Thames Tunnel

Save Barn Elms campaign

Thames Water's initial plans for the super sewer included a major tunnelling compound on Barn Elms Playing Fields - a popular greenfield sports venue on the Putney/Barnes boarder.

The council strongly opposed this choice of site and after months of concerted pressure, and more than 16,000 objections from local residents, the water company agreed to select an alternative brownfield site for this part of the construction project.

Wandsworth Council is a member of the Save Barn Elms Alliance - a coalition of residents, councils, politicians and community groups which has vigorously opposed the use of these playing fields for such long lasting and disruptive work.

The group is not opposed to the Thames Tunnel scheme as a whole - only the selection of Barn Elms as one of the main tunnelling sites.

The full membership includes Stop the Shaft, Wandsworth and Richmond Councils, local MPs Justine Greening and Zac Goldsmith, GLA members Richard Tracey and Tony Arbour, The Putney Society and The Barnes Community Association.

About Barn Elms Playing Fields

Barn Elms attracts 10,000 visits at weekends from walkers, joggers, families, cyclists, schools and sports clubs from all over London.

The site is one of south London 's busiest sporting hubs used by over 30 schools and 40 sports clubs.

Around 37 per cent of the 16,600 petition signatures were from Putney and Barnes residents. The remaining 63 per cent came from people living in other parts of London or outside the city.

The playing fields are boarded by the Ranelagh Housing Estate and hundreds of residents living in these homes would have their lives blighted by seven years of round the clock construction work if the plan goes ahead. 

As well as the main excavation site a giant waste transfer jetty would be built out across the Thames at Barn Elms to move excavated spoil away from the playing fields by industrial barge. This operation will cause serious difficulties for Putney's rowing and sailing clubs as well as the nearby Barn Elms Boathouse which is used heavily by novice crews. The alternative site has an existing industrial jetty in place and no new structures would be required in the river.

The playing fields sit next door to the London Wetlands Centre - a key urban wildlife site in London.

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