Friday 15 May 2009 3.13pm
Portland Wharf is the bit of land on Shad Thames
between the restaurant in the vaults of Tower Bridge and the Horsleydown Old Steps. Until recently there were three benches there for public use.
Don't know if anyone else has noticed it but this has now been taken over by the restaurant in The Vault
for patrons' use only. I find this absolutely absurd and so took the Corporation of London (it's their land apparently) to task on it.
Apparently, the restaurant has a lease on the land which means they are entitled to deny access to the public/local residents.
I have done some digging and have found that the restaurant was only granted planning permission on the basis that the benches and public access would remain. That was only in April 2005 yet four years on (and no, they haven't made any application to restrict public access) they are trying to slip this in. I have a copy of the planning permission which explicitly states the land is for public use.
I have sent this information to the City of London and have asked that they ensure public access/the benches is/are reinstated asap. Wonder how far I'll get??
I think it is absolutely ridiculous that, as time goes on, public (locals') access to parts of the riverfront is restricted. We were here first, before these posh flats and restaurants, yet we are being sidelined.
BTW - Anchor Wharf (the converted brewery) or whatever it is called had padlocked the gates to Horsleydown Old Steps on the basis that its residents' windows were being targeted by kids throwing that stones. Be that as it may, they have no right to lock the gate to prevent our access. In fairness, however, the security guard acknowledged that the public were entitled to go down there and did offer to unlock the gates.