NEW Thames Tales NEW

Major work on Swiftstone underway!

Sorry, We have not had an update written lately ( well since 2002 actually).

Watch this space, I will try and add something to it shortly ( Alan B, 2010)



Update from Julian - September 2002

Ken's Draft London Plan The London Plan is now out for consultation and with it the Blue Ribbon Annex (Annex 2). This covers all future planning policy for the Thames and tributaries and once passed in the spring has to be taken up by the boroughs' U.D.P's.
The G.L.A. are only taking responses to this until the 30th of this month and copies are hard to get hold of and turgid work if you do.
Many of us have been working hard to get the right policies into the Blue Ribbon Plan and, to a surprising extent, I think we have succeeded.
In its present form it is a tool to curb developers power over waterfront sites, support true development of the river, including marine infrastructure and preserve the natural envionment while giving greater access. To quote the overused buzzword, "a sustainable river".

After the 30th the real attrition starts with pressure and lobbying from all those parties for whom this upsets the status quo, developers, council planners and even some politicians. This makes it really important that we respond positively to the annex.
It's not perfect but it's as good as it's going to get.

If you get a chance to read it then great. Add comments but above all support it.
If you can't read it, then still e-mail or write to support it, otherwise the chance will be gone and all our children will see of the river is row after row of high cost exclusive apartments, no mooring signs, and "trespassers will be prosecuted"!

Your river needs you. Send your responses to: Kevin Reid, City Hall. e-mail:

Regards Julian Kingston - Thames & Waterways Steering Group Stakeholder rep.


Julian Kingston is a long standing Thames resident and more recent member of the Steering Committee of the Greater London Authority's Thames Stakeholders Forum.... he will be reporting here.about what's happening in the Mayor's Office.

The 3rd Stakeholders Forum is being held on Weds 20th February 18:30 at Romney House Marsham Street. The Agenda and 'Emerging policy areas for Thames & Waterways' document are below but first here is Julian's introduction to the process and his perspective on Thames development...

As some of you probably know, I have lived on a boat for many years now.
'Sabine' was built in approx 1875 in Germany and has been a single handed restoration project for the last 16 years, so to me, the Swiftstone is beginners stuff!
I've watched the river over this time become more unwelcoming to boats and boaters. Moorings gobbled up by developers, councils that just don't listen or simply haven't a clue what goes on 'out there' and a dramatic fall in visiting boaters - mainly due to expense and lack of welcome or facilities.
In the face of these factors I've seen the few remaining commercial facilities hanging on by their fingernails with precious few exceptions while we all get tied down by more and more red tape from an increasing number of controlling authorities who seem not to communicate with each other.
Some, like the British Waterways Board take a "Borg" like approach taking over responsibility for more and more of London's Waterways and financing their operations by advertising the waterfronts they acquire, as "Suitable development area as a backdrop for high cost housing"!
In the light of all this, when I heard about a Waterfront Stakeholders Forum set up by Ken's G.L.A. I attended with the usual scepticism. However, it is at least looking at London's waterways as a whole with a view to future planning policy (hopefully not too late).
Feeling that I had to put my money where my mouth is, I stood for election to the steering committee and to my surprise, probably more than anybody else's got elected. Having never been on a committee for anything before it is all proving to be quite an interesting insight. As to whether I'll have any effect in the long run, I'll let you know.
One thing is obvious so far though. The east end of the river is poorly represented compared to the west, and the canals come to that.
The next public meeting is at present scheduled for either 16th of 17th January; try to come (but you do have to book due to security considerations at Romney House). Details can be obtained soon from

Regards Julian Kingston

Thames & Waterways Stakeholders Forum
18:30 on Weds 20th Feb
Room AG16 Romney House, 43 Marsham Street SW1.

18:30 Nomination of a chair of the meeting* see note below
18:35 Minutes of the last Forum
18:40 Process for producing, consulting and adopting the London Plan (Kevin Reid)
18:50 Feedback from Stakeholders Policy sub group (Sylvia Wicks)
19:00 Open discussion on possible policy areas for the London Plan (based on a list of possible policy areas attached)
20:00 Feedback from Thames & Waterways Steering Group Meetings (Ali Taylor)
20:10 Future discussion topics for the Forum (all)
20:20 Suggestions for alternative venues for Forum meetings (all)
20:30 Date of next meeting

*(the 4 Stakeholder Reps have recommended Bill Ellson as for this role and Michael McDermott or Linda Thoroughgood as vice chair but this needs to be agreed by the Forum).

Emerging policy areas for Thames & Waterways
v4 Jan02
(these have come from GLA Focus Groups and been influenced by Stakeholders Forum and other discussions)

Introduction, setting out what the Blue Ribbon is and the Principles regarding it.
The Economic value of the Blue Ribbon Network
1 Recognition of the importance of the Water Economy to London
2 Recognition of the importance of urban regeneration in relation to waterways
Regeneration and the Blue Ribbon Network
3 Give priority to proposals which use the water
4 Encourage the improvement of waterways and where possible create new waterways
5 Promote mixed use developments on large water side sites, esp public uses at ground floor
6 Any use of waterspace for essentially land activities must be for overall benefit of waterway
7 Residential moorings may have benefits in some locations as catalysts for improved environment & public realm, residential craft should look like a boat and be capable of moving
The Water Economy - passenger transport and tourism
8 Support proposals for passenger transport and tourism facilities on waterways
9 Identify areas where waterway transport facilities are lacking and seek them through relevant developments
The Water Economy - freight transport
10 Support proposals for freight transport on waterways
11 Identify and protect safeguarded wharves, investigate measures to ensure these are used
12 Checklist of tests if a wharf is no longer viable, in such cases other transport uses would be priority
13 Temporary use of safeguarded wharves could be allowed for other river related uses
14 Developments next to safeguarded wharves should be designed to minimise any conflicts
15 Promote & facilitate the use of river transport in construction of developments (materials in & waste away)
The Water Economy - leisure, recreation & sports
16 Support proposals for leisure use of the waterways
17 Identify areas not served by leisure facilities and encourage their provision through developments
18 Protect and improve access with suitable safety and mobility impaired considerations
19 Links from local walking routes public transport to waterways should be promoted
20 Existing moorings and marinas should be protected
21 Encourage sensitively designed moorings for residents, visitors, commercial, operational & tourism vessels
Support facilities on the Blue Ribbon Network
22 Recognise importance of marine support activities (boat repairs etc) for river transport & leisure uses
23 Development next to support facilities must should be designed to minimise any potential conflicts
24 Recognise that the Blue Ribbon is an excellent educational resource, new development should consider how it could further this role
25 Identify facilities in short supply and seek their provision/protection through new developments or other funding opportunities
Bridges and Structures
26 Bridges & structures need careful design, especially in central stretches of Thames, Mayor to produce Supplementary Guidance, bridges will generally only be considered where they are for sustainable transport
27 Promote the removal of defunct, and the improvement of unsightly/poorly maintained service crossings
28 Assessment of safety measures should be undertaken by all riverside developments, and suitable measures incorporated into development
Waterway Heritage
29 Develop a consistent approach to conservation area boundaries
30 Protect waterway views, prospects and panoramas
31 Protect significant archaeological remains
Waterway Design
32 Local character of waterways will be critical to assessing design of new buildings/facilities
33 Seek high quality design
34 Art encouraged in appropriate locations
35 Integrate development with sites up and down stream, inland and opposite
36 Developments in Thames Policy Area to prepare statements covering the design impacts
37 Waterside development to prepare statement on how waterspace will be used/affected
38 Impacts of high buildings next to waterways need particular attention
39 Ensure lighting schemes which don't impact on ecology or navigational safety
40 Waterside developments should consider including open space in areas near the Blue Ribbon
41 Resist loss of aquatic habitat - suitable mitigation if it is lost
42 Create new habitat wherever possible (both on land & in water)
43 Resist culverting and expect de-culverting
44 Resist impounding of any rivers (barrages etc)
45 Any development into the river must be river related, apart from exceptional cases
Flood Risk
46 Boroughs should identify areas at risk from flooding (with the EA/BW) , and plan in accordance with PPG25
47 Built development should be set back from flood defences to allow for future flood defence improvements is needed (river transport uses will still need a waterfront location)
48 Sustainable drainage techniques should be expected on new development
49 Riverside developments should set out a long term assessment of flood defences
50 Major developments should investigate the use of groundwater
Water Resources & Quality
51 Encourage the minimisation of water consumption
52 Encourage developments to enable the inspection/repair of water supply infrastructure
53 Protect & improve water quality
54 Seek separation of surface & foul water
55 Encourage improvement of sewage overflows
Thames & tidal tribs
56 Recognise special character of Thames and its role(s)
57 Designate Thames Policy area (same as RPG3b)
58 Prepare detailed appraisals of TPA, these should identify the need for infrastructure/facilities
59 Encourage the use of Thames-side sites for Green industries using water transport
60 Thames side sites in particular to consider the need for safe and appropriate access to river for boating or to foreshore
61 Recognise the multi functional role of canals, some areas vibrant some tranquil
62 Development to respect local character of canal
63 Major development should seek to restore former parts of the canal network (basins and canal arms) or create new waterway features
64 Mooring facilities welcomed, mainly off-line

Rivers, Ditches & Streams
65 These should be protected and improved as a valuable part of the Blue Ribbon Network

66 Suitable for visiting large vessels
67 Encourage the use of natural materials and landscaping
68 Infilling should be resisted
London's Lost Rivers
69 Welcome opportunities to restore where appropriate

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