Monday, 17 November 2008

H&F Council’s ‘Super Sewer’ Shenanigans, Part One – Ravenscourt Park

My fellow ward councillors, and I met with Thames Water recently to question them about the ‘Super Sewer’. Prior to that though, H&F Council’s Conservative Administration had done its best to stop the Opposition from getting a direct and independent briefing from the company itself – as you can see by clicking onto the attached email to an officer in the Opposition office.

It’s worth asking what could possibly be the reason that H&F’s Conservatives wanted to manage the information that Opposition councillors had access to? Well, it seems H&F Council’s propaganda machine and the local Tories have indulged in a considerable amount of scaremongering. For example, Ravenscourt Park fails most of the criteria for the much talked about bore hole or indeed any ‘Super Sewer’ works whatsoever but the Tories, who will have known this, still set that story running causing concern to many local residents.



I will write a detailed report on what the situation is and how we’re campaigning to stop even the possibility of works in any of our riverside green spaces, after the public meeting on the matter tonight. However, for now it is worth noting that:
  • no H&F Council officer had been allowed to brief the elected Opposition councillors for the area on the 'Super Sewer' before printing a hyped-up story about it in the Council’s propaganda sheet
  • the first the Opposition heard about the alleged boring in Furnival Gardens was when it was published in the Council's newspaper
  • when we asked H&F Council officials what the ‘Super Sewer’ story had been based on we were told that it had been "speculation"
I believe most local residents would expect politicians of all parties to unite to fight against any plans to dig up any of Hammersmith and Fulham’s local parks. But, given the above points and the tone of H&F Council’s propaganda on this it looks like our local Conservatives are more interested in using council tax payers’ money to run a closely coordinated and dishonest political campaign off the back of this issue, rather than defending residents’ interests.


Prior to the last local elections I led the cross-party negotiating team against Thames Water representing all of London’s thirty three boroughs. We secured millions of pounds from Thames Water to compensate for cuts in water pressure. Our success was because we put party politics to one side and got on with the job of representing Londoners against Thames Water’s commercial interest. That is what should happen in this instance.


If you want to attend the public meeting about the 'Super Sewer' then please come along tonight (Monday, 17th November) to Hammersmith Town Hall for 7.00pm.

Please feel free to email me here to let me know your views on this issue. I will report more later on this week.

2 comments:

Andrew Curry said...

Stephen,

One of the things that is puzzling me about the whole 'super sewer' issue is the assumption that public land will have to be commandeered for the access project. Thames Water is a private company and the access project is a business issue for them. They could almost certainly lease an area of private land for the duration of the project in the area near to the river - especially now that various property developments have stalled - all of which would also have better road access than the park schemes mooted in Furnival Gardens or Ravenscourt Gardens.

Andrew

Rosemary Pettit said...

Whoever set that hare running over Ravenscourt Park being a possibility for a borehole has got a lot to answer for.

It's caused great turmoil and apparently all for nothing.