Thames Tunnel 'Land Grab' Begins

Project issues compulsory purchase orders on local sites

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The Thames Tideway Tunnel project has been given Government permission to proceed with a number of compulsory purchases to allow the £4.2 billion scheme to be built.

There are a significant number of sites in Wandsworth Borough including on Putney Embankment and King George's Park, Wandsworth. In addition permission has been sought to acquire 1.9 hectares in Barn Elms to build a 6m diameter shaft there.

On Putney Embankment there will be work on the foreshore and riverbed which will see a drop shaft and new storm overflow built as well as ventilation columns and control equipment in a kiosk. This will be on a new platform jutting out onto the foreshore.

There will be two sites: a main construction site, with the second used as a temporary slipway to maintain public access to the Thames.

Work includes construction of underground structures to connect the combined sewer overflow (CSO) to a shaft approximately 36 metres deep with an internal diameter of approximately six metres. This shaft will be constructed within the river foreshore at the main site, and will transfer sewage flows from the CSO to the main tunnel. While most of the operational structures will be underground, two electrical and control kiosks and two ventilation columns will be required.

Construction is assumed to start in 2016 and be completed by 2020. Some advance works may be carried out before the main construction period. It is not clear at this stage how access to Putney Embankment will be affect by the construction work but substantial disruption in the area is inevitable.

Putney Embankment foreshore after completion

Underneath Putney Embankment foreshore

In King George's Park there will also be a drop shaft and ventilation structures. The site encompasses a part of the northern end of King George’s Park adjacent to the entrance from Buckhold Road and the junction of Buckhold Road and Neville Gill Close.

Work underneath King George's Park

King George's Park after completion

This site connects the existing local CSO, known as Frogmore Storm Relief–Buckhold Road CSO, to the main tunnel via a long connection tunnel, known as the Frogmore connection tunnel. Work includes construction of underground structures to connect the CSO to a shaft approximately 21 metres deep with an internal diameter of approximately nine metres. This shaft will be built in the northern part of King George’s Park, and will transfer flows from the CSO to the connection tunnel and then onto the main tunnel. It is not clear at this stage how much of the park will be closed and for how long during the construction phase.

At Barn Elms land will be acquired for the construction and maintenance of permanent works including a drop shaft. The Barn Elms site is in the south eastern corner of the Barn Elms Schools Sports Centre site and it intercepts the West Putney Storm Relief CSO.

Drop shaft in Barn Elms

According to the pictures on the consultation documentation once the work is complete the playing fields will be restored and the only thing visible above the surface will be some small buildings.

Barn Elms after completion of the project

Thames Water say the scheme is essential to stop sewage overspilling into the Thames during periods of high rainfall and claim last year it could have stopped 97% of such sewage spills. Whereas opponents say the work will cause major disruption near tunneling sites and insist there are better options.

Notice of the compulsory purchase orders was published in local newspapers fulfilling Thames Water's statutory obligation to publicise them.

October 3, 2014