Carnwath Road development, how it would look
SCORES of new homes, offices, shops and restaurants were approved by Hammersmith & Fulham Council this week on the site earmarked for the super sewer.
The decision to approve the major new scheme, on derelict land in Carnwath Road, Fulham, puts the local authority on a collision course with Thames Water, which wants to use the road as a major construction site to build a 20-mile long underwater sewage pipe.
Last year the government warned Hammersmith and Fulham Council that any planning approval on the site would have to be studied by the Secretary of State, so the decision now rests with Government.
The government has previously backed the £4.1bn tunnel but concerted pressure from residents to stop the scheme coming to Fulham, concerns over its cost and growing evidence there are greener ways of stopping millions of tonnes of sewage seeping into the Thames are putting pressure on Number 10 to reconsider the scheme.
Having the tunnel built in Carnwath Road would not only cause up to seven years of disruption for residents, it would also scupper the council’s vision for what is an underdeveloped stretch of the river.
At a planning meeting on Tuesday night, it gave the green light for 475 new homes and offices up to 12 storeys high and unveiled plans to open up the riverside walk and create an “artisans’ quarter” in a workshop run by the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts.
Council leader Nick Botterill said: “Now these excellent plans to create a vibrant new riverside community, including much needed new homes, have got the green light from the council it is Thames Water’s duty to back off. Thames Water needs to find an alternative site for their unnecessary stink-pipe or, better still, ditch their costly white elephant all together.”
The development, by Fulham Riverside West Partnerships, has received backing from the Prince’s Foundation, while the The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has also expressed a desire to take up to 5,300sqft within the new community to replace its current Chiswick base, which is the second busiest in the country.
The RNLI responds to more than 200 emergencies a year from Chiswick but says this would be likely to rise to 300 if they were to relocate to south Fulham.
Not everyone is happy with the council’s plans. The Fulham Society says they are “boring and hastily and thoughtlessly put together”, and fear they could form another “dead” river development, with flats empty or used as second homes.
Thames Water is set to lodge its application in the next few weeks.