Review of the Planning Inspectorate Issue Specific Hearing
The hearing was held on November 11th at the America Square Conference Centre.
PURPOSE OF THE HEARING:
This was the first of the Issue Specific Hearings to be conducted by the Planning Inspectorate to examine the rationale for the selection of certain of the work sites up and down the river. This one focussed on Carnwath Road Drive Shaft and Putney Bridge CSO and was in response to representations from Hammersmith & Fulham Council that the drive shaft should be relocated either to Barn Elms or Kirtling Street and also a representation from Capitalstart, the owners of Thai Square, who had asked that the Putney Bridge works should be relocated to the east of the Bridge or, alternatively, diverted to the Barns or Bell Creek CSO site.
Those who spoke included a Barrister for Hammersmith & Fulham, Planning Officers from Wandsworth and Richmond, representatives from The Mayor's Office, the PLA , TLF, the Environment Agency, English Heritage, Capitalstart, Carnwath Road Coalition, Chris Livett (Putney Pier), Jonathan Callaway for the Putney Society, Unity Harvey from Barnes, Dido Berkeley, Graham Stevens & Ben Mackworth-Prade for the Blue/Green & SUDS anti-tunnel group.
Thames Tunnel staff led by Phil Stride were there in force to answer questions from the PINS Team. The meeting was expertly chaired by Jan Bessell who was rigorous in keeping people to the point, while at the same time ensuring that all who wanted to speak were heard. There were some initial difficulties with the sound system and the hearing did not end until after 7pm. In due course an Audio recording of the day will be available on the PINS website.
THE PROCESS OF THE HEARING:
Thames Water was first asked to justify the selection of Carnwath Road vs Barn Elms. The alternative suggestion of bypassing Carnwath Rd by driving the tunnel from Kirtling St directly to Acton was also examined. In the case of the latter, TT's tunnelling expert maintained that this, although possible, would be risky, cost more and take longer. All this took up most of the day with the various bodies contributing opinions and the PINs team asking a number of very vigorous questions of Thames Tunnel. On the whole TT put up a robust defence for their selection of Carnwath Road, and WBC, Richmond, the PLA and others supported their view,
Alternatives for Putney Embankment Foreshore was the last item on the agenda. Capitalstart argued that the CSO works should be relocated East of the Bridge or that the CSO flow be redirected either to Barn Elms CSO site or to Bell Creek. In the case of the latter TT were able to demonstrate the problems of engineering, disruption, cost and time that would ensue. TT reiterated their rationale for selecting the present site and were supported by the Putney Society, WBC and English Heritage. Chris Livett spoke about the need to protect the Pier and the Clipper Service throughout the working period.
Jonathan Callaway for the Putney Society spoke on the importance of the use of barges rather than HGVs and opposed any use of Putney High St. He also stressed the importance of legacy for the Embankment in the form of good design and asked that CIL/106 funds could be used to enhance the area and, if feasible, construct a foot tunnel for the Thames Path under the Bridge.
Dido Berkeley and the SUDS group tried to point out that the Tunnel is not needed but were told that this was not a matter for the Hearing.
Chair Justine Greening's Putney Embankment Foreshore Group
November 15, 2013