Transport for London has not yet ruled out a tunnel or an enhanced ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf as an alternative to the proposed walking and cycling bridge.

TfL is pressing ahead with plans for a bridge, but says that next month’s public consultation on the scheme will also feature tunnel and boat options.

A report [PDF] on the proposed Rotherhithe crossing was considered by TfL’s programmes and investment committee last Friday.

Based on the work that has been done to date, TfL has provisionally
recommended that a navigable bridge should be investigated in greater detail, with the initial options assessment concluding:

(a) an enhanced ferry would be the lowest cost option and could be delivered
more quickly. It provides a positive Benefit: Cost Ratio (BCR) but, unlike a
fixed link crossing, it is unlikely to deliver a step-change in walking and
cycling accessibility, or realise significant wider economic benefits;

(b) a navigable bridge has a broadly comparable BCR to an enhanced ferry,
however, it would realise greater total benefits by providing a permanent link
to facilitate a transformational change in accessibility. This aligns more
strongly with developing policy and the scheme’s strategic objectives and,
further, a permanent link has the potential to realise significant wider
economic benefits which have not been quantified in the BCR at this stage. A
bridge has strong support amongst cycling groups, accessibility groups and
other stakeholders, particularly on the south side of the river, but concerns
remain over the need to open for shipping and the impact on residents in the
immediate vicinity; and

(c) a tunnel would offer similar benefits to a bridge and provide a more reliable transport connection, as it would not need to open for shipping. It would have lesser visual impact than a bridge, however, it may be seen as a less attractive environment for users and is forecast to cost significantly more, resulting in a lower BCR.

The report adds:

Work is now underway to investigate navigable bridge options in further detail and, as more information becomes available, the provisional selection will be refined and tested alongside the other options before a final decision is made on the solution for a new crossing.

Whilst the further investigations continue, it will be important not to dismiss other options until they have been considered as part of a public consultation.

Remarks by former TfL boss Sir Peter Hendy – commenting on the “pretty weak business case” for the Rotherhithe bridge – were recently made public as part of the evidence presented to Margaret Hodge’s review of the Garden Bridge.

At last week’s GLA Oversight Committee current TfL commissioner Mike Brown disassociated himself from his predecessor’s comments on the Rotherhithe scheme.

Canada Water station

Transport for London has postponed plans to build extra trains to add to the Jubilee line fleet which would have enabled more frequent trains to and from Canada Water.

Plans to boost tube capacity are vital to plans by British Land and Southwark Council to build hundreds of new homes, shops and offices at Canada Water.

Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This major delay is extremely disappointing for us, and for residents, who share our view that the Jubileel line upgrade is central to our plans for positive improvements to the Canada Water area.

“We need these additional trains to meet current and future demand and for residents to easily connect with the rest of London.

“We will be writing to the Mayor of London to outline our concerns and urge consideration for funding to be assigned to this vital upgrade.”

From Southwark Council:

“We want to hear from you about your experience of broadband in your home.

“Your feedback will help us develop a solution that works for local residents, and build a strong case for central government funding for broadband improvements in both the Rotherhithe area and the borough as a whole.”

Follow this link to the survey – closing date 1 November.

Hawker House Canada Water

Hawker House – the street food emporium in the former WHAT!!! stores building at Canada Water – successfully retained its licence after a hearing at Southwark’s licensing sub-committee on Monday. Read all the committee documents – including neighbour objections – here.

Hawker House is part of Street Feast, whose founder Jonathan Downey has made outspoken comments about the local residents who objected to the licence being renewed.

Downtown Pond

The Fields in Trust UK’s Best Park Award is now open for a public vote to select the nation’s favourite local park.

A total of 64 of London’s cherished green spaces – including Russia Dock Woodland and Southwark Park – are featured in the 360 UK-wide nominations each a much-loved part its local community. Now it is time to choose the winners via an online public vote at www.fieldsintrust.org/bestpark/london

The latest plans for the redevelopment of the former biscuit factory and college sites in Bermondsey have been revealed by Grosvenor, nearly four years after the Duke of Westminster’s company first became a local landowner.

Grosvenor says that its £500 million plan, designed by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, incorporates a permanent home for Compass School Southwark, over 10,000m2 of new office space and 10,000m2 of retail, culture, leisure, community and food and drink uses; alongside 25,000m2 of new and improved streetscapes and playspace, 140 new planted trees and 400m2 of new public lawns.

“We are sharing today our detailed ambitions to create one of the capital’s greatest, mixed
neighbourhoods hosting 1,350 new rental homes for locals and Londoners,” said Katherine Rodgers, development firector of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland.

“We want to see a growing district that is inclusive and physically integrated, with historic buildings retained and new commercial spaces, local amenities and public spaces created.

“We have spent four years getting to know Bermondsey, its people and its communities
and want to help knit together the best of Bermondsey with an investment and long-term
legacy that generates local opportunities and can respond to changing demand.”

The proposals are on show for the next three days and a planning application will be submitted to Southwark Council later this month.

Transport for London has launched a public consultation on plans for a new segregated cycle route from Tower Bridge to Greenwich via Jamaica Road.

The scheme launched this week includes changes to the Rotherhithe roundabout, but plans for Lower Road won’t be revealed until next year.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce plans to bring more than 4km of segregated cycle lanes to south-east London. We need more Londoners to cycle and walk for the good of their health and our air quality, and that’s why we’re working so hard make cycling safer and easier right across the capital. By bringing this route to an area of such high demand, this superhighway really will open up cycling to thousands more Londoners.”

Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “I’m so pleased that we can share our plans for Cycle Superhighway 4 just one week after announcing Cycle Superhighway 9. These new routes are a key part of our work to make cycling more accessible across London and will add more than 10km of segregated lanes to the capital’s roads. South-east London is an area of huge cycling potential so I know that CS4 will make a real difference to so many cyclists and budding riders by providing a safe segregated route that links straight into our growing cycling network.”

The Cycle Superhighway 4 consultation ends on 19 November. Further information can be found at: www.tfl.gov.uk/cs4

Consultation materials are now on show at both Blue Anchor Library and Canada Water Library, and public exhibitions will be held at the Finnish Church in Albion Street on  Wednesday 25 October and Saturday 4 November.

Princess Astrid, sister of King Harald V of Norway, opened the new St Olav’s Square in Albion Street on Sunday 17 September.

St Olav’s Norwegian church, which stands near the entrance to the Rotherhithe tunnel, formerly a mission to sailors in nearby Surrey Docks, now serves Norwegians living throughout the UK.

The church has worked over several years with Southwark Council to improve the area in front of the church. This involved the removal of the disused public toilets and a car park and opening up the space in front of the landmark church, newly visible to traffic approaching from Jamaica Road.

After a church service led by The Revd Torbjorn Holt, the Princess and invited guests gathered in the new square for the unveiling of a new bust of King Haakon VII, which is based on a full length statue in Oslo. Haakon’s biographer, Tor Bomann Larsen, spoke about the King’s life in wartime London when having refused to abdicate in face of demands from Germany, regularly attended St Olav’s Norwegian church and attended to Norwegian government business in exile.

Leader of the council Peter John, past mayor and local councillor Kath Whittam and cabinet member for regeneration Mark Williams were presented to the Princess in recognition of Southwark’s partnership in the creation of a new public open space as part as the ongoing regeneration of the Albion Street.

Wreaths at a restored war memorial were laid by veterans of the wartime Norwegian shipping fleets, including Donald Hunter who served as radio officer on three Norwegian merchant ships carrying dangerous cargoes to allied forces.

The small fountain in the garden was donated by a Norwegian family in memory of their daughter.

Surrey Quays is giving 16 to 24-year-olds the chance to embark on a free five-week training programme, designed to provide them with the skills they need to build a successful career in retail or hospitality.

The ‘Bright Lights Starting Out in Retail and Hospitality’ programme gets under way in October and will combine classroom teaching alongside work placements at one of Surrey Quays’ retail, food and beverage or leisure brands. At the end of the scheme, trainees will receive their formal qualifications at an official celebration event later this year.

Throughout the course, trainees will also get access to training from industry experts, support with interviews and CV writing, as well as a personal mentor.

The new programme will be funded by Surrey Quays’ owner British Land. It will be delivered in partnership with The Source Skills Academy – a leading centre of excellence for retail and customer service training.

To take part, young people need to sign up to the taster session on 4 October, which will provide them with a flavour of what the programme will involve and an opportunity to speak to some of the course leaders.

Ian Moore, centre manager at Surrey Quays, said: “The Bright Lights Starting Out in Retail and Hospitality programme is a fantastic way for young, unemployed people in Southwark to discover their potential and gain valuable experience of what it’s like to work in the dynamic retail and hospitality sectors.

“The programme coincides with busy recruitment periods at the centre so we, together with our retailers, can’t wait to welcome the new trainees and offer them on-the-job training and support so they can really kickstart their careers.”

Dianne Wainwright, Head of Operations at The Source Skills Academy, said: “We’re giving local young people the chance to obtain nationally recognised qualifications and work experience at some of the country’s biggest retail and hospitality brands.

“We urge Southwark’s young jobseekers to sign up to attend our taster session on 4thOctober, where they’ll get the chance to learn more about the course and hear about our many success stories first-hand.”

To find out more information or sign up to the taster session, email brightlights@thesourceacademy.co.uk or call 0114 263 5619.