Sopwith Way – Massive Increase in Traffic and Worse to Come!
Photos taken from my apartment window
Opening up Sopwith Way with no planning or consultation
Following the decision of Berkeley Homes and Battersea Power Station Development Company to resurface Sopwith Way, remove the speed humps and open it up to all traffic there has been a massive increase in traffic along this narrow service road which runs within metres of many apartments at Chelsea Bridge Wharf. The traffic has come from HGVs waiting to access the Vista development site at the junction of Sopwith Way and Queenstown Road and from general traffic from the extremely busy Queenstown Road which are looking for a cut through to the Battersea Power Station site or for somewhere convenient to turn around to avoid going into the congestion charge zone.
Neither Battersea Power Station Development Company nor Berkeley Homes made any effort to liaise with the council to put up signage at the junction of Queenstown Road and Sopwith Way which would have signalled to traffic that Sopwith Way is in fact currently a cul de sac so. This would have avoided much of the noise, vibration and pollution from the traffic, most of which is nothing to do with Chelsea Bridge Wharf.
Neither Berkeley Homes nor Battersea Power Station Development Company carried out any kind of resident impact assessment or consultation with residents before resurfacing the road and opening it up to general traffic.
Berkeley Homes in denial
Berkeley Homes initially denied that there had been any increase in traffic on Sopwith Way. The author of this blog went to Sopwith Way to investigate for himself and was accosted and threatened by Berkeley Homes contractors near the entrance to the Vista Site (more on this later).
At the suggestion of the author of this blog, the CCTV for a specified period was monitored by Berkeley’s and it was quickly established that there had in fact been a massive increase in traffic since the road resurfacing and removal of the speed humps. Vehicles are using Sopwith Way at an average rate of one every 12 minutes, and large proportion of these are lorries and vans. Before the road was resurfaced and the speed humps removed the road was virtually free of traffic with the exception of essential services for the CBW site.
Sopwith Way traffic likely to increase massively from spring 2016
A presentation by Battersea Power Station Development Company (24.11.15 at the Chelsea Pestana Hotel) made clear their plans for massive development of the BPS site on the other side of the railway that runs above Sopwith Way. The meeting with Battersea Power Station Development Company was attended by no more than 15 residents from CBW and it was not a consultation – it was simply BPS announcing what it had already decided to do.
The development will include developing a large number of restaurants, bars and shops. This will impact Sopwith Way in several respects:
i) one of the exits for pedestrians leaving the BPS site will be through the Grosvernor Arch at the river end of Sopwith Way (this is currently closed). This means that hundreds, or potentially thousands, of people will be leaving bars and restaurants late at night and spilling onto Sopwith Way route to Queenstown Road. The noise from this is likely to be horrendous.
ii) Battersea Power Station Development Company are planning to install a cycle hire point (‘Boris Bikes’) at the top of Sopwith Way, near Grosvenor Arch
iii) Battersea Power Station Development Company are planning to install a taxi rank and bus stop on Sopwith Way with buses running up to every seven minutes from 7am to 10pm
Impact on quality of life and property prices
Outside of winter months, when residents will naturally want to have their windows open more, the noise and pollution from traffic during the day will become a major problem, particularly for those on lower levels of the buildings facing Sopwith Way. Many of the vehicles coming down Sopwith Way are HGVs with diesel engines emitting high levels of pollution, particularly NO2 and nanoparticles which are increasingly recognised as hazardous to human health. The buses which will be running along Sopwith Way every seven minutes will have diesel engines. In addition to that, there will be considerable vehicle and pedestrian traffic including at late night probably including a significant proportion of people who are inebriated, having enjoyed a night out at Battersea Power Station Development Company Disneyland.
The impact on property prices is likely to be significant. Who wants to buy a property where you cannot open the window because of heavy traffic and other noise?. In fact the noise and vibration are problems even with the windows closed if you live on the lower levels.
What can we do about it?
We are the residents – we pay extremely high purchase prices and service charges and our quality of life should come first, not last. These changes to Sopwith Way have totally changed the quality of life and are likely to effect property values. It threatens to get worse unless we take action. Here’s what you can do:
- Contact Battersea Power Station Development Company (KRobinson@bpsdc.co.uk ) to express your concern that their plans will impact on your quality of life and property value and express your support for a barrier in at the top of Sopwith Way and make sure that people are not exiting their development via Sopwith Way. You may also wish to express your views regarding the planned bus stop and taxi rank on Sopwith Way.
- Contact Berkeley Homes (Ruth.Perry@BerkeleyGroup.co.uk or Lee.Gregori@berkeleygroup.co.uk ) asking them to urgently liaise with Wandsworth Borough Council to ensure that the junction to Sopwith Way and Queenstown Road is clearly signed so that it is clear that there is no through route. Ask them to reinstate the speed humps on Sopwith Way as a matter of urgency. Ask them to stop using Sopwith Way for HGV access to the VISTA construction site.
- Contact Rendall and Rittner (Harry.Fenner@rendallandrittner.co.uk or Mike Keam firstname.lastname@example.org), asking them to Patrol Sopwith Way effectively and to challenge vehicles which have no right to be there (e.g. using Sopwith Way for temporary parking or simply to turn around or to access the VISTA site). Ask for the date of the next residents’ meeting and make sure you attend, to make your feelings clear.
- Contact Wandsworth Borough Council (email@example.com) to make it clear that you do not approve of the Battersea Power Station Development Company’s plans to install the bus stop, taxi rank or Boris Bikes at the top of Sopwith Way and that you are extremely concerned about potential noise disturbance from the BPS site.
- Follow this blog and check back regularly for updates. Share the link with others and feel free to post your views.
We don’t have to put up with this – but if we do nothing then Sopwith Way will become an even bigger nightmare than it already is. Don’t let that happen – fight for your right to peace and quiet and to protect the value of your property.