Yesterday afternoon I and several Richmond councillors met with the TfL officers leading the Hammersmith Bridge ferry project. The meeting was arranged by Nick Waterman, who is TfL’s engagement lead on the project. Other members of the project team in attendance included Tim Beckett of Beckett Rankine and Geoff Simmons, Chief Operating Officer of Thames Clippers.
TfL shared their slide deck, which is attached to this article. It contains details on the design and layout of the ferry and pontoons, along with details of operating hours and demand expectations. There are plenty of visuals so please do have a look. Below I have written up some of the key points not covered by the slides.
Residents raised a number of questions with me on the ferry; I put those questions to the project team and have captured their responses below. If you require any further detail, please ask and I would be delighted to go back to TfL.
Planning and Construction
- The target is for the ferry to be up and running by first week of September for when schools return. For that to be met, the piling work needs to commence by 19th July.
- Timescales are subject to receiving consent from various bodies.
- Bodies concerned are: London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and London Borough of Richmond upon Thames for planning consent. Additionally, consent is required from Port of London Authority, the Environment Agency and the Marine Management Organisation.
- All consents have been submitted for approval.
- The risk here is MMO consent, which can take up to thirteen weeks. Pressure is being brought to bear by TfL on the MMO to speed up their consents process. I will write to the chief executive of the MMO to amplify this.
- TfL will know well in advance if the September target will be met or not – they will advise residents accordingly. If they believe it will not be met, they will continue to look at other options, e.g. changes to local bus services.
- To speed up the construction process, components such as the piers and the walkways have been ordered in advance and TfL will look to do as much non-construction work as they can in advance of receiving necessary consents.
- Further information on the timescales will be given in writing.
- TfL has met with residents, residents’ associations and councillors on both sides of the river. There have been some concerns raised by residents on the north side of the river:
- Some residents are concerned about additional people walking through local streets after alighting from the ferry.
- Some residents have raised concerns about potential noise from the ferries.
- Some residents have raised concerns about the impact on their views of the river and Hammersmith Bridge.
- TfL believe they have mitigated these concerns and believe residents will be ‘pleasantly surprised’ by the reality of the ferry operation.
- The project team has also met with the rowing community to address their concerns, which they believe they have in hand. They are conducting risk assessments as part of their Port of London Authority application and will agree their plans with rowers.
- I asked why the ferry would cease operations at 2200 instead of later. There were two reasons. First, staffing – a later end time would require Thames Clippers to lay on an additional shift of staff. Second, concerns about noise from residents. However, TfL committed to reviewing the 2200 end time once the ferry was in operation.
- Thames Clipper trial runs established the crossing time will be approximately 90 seconds. There is good visibility and adequate water depth.
- TfL were challenged on the level of ferry provision at weekends – they committed to review this if demand is high.
- Thames Clippers will provide two members of staff either side of the river. Queue management would be part of the duties of these staff, but they do not foresee large queues being an issue.
- Cllr Brandreth asked about bus connectivity on the north side of the river. TfL are looking into this but are not in a position to share their full plan for another couple of weeks. They are looking at a taxi pick up – drop off point on the north side for people with mobility issues and will also be installing signage to guide people to onward travel options.
- TfL are continuing to engage with residents and elected representatives and will provide a general update via Zoom / Teams in due course.
- Once the ferry is operational, users and residents will be invited to give feedback via a dedicated email address and web site, as well as through surveys. Residents can also of course always contact me or their local councillors.
I hope this write up is useful for residents. If you have any questions on the ferry, please do not hesitate to email me – email@example.com.