Friday, July 18, 2014

Thames Tunnel works threaten Willow Circle and Community Garden

Although the Secretary of State has yet to make a final planning decision on the sites chosen by Thames Tideway Tunnel for all the works required to build the super sewer (expected in September), this doesn't stop TTT continuing to investigate the site on Deptford Church Street.

Last week Crossfields residents got a letter from TTT informing us that they intend to carry out "ground investigation works on Deptford Church Green to locate underground utility services and underground obstructions". There will be seven trial trenches dug to a depth of up to 3 metres, the area would be fenced off, and the work will begin this coming Monday and last 4 weeks. They enclosed a plan (see below).

But it seems that Crossfielders may have been the only people to receive this information. The last people to know are Deptford High Street Garden Association, the new leaseholders of a small part of the land, who only found out through their Crossfields friends. The proposed works rather conflict with their plans to start building their container gardens on the site this weekend.

Lewisham planners have agreed to let TTT dig the trenches without either giving the Association any notice. TTT ought to know about the association's intentions since it made several representations during the consultations. Lewisham Planners ought to have known about the Association because Lewisham awarded them the lease to create the garden there.

The Association's lease is only for the 'willow' circle area. The circle was built by Utrophia in the summer of 2012 to demarcate the area where TTT want to build their 17metre wide shaft. It was most recently used as a magical after-show dance space by French theatre company Rar Woulib as part of Greenwich Festival in June. 

From the plan, it appears the trenches are narrowly avoiding the willow circle area. The Association were unable to get hold of anyone at TTT this week until today when they failed to get it confirmed that the circle would be protected. In fact they were told the whole area would get pretty messed up and driven over by diggers, and TTT couldn't guarantee that anything would remain.

A case of plant machinery supplanting planting.

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