Residents are backing the council’s fight against the chaos which could be created by plans for a series of sewer works.
Hammersmith & Fulham councillors backed calls at a council meeting this week for Thames Water and the government to “listen to residents objections about many of the potential sites for the Counters Creek storm relief sewer and find better sites that do not damage neighbourhoods and blight homes”.
Councillors reafirmed their commitment to fight these proposals if Thames Water and the government “do not work with the council and borough residents to find better ways to deal with the risk of flooding in homes across the borough”.
Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan, recently called Thames Water bosses to the town hall to tell them that many of the sites chosen are simply unacceptable and that the council will use every means possible to oppose them if they didn’t think again.
He said: “We made it very clear that we will fight them all the way.
“The positive news is that they have agreed to work with us, albeit at the eleventh hour, to see if they can find better sites that would minimise the impact on local residents and businesses.”
Residents have welcomed H&F Council’s intervention, describing it as ‘wonderful news’ and a ‘great move’, as well as a ‘great relief’.
Among those commenting on H&F Council’s website, Alex F, said: “Great move by the council to fight Thames Water. There must be better sites out there which will annoy a lot less residents, tear up a lot less green field sites, and cause a lot less disruption. While I agree that there is going to be some disruption, this doesn't have to be on the scale that they propose.”
Rosemary Pettit, said: Delighted to hear that Thames Water is to think again on the sites for these essential works. So far it has tended to favour 'soft' sites, those small green spaces which make an attractive environment for residents. Thames Water should search again, rather than going for what it thought was the easy option. And no green spaces to be surrendered - if they have to be given up - without Thames Water required to provide equivalent green space close by.”
Sulgrave Road Residents, said: “Great to have a strong ‘No’ from the council on the additional sites in completely unsuitable places. Thames Water have not thought through their proposals properly and have put residents through a completely unnecessary process of opposing their last minute proposals.”
Thames Water sent out a consultation document to local residents in May which identified 12 potential sites for the works needed to build the Counters Creek storm relief sewer, in order to reduce the risk of flooding in homes across the borough. Residents who have experienced sewage flushing into their basements in previous years are understandably keen for the works to be done.
But finding suitable sites where existing sewers can be connected to the new storm relief sewer is proving difficult.
Thames Water originally proposed five sites at:
- Kensington Olympia car park (the main tunneling site)
- 5* car wash in Shepherds Bush
- Mund Street in West Kensington
- Upper Addison Gardens
- Lots Road in Chelsea.
Following initial consultation, Thames Water now plan to use Cremorne Wharf in Chelsea as the main tunnel drive site. Further alternative sites were also proposed at:
- Gwendwr Road or Baron’s Court Road in West Kensington, rather than Mund Street,
- Land at Swanscombe Road and Norland Road, and at Rifle Place and the Town Park at Edward Woods, rather than Upper Addison Gardens and Olympia car park,
- Holland Gardens or Addison Crescent, rather than Olympia car park,
- Sulgrave Road on the corner of Shepherds Bush Road, rather than 5* car wash,
- Verulam House or Astrop Terrace off Hammersmith Grove – as an additional site.
However, H&F Council is now working hard with Thames Water to find more suitable locations as an alternative to some of the above sites.
Thames Water said: “We will be working intensively with the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham to ensure that we have investigated all potential sites before we select the preferred route and sites which will go forward to our next stage of consultation.”