|Thames Tunnel Go Ahead Signals Disruption for Chiswick|
Massive engineering project sites access shaft in Homefield Rec.
A £2 billion sewer construction project that was given the green light by the Government this week could signal years of upheaval for Chiswick and leave a permanent scar on its landscape.
The massive tunnel, designed to stop sewage overflowing into the Thames, will run under the river from Hammersmith to Abbey Mills in East London. However, it will be Chiswick that will bear the brunt of the disruption during its construction after Homefield Recreation Ground was identified as the only piece of open ground suitable to site an entry shaft for the tunnel.
The true impact of this substantial engineering project was first realised back in November 2004 when representatives of the Thames Tideway Strategy Group made a presentation to the Chiswick Area Committee. Their presentation outlined the formation of a 35km tunnel, 80 metres below ground level which would end the necessity to pump sewage into the Thames at times of heavy rainfall but would need an access shaft to gain entry to the tunnel during its construction.
It would appear from diagrams published this week that the shaft will be sited in the recreation ground signalling several years of major disruption, loss of open space and possibly a permanent scar on the park.
It is understood that Homefield Ward Councillors are presently being briefed and will respond appropriately in due course.
The estimated £2bn price tag for the tunnel is to be met through a rise in water bills. David Bland, chairman of Consumer Council for Water Thames, told the BBC, "The costs will be met wholly through increases in consumers' bills, and will be far more than most are willing or expecting to pay. For some Thames Water customers, the resulting price rises will be simply unaffordable".
Environment Minister Ian Pearson said, "This tunnel is the right solution for London and for the environment. It will give us a 21st Century River Thames that we can all be proud of. This will inevitably mean some extra costs for customers, but it will deliver tangible benefits for London in the long term."
Map from presentation by Thames Tideway Strategy Group
March 26, 2007