A coalition of residents councils MP's & members of the GLA
Friday 8th July marked the official launch of the Save Barn Elms Alliance – the coalitions plans are to defend an unspoilt stretch of the riverbank from seven years of construction misery.
Barn Elms Playing Fields is one of south London's most popular sports hubs and riverside nature spots, located on the border between Putney and Barnes.
Despite its ecological value and popularity the site has been earmarked by Thames Water as the 'preferred' location for a giant excavation and waste transfer compound.
This worksite would be used to help dig a section of the proposed Thames Tunnel ‘super sewer’.
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The alliance’s first joint venture will be staging the Save Barn Elms Rally and Family Fun Day on Saturday 16 July. This event, which will take place on the threatened playing fields, will run from 10am to 4pm, with the main rally kicking off at 11.30.
More famous faces will be there on the 16th including England rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio.
Each alliance member - residents group Stop the Shaft, Wandsworth and Richmond Councils, MPs Justine Greening and Zac Goldsmith and GLA members Richard Tracey and Tony Arbour – have been fighting the proposal since it was unveiled last year.
By coming together to form a powerful lobbying group they aim to prevent Thames Water from going through with its plan.
The campaigners stress they are not opposing the Thames Tunnel ‘super sewer’ project as a whole, only the use of an unspoilt beauty spot as on of the main tunnelling sites.
According to Thames Water's plans the Barn Elms excavation compound would be the size of three football pitches and a similar sized waste transfer jetty would be built out across the river. From here excavated spoil would be taken away from the site using industrial barge.
A conveyor belt structure would be built over the picturesque riverside towpath to move the excavated waste from the tunnelling shaft to the jetty.
The proposed worksite is overlooked on one side by the Ranelagh Housing Estate. If the scheme goes ahead hundreds of residents living in these homes would have their lives blighted by round the clock tunnelling and construction work for the full seven year construction programme.
Thames Water says it has not made a final decision on where to base the tunnelling site and is also considering an alternative location. Unlike Barn Elms this is a semi-derelict industrial area with no trees, no grassland, no sports pitches, no riverside towpath and no wildlife habitats to disturb.
July 8, 2011