Thames Water Responds to Council Move on Super Sewer Site

Carnwath Road development " unlikely" to get approval

Thames Water has said that high rise plans for Fulham's Carnwath Road approved earlier this month by Hammersmith and Fulham Council are "unlikely" to go ahead.

The plans, submitted by a consortium of land owners including the council itself, are for 475 new homes, offices, shops and leisure facilities in buildings up to 12 storeys high on a riverside site which is earmarked by Thames Water for a Thames Tunnel construction site. H & F Council's planning committee gave them the go ahead at a meeting on January 8.

In response, Phil Stride, Head of Thames Tideway Tunnel, widely referred to by its nickname the super sewer, said: " The brownfield site at Carnwath Road Riverside remains our preferred construction site.

" It is subject to a Safeguarding Direction for the Thames Tideway Tunnel from the Secretary of State, who we understand will review the council’s decision before taking the final decision.

" Given the site’s status, we believe it unlikely the Minister will authorise the grant of planning permission."

Plans for the site, which includes Hurlingham and Whiffen Wharves and Carnwath Road Industrial Estate, were submitted by Fulham Riverside West Partnerships, a consortium of owners which includes Hammersmith and Fulham Council itself, in July last year. You can read the full details here.

However, in the same month, the Department for Communities and Local Government announced that plans for the Thames Tunnel, nicknamed the super sewer, were being referred to the Planning Inspectorate’s National Infrastructure Directorate.

This organisation decides planning applications of "national importance" in England and Wales.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said in spring 2012 that it regarded the proposed tunnel to be a "nationally significant infrastructure project" and issued a Safeguarding Direction to Hammersmith and Fulham Council over the site.

The Direction prevents the council from granting permission for other projects on the site. You can read the full story here.

At the time, Hammersmith and Fulham Council responded angrily to the announcement, arguing that it was totally inappropriate for the Government to class the Thames Tunnel supersewer as nationally significant when it would only cover a 20 mile long stretch of the River Thames and only Thames Water customers would pay for it.

Now, having approved the scheme, which the council says could also include a new site for the local RNLI currently based at Chiswick and an artisan quarter which could house the Prince's School of Traditional Arts, H & F Council must seek authorisation for the plans from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

H & F Council Leader, Cllr Nick Botterill says: " We are imploring the Secretary of State to approve this positive riverside regeneration, which would be the new home of the RNLI in west London as well as providing a new arts hub and hundreds of new homes, rather than the nightmare that is Thames Water’s sewage pipe construction compound.”

However, the Department of Communities and Local Government's Safeguarding Direction from the DCLG to the council states: " Put simply, the effect of this Direction is that, without specific authorisation from DCLG, your authority cannot grant planning permission on any application in respect of any land to which this Direction relates."

Thames Water is expected to lodge its application for the Thames Tunnel in the next few weeks.


January 17, 2013