Hammersmith hypocrites

2 July 2012

Surely it is time the members of the public take responsibility for their actions. If you oppose a major construction project you should feel the consequences. And certainly if you oppose a project of national interest because of nimbyism you should be stripped of local interest developments.

This is at least applicable to one incident not far from T&T Towers. A major cause of congestion in the west London borough of Hammersmith is the Hammersmith flyover. This three-lane road has been beset by problems that have crippled local transportation. The residents of ammersmith last month called for a tunnel to be built to alleviate the problems.

But T&T reported that these 'Hammersmith hypocrites' aggressively objected to the proposed Thames Tunnel for the London Tideway projects. The tunnel is needed to prevent the flow of untreated sewage into the River Thames from the at-capacity Victoria sewer network. Combined sewer overflows are dumping waste into the Thames twice a week on average. Hammersmith
and Fulham council took the view that as they will benefit least (being up steam of central London), but would need to house a large proportion of the works, they would object.

Now that the tables have turned and Hammersmith residents now need the city's support to relieve their congestion problems, perhaps they should be left to suffer.

The same could be said of the makers of the anti-Beverly Hills tunnel video. The tunnel, which is needed to encourage residents out of their cars and onto public transport was the subject of a fear mongering campaign as T&T reported last month. Perhaps the video authors should be tracked, their number plates taken and their cars clamped. If you rally all the project opponents it could be an effective form of congestion relief itself.

And surely there is not a reader out there that wouldn't like to see the aptly named 'Scat' lobby group (Seattle Citizens Against the Tunnel) be held accountable for the money wasted in battling their objections.

In practice there is an argument to be had as to how to deal with the beyond-nimbyism opponents to projects that have successfully stifled much needed works and in doing so have hindered their region's development.

We have in this space shown the very successful but controversial approach of cities such as Singapore that have no resident involvement in city planning and as a result are able to rapidly and efficiently develop major infrastructure projects.

While public involvement is vital at some level, to what extent can you trade prosperity for democracy?

Ideas on a postcard.