Prepare to be engaged

Thames Tideway Tunnel Limited has organised an ‘informal drop-in session’ for the evening of 28 July at the Creekside Centre. It’s not clear, as usual, who has been invited, but presumably they’ll welcome everyone since their last efforts to engage us were so dismal. It presents a good opportunity to see how they’re getting on with the works, how they’re managing the traffic (there’s a lot of unhappiness locally about how the bus stops have been moved – without shelter or seating) and what the next steps are for implementing the section 106, which promises among other things controlled parking zones, support for the school, local employment etc. This is summarised elsewhere on this blog site. Come along if you can. Details below.

TIDEWAY – Deptford Church Street and Greenwich Pumping Station

Thank you for your interest in joining the Deptford Church Street and Greenwich Pumping Station Community Liaison Working Group. We look forward to meeting you.

An informal drop in session will be held on Thursday 28 July, 5pm-8pm at the following venue:

Creekside Discovery Centre
14 Creekside

The team will be on hand to answer your questions.

We look forward to seeing you then, however, if you are unable to attend, please let us know.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to speak to someone, please call our 24-hour Tideway Helpdesk on 08000 30 80 80.

Kind regards.


Smoke on Thames Water!


Strike a light – it’s a smokers’ paradise!

Local residents are seeing Deep Purple now that it has come to light that Thames Water’s first community ‘benefit’ is a makeshift smokers’ shelter on Crossfields Green, Deptford.

J Murphy & Sons’ first strike in their £multi-million contract to build the controversial Thames Tideway Tunnel was to construct an open-fronted plywood shed to protect the tobacco-loving teachers at nearby St Joseph’s Primary School from the elements.

The decision has ignited passions as local people say it will encourage smoking near the school and impact on the local environment. They point out that the contractors have already been responsible for damage to the green spaces locally, including by using Crossfields Green for parking.

“There’s no fire in the sky, but there’s definitely smoke on Thames Water!” says Nick Williams of campaign group, Don’t Dump on Deptford’s Heart. “But unlike ageing rockers, Deep Purple, Thames Water continue to demonstrate how out-of-touch they are. The Tideway Tunnel is an expensive, environmentally nonsensical anachronism that will add £80 a year to every Londoner’s water rates. They would be much better investing their energy on something that would truly light up the local community.”

Editor’s note: apologies to anyone who has not heard of Deep Purple. I’m guessing that’s pretty much anyone under the age of 50!

15 months of preparatory work starts

Thames Water, or ‘Tideway’ as they have now styled themselves, have set out the timetable for the next phases of preparatory works in and around Deptford Church Street.

From late September there will be 15 months of disruption as contractors J Murphy & Sons work up to 55 hours a week to relocate the utilities around Crossfields Green.

The works will be in four phases and will be concentrated on Coffey Street and Crossfields Street for the first seven months before moving on to the potentially much more disruptive Deptford Church Street for the remaining eight. Here, the busy through road will be reduced to one lane in each direction for four months at a time in each direction, though efforts will be made to provide for pedestrians, cyclists and to relocate the pedestrian crossing. Although entry to the school and church will be preserved, any movement in and out of Bronze Street and Berthon Street will be prevented for up to four months.

The details and map will be published here soon. The help desk, for those with queries, can be contacted on 0800 0721 086. The next meeting of the Community Liaison Working Group is promised for October.

What is unclear is what part of the site the contractors will occupy. Though their notification talks about fencing off and moving in equipment, it is not obvious where this enclosure will be. We have sought clarification and will report back here as soon as we have an answer.

Preparatory roadworks start in August

Map shows the trial trenches

Map shows the trial trenches

Thames Water propose to dig a minimum of seven trial trenches in the pavements and roads surrounding Crossfields Green over a three week period, starting on 27 July.

Precisely what they’re looking for isn’t explained but these ‘ground investigation works’ will presumably give some clues about what they’ll have to tunnel through. They’ll no doubt give us a taste of what’s to come as some of the footpaths will be closed and the plan seems to suggest that at least one of the northbound lanes in Deptford Church Street will be dug up.

On balance doing this work in August is probably good timing, especially for the children at St Joseph’s, and the traffic will no doubt be quieter. But it is likely to reduce use of the Green during the summer holiday. Regrettably this loss of amenity does not mean Thames Water will have to fund anything for the community under the section 106 agreement (the ‘compensation’ contract between the council and Thames Water,) this will have to wait until the works start for real. Deep joy.

Thames Water community liaison belly flops

Thames Water extended it’s lamentable record of community engagement last week by failing to invite local residents or businesses to a ‘community liaison working group’ meeting on 2 July.

By their own admission, notice of the meeting was delivered only to properties within 100 metres of the Crossfields Amenity Site. But even this appears to have been done poorly since a poll of supporters of this group found that not one person recalled seeing this notice.

Local Councillors were invited at relatively short notice and consequently had to give their apologies. When they made enquiries on our behalf they were assured that Don’t Dump on Deptford’s Heart had been invited when we had not been (in fact, we never were).

And, when I asked for Thames Water to reconsider the timing of the meeting, Thames Water’s Head of Engagement, Phil Stride, gave a commitment to do so if the response to the emailed invitation looked likely to be low.

This promise was clearly not honoured since only four members of the public were able to make it. Had it not been for our efforts it is likely to have been less. As a consequence, the agenda for the meeting was officially abandoned. And, to add insult to injury, even though there was twice as many Thames Water staff as local residents, not one of them saw fit to record the updates that they gave to the attendees so that this information could be circulated.

One stalwart of our campaign did, however, make a note of the meeting and we hope to post this shortly on the blog site together with the rather entertaining official note of the meeting.

In the meantime we are pressing for the terms of reference to be circulated now so that a) we can see what the point of it is; b) we can all make a judgement about whether it’s going to be worthwhile; and c) we might be able to influence them if we get them in advance.

Watch this space for details!

Nick Williams

Community Liaison Meeting Announced

Thames Water have announced details of their first Community Liaison Working Group. It takes place:

Thursday 2 July, 19.00-21.00
Deptford Lounge
9 Giffin Street
London SE8 4RJ

If you have any questions or would like to speak to someone from Thames Water you can call their 24 hour customer helpline on 0800 0721 086.

Try to get along if you can. We hope to carry a report shortly after the meeting.


Deptford residents face annual surcharges of up to an £80 on water bills from this year onwards to pay for the £4.3 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel (TTT) even though new evidence suggests it is becoming redundant, Campaign group, Thames Blue Green Economy (TBGE) has revealed.

According to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) own calculations, the 25km long concrete tunnel will, on average, cost every Thames Water household an average of £80 annually by 2020/2. For large households on meters, the bills are likely to increase to some £120 annually. Some 15% of all families will be paying water bills at more than 5% of their total income, and 500,000 children in low income families will be hit particularly hard. Compulsory metering will mean that large families and those who suffer serious ill health, and do much more laundry, will face proportionally higher water bills.

To add insult to injury, this hugely expensive Tunnel is not even needed, as it has been revealed that River Thames water quality did not breach the Environment Agency standards in 2014. And, when the Lee tunnel becomes operational at the end of this year it’s likely that it will continue to meet the EU quality standards. The significance of this is that this, and the prospect of huge EU fines, was the government’s justification for the scheme.

Ann Rosenberg, spokesperson for TBGE, said: ”This Tunnel is a hugely expensive folly. It will soon be costing householders at least £80 extra every year, and hit low- income families and half a million children especially hard. This is a blatant victimization of hard-working families by Thames Water. It must be stopped”.

The campaign to stop the Tunnel and protect Thames Water customers is backed by prominent members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, who have called on Ministers in Defra and the Treasury to stop the rip-off.

Long-time opponent of the TTT, Lord Berkeley said: ”This is quite simply a scandal. The proposed Thames Tunnel is not needed. River water quality has every likelihood of meeting EU standards after the completion of the Lee tunnel. Why should hard-pressed families receive a nasty shock in their water bills which from this year will rise and rise?”

Campaign group, Thames Blue Green Economy (TBGE) is behind the two legal challenges to the Tunnel in the Royal Courts of Justice.