Friday, February 3, 2012

Join the Thames Tunnel Protest – Sunday 5th February

Don't Dump of Deptford's Heart (the campaign against Thames Water's plans to use the green beside St Paul's Church as a work site for the Thames Tunnel) have organised for a press photo to be taken on Sunday 5th February at 12 noon on the green.

They would like as many people as possible to be in this picture, so if you support the campaign, please pop over – they hope it will only take 20 minutes and there will be soup to keep protesters warm!

They will also be celebrating the announcement that the council have granted the newly formed Deptford High Street Garden Association a lease to use the site for 2-3 years. The aim is to set up a community garden on the green for use by all.

The protest on Sunday will also highlight the impending deadline for the Phase Two public consultation on the use of this site which ends on February 10th. Meanwhile Crossfields should have already received a letter from Thames Water about the tests they will be running on the green, which will last for 10 weeks over February and March. They will be boring three holes 70 metres deep on the site to test soil and water conditions, and work will be going on from 7am to 6.30pm Mondays to Fridays.

Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart believe that Thames Water's previously considered alternative site at Borthwick Wharf Foreshore (on the river) should be used instead of the Deptford Church Street site, which is part of St Paul's Conservation Zone, including both St Paul's Church and St Joseph's Primary School, as well as being in close proximity to Crossfields Estate – Farrer, Congers and Browne House in particular.

If you still haven't objected you can download the campaign crib sheet here which lists the arguments and important people to copy your objection to. Here are the arguments against using Deptford Church Street in preference to Borthwick Wharf in brief:

Deptford Church Street will be reduced to a single lane each way with bus stops relocated. Church Street will be the main means of removal and delivery of excavation materials, seriously affecting traffic and pollution in the area. There is no option to use the river at the Deptford Church Street site, unlike at Borthwick Wharf.

Many residential properties will be affected, especially Farrer and Congers House which are single glazed unlike those at Borthwick Wharf. Thames Water has completely missed out Farrer House in its evaluations. Only Congers House is considered a "Residential Receptor" for Noise and Vibration.

St Joseph's School will be severely affected by dust and noise. One of the reasons Thames Water gave for not using Borthwick Wharf was because of its proximity to Charlotte Turner School – which has been closed for years!

St Paul's Church is a Grade 1 listed building and a tranquil place of worship and a burial ground. The many mature trees (about 36) and the historic wall will be lost, as will the archaeological evidence of Thomas Archer's 18th century rectory. The site is also opposite the Sue Godfrey Nature Reserve, which is also a shortlisted site but considered less suitable because works would need to be carried out across both carriageways of Church Street, causing more disruption (not because it is a nature reserve!).

Many local businesses will be affected, but there is only one business at the Borthwick Wharf site that will be affected (the AHOY centre). Road access to businesses in Crossfield St will be compromised and high street businesses backing onto the green will be affected by noise and dust (such as Deptford Deli).

Borthwick Wharf Foreshore was the preferred option in Phase One consultations, but is now considered less suitable "because of the potential effects on residential (the private Millennium Quays development), visitor (?) and business amenity (Ahoy Centre) and due to restricted vehicular access along Glaisher Street (a 'private' road) which is less suitable for heavy goods vehicles. Although the use of barges to transport material could help reduce these potential effects, lorries would still need to be used to transport some materials to and from the site. Furthermore, the use of barges at this site would be complicated by the existing derelict jetty." See "How We Chose This Site" on the Thames Tunnel website. Also see their latest report on the Deptford Church Street site.


  1. I would be very surprised if the churchyard wall were going to be lost as this is by Nicholas Hawksmoor and must appear in the church listing. A listed buildings consent for demolition would have to be given. Interested parties need to check out PPS5 and EH's recent publication on the Setting Heritage Assets. If you don't mean the church yard wall the other free standing wall is listed in EH's monuments record. Aside from this, archaeology may exist of Thomas Archer's Rectory and urgently needs to be highlighted before the trial boreholes take place.

  2. Yes, sorry, not the church wall but the freestanding wall. Thanks for the EH lead and advice!

  3. Personally I think we are onto a losing argument if our best proposal is that we want it moved back to Borthwick Wharf Foreshore. That site has been looked at by them in Phase 1 and proven to be unworkable for numerous reasons. If we are to have any hope we need to think about a serious alternative solution. I put my hand up that I don't know where that is, but given Borthwick has been dropped as unworkable we need to let it go and not waste time and resources fighting this battle to get it moved back to a site that is untenable - instead we need to focus on solid, practical reasons why the St Pauls site should not go ahead and come up with a new location that they have not previously thought of.

    1. I think Concerned is right. Some of the arguments put forward in favour of the Borthwick Wharf site and against the Deptford Church Street by the Don't Dump on Deptford campaign are at the very least disingenuous if not downright misleading, which doesn't help the case one jot. You need to find another site that isn't in the middle of a residential zone.

    2. Equally concernedMonday, February 06, 2012

      The alternative site is the Sue Godfrey Nature Park which would bring Church Street traffic to a standstill (so Thames Water claim, and if not Church Street then Creekside) and also affect local residents. What brownfield sites do Anonymous and Concerned suggest? There aren't any, are there. This may be why DDODH have adopted a seemingly combative 'them or us' stance...

      Meanwhile, Thames Water allude to the river wall in the case of Borthwick but make no mention of the archaeological significance of the Church Street site.

      Can Anonymous please clarify what is misleading in DDODH's arguments?

    3. Borthwick Wharf hasn't been proved unworkable which is why it is still a possible option.


    This may be the freestanding wall.......
    MONUMENT NO. 1491439
    Site of General Baptist chapel whih was built in 1700 and was probably originally weatherboarded and timber-framed.The premises were repaired and reopened in 1801, when the chapel was Unitarian, in brick with a hipped roof. Following a major fire in 1969, it was demolished and the site cleared, except for the boundary wall, which is Listed. 18th century walls to West of former chapel side. Red brick mixed with stock brick, stone-coped.
    but needs veryfiing with this...
    The free standing wall needs to be identified before it is demolished.

  5. Bring on the Baptists

  6. @Concerned et al,

    No mention here of opposing the entire project – which is what other councils have done (notably Hammersmith & Fulham). There IS another way, as revealed by the Thames Tunnel Commission (Oct 2011) chaired by Lord Selborne. The commission found that the previous government scarcely considered other options before agreeing to the Thames Tunnel, eg, a shorter tunnel (the Babtie option) combined with Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (permeable pavements), rainfall harvesting and storm water harvesting etc. Download the very readable The Case Against Thames Tunnel. Also see more on the Selborne Commission).

    People should be objecting to the tunnel itself as much as its use of these local sites. Unfortunately, DDODH have been advised by Deputy Mayor Alan Smith, who is in favour of the tunnel, as are Lewisham Council.

  7. Remember that an alternative site will need to be plumbed into the existing interceptor so not every brownfield site will be suitable. Really don't know enough about the two mentioned to say which is least bad or if there are alternatives.

    As for permeable pavements, harveting etc... well possibly but in effect you'll be doing thousands of little bits of work. How will you maintain them? who will own them? will they work for the next 50 years as the population grows? I agree that perhaps building regs need to be looked at to reduce (or is that increase?) the effectiveness of harvesting and reduce runnoff but that seems cmplimentry rather than a replacement.

    We're dumping milions of literes of pee and piss into the river, about once a week on average. That's shameful and we need a lasting solution that will cope with growth.

    I'm sure alternative, or should i say rival, civil engineering consultants will suggest other schemes. That's what they do for a living.

    My view is that it's required but need hard technical, practical, financial arguments. Trouble is that's expensive.