Testing times: see the Thames Barrier in action on Sunday 10th September

Thames Barrier Test 2017

Sunday 10th of September will see the annual full test of the Thames Barrier: an opportunity to see the barrier in action, meet the teams who run it, and learn about how it all works. The cafe and information centre will open at 9am; we recommend keeping an eye on the official website for closure timings nearer the date.

There’s a Facebook event for it here, and we recommend following Alan at the Barrier on Twitter, too!

Thames Barrier test 2016
Thames Barrier test closure – September 2016
Photo copyright Neil Clasper

Developer eyes 25-storey tower at Thames Barrier on Charlton riverside

Tall Ships, April 2017
Crowds watching April’s Tall Ships Regatta from in front of the development site

A property developer has revealed plans for a 25-storey tower for land next to the Thames Barrier – flying in the face of Greenwich Council’s proposed new masterplan for the Charlton riverside.

Komoto Group Limited wants to redevelop the site to the west of the Barrier to provide 570 homes plus commercial and retail space and up to 500 car parking spaces.

The company owns the site, which is currently home to the Raceway go-kart track, Bunker 51 laser-tag centre, a church, and other firms. The land was formerly home to the Johnsen & Jorgensen glass works, which closed in 1981.

But the plans directly contradict Greenwich’s proposed new masterplan for the area, which envisages mostly low to medium-rise developments of up to 10 storeys. There is a get-out plan which would permit taller buildings if there is “adequate public transport”, which certainly does not apply here.

Furthermore, as From The Murky Depths points out, the area’s filthy, dusty, and still full of industry.

Herringham Road
The site’s neighbours on Herringham Road

However, the masterplan has not yet been legally adopted, so Komoto is clearly hoping to squeeze this through before then. The company is currently asking for a “scoping opinion” – an early opinion from the council’s planners on what the main issues with the development are likely to be.

Earlier this year, developer Rockwell applied to redevelop the old British Ropes site at Anchor & Hope Lane with a 28-storey tower – the council has not yet made a decision on this.

You can find the application on the council planning website as 17/1324/EIA or read the full scoping report here.

Cruise ship passes in the night

Silver Cloud cruise ship goes through Thames Barrier at night

Rob Powell of Greenwich.co.uk has been keeping an eye on the river…

The cruise ship Silver Cloud passed Charlton on Sunday night on her outward bound journey after a one-day stay in the river’s Upper Pool by Tower Bridge.

With just a friendly security guard for company, I was at the the Thames Barrier at about 01:30 – just as it started raining – to see the 157m vessel pass Charlton and transit through London’s iconic flood protection gates.

The late night trip down the Thames was the beginning of a 10-night cruise of Northern Europe on the Silversea-operated ship with Leith the next scheduled stop on Tuesday afternoon.

Other cruise ships to sail past this year have included The World, Fram, Deutschland and Hamburg. Still to come in August and September are FTI Berlin, Seabourn Pride and MS Europa.

Cruise ships should become an even more common sight around these parts when the promised redevelopment of Enderby Wharf on the other side of Greenwich Peninsula eventually takes place.

There have been predictions that there could be 100 cruise ship arrivals at the proposed terminal every year, although restrictions on the size of ships coming through the barrier mean the world’s largest cruise ships won’t be able to make it to Enderby’s.

But despite recent announcements on progress, and suggestions cruise ships may start arriving there next year, it’s perhaps worth noting that there appears to be a lack of available cruises to book now which have the new terminal in their itinerary despite the fact cruises are commonly booked 1-2 years in advance.

Champion readers may be interested in a website I run with lots of photos from the river called ThamesPics.co.uk