Save Barn Elms Rally and Fun Day July 16

Published: 5 July 2011

England rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio will be among the campaigners taking part in the Save Barn Elms Rally and Family Fun Day on Saturday 16 July, 10am to 4pm.

The event has been organised to help save one of south London's most popular playing fields and riverside nature spots from being used as a giant excavation and waste transfer site for seven years.

Several famous faces will be there to support the campaign alongside event organisers Wandsworth and Richmond Councils, residents' pressure group Stop the Shaft, MPs Justine Greening and Zac Goldsmith and GLA members Richard Tracey and Tony Arbour.

Access to the playing fields is from Putney Embankment or Queen Elizabeth Walk, the main rally event will take place at 11.30am.

A range of sports taster sessions will be going on all day to give residents the opportunity to try out the activities which take place at Barn Elms every week. The programme runs from 11am to 4pm, full details below.

There will also be live music and a range of fun activities for young children. Food and light refreshments will be available or visitors can bring a picnic.

Barn Elms Playing Fields - an unspoilt stretch of the riverbank - has been earmarked by Thames Water as the location for a giant excavation and waste transfer site.

The works would last for seven years while the water company digs a section of the Thames Tunnel 'super sewer'.

The campaigners stress they are not opposing the sewer project as a whole, only the use of a greenfield beauty spot as the main tunnelling site. They believe that an alternative brownfield location must be used instead where the impacts would be less severe.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: "If you believe that London's green open spaces should be protected from major construction work then please come and join us at Barn Elms on July 16th. This event is all about showing Thames Water how much we all care about our playing fields and riverside walk.

"Around ten thousand people come here every weekend to play sports and enjoy the unspoilt setting. It would set a very dangerous precedent indeed if such a valued natural asset was selected as a construction site when a semi-derelict industrial area could be used instead. Anyone with an interest in protecting green open spaces should watch Thames Water's next move very carefully."

Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said: "We are fundamentally opposed to Thames Water using the Barn Elms site. As they stand the proposals would be severely disruptive to local people and would result in an unacceptable loss of green space, which residents in Barnes and Putney value very highly.

"I urge all local residents to come along to the rally and voice their concerns."

According to the Thames Water's plans the Barn Elms worksite would be the size of three football pitches and a giant waste transfer jetty would be built out across the Thames. This is likely to cause serious difficulties for Putney's rowing and sailing clubs as well as the Barn Elms Boathouse.

END

Notes to Editors

Sports sessions will pause at 11.30am for the Rally, press & photo opportunity afterwards.

10am-4pm

The Big Hit Tennis Session

Fun tennis session for the whole family

10am-4pm

Running Technique Coaching

Running gait analysis and technique coaching

10am-4pm

Touch Rugby

Tournaments and tasters

10am-4pm

Indoor Rowing Tank Tasters

Come and try out rowing from the safety of the land. We have an indoor 'rowing boat' surrounded by water where you can experience rowing as a crew with one to one coaching.

10am-4pm

Rowing Ergo Challenge

The next step up from the Rowing Tank. The ergo allows you to see your progress in terms of distance rowed, technique, and calories burned from this low impact sport. Race the machine! Coaches will advise on the next steps to rowing on the river.

10am-4pm

Archery

Archery competition and tasters

10am-4pm

Football

Competitions and coaching tasters

10am-4pm

Bouncy Castle

Bouncy Castle fun for the whole family

10am-12pm

Bertie Balloon

Fun balloon making activity

2pm-4pm

Laughing Bubbles

Super hero drama workshops

10am-12pm

Drum & Music Session

A big music performance for younger children

11am-1pm

Circus Skills

A Circus show for the family

2pm-4pm

Interactive Kids Music Session

Groovy music tunes for kids to take part in