News

AGM January 16th 2014

The next SaveKSG Public Meeting will be at 8pm on Thursday 16th January 2014, at the usual venue: St Peter & The Guardian Angels Social Club, behind the church in Paradise Street SE16.
 
It's been a long time since our last meeting and a lot has been happening. Thames Water's proposals for the 'super sewer' are now being assessed by the government's Planning Inspectorate, which will make its recommendations to the Secretary of State in the early spring.
 
Although our friends at the Save Your Riverside campaign, Southwark Council and Simon Hughes MP continue to question the necessity of Thames Water's current plans and the financial implications, there is now a reluctant acceptance of the strong likelihood that the overall 'super sewer' project will go ahead and that Chambers Wharf will be used as a major worksite.
 
Under Thames Water's current plans, the huge proposed works at Chambers Wharf, lasting at least six years and including night-time and weekend work, will have a very direct impact on the area around KSG and more widely in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe. Noise, air pollution and other nasties emanating from the works could well spread up to KSG and beyond, and a huge cofferdam extending half-way across the river will ruin the view from KSG too.
 
Huge structural sections for a 5 mile tunnel will have to brought to Chambers Wharf, and all the excavated spoil and slurry removed. Very large barges will be used for some of this, but it will also mean dozens of lorries a day using the small residential streets between Chambers Wharf and KSG and turning onto the Jamaica Road. Traffic congestion on Jamaica Road, the roundabout, Lower Road and beyond, is pretty bad anyway - just think how much worse it's going to be!
 
Even though KSG itself looks reasonably safe at the moment, these works are going to badly affect us all, and we'll explain how and why at the meeting - and what we should try to do about it.
 
SYR, the Council and Simon Hughes are fighting hard to persuade the Planning Inspectorate to force Thames Water to modify its plans so that the devastating impact on our borough and local community - not to mention our water bills - will be lessened as much as possible.
 
The focus of their campaign is now to get the direction of the tunnelling between Chambers Wharf and Abbey Mills Pumping Station in Newham (the final, long section of the 'super sewer') reversed. Tunnelling from Abbey Mills to Chambers Wharf, instead of the other way round as Thames Water currently proposes, would mean far less disruption to our borough, far less road and river traffic, a smaller cofferdam jutting out into the river and a shorter timescale for the works.
 
Therefore we believe that our campaign should strongly support this demand to change the tunnelling direction, out of concern and solidarity with our neighbours (the SYR campaign continues to reject any potential use of KSG for the works) but also because of the impact on us.
 
Even though KSG itself looks reasonably safe at the moment, these works are going to affect us all very badly indeed, and we'll explain how and why at the meeting - and what we should try to do about it.
 
There is still a strong feeling that alternative options to the 'super sewer' have never been put to public consultation - alternatives that may well be cheaper, greener, less disruptive and just as effective in dealing with sewer overflows in stormy weather. Simon Hughes has called for the timetable to be extended so that alternatives can be more fully evaluated and discussed. I am hoping that Simon will be able to come along to address our meeting, as well as Peter John, the leader of Southwark Council, if their other commitments permit.
 
The past year has seen some real improvements to KSG, such as the new wildflower meadows and replacement of the rotting logs along Fulford Street. More is planned, including a natural play area behind the church, new seating and new wildlife habitats. You'll be able to find out about all these at the meeting - and also our plans for another great community event in the park next summer.

So please make a note in your diary and come along on the 16th January. I'm hoping for a really good turnout to show how much care and support there is for our park and our local area and community.
 
The meeting is also our AGM, when we'll be electing a new Chair (I'm stepping down after two years as I need a rest!) and we're also seeking some new blood for our Committee. If you would like to stand, please let me know - we need you!
 
 
Very best wishes,
Roger