After a nine month campaign by local residents, a site in Rotherhithe has been given small park village green status, scuppering Thames Water’s plans to use the site as part of its super-sewer scheme.
King’s Stairs Gardens now has extra protection after Southwalk Council successfully used the Commons Act 2006 to effectively make the eight-acre site a village green.
Although King’s Stairs Gardens featured in phase one of the Thames Water super-sewer consultation, it was downgraded from one of their ‘preferred’ sites. This was in part due to Thames Water preferring to use brownfield field sites for construction, instead of using greenfield sites.
The Thames Tunnel needs to be constructed to stop raw sewage entering the River Thames at times of heavy rainfall. Currently over 39 million tonnes of this sewage ends up in the river every year, after being discharged though overflow outlets along the river bank. The new super-sewer, which will be built roughly following the path of the river, will collect the excess sewage and take it to upgraded sewage works where it will be processed.
The granting of the village green status for King’s Stairs Gardens will mean that Thames Water will most likely use the Chambers Wharf site instead.