Midsummer at the Thames Tideway Tunnel Greenwich Pumping Station.
Down on the Thames Tideway Tunnel site off Norman Road, there has been great excitement as the Greenwich section of the Super Sewer project took a major step forward over the past few days. The aim is to drill a sewage overflow tunnel that will prevent the Greenwich Pumping Station having to release large amounts of raw sewage into the Thames whenever excessive rain floods the existing sewers. The overflow tunnel will connect the Greenwich Pumping Station with the massive new Thames Tideway super sewer via a new pumping station just below Tower Bridge. And in the early hours of Wednesday 15th July, the largest piece of the tunnel boring machine, the cutting head, was brought in by road, and prepared for lowering down to the bottom of the 50 metre access shaft TTT have been building here for the past two years.
As you will see from the picture, the blue drill head is enormous. When it is in place at the bottom of our access shaft, and tipped on its side, it will start to drill its way to Tower Bridge (starting in autumn, or possibly not until the New Year). That means now is the moment for residents and neighbours of Deptford Creek to join Mick Delap in setting out the kind of Greenwich Pumping Station we want TTT to leave us, once the overflow tunnel is completed. The original planning consent with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, RBG, requires TTT to leave a legacy of public realm improvements behind them on the Greenwich Pumping Station site. But the planning agreement is very unclear about what this should mean. RBG have a longstanding commitment to creating a public access pathway along the length of Deptford Creek, both to improve public amenity, and also to showcase the Creek's remarkable 19th century industrial history. The Greenwich Pumping Station, with its Creekside access and its listed 19th century structures, is central to this plan. But so far neither TTT nor the Greenwich planners have consulted with local stakeholders, nor revealed their thinking about the future. TTT will soon need to present their post-tunnelling legacy plans to the Greenwich planners for approval. Opening up the Pumping Station to public access will be complicated. It will require imagination, and great determination, and won't happen without a three way partnership between TTT, RBG, and local stakeholders. This is an opportunity that will only come once. Please tell Mick Delap your views, and support him in the increasingly urgent campaign to save the Creek for the neighbourhood.