The Thames Clippers ferry service between the Doubletree by Hilton London Docklands Riverside hotel in Rotherhithe Street and Canary Wharf has resumed operation, having been suspended since March.
Although other Thames Clippers services – now under the ‘Uber Boat’ brand – have been running for a while, the reintroduction of the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf ferry had to wait until the hotel reopened, as the only access to the pier on the SE16 side is via the Doubletree reception.
Local residents who contacted TfL for status updates found the transport body’s customer service department was unaware that the ferry – although pricy – is integrated into the Oyster pay as you go system.
The ferry has been back in action since Friday and operates seven days a week, though there is no service on weekday afternoons between about 12.30pm and 4.30pm.
Essential works to keep the Rotherhithe Tunnel operational could cost as much as £178 million, according to Transport for London.
The expected cost range of the Rotherhithe Tunnel works was revealed this week in a written answer by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to a question tabled by Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon.
“The renewal of the Rotherhithe Tunnel is currently progressing through concept design and, at this early stage in project development, Transport for London (TfL) estimates that costs will be in the range of £116 million to £178 million, subject to funding being available,” said the Mayor.
“TfL plans to complete the concept design work later in 2020. An updated estimate will then be produced, prior to the appointment of a contractor in 2021 to progress detailed design.
“”In addition to the project activities, TfL will continue regular maintenance and progress any short-term minor renewal work to ensure the tunnel remains safe and operable.”
TfL’s 2019 business plan had put the cost of the Rotherhithe Tunnel works at about £140 million.
Ms Pidgeon also asked the Mayor about TfL’s plans to fast track proposals for a Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf ferry service if the prospect of regular or long-term closures of the Rotherhithe Tunnel increases.
Mr Khan said that as with the decision to pause plans for a walking and cycling ferry, “full implementation of [the Rotherhithe Tunnel] works is similarly dependent on greater certainty over TfL’s long-term funding position”.
The Mayor added: “I can assure you that the impact of any long-term closures of the Rotherhithe Tunnel on local residents and businesses will be a key consideration in the further development of this work.”
The project to upgrade the ferry link between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf – intended as a consolation prize after the cancellation of the proposed walking and cycling bridge – has been officially put on hold by Transport for London as it grapples with a financial crisis in the wake of COVID-19.
In budget papers to be considered by the TfL board next week, the transport authority says that the scheme is “currently unaffordable in the context of other walking and cycling priorities”.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “In the years I’ve been in office, I’ve ensured that Transport for London was in a strong financial position despite London being one of the only major cities in Western Europe without a Government grant for day-to-day transport operations.
“Coronavirus has had a devastating effect on TfL’s finances, which rely on fare income. Prior to the pandemic TfL were on course to reduce their operating deficit by 86 per cent and increase their cash balances by 31 per cent. TfL’s revised budget, should sufficient funding be provided by the Government in the months ahead, will keep services running safely and support London’s recovery from the pandemic.”
Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “Prudent financial management had placed TfL on the cusp of breaking even for the first time in its history and with strong financial reserves.
“However, the pandemic revealed that the current funding model, with its unusually heavy reliance on fare revenue, simply doesn’t work when faced with such a shock.”
In March – before the scale of the COVID-19 crisis was known – Sadiq Khan had said that it was “full steam ahead” for the ferry plan.
Cllr Johnson Situ, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for growth, development and planning, said: “The decision to pause work on the Rotherhithe to Canada Water crossing is deeply frustrating.
“Transport for London is facing a huge and unprecedented financial challenge in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic and it’s clear difficult decisions will have to made.
“However, the Rotherhithe to Canada Water crossing would provide a vital new route over the Thames in an under-served part of London and would mean more people can choose walking and cycling. The crossing would also support new homes and jobs in the area.
“The proposal is particularly disappointing given that the crossing had already been downgraded from the original commitment for a walking and cycling bridge.
‘We feel that schemes such as these should be prioritised not paused. We were disappointed not to have the opportunity to discuss the revised proposals before they were published, particularly given the assurances that were previously given about the scheme’s viability.
“We thank the Deputy Mayor for Transport Heidi Alexander for her agreement to meet next week.”
Free online summer school to develop design, engineering and employability skills
TEDI-London is a new higher education enterprise based at the Printworks in Canada Water – and locals aged 16+ are invited to apply for a part-time three week programme this summer.
TEDI-London’s Thinking Ahead programme is a design competition to develop ideas for a colour and light installation in Canada Water.
Inspired by TEDI-London’s current student-led project to create dementia friendly communities, Thinking Ahead – Light Up! is seeking ideas for a space that attracts people from a range of backgrounds to visit, reflect and relax.
Anyone taking part will be supported to explore topics including user-centred design, sustainability, innovation, and psychology. You could choose to work on this independently or you could form a group with your friends or family.
It will run from 27 July to 14 August and requires just ten hours a week – the hours are flexible and you can tailor them to your needs.
Submissions will be judged by TEDI-London staff and industry partners, and prizes include one-to-one coaching sessions with industry, professional references (for CVs and personal statements) and digital badges.
After leading London Bubble theatre company for more than 30 years, Jonathan Petherbridge – known as Peth – has announced that he is to step down as creative director of the Rotherhithe-based charity at the end of this month.
“I have enormously enjoyed my work with London Bubble bringing promenade shows to London parks, and making intergenerational projects with Londoners old and young – it’s been strong,” he said.
“I’ve worked with some wonderful people and I hope we’ve shown that theatre can be made in many ways, by many people and for many vital reasons.
“Working with Bubble for this length of time has allowed me to see how a company can develop theatre makers from its own community. We have a fantastic team of young artists who have come through our Young Theatre Makers programme. We have trustees and advisors who originally joined our children’s group or youth theatre. We’ve also seen two projects, Make Believe Arts and Cardboard Citizens, sprout and grow into separate companies. Now Speech Bubbles continues to expand as it works in partnership with other companies across the UK.
“This year COVID-19 has delivered an unexpected and significant blow to our income. To survive, we have to draw on reserves, maximise income and rethink how we connect with our participants – so it’s a good time for our board and for me to move on and look to the future, bearing in mind the landscape after lockdown.
“I wish London Bubble well and I am sure the company will continue to invent new ways to make theatre that surprises and energises our community.”
Sir Simon Hughes, chair of London Bubble, said: “The departure this summer of Peth, Jonathan Petherbridge, from the leadership of London Bubble Theatre will mark the end of a hugely creative, exciting and memorable three decades for our brave, innovative and socially engaged company. Rooted in our south London communities, Bubble led by Peth has introduced thousands of individuals, families and groups to the transforming and encouraging experience of making and experiencing theatre.
“We thank Peth sincerely for all his huge commitment, determination and energy given to London Bubble. The company will do our very best to make sure that difficult times do not prevent us from continuing to transform through theatre the lives of those many people who London Bubble can benefit most.”
The Met Police says that a firearm has been seized and two men arrested after armed officers stopped a minicab in Southwark Park Road on Tuesday.
Two men, who were passengers in the vehicle, were detained and a revolver wrapped in a bandana was recovered.
The firearm was made safe and has been sent off for testing.
Both men, aged 22 and 18, were arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. They have been taken to a south London police station where they remain in custody.
The investigation is being led by officers from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.
Detective Constable Rob Smith, the investigating officer, said: “As a result of this investigation, a dangerous weapon has been taken off the streets. This weapon could have easily gone on to seriously injure, or even kill, somebody.
“Firearms have absolutely no place on our streets and their removal makes London a safer place for all.
“I want the public to be reassured that even during these challenging times, the Met remains committed to tackling violent crime and seizing weapons such as this one. We will continue to crackdown on criminals and bring them to justice.”
A giant tunnel boring machine (TBM) set to create the final stretch of London’s new super sewer has arrived in the capital.
The TBM, Selina, was delivered on Wednesday to Tideway’s Chambers Wharf site in Bermondsey, where she will be lifted onto the site before beginning her underground journey toward Abbey Mills Pumping Station later in the year.
A total of six TBMs are being used to create London’s super sewer (with two already finished tunnelling), meaning Selina is the final machine to begin work – but she is also the deepest.
Beginning her journey more than 60m below the ground, Selina will tunnel on a slight decline toward the pumping station in east London.
Maurice Gallagher, Deputy Delivery Manager for the eastern section of the project, said: “To welcome Selina to site is a great moment for Tideway – and for London.
“Although there is much work still to be done, her arrival in the capital means we’re on the final stretch – and closer than ever to a cleaner, healthier River Thames.”
Selina was delivered to Chambers Wharf using a giant vessel called the Skylift 3000.
Each of Tideway’s six TBMs was named, via a public vote, in honour of inspirational women from history associated with the local area.
Selina is named after Dr Selina Fox, who founded the Bermondsey Medical Mission in 1904. The small clinic and eight-bed hospital provided medical and spiritual care to the most vulnerable women and children in the area, and continues to this day under the name Mission Care.
Tunnelling predominantly through chalk, TBM Selina will head north east towards the already-built Lee Tunnel, which links Abbey Mills Pumping Station to Beckton Sewage Treatment Works.
Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey is a key site for the Tideway project – the launch site of Selina, but also the site at which TBMs Ursula (currently en route from Battersea) and Annie (soon to begin her journey from Greenwich) will finish.