The TRRC has established a working group to focus on the issues that have and will arise from the closure of Hammersmith Bridge.
We know that many rowing club members in the Putney, Hammersmith, Barnes and Chiswick areas have been affected by the bridge closure, both on and off the water, and support the need for a solution that offers safe passage across the river.
Over the past year we have been working with key stakeholders who will play a role in the proposed ferry service that will be launched on the Tideway.
The rowing community will benefit from the provision of a temporary crossing, but we are rightly concerned about the effect of any ferry service on navigation on this busy stretch of river, and on the safety of all river users. These valid concerns should be set against the strong feelings of the local community for whom the bridge closure has had a major impact. Our position is that Rowing can support a temporary ferry, as long as it operates in a manner that minimises any disruption to river users and allows us to still safely continue recreation activities.
We have assessed this planning proposal and are working with experts to formulate a formal objection to the plans.
We object to the ferry terminal being at Harrods Wharf due to the navigational and the significant safety issues that will arise from a ferry operating in this area. This location would also have a terrible impact on schools, recreational, competitive and elite rowing, as well as other recreational sports. Our concerns can be summarised as follows:
Economic impact on clubs that would be restricted to an even smaller congested section of the river, driving members to other sports or different clubs.
Economic impact on the livelihood of all rowing coaches, boatmen and admin staff working at rowing clubs between Putney and Hammersmith Bridge.
Social impact resulting from the closure of a charity that allows 1,300 local state school children to participate in the sport of rowing.
An alternative solution is to have a ferry operate on either the west or east side of the bridge, and as close as possible to the bridge.
We will be working with PLA, British Rowing and other stakeholders to achieve a solution that satisfies river users and the local community, allowing safe passage across the river.
We understand that the closure of Hammersmith Bridge may run for a significant period of time. We will be discussing with the PLA an extension to the rowing area below Putney Bridge once the river traffic for Craven Cottage and the Tideway Tunnel have eased.
We will continue to keep you updated over the coming weeks and months.