Dallaglio Throws His Weight Behind Save Barn Elms Rally

Rally and Fun Day July 16

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England rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio will be among the campaigners taking part in the Save Barn Elms Rally and Family Fun Day on Saturday 16 July, 10am to 4pm.

The event has been organised to help save one of south London's most popular playing fields and riverside nature spots from being used as a giant excavation and waste transfer site for seven years.

Several famous faces will be there to support the campaign alongside event organisers Wandsworth and Richmond Councils, residents' pressure group Stop the Shaft, MPs Justine Greening and Zac Goldsmith and GLA members Richard Tracey and Tony Arbour.

Access to the playing fields is from Putney Embankment or Queen Elizabeth Walk, the main rally event will take place at 11.30am.

A range of sports taster sessions will be going on all day to give residents the opportunity to try out the activities which take place at Barn Elms every week. The programme runs from 11am to 4pm, full details below.

There will also be live music and a range of fun activities for young children. Food and light refreshments will be available or visitors can bring a picnic.

Barn Elms Playing Fields - an unspoilt stretch of the riverbank - has been earmarked by Thames Water as the location for a giant excavation and waste transfer site.

The works would last for seven years while the water company digs a section of the Thames Tunnel 'super sewer'.

The campaigners stress they are not opposing the sewer project as a whole, only the use of a greenfield beauty spot as the main tunnelling site. They believe that an alternative brownfield location must be used instead where the impacts would be less severe.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: "If you believe that London's green open spaces should be protected from major construction work then please come and join us at Barn Elms on July 16th. This event is all about showing Thames Water how much we all care about our playing fields and riverside walk.

"Around ten thousand people come here every weekend to play sports and enjoy the unspoilt setting. It would set a very dangerous precedent indeed if such a valued natural asset was selected as a construction site when a semi-derelict industrial area could be used instead. Anyone with an interest in protecting green open spaces should watch Thames Water's next move very carefully."

Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said: "We are fundamentally opposed to Thames Water using the Barn Elms site. As they stand the proposals would be severely disruptive to local people and would result in an unacceptable loss of green space, which residents in Barnes and Putney value very highly.

"I urge all local residents to come along to the rally and voice their concerns."

According to the Thames Water's plans the Barn Elms worksite would be the size of three football pitches and a giant waste transfer jetty would be built out across the Thames. This is likely to cause serious difficulties for Putney's rowing and sailing clubs as well as the Barn Elms Boathouse.

Find out more and sign the petition at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/savebarnelms


July 5, 2011