Simon Hughes, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, has outlined his vision for a new pier in Rotherhithe to support local growth and to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower.

Simon and local Liberal Democrats have met with representatives of Transport for London to argue the case for a new river pier and commuter service in  Rotherhithe to be included in TfL’s River Action Plan.

The pier has the backing of Liberal Democrat councillors and Robert Hulse, director of the  Brunel Museum.

“I believe it is vital we encourage development right along the river – from central locations such as Westminster to areas further east such as Rotherhithe in my own constituency,” said Simon Hughes.

“In 2020 it will be 400 years since the Mayflower set sail from Rotherhithe for Plymouth and on to New England. We should mark and celebrate this occasion with the construction of a new pier in Rotherhithe, which would connect Rotherhithe’s past with its future, by supporting local growth and tourism.

“The proposal has support from Liberal Democrat councillors, local employers and residents, and the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe. I am now calling on the Mayor and Transport for London to develop detailed plans for this new pier. I am sure it can be a great success.”

 

Southwark Council has announced plans to invest £676,000 into the refurbishment of the South Dock Marina. The funding will go towards structural improvements to the 203 year old dock which is home to 130 residential boats.

Locally, the marina helps to generate revenue to maintain the surrounding water channels and waterways.

The refurbishment programme includes:

  • The replacement of all walkway decking in the marina with anti-slip panels. It is expected that the new decks will reduce maintenance such as gritting during the winter months.
  • New male, female and disabled floating toilet and shower facilities along with a utility room.
  • The installation of a new electrical distribution and service network with a state of the art control and monitoring system to enable customers to monitor their usage and pay their accounts online.

Cllr Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for transport, environment and recycling, said: “We are glad to be able to deliver this essential programme of improvements to the South Dock Marina. The new developments mean that users and residents in the area will rightly be able to enjoy an enhanced and safer experience at London’s largest marina.”

Southwark Council and the the Save Your Riverside campaign are  urging residents and Londoners to voice their opinions on the super sewer at the Planning Inspectorate’s open floor hearings on Thames Water’s proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel or ‘super sewer’.

One such hearing will be held this Friday (22 November) at Glaziers Hall near London Bridge. The session starts at 9.30am with registration from 9am.

“All residents opposing the use of Chambers Wharf as a drilling site for the tunnel will have an opportunity to be heard at the Open Floor Hearing at Glaziers Hall,” said Rita Cruise O’Brien, chair of Save Your Riverside.

“The strength of community support is vital. We have an opportunity to let the Planning Inspectors know how devastating this proposal will be on our peaceful community, involving six years of work, three of those 24/7 with hundreds of lorries using local streets daily. For the sake of local residents, young and old and school children, we must make our views known. Please attend.”

Simon Hughes MP will be speaking at Friday’s hearing along with Cllr Peter John, leader of Southwark Council.

Cllr John said:  “We strongly believe these proposals will blight the lives and safety of families living in the Chambers Wharf area, day and night, for far too long, and just to make life a little easier for Thames Water.

“Our own assessment shows that the reasons given for creating the main tunnel drive at Chambers Wharf are not essential to the plans, there are other more suitable sites that have been dismissed out of hand that will have much less of an impact on fewer people, and Thames Water are wrong to suggest otherwise.

“I would welcome anyone who wants to come down and join us on Friday to show how strongly they object to these plans.”

Simon Hughes MP and local anti-supersewer campaigners have criticised Thames Water’s application to Ofwat to increase customers’ bills.

The net impact would result in a single, one-off additional cost of about £29 per household in 2014/15.

However, the company is is recommending to Ofwat that the additional cost is spread over more than one year.

Stuart Siddall, Chief Financial Officer of Thames Water said: “Ofwat resets price limits for each water company every five years, most recently in 2009, based on the best information available at the time.  Then, during the five year period, almost all changes to costs and revenues, whether upwards or downwards, are up to us to manage. These include the costs of dealing with severe weather, changes to financing, employment, energy and chemical costs, business rates and tax.

“However, at the beginning of a five year period there are always a small number of potentially significant costs and revenues that can be clearly identified but not quantified.  These are set out at the time of the price review and either the company or Ofwat can seek an adjustment, upwards or downwards, once the actual costs and revenues are known.  That is what we are doing now.”

Mr Siddall added: “These significant costs could not be quantified at the beginning of the current pricing period, and their scale is unique to Thames Water’s operations, project commitments and catchment area. Increasing prices is never good news, which is why the company and its shareholders are encouraging Ofwat to adapt its regulatory mechanism to allow the impact of the price increase to be spread over more than one year to avoid a spike in bills for our customers.”

Simon Hughes MP said: “Thames Water’s request to increase water prices to pay for the Thames Tideway Tunnel is totally unacceptable and I implore Ofwat to reject this request on behalf of all Thames Water customers.

“Thames Water customers should not be expected to pay a huge amount towards the tunnel, given that in the years immediately before making this request, it had assets of billions of pounds which they have paid in dividends to their shareholders.

“I am continuing to call on the government to review the cost benefit of the tunnel currently being proposed and to see if it is the best and best value solution for London’s waste. I will be presenting the case for a different solution and different financing at the inquiry which begins next month.”

In a statement, the Save Your Riverside campaign group which is fighting the proposal to use Chambers Wharf for the superseder, said: “And so it starts – the flow of money down the drain that is the super-sewer, it is interesting to note that they haven’t gone for the full £80 they claim is needed for the £4 billion sewer, so there are bound to be further attempts by Thames Water to hike their bills still higher. What is really infuriating is that this crazy waste of money will not even do the job intended as a Defra minister admitted in the Lords on July 24 that the tunnel on its own is not enough and we will also need sustainable drainage systems, which themselves will require financing no doubt mostly from consumers.

“It is good that the water regulator Ofwat is reported as being ready to challenge this proposed increase and to demand it be justified. Ofwat must use its power to stop this waste of money pushing the vulnerable in society into water poverty, while Thames Water’s investors reap the benefits. The credibility of the regulator itself is now on the line – can Ofwat prove it is an independent watchdog prepared to use its teeth on behalf of water consumers, or is it the pampered poodle on a Thames Water lead that many people suspect?

“There is no longer time pressure either to rush through this little thought out solution, as the EU recently said that they wouldn’t hold us to the fines for not cleaning the river Thames by 2020 – as long as we can show effective solutions are being looked at. Also this is no longer simply a water rate payer issue, given the super sewer is now deemed a national infrastructure project.

“Although the government is trying to attract private investment, the fact that after many months of discussions there is still no announcement of a funding package for the tunnel, indicates how difficult it is finding it to attract private capital for the tunnel. Not only are Thames Water’s customers facing an initial £29 increase in their water bills to pay for the tunnel, there is every risk that all taxpayers will end up footing a massive bill for this ill-conceived project.”

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Bookmakers Ladbrokes have donated £5,000 towards the campaign to create new statues of Alfred and Ada Salter to replace the statue of Dr Salter stolen from the riverside in 2011.

“We were delighted to receive such a generous donation of £5,000 from Ladbrokes community fund,” said Gary Glover, chair of the Salter Statues appeal.

“Along with donations from other local charities and from the many people moved by the terrible theft of Dr Salter, we are now well over half way towards our target of £50,000.

Catherine Dale, treasurer of the Salter Statues campaign, said: “We have fund-raised £29,400 which is being match-funded by Southwark Council, meaning we need to raise another £20,600 to reach our target and see new statues of Alfred and Ada reunited with Joyce and the cat on the Bermondsey riverside.”

You can donate online at salterstatues.co.uk.

Richard Royal of Ladbrokes added: “We believe in supporting local communities in the neighbourhoods that we are represented within.

“Our Community Fund supports specific localised causes that have a strong community link, and the restoration of the Salter Statues which are symbolic of the history of this area, is a prime example of this.”

Southwark Council has voiced its strong opposition to proposals to use Chambers Wharf for the Thames Tideway Tunnel superseder. The council has set out its objections in its first formal response to the Planning Inspectorate on the impacts of the proposal.

“We strongly believe that Chambers Wharf is the wrong site for such a disruptive, major piece of construction like the Thames Tideway Tunnel,” said Cllr Peter John, Labour leader of the council.

“The proposed location is in the heart of a heavily residential area and very close to three of the borough’s schools. The round-the-clock noise, vibrations and traffic pollution caused by the construction work will blight the lives of these residents and children for years not to mention create significant safety concerns, making living and learning around Chambers Wharf an absolute nightmare.

“Any consultation by Thames Water has been ineffective and flawed at best, and at worst dismissive of the council’s genuine concerns. There has been a lack of information available on how the route of the tunnel and the affected sites have been chosen along with a lack of real opportunity for those affected by the proposals to influence site selection. Furthermore, Thames Water has failed to respond to our concerns about the potential impact of this project on our residents.

“In our opinion, there are better alternative solutions for the construction of the tunnel that would have significantly less impact than the proposals at Chambers Wharf. We will continue to oppose plans until we have achieved the best possible outcome for our residents.”

In a response on behalf of the Southwark Liberal Democrat council group, Riverside councillor Anood Al-Samerai said: “The impact of the proposals on our residents would be enormous – with six years of work, including 90 lorry movements a day and round the clock noise for the first three years, it would be impossible for them to carry on with their lives as normal.”

Councillor Eliza Mann added in her own response: “There are 150 residential properties in very close proximity to the proposed site, mainly on the nearby Dickens Estate which is home to 800 residents, all of which would be very badly affected by the plans.”

The Save Your Riverside campaign is holding a public meeting at City Hall this Thursday