by Anood Al-Samerai on 12 February, 2014
Further Written submission on Thames Tideway Tunnel application
Southwark Liberal Democrat council group, 12th February 2014
Dear Mr Wilson,
Thank you for all the work which you and your colleagues are doing to support this process.
Councillor Eliza Mann and I have spoken at recent hearings and attended part of the Chambers Wharf site visit. I write to put our latest comments formally on the record.
As you know, a main part of our evidence has centred around the need to reduce disruption and impact on schools, residents and businesses and this could be best achieved by driving the tunnel from Abbey Mills instead of from Chambers Wharf. Thames Water had suggested this drilling direction in their own phase 1 plans and has given no clear answer about why this is no longer possible. We would, therefore, emphasise our request that you conclude that this application should be refused unless the direction of drilling is reversed.
A survey last year found that Jamaica Road has the slowest rush hour in the country (GPS Firm RAM Tracking). The road suffers from huge congestion and extra pressure from even more large vehicles is unthinkable. Local Lib Dem councillors have long campaigned for measures to tackle rat running in surrounding residential streets and, as a result, new changes and a 20mph speed limit were introduced a few months ago. However, these are still being monitored and adapted and we need to continue to work to improve road safety and tackle the rat running. We certainly do not need anything to make the situation worse – particularly given how many small school children are in the area.
No mitigation which has been proposed by Thames Water comes close to dealing with the massive impact on a huge number of people. And, as has been said by many people, residents come from a huge diversity of backgrounds and include residents who are very old or very young or work from home. By the time construction begins, over 4000 people will live within 400m of the site. Many of these homes face the site and, even if they are given noise insulation they will have to have their windows closed for years.
We have also touched on finances during our submissions and this issue is incredibly important to the residents we represent. It has always been our view that residents should not have to pick up the bill for Thames Water, particularly as this is a private company which has paid considerable dividends to its shareholders in recent years.
In conclusion Thames Water has given a number of excuses about why they could not drill from Abbey Mills but none of these justify their alternative which causes unacceptable impact on thousands of people. There is a solution which our community could cope with. It does not come without any problems but it is a way forwards which achieves Thames Water’s objectives with far less damage. That must be the answer.
Thank you again for your thorough inspection and for considering this latest submission.
Councillor Anood Al-Samerai
Councillor for Riverside Ward, Southwark
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Southwark Council