5 New Public Spaces Will Be Created By The Super Sewer

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 44 months ago
5 New Public Spaces Will Be Created By The Super Sewer
Blackfriars: hiding a 24 metre wide shaft will be this new piece of foreshore. Blackfriars will also get a new pier to replace the exisiting Millennium Pier.
Blackfriars: hiding a 24 metre wide shaft will be this new piece of foreshore. Blackfriars will also get a new pier to replace the exisiting Millennium Pier.
Albert Embankment: reclaimed land will appear underneath and either side of Vauxhall Bridge, with benches so we can admire the view to Millbank while remembering the poo flowing 48 metres beneath us.
Albert Embankment: reclaimed land will appear underneath and either side of Vauxhall Bridge, with benches so we can admire the view to Millbank while remembering the poo flowing 48 metres beneath us.
King Edward Memorial Park: this Shadwell park will, after a few years of having part of it closed for construction, end up with a new area of reclaimed land.
King Edward Memorial Park: this Shadwell park will, after a few years of having part of it closed for construction, end up with a new area of reclaimed land.
Putney: this little jutting jetty will hide the shaft connecting the sewer overflow to the main sewer.
Putney: this little jutting jetty will hide the shaft connecting the sewer overflow to the main sewer.
Victoria: this new site south of Hungerford Bridge should be complete by 2021. There'll be a pergola to lounge under on sunny days.
Victoria: this new site south of Hungerford Bridge should be complete by 2021. There'll be a pergola to lounge under on sunny days.

You'll have heard about the super sewer, Thames Water's controversial plan to upgrade London's ability to deal with our poo. You'll probably have heard how it's going to add £80 a year to our water bills, cause disruption during the work, and possibly seen some reports about it being a colossal waste of money (£4.2bn) or, in a candidate for hyperbole of the year, Southwark council's leader calling a related planning decision "ludicrous and evil". But did you also know it's going to create three acres of public space along the river?

In much the same way as Victoria Embankment was created because of Bazalgette's Victorian sewer, several new bits of land will appear over the next decade — you can read more about them in the images above. (Fans of ventilation shafts will celebrate the addition of many more to the landscape.)

The sewer is needed because London's population is way over what Bazalgette had in mind — he designed for four million residents which, given the city's population at the time was two million, he doubtless thought was fine — but we're now at a record 8.6 million and counting. That's a lot of people using the loo and in 2013, 55m tonnes of storm sewerage ended up in the Thames because the system couldn't manage. Which is grim.

Planning permission for the super sewer (or the Thames Tideway Tunnel, to give it its posh name) was granted last year and financing is expected to be in place by summer. Assuming everything goes to plan, work will start in 2016 and be finished by 2023.

Last Updated 20 February 2015