I was very pleased to hear from Thames Water this morning that they have jointly purchased the Chambers Wharf brownfield site as an alternative to the green space of Kingstairs Gardens.
As one of the local ward councillors for the area around Chambers Wharf, I know that residents there will have concerns and Lib Dem councillors will do all that we can to work with them. Both residents and councillors need to know much more about the detail of proposals for Chambers Wharf before we comment fully.
However, our initial thoughts are that it would be a far more sensible solution given residents there were expecting development to take place on that site and I understand from Thames Water that their work could dove-tail with the homes building which would minimise disruption. Furthermore, if the final Thames Water structure is part of the new development and effectively hidden within it, this will be significantly better than it being placed in a park.
Local councillors have always been clear that the Chambers Wharf development must bring with it affordable homes and community benefits. If this is still possible and can be combined with resolving the sewage issues in the Thames it appears at this stage to be a really sensible solution. We will, of course, be looking at the detail closely and working with the local residents’ associations to arrange meetings with Thames Water as soon as possible. We will support them with the consultation process as we have always been happy to help all local residents.
Although I understand that we will not know finally about the future of Kingstairs Gardens until September this is really positive progress. On behalf of all the Liberal Democrat councillors in Southwark I formally congratulate Donna and all the Save Kingstairs Gardens team for an excellent campaign for which all the community is extremely grateful.