Southwark Council has come under fire after its legal challenge to plans to use Chambers Wharf as a construction site for Thames Water’s super-sewer was rejected for being a day too late.
“We are extremely disappointed by this decision and the Government’s decision to not consider alternatives to Chambers Wharf,” said Cllr Peter John, leader of the council.
“We always knew this was going to be a tough battle, but I wanted Government Ministers to have to justify to local residents why they think its acceptable that their lives should be blighted in this way. I again repeat my challenge to Eric Pickles and Liz Truss. Come to Bermondsey and speak to people about why they think seven years of 24 hour a day noise next to homes and schools is OK.
“We will now go back and look at our options, take advice from counsel and make a decision on our next steps. Meanwhile we will continue to work with residents to mitigate the harm they will suffer.
This was a complex legal case which was argued for four hours by QCs at court yesterday. Unfortunately the judge disagreed our lawyers’ interpretation of the legislation and court practice rules. This decision emphasises the challenge local communities and councils will face when objecting to major infrastructure projects.”
Liberal Democrat councillor for Riverside ward, Eliza Mann, who attended the High Court hearing, said: “This is a bitter blow for all the residents, local councillors and local MP who have been fighting Thames Water’s plans to build the super sewer at Chambers Wharf.”
Lib Dem leader Cllr Anood Al-Samerai said “We all trusted the council to represent our community in court. Now the case for a judicial review has been thrown out all because the council couldn’t manage to submit its paperwork on time
“This must rank among one of the council’s worst-ever bungles. It is totally incompetent and amateur. The leader of the council must now explain why Southwark has let its residents and our community down so badly.”
Campaign chairman Barney Holbeche said: “Save Your Riverside is very disappointed that Southwark’s legal challenge to the TTT project in respect of impacts at Chambers Wharf has been rejected by the High Court – and on a legal technicality rather than the merits of the case.”
“We will continue to press Thames Water, the Infrastructure Provider, and the contractors to minimise the impacts of this massive construction imposition on the doorsteps of thousands of Southwark residents in the years to come. We thank LB Southwark for all their efforts and will work closely with them on residents’ behalf.”