Boris Johnson has written to Richard Aylard, Thames Water's External Affairs and Sustainability Director, calling for a re-examination of five aspects of the Thames Tunnel project. One of the said five aspects is Deptford Church Street in regard of which Boris says:
"This site is adjacent to a school and on one of the few open spaces in this deprived area of London. The site will also impact on a busy section of the road network which is also an important bus route. I think there is more scope for alternative sites in this area, including the options examined in the first phase of consultation and again I urge you to search for a site that has lower impact."
Local Campaign: Don't Dump On Deptford's Heart
The full text of the letter:
Thames Tunnel Sewer
Further to my response to the Phase 2 consultation, I have reconsidered this project, not least because I have heard of the concerns from some of the Londoners who will be most severely affected.
I remain committed to the project because we must address these sewer overflows. However, I think that there are five areas where the project needs to be re—examined:
1. Overall project cost
2. Chambers Wharf
3. Camwath Road
4. Deptford Church Street
5. Kirtling Street
Overall project cost
My Advisers have had meetings with Richard Benyon MP over the past couple of years on this matter. The scale of the overall project cost appears to me to need tighter control. I have previously requested that the Minister takes direct control of this himself, and I will take this up with the Minister again. I want him to build in incentives to ensure that the project is built to the lowest reasonable cost and to ensure that there are no perverse incentives to you (Thames Water) to make this asset as big as possible.
Furthermore, the way in which Thames Water customers will pay for this, adding £80-£100 per year to bills, is unacceptable to me. We must get to a funding mechanism that enables customers to pay for the necessary infrastructure in a finite amount of time, accepting of course that there will be a degree of operational and maintenance funding.
This site is right up against people's homes. I realise that you are proposing to cover the main works with a warehouse building. However, I can only think that this will be intolerable for local people. You must re-examine the area for a better alternative site and re—examine the option of driving the tunnel from Abbey Mills to this area.
This site is also close to people's homes and again you have proposed to cover the main construction works with a warehouse building. I do not think that you have proposed enough use of water transport given the busy urban nature of this area and this is another case where you must look harder for alternatives.
Deptford Church Street
This site is adjacent to a school and on one of the few open spaces in this deprived area of London. This site will also impact on a busy section of the road network which is also an important bus route. I think that there is more scope for alternative sites in this area, including the options examined in the first phase of consultation and again I urge you to search for a site that has lower impact.
I realise that this is the singie biggest construction site, being a double drive site. However, the potential impact that this would have on the regeneration of this area is immense. You should ensure that the design, layout and operation of the site does not undermine the regeneration of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Opportunity Area and in particular have an adverse impact on the Riverlight development.
We all want this project to succeed, but to do so you must find a way of overcoming the huge public concern about some of the construction sites and the cost of the project.
Mayor of London
Cc: Richard Benyon MP, Parliamentary Under—Secretary of State, Defra"
The original letter can be viewed here.