Thames Tunnel Planning Inspectorate Meeting 05/02/14
Good evening. As you said Chairman, I am Joan Ruddock. I am the Member of Parliament for Lewisham Deptford and I have been for 26 years. I believe that much of what I have to say this evening you will have heard already. That would not be surprising because the people you have heard from are my constituents; they have consistently made representations to me and I think it’s my duty (as you know I have made written representations) to come here tonight to sum up what our concerns are, I do that because we have had no answers, no real explanations, that meet our objections and so this is why there will be repetition because we can’t change a path. We know exactly what we feel and what we think about this and it needs to be said again and again.
This is, I’m sure you are already aware, one of the most deprived areas in the whole of the country. It’s very densely populated. Many adults and children live in overcrowded conditions lacking outdoor space, close to heavily congested roads, and they suffer from air pollution. Green space is therefore at a premium and is greatly valued by local people.
It is then, I think, extraordinary and completely unacceptable that Thames Water should have chosen the one tiny oasis here as its preferred work site.
The four years of activity on this site would result obviously in noise, dust and increased air pollution in an area already suffering environmental overload. Immediately impacted would be the children of St Josephs’ primary school. Four years would mean disruption of classes for virtually the whole of some children’s school life.
Small businesses already struggle to survive in this area and would be bound to suffer from the disruption.
But it is the plans to close lanes on Deptford Church Street that beggar belief. The road is already heavily congested with HGVs throughout the day, a situation that is exacerbated by the not infrequent closure of the Rotherhithe and Blackwall tunnels. Furthermore the construction of tens of thousands of new housing units in the vicinity will begin within the same time frame.
The removal of the bus lanes and the moving of bus stops would have a serious impact on local residents who disproportionally travel to work by bus. I believe that the safety of cyclists would also be jeopardised.
Finally there is the proximity of the proposed works to the Grade 1 listed St Paul’s Church, one of the very few fine buildings in Deptford. Over the years local people and Lewisham Council have fought hard to enhance both the local environment and to improve local amenities, such as the building in which we are meeting tonight. All of these efforts which would be thoroughly undermined by Thames Water’s plans.
The proposed siting of the Thames Tunnel worksite on the Green is completely unacceptable. Thames Water should never have abandoned its first preferred site which was much more environmentally sustainable than the current proposal.
I believe there is an overwhelming case for rejecting the use of the Deptford Church Street site.