Putney Pier changes receive rollocking from rowing community
A proposed extension of Putney Pier has the rowing community up in arms.
An online campaign has been launched and objections lodged with Wandsworth Borough Council after plans were released to increase moorings from two to 15.
Rowers are concerned the extended pier would intrude into the channels they use which could result in potentially fatal accidents.
Fears include rowers getting pulled under the larger moored boats by the tide and drowning.
Rowing competitions and events held on the Thames mean the river sees an estimated 10,000 rowers a year.
Chris George, 66, of Baskerville Road, Wandsworth, is Thames Rowing Club safety advisor and the deputy national rowing safety advisor.
He said: "There have been numerous incidents at Dove Pier in Hammersmith which has a similar arrangement of boats to the one proposed here.
"One of the more recent incidents, in 2005, was a near death one."
Dr George is particularly concerned about novices on the water. Following the Olympics, The Thames Rowing Club registered a record number of new members.
There are also young rowers from Wandsworth schools regularly using this stretch of water.
He said: "Any persons that approve such a plan, in the knowledge of the objections that we have put forward, could put themselves at risk of being prosecuted for corporate manslaughter. It is an accident waiting to happen."
The planning application submitted by Chris Livett of Lafone Street, Bermondsey, the owner of Putney Pier, states that the new layout "will not intrude into an area of the river used by rowers."
A risk assessment undertaken for the application adds: "There is good access room in front of the pier with approximately 25m between the pier and the navigation channel."
The public consultation ended February 7.