Justine Greening MP says “Brownfield not Greenfield” for the Thames Tunnel
STOPtheSHAFT campaigners have welcomed the clear stance and backing from Conservative MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields, Justine Greening. After many weeks of the action group tirelessly campaigning against plans of the Main Shaft site for the new “Super Sewer”, Ms Greening held an open meeting at St Mary’s Church last night in order to speak to concerned residents about the proposals.
Ms Greening confirmed her objection to the current proposals for Barn Elms stating clearly that they were “unacceptable”. When asked if she would support the Brownfield NOT Greenfield stance of STOPtheSHAFT, Ms Greening firmly replied “yes”.
The meeting was packed with concerned local residents. Originally planned to be in the Brewer building of the Putney Church, the meeting had to be moved to the main area due to the huge numbers attending, even then, many were left standing for the 90 minute meeting.
Earlier in the day Ms Greening had visited Horne Way, where members of STS had organised a visit with Thames Water representatives to walk the proposed site. During the visit, it was evident that there were grave concerns about the suitability of Barn Elms, and that the plans were ill conceived. A STS member said “it was clear that Thames Water had not fully evaluated the difficulty and impact of using the site, it was almost as if they had never even visited before; as the visit progressed I think it started to open their eyes to the difficulties they face”.
Ms Greening also confirmed at the meeting that:
Ms Greening was also questioned on the impact of Putney Foreshore CSO plans for the historic riverside frontage, challenges to the Thames Tunnel being the best overall solution to the sewage problem and urged to drive a fundamental re-assessment of the overall project. She was requested for to give her full support in opposing the plans in their current form with Thames Water, Government and other relevant bodies.
STOPtheSHAFT also welcomed the comments at the meeting from Cllr Jim Maddan who has supported the STS campaign over the last weeks. Wandsworth Borough Council has stringently rejected the proposals wholeheartedly, questioning the investment, sustainability and the site selections. He clearly repeated the council’s objections. Critically, however, Cllr Maddan conceded that the option of a bi-directional drilling strategy from Tideway Walk for a main shaft site would be the only acceptable solution if the project is to proceed. Many local bodies and organisations including the Putney Society have recently taken the same stance supporting this alternative strategy. Southfields ward Conservative Cllr Lucy Allen, also attending to raise concerns about the proposals for King George’s Park, praised the work of STOPtheSHAFT, saying that in her area “hardly anyone is aware of the plans.” This again shows the huge failure of Thames Water to engage with local residents and ensure they are made aware of this important first stage of consultation.
Overall the meeting was very constructive and residents are looking forward to hearing the progress Justine makes in her discussions with Thames Water and on the other areas of investigation she is working on.
STS Campaigner Louise de Silva said:
“There are so many people working really hard to fight these plans, we are all exhausted from weeks of campaigning, but we won’t give up until we know we’ve done everything we can to ensure that Barn Elms is protected and a more suitable site is chosen.” STS also appealed for donations to fund their campaign activities which up until now have been covered by personal contributions from those actively working for the group. The group have delivered over 25,000 pieces of literature to the Putney area since beginning their activity on 9th November, as well as operating a Facebook site and answering queries and questions from the public on the plans.
For more information on how to respond to the consultation by the deadline of 5pm on 14th January, STOPtheSHAFT have prepared guidance on feedback and example responses which are available from their facebook site FACEBOOK - STOPtheSHAFT - PUTNEY&BARNES to make the process as quick and painless as possible. Concerned residents can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The petition can be found online at: http://www.gopetition.com/petition/40513.html or residents can visit one of the many shops / pubs in the Lower Richmond Road that have petition boxes before 10th January’.