Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown has given an update on plans for an upgraded ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf to replace the cancelled bridge project.

“We are continuing to examine options for a new ferry service, with work focused on route planning, fares, vessels, piers and connectivity to the local area,” wrote Mr Brown in his report to the TfL board.

“Initial feasibility work has been completed and an informal update was provided to the Programmes and Investment Committee in October.

“We are now continuing work to develop our requirements for the service, identify preferred infrastructure options, and determine a suitable delivery and operating model.

“By the end of November 2019 we expect to appoint a specialist consultant to support us in the next stages of work and have recently issued a Prior Information Notice seeking feedback from industry on how best to
take forward the scheme.

“The work on a new ferry to improve connectivity for people who walk or cycle between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf is alongside the wider investment we are making in walking and cycling across the area, including delivery of Cycleway 4 and new cycle routes from Rotherhithe to Peckham and from Hackney to the Isle of Dogs.”

The Rotherhithe link is also featured in TfL’s new passenger pier strategy published last week. That document says that: “Options include new or improved piers at Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, together with roll-on, roll-off electric or hybrid high frequency ferries to reduce waiting times.

“The Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf ferry would serve as a test case for assessing the feasibility of providing similar high-quality pedestrian and cycle links in other locations in east London, including Opportunity Areas, where the river is currently a barrier to encouraging healthier travel choices.”

Transport for London says it has adjusted the information on connection times between Jubilee line and London Overground trains at Canada Water displayed in its journey planner using anonymised wifi data gathered from passengers’ phones.

TfL has implemented the first improvements for customers following the start of collection of WiFi connection data earlier this year.

The 2.7 billion pieces of depersonalised data that have been analysed so far have allowed TfL to update Journey Planner to more accurately reflect the time it takes to travel through stations.

By collecting the data TfL claims that it has gained a greater understanding of the routes people take across the network, where they interchange and how long people may have to wait at certain points along their journey due to crowding or maintenance work.

At major interchange stations like Canada Water, the time to interchange between lines has been adjusted to better reflect busy times.

Historically, TfL has relied on customer surveys to understand the flow of movement through a station.

Using depersonalised WiFi data provides a more accurate understanding of how people interchange throughout the day.

The data collection, which began on 8 July 2019, is harnessing existing Wi-Fi connection data from more than 260 Wi-Fi enabled London Underground stations.  All data collected by TfL is automatically depersonalised to ensure that it is not possible to identify any individual, and no browsing or historical data is collected from any devices.

Lauren Sager Weinstein, Chief Data Officer at Transport for London, said: “Our lives are now more data-rich than they have ever been and therefore we are working to use this data to allow our customers to better plan their journeys and find the best routes across our network. These changes to our online Journey Planner using depersonalised Wi-Fi data collection is just the start of wider improvements we are hoping to introduce which will provide better information to our customers and help us plan and operate our transport network more effectively for all. As we do this, we take our customers’ privacy extremely seriously. It is fundamental to our data approach and we do not identify any individuals from the Wi-Fi data collected.”


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Thames tour boat firm City Cruises, which operates from Bermondsey’s Cherry Garden Pier, has been sold to Chicago-based Hornblower Cruises & Events.

City Cruises was founded in 1985 and now has operations in York and at Poole Harbour in addition to its core Thames business.

“We are incredibly excited to acquire City Cruises, which we believe to be the best leisure cruise operator in Europe today,” said Terry MacRae, CEO of Hornblower.

@We have long had the ambition to enter the European market, and it makes perfect sense to start our journey in one of the most iconic cities in the world.

“Under the expert stewardship of Gary and Rita Beckwith, City Cruises has earned an enviable reputation, and we are honoured to build on their legacy in 2020 and beyond.”

Gary Beckwith OBE, City Cruises founder and CEO, said: “We believe the sale of City Cruises to Hornblower will take the brand to the next level of success. 

“We have always been at the forefront of change and believe our growth and success over the years is testament to our commitment to embracing innovation, constantly investing in our vessels and our customer experiences, and our dedication to providing outstanding customer service every day of the year. 

“We have been honoured to be at the helm of City Cruises and believe the business we started will further flourish and grow under Hornblower’s ownership.”

Hornblower Cruises & Events President, Kenneth Svendsen, leads the combined company. All staff will be retained, with founders Gary and Rita Beckwith assisting in the transition.


The Canada Estate has been chosen as one of the testbeds for Southwark’s new ‘Great Estates’ programme.

Seven estates have been chosen to pilot ‘estate improvement plans’ by Cllr Leo Pollak, cabinet member for social regeneration, great estates and new council homes.

The council’s Great Estates programme stems from a pledge in Southwark Labour’s 2018 manifesto to “launch a Great Estates Guarantee so that every estate is clean, safe and cared for and residents have the tools to garden and improve their estate”.

The Canada Estate will share £970,000 funding with six other estates across the borough.

“Residents have raised concerns regarding crime and anti-social behaviour, in particular robberies and mobile phone theft nearby the train station,” according to the report prepared for Cllr Pollak by service development manager Sharon Miller.

There is an ASB hotspot in the middle of the estate, where there is a low level concrete structure. This area would benefit from some re-designing/redevelopment.

“Through the consultation process residents have suggested the following improvement areas should be considered: improved estate signage; re-painting and redecoration works to blocks and communal areas; improved estate cleaning; to create a space to use as a garden to grow vegetables; and new fencing around Edmonton Court.

“The estate has also been approved to receive £6,710 TRSIG funding for an estate music project.”

The bridge across Albion Channel near Brass Talley Alley was replaced a few weeks ago as part of works to upgrade the cycle route for Cycleway / Quietway 14.

But the new bridge – installed at a cost of £115,000 – isn’t to everyone’s taste, with the ‘offensive’ blue handrail drawing particular disapproval.

So far 11 people have signed a petition to Southwark Council calling for the handrail to be repainted:

The consensus among the residents in the area is that the new bridge does not suit the style of the canal and the surrounding buildings at all. The most offensive feature — and easiest to remedy — is the blue railing. The blue is at odds with the colours of all surrounding buildings and should be changed.

Plans to knock down the Albion pub at the corner of Albion Street and Neptune Street and replace it with a block of eight flats have been approved by Southwark Council.

In their submission to the council, Michael Trentham Architects say that: “The building which currently occupies the site is struggling with its fitness for purpose and although recognised locally as a landmark, it does not help or contribute to the shopping parade.

“The Neo Tudor style was common during the interwar years and as noted in the heritage statement, the current building is not a particularly good example of this.

“The proposed building has been carefully crafted and designed with carefully considered materials to enhance its context whilst providing much needed housing and a flexible commercial space that will be attractive to a wide range of occupants.

“This is in accordance with strategic Policy 10 of the Core Strategy 2011 and will help regenerate, preserve and enhance the historic shopping parade on Albion Street.

“The proposed building preserves and enhances the setting of the historic Grade II listed Finnish and Norwegian Churches, complementing both with a new urban vernacular that uses traditional materials but has a modern, bold composition and form.

“The building sits within its boundary and frames, not obstructing the views of the buildings, thus preserving their historical value and character of the area.”

Further details on the Southwark planning register.

The Bank of England has revealed the design for the new £20 polymer note to be introduced in 2020 – and it has a Rotherhithe connection.

The new polymer banknote features artist JMW Turner and his painting The Fighting Temeraire.

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, said: “Our banknotes celebrate the UK’s heritage, salute its culture, and testify to the achievements of its most notable individuals. 

“And so it is with the new £20 banknote, featuring JMW Turner, launched today at Turner Contemporary in Margate.  Turner’s contribution to art extends well beyond his favourite stretch of shoreline. 

“Turner’s painting was transformative, his influence spanned lifetimes, and his legacy endures today.

“The new £20 note celebrates Turner, his art and his legacy in all their radiant, colourful, evocative glory.”

One of Turner’s most eminent paintings, The Fighting Temeraire, depicts HMS Temeraire which played a distinguished role in Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Painted in 1838 it depicts the Temeraire being towed to Beatson’s yard in Rotherhithe to be broken up.

Timber from the ship was used to create an altar and two chairs which can still be found in St Mary’s Church in Rotherhithe.

The painting is currently on display in the National Gallery and was voted the nation’s favourite painting in a 2005 poll run by BBC Radio 4.

British Land’s scheme to redevelop 53 acres of the Canada Water area – including the existing Surrey Quays Shopping Centre – was given unanimous backing by Southwark Council’s planning committee this week after two nights of presentations from planners, objectors and supporters.

The masterplan will see between 2,000 and 3,995 new homes developed, along with new shops, offices and other uses. The first phase includes a new 34-storey tower.

The masterplan area includes Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Surrey Quays Leisure Park, the Printworks, the former Rotherhithe Police Station, and the historic Dock Offices courtyard; and will be managed by British Land in the long-term.

Of the new homes, 35 per cent will be ‘affordable’ with 70 per cent of these for social rent.

It has taken 16 months from submission of the planning application to final committee decision.

“Delivering this masterplan in an area with as rich a history and heritage as Canada Water, Rotherhithe and Surrey Docks is an immense responsibility and one we have taken very seriously and carefully,” said Emma Cariaga, joint head of Canada Water at British Land.

“This is only the first step in the approval process and we are committed to continuing to engage and work with the local community  to deliver the project, and ensure that the masterplan benefits those living, working and studying in the area for years to come.”

Cllr Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, said:“ We are delighted that this major step towards our vision for Canada Water has been approved.

“The masterplan provides the blueprint for an exciting new town centre that will provide thousands of new homes, particularly hundreds of new social rent homes, new jobs and opportunities, new open spaces and a brand new leisure centre for Rotherhithe in the first phase of the work.

“We look forward to working with British Land over the next few years to bring forward the plans and making sure our local residents are the beneficiaries of the opportunities the regeneration will provide, as laid out in the Canada Water Social Regeneration Charter.”

Much of the discussion at the planning committee meetings focussed on transport, with concerns that local road and rail links will struggle to meet the demand generated by extra residents and workers.

Councillors heard from a Transport for London representative who claimed that under their modelling the crowding situation in 2031 “gets no worse” when freqency boosts for the Jubilee line and East London line already planned and funded are taken into account.

British Land will pay £10 million towards a new entrance for Surrey Quays Station – topping up the already pledged Government funding of £80 million – and £12 million towards bus service improvements.

At Canada Water Station, the developer is making a £2 million contribution to extra staffing and minor layout changes.

The committee also heard from Howard Dawber of Canary Wharf Group who claimed that “there simply is not enough public transport” to meet the extra needs and that the council wasn’t seeking a large enough contribution from British Land towards infrastructure upgrades.

Canary Wharf’s claims were described as “pure commercial self-interest” by British Land’s Emma Cariaga.

The two sessions of the planning committee can be viewed in full on YouTube.

Residents and businesses have until Sunday 22 September to have their say on whether and how parking should be controlled in the streets around the Blue.

The consultation area stretches from the railway line in the north to the City of London Academy in the south, with its western border at St James’s Road.

In its consultation document the council says:

“The council has received a number of requests for parking controls to be introduced in your area as well as a petition from residents south of The Blue.

“Local residents are finding it very hard to park near their homes or to exit and enter their drives which is causing significant stress and inconvenience.

“We have also had reports of businesses finding it hard to park in the area and of commuters taking up space that could be used by visitors.

“Off street parking at The Blue will be managed separately by the housing parking team alongside the Good Growth Fund.

“For the safety and convenience of local residents and businesses, the council would like to know whether you think parking could be improved in your area.”

The council has an online survey which is open until Sunday 22 September