News

In their own words

THAMES WATER IN ITS OWN WORDS
Thames Water wants to build a ‘reception’ (or ‘intermediate’) shaft for its main tunnel, and to dig combined two sewer overflow tunnels from King Stairs Gardens – bringing out the spoil in the park, for seven years.

In coming to this proposal, TW assessed the park under several different headings, including the impact on the community.

The following are extracts from Thames Water’s own documents about the impact the work will have on King Stairs Gardens and – to use its own word - the ‘unsuitability’ of using the park:

“Removal of mature vegetation and the presence and operation of machinery, material stores and buildings on site is likely to severely impact character of the park and river frontage. This site is, therefore, not suitable.”
Site suitability report, KSG, Appendix 9, p17

“The site is unsuitable as an intermediate shaft site with CSO connection as, in addition to the impacts associated with an intermediate shaft site, works would involve a large jetty protruding into the river, disrupting views…The proportion of the park likely to be lost…is a significant issue, especially the loss of the new children’s play area…the character of KSG as a river-facing public open space may be difficult to replicate.”
Site suitability report, KSG, 10.5.5. p 17

“The site is less suitable for use as an… intermediate with CSO…shaft site due to the proximity of residential properties, since there is the potential for emissions of dust during construction to have a perceptible impact at these properties.”

Site suitability report, KSG,
Air quality, 7.8.1, p11 & Appendix 9, p32

“The site is less suitable for use as an.. intermediate with CSO…shaft site due to the proximity of residential receptors (houses), to the west, south and east. Any shielding afforded by the site perimeter barriers would be largely ineffectual due to the height of these receptors. Access of HGVs to the site is also likely to result in disturbance, as they approach through residential streets….importing and exporting of material by barge would also result in an adverse impact on residential receptors located near to the barge jetties.”

Site suitability report, KSG, Noise,
7.9.1, p11

“KSG is “assessed as suitable by engineering, planning, environment and property, either with or without combined sewer overflow connections. Assessed as less suitable by community without CSO connections and unsuitable with CSO connections”

King Stairs Gardens - How we chose the preferred site (Appendix 3, par 1.1.3) (our emphasis)

“The site has the potential to give rise to direct adverse impacts upon a protected view, the character of the park, a public open space, the river frontage and local views…Permanent elements would potentially result in adverse direct impacts on the character of the park.”

Site suitability report, King Stairs Gardens, Built heritage & townscape 7.4.2, p10 & Appendix 9, p18

Thames Water has said it will ‘mitigate’ the impact of its construction work, both in its consultations with us and in its documents:

"The overall conclusion reached by the multidisciplinary team, based on available information sources, assessments and professional judgements, was to retain the site (KSG) on the shortlist for consideration as a shaft reception/intermediate site, subject to mitigation of construction impacts and sensitive siting of plant and operations to minimise impact on residential occupiers."
King Stairs Gardens - How we chose the preferred site (Appendix 2, page 2, 1.1.10)

But in a separate document TW concedes:

“Any shielding afforded by the site perimeter barriers will be largely ineffectual due to the height of these receptors (houses). 24 hour working has the particular potential to adversely impact upon the closest receptors…Access of HGVs to the site is also likely to result in disturbance, as they approach through residential streets….importing and exporting of material by barge would also result in an adverse impact on residential receptors located near to the barge jetties.”
Site suitability report, KSG, Appendix 9, p 36

So why has TW chosen King Stairs Gardens given its own criticisms of using the park?

It ranked sites under different a dozen different headings using a ‘traffic lights’ system of colour coding - green, amber and red.

KSG gets GREEN from the engineers because of its size, access and closeness to the river.

And it gets GREEN for its price because it is “undeveloped open space – acquisition costs expected to be relatively low.”

But as metropolitan open land it gets AMBER – not red – under the ‘open space’ category;

AMBER not red under ‘neighbouring land use’ – even though Thames Water notes that the park “shares all four boundaries with residential properties.”

AMBER not red under the heading of ‘existing use’ where TW notes it is a ‘public park.’

AMBER not red as an archaeology priority zone under ‘heritage.’

In short, TW fails to differentiate between a GREENFIELD site and a BROWNFIELD site.

Both get AMBER under its ranking system.

In fact, you have to be Southwark Cathedral to get a RED traffic light!