissions made.

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Final deadline for your written representations

The planning inspectors started their examination of Thames Water’s application to build the Thames Tideway Tunnel in mid-September and are due to complete the task in March. Supporters who registered as Interested Parties back in May have until Monday November 4 to submit any written representations you want to make, and we urge you to please take this last major opportunity as your views will complement the robust submission being made by Save Your Riverside.

Representations are best emailed (there may be a postal strike) to Please quote reference WW010001, and your unique reference number given to you when you registered.

Do tell the inspectors what you think about Thames Water’s selection , and proposed use, of Chambers Wharf as a major construction site for the tunnel. You may want to refer to such matters as the impact on your life in terms of noise and other pollution from seven years of site working (including three of 24/7 operation), and the threat posed by 65,000 lorry movements, and many other vehicles, on our quiet residential roads so close to our schools. If the alternatives to Chambers Wharf are not accepted, then local impact would be much reduced by driving the tunnel westwards from Abbey Mills – as Thames Water themselves proposed at Phase One consultation in autumn 2010.

Larger barges
You may have heard that Thames Water is now proposing to use much larger barges (5500 tonnes) at Chambers Wharf. This could obviate barge movements at night (2200-0800) but the penalty would be more intense daytime noise (including weekends), and more HGV movements at times when the larger barges cannot operate. Our professional advisers are assessing these new proposals – but any reduction in impact would be small compared to reversing the direction of drive of the tunnel so that Chambers Wharf became a reception-only site. If you would like to see the details please email

Oral hearings
Two oral hearings of great importance to our campaign have been called by the inspectors, which Interested Parties and the public can attend, details are in the letter of October 15 sent to Interested Parties. No doubt as a direct result of our efforts on November 12 there is a specific hearing at which the professional experts from both sides will debate the Chambers Wharf site and the associated drive strategy. In close concert with Southwark council Save Your Riverside will be fielding our barrister and a leading engineer and acoustician.

Do please come along to the second hearing, which is an open floor hearing on the tunnel project for the Southwark area at 1030 on Friday November 22 at the Glaziers Hall (close to London Bridge). Interested Parties can speak (please notify the inspectors in advance on the address above if you intend to do so) and you need to register from 0930; non-registered members of the public will probably be permitted to speak later in the meeting. We are expecting our local political representatives to attend to speak up for our community.

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Help our Fighting Fund

We have appointed an expert legal team to oppose the use of Chambers Wharf as a main drilling site for the Thames Tideway Tunnel to be constructed from 2016.

The application will be considered by the (National) Planning Inspectorate in the autumn.

We shall appoint noise and atmospheric experts to substantiate our opposition to seven years of misery for this community.

Please help us by making a contribution to our fighting fund.

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Thames Tideway Tunnel – Advice on registering as an interested party

N.B. The deadline for registering is midnight on Tuesday May 28 2013

Should I register?

Save Your Riverside strongly recommends that you do register before the deadline of May 28. By doing so you formally become an “interested party” which means you can summarise your concerns about the tunnel project now, can attend the preliminary meeting (September?) before the examination of the evidence takes place in the autumn, can then submit further detailed written views, can ask to be heard in any oral hearings, and will be kept posted on what is happening at each stage.

Will Save Your Riverside be registering?

Yes, absolutely! But we are encouraging individuals to register too as this ensures you can have your say on matters of particular concern to you, and to support our campaign. Many local registrations may also help to encourage the planning inspectors to focus in on the key issues in contention in Chambers Wharf and Southwark generally.

Should all in my household register?

Any person can register but you will probably not want multiple copies of letters etc. being sent to your household. You may find it best if one person in the household registers if you all share similar views about the tunnel!

Are there any fees or obligations involved?

No. As a registered interested party you may attend the preliminary meeting and any oral hearings as well as being able to submit written views, but you are not obliged to do so.

Will my views be published?

Yes, your name and views will appear on the planning portal website after the registration period has closed. Your contact details will appear in the hard copies open to public inspection.

How do I register?

It is easiest to register online. Go to website, click on Projects>London>Thames Tideway Tunnel>Representations tab. Note you must complete all of the form to become an interested party!

Question 1 – About you

Most individuals will choose the first option, completing the form “for myself”, the form asks for your name, address and contact details. You can select to be kept informed by email (or post if you prefer).

Question 2 – Interest in land

Even though most local residents will not have any of their property directly used by the project, they will be affected by it. So whether you are an owner, occupier, leaseholder or tenant you should answer Yes. Most people will check boxes 1 and 3 that then appear on the electronic form. Unless you have land that will actually be compulsorily acquired for the project, answer No to the question on a compulsory acquisition hearing.

Question 3 – Your representation

In the box provided write your views about the project (under 500 words if possible – you can submit much fuller representations at a later stage!). Any views about the need for the tunnel project will be ignored as it is established national policy, but do express your views on whether you think there should be a major construction site in Southwark (NO!), and concerns you may have about the impact on the lives of yourself and your household (noise, vibration, pollution, sleep deprivation, dangers to children etc.).

Question 4 – Participation in the examination

Save Your Riverside will certainly be attending the preliminary meeting (it may be held in Westminster Central Hall). By saying Yes to this question you are not obliged to turn up!

Do say Yes to submitting written representations at a later stage. This preserves your right to add to what you have said now, but again you do not have to do it when the time comes.

Save Your Riverside is asking to speak at open floor hearings and issue specific hearings. Say Yes to this only if you are keen to participate in these hearings as an individual.

Finally complete the ‘captcha’ to authenticate your submission, and check you receive a confirmation email.

Thank you for your support!

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Super Sewer application to be made

Thames Water has confirmed that its Application for Development Consent to construct the Thames Tideway Tunnel will be submitted to the government’s planning inspectorate on 28 February 2013. The application is the largest handled to date by the new infrastructure planning process and is expected to be about 50,000 pages in length!

Application for Development Consent

Application for Development Consent

What happens next?
For most of March the planning inspectorate will be considering if the application is in the correct form, and will decide if the pre-application consultation exercises have been conducted properly.

In the event the application is accepted, Save Your Riverside and our professional advisers, will examine the proposals in detail assessing the impact for Southwark in general and in particular the proposals for Chambers Wharf area.

We will then hold a public meeting, probably in April or May, so that you can ask questions, express your views and hear the advice we are being given. More details will be announced nearer the date of the meeting.

After that we will be registering as an interested party and preparing to take part in the six months long planning examination into the application.

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Thames Water admit Chambers Wharf not necessary as main drive site

At the request of Simon Hughes MP and Save Your Riverside, Thames Water recently hosted a visit to their Abbey Mills facility to explain on the ground why they have concerns about using it as a drive site for the main tunnel.

Left to right: Nick Butler (Lee Tunnel Construction Manager), Cllr Eliza Mann, David Cliff (Southwark council planner), Simon Hughes MP, Rita Cruise O’Brien, Barney Holbeche, Phil Stride (Head of Thames Tideway Tunnel), Derek Arnold (TTT design manager)

If Thames Water were to use Abbey Mills as the main drive site for the eastern spur of the tunnel instead of Chambers Wharf, thousands of residents and children in local schools both north and south of the river could be spared years of unnecessary misery.

Thames Water is concerned that the tidal nature of the River Lee and the twisty nature of the channel would restrict spoil removal operations to 500 tonne barges (one third the size of those they plan to use at Chambers Wharf) and there would be increased project risks such as bad weather hampering spoil removal or even a barge sinking. However, at Abbey Mills, barges have already been used to remove the spoil from the recently excavated shaft which is to receive the tunnel boring machine for the Lee Tunnel currently being driven from Beckton.

Looking north-east across the Prescott Channel. Wharf used for Lee Tunnel barges

Wharf at Abbey Mills used for Lee Tunnel barges

Furthermore, Thames Water did admit that if Abbey Mills were used as a main drive site for the super sewer instead of Chambers Wharf, it would be technically possible to use 4 or 5 barges a day from Abbey Mills which would be enough to remove tunnel spoil without risking interrupting the progress of the tunnel boring machine. The site at Abbey Mills also has enough space to store 4 days’ worth of spoil, together with concrete tunnel segments awaiting use.

The visit demonstrated that although Thames Water now prefer to drive the tunnel from Chambers Wharf, it is perfectly possible for them to drive it from Abbey Mills instead.

Save Your Riverside argues that Thames Water do not need a site in Southwark at all.

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Save Your Riverside re-states opposition to use of Chambers Wharf

In early October, Save Your Riverside responded to Thames Water’s publicity for its pre-application documents which it has had to publish under section 48 of the Planning Act, in advance of their actual application for consent (the Development Consent Order) which they expect to lodge in January 2013.

Given Thames Water’s reluctance to make any major changes to their proposals for the tunnel after the Phase 2 consultation closed last February, there was no surprise that their s.48 documents repeated their earlier proposals on all major issues including the use of Chambers Wharf as a major construction site for driving and receiving the main tunnel, and receiving the Greenwich connection tunnel.

Save Your Riverside, has re-stated its objections to a major construction site in Southwark, questioned again the proposed tunnelling drive proposals and the internal process by which they have selected Chambers Wharf as a major site.

Furthermore we have also stressed once again the dire impact on residents and our local schools of a major construction site for 7 years of which at least 3 years would involve 24/7 construction.

You can read SYR’s full submission here.

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