There’s a separate post discussing issues with public access to the riverside. This post digs into the planning details for the riverside developments and the agreements which together create a public highway.
From Wandsworth Bridge, going South-West to North-East up to the heliport, there are five major developments:
- Battersea Reach
- Mendip & Sherwood Wharves
- Plantation Wharf
- Prices Court
- Bridges Wharf
The riverside is addressed in the planning application 2006/4533
The S106 agreement establishes a ‘public highway’ along the riverside (S106 part 1). The agreement also references a specification for the riverside path written by Wandsworth Council’s engineers (S106 part 2, page 7 onwards). Ultimately, the riverside was not built to this specification other than in general dimensions. But it does show that the council’s intention was always for the riverside in front of the Battersea Reach development to have mixed use.
Section 15.12 of the S106 agreement (p27) is where the riverside is defined as a “highway maintainable at public expense” for use by pedestrians, cyclists and disabled persons’ carriages:
The description of the path being a “highway maintainable at public expense” is useful as under s36 of the Highways Act 1980, Wandsworth Council has a duty to maintain an up-to-date list of such highways for inspection by the public.
2.Mendip & Sherwood Wharves
Lots of history, but access to the riverside starts with the application to build flats in 1994 94/C/0053. The 2nd part of the S106 agreement sets out requirements for access to the riverside, and includes Wandworth Council’s “Riverside Walk and Cyclepath Specification”. The specification start on page 11 of the 4th part of the S106 agreement:
The 3rd part of the S106 agreement describes the pubic highway along the riverside. This gives “right of way on foot alone” in 24.3.3 but with a modifier contained 3 paragraphs later …
Three paragraphs later, 24.3.6, comes the modifier, giving right of way to cycles, disabled person’s carriages and others to whom Wandsworth Council wishes to grant the right of access to the riverside:
In March 2017, developers have applied for permission to redevelop Chatfield Court (2017/1855). In their application, they state there are “no barriers to walking and cycling … notably the Thames Riverside Network”.
3. Plantation Wharf
The planning files for the former sugar works go back to the 1960s, but access to the riverside appears to have been first established in the late 1980s when the first successful application was made to build flats. Case file 87/N/2131. The legal agreement dated 24 June 1988 has multiple drawings showing public rights of way through the new development, including the riverside.
Several sections of the agreement describe public access to the riverside, and all are consistent in their wording “freely available to the public to pass and repass on foot but with access for disabled person’s carriages”. There’s no mention of cycles at this point, although the council does have the right to change usage through “.. and other such users as may be authorised by the Council”. Section 6.9 states it will be a “highway maintainable at public expense”:
The same PDF file has, starting p22, a specification by the council’s engineers for riverside walks, including a loading requirement of 10 tons laden weight. This enables the council and emergency services to take their vehicles onto the riverside to support their duties.
In 2006, the owners of Plantation Wharf applied to Wandsworth Council to change public access through the site for reasons of “diminishing security”. Case file 2006/1252. The committee report is interesting, as the borough engineers are very clear that the rights of pedestrians and cyclists to access the riverside should not inhibited.
The decision notice gives permission for the changes, but explicitly references rights of pedestrians and cyclists.
So, between 1988 and 2006, the right to cycle along the riverside in front of Plantation Wharf was established, and supported by Wandsworth Council. Presumably, the council exercised its right to allow access to “other such users”.
In 2009/10, there was a successful application to amend the north east side of the Plantation Wharf development, long Cotton Row. The engineers report (p14) explains that Cotton Row had been left unfinished for 10 or so years since the main Plantation Wharf development was built. The planning condition included further works to complete the work to highway standard.
The planning papers include a transport assessment prepared by the Milestone Consultancy. The consultants reference cycle access along the river:
Again, there was a s106 agreement for the 2009/10 development. Section 13.10 – states Cotton Row will be a public highway for pedestrians and cyclists to gain access to the riverside.
Later in the s106 agreement, section 20.10, there’s an identical statement about pedestrians and cyclists having access to the improved York Place as a public highway.
Currently, there is an open planning application 2016/5644to redevelop the southern side of the Plantation Wharf site fronting York Place. Within the application, section 4.4, page 20, of the Transport Assessment acknowledges the cycle route along the river front.
4. Prices Court
.. the council adopting the riverside as a “highway maintainable at public expense”:
Later, in the same PDF, is Wandsworth Council’s borough engineer’s specification for the riverside:
5. Bridges Wharf
The s106 agreement is wordy due to the land re-assignment needed to effect this proposal. The key bit is that we do get a ‘highway maintainable public expense’ for pedestrians, cyclists and disabled peoples’ carriages, council vehicles and emergency services:
Additionally, the new route through the site to the riverside is also addressed:
And starting on page 30 of the same PDF we have the council’s specification for the riverside path: