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DC Cabe backs above-ground designs for London's super-sewer

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[First look] Design Council Cabe and Thames Water have revealed these images showing post design-reviewed proposals for surface level Thames Tideway Tunnel sites

The designs were revealed as DC Cabe published its backing for 22 planned above-ground sites along the route of the capital’s so-called super-sewer.

Prepared by Thames Water’s in-house architects, the plans would see major new public realm additions to London’s embankment at several high-profile points along the Thames including on the Victoria Embankment opposite the Southbank Centre.

Proposed public realm at Victoria Embankment

Proposed public realm at Victoria Embankment

The 35 km-long, £3.6 billion tunnel is planned to run from Hammersmith to Crossness, but needs a series of access shafts and bore holes en route.

Residents have already objected to proposed surface level sites at Hammersmith, Fulham and Barn Elms. Last year Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ Tideway Wharf project in Battersea risked being stymied by the project after its two hectare plot was earmarked as preferred location for a ‘main drive shaft’.

DC Cabe’s Tideway Tunnel design review panel, established earlier this year, worked closely with the project’s design team to develop proposals that would inspire Londoners and enhance the capital.

Panel chair Les Sparks said the sites offered an opportunity to create ‘useful and attractive’ public spaces which ‘collectively announce the existence of this significant but unseen engineering achievement.’

He explained: ‘As it follows the Thames through central London, this project marks its passage with a series of small developments in parks and alongside the river. The process should help secure the most imaginative design solutions that satisfy, but are not driven by, the engineering constraints of the project.’  

Kirsteen Mackay, head of design review at DC Cabe added: ‘We believe that the Thames Tunnel could leave a positive legacy for the Capital that extends far beyond just a cleaner river.

‘The new public spaces and buildings could make the Thames more accessible and easier to enjoy, allow a fuller understanding of the River’s historic features, support biodiversity, and even increase Londoners’ pride in their neighbourhoods and the city at large.

‘The proposals above ground should celebrate this immense hidden engineering feat and the opportunity to enhance London, much like Joseph Bazalgette’s original great Victorian sewer system and embankments.’

London Tideway Tunnels head Phil Stride said the design review process had been ‘very constructive and open’ and ‘added real value to the development of the designs’.

He added: ‘By undertaking the design reviews at an early stage in the design, we found that we were able to get useful input from the Cabe panel members and early engagement from many of our key stakeholders who attended the reviews.

‘The process has helped us to develop our designs, providing a strong framework on which to seek the views of the public and statutory stakeholders during phase two consultation. It is important that local people have their say on our proposals so that we can then develop and refine these designs in a way that meets the needs of the local communities.’



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