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Right of way at Horselydown Stairs

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Zoe
Friday 22 January 2016 8.01am
This is actually a problem with all of the gates along the Southbank. We walk our dogs on the beach and have to climb over gates to get out, but the ones near Blackfriars Bridge are too tall. We have to make sure we don't misjudge the tide or we would get caught behind a gate too tall to climb over. It really annoys me that gates which were open until recently are now closed.
Friday 22 January 2016 9.09am
Zoe wrote:
It really annoys me that gates which were open until recently are now closed.

Page 13 para 2.1.6 of a Southwark Council's "Tower Bridge - Conservation Area Appraisal" offers a explanation...

"Access to the ferries was via river stairs. One remaining example is Horselydown Old Stairs below the southern abutment of Tower Bridge, and there were many others. Most of these public rights of way have now been closed for public safety."

Southwark Council's contribution to the nanny state.

You can download the document here.
Friday 22 January 2016 10.37am
Boss St Bloke wrote:
Most of these public rights of way have now been closed for public safety."
Southwark Council's contribution to the nanny state.


That document is more than ten years old. And I think it was the Port of London Authority that closed the gates, not the council. For some time since then the PLA have been improving and encouraging access to the foreshore, so I'm surprised to learn from Zoe that some gates that were unlocked until recently are now locked. Must be a change in policy.
Friday 22 January 2016 10.58am
John C wrote:
Boss St Bloke wrote:
Most of these public rights of way have now been closed for public safety."
Southwark Council's contribution to the nanny state.


That document is more than ten years old. And I think it was the Port of London Authority that closed the gates, not the council. For some time since then the PLA have been improving and encouraging access to the foreshore, so I'm surprised to learn from Zoe that some gates that were unlocked until recently are now locked. Must be a change in policy.

Another document worth looking at, although it's also more than ten years old, is

https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/gla_migrate_files_destination/archives/assembly-reports-plansd-thames-access_thames_full.pdf

See chapter 4 on the Thames foreshore, for some of the legal and practical issues.

(I mentioned this in a post during our previous discussion last year - but it's been moved to a different online address since then.)
Sunday 24 January 2016 1.32pm
FWIW the gates were open when I walked past just now.

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Monday 1 February 2016 6.01pm
hi thanks for the information ,im going to see how i can use but southwark are determined to contest this was ever a public right of way.
Tuesday 9 February 2016 8.18am
Thanks very much to everyone who has raised this with local Liberal Democrat Councillors. We are always keen to help.

I have had contact from the Thames Society and met with the Anchor Brewhouse and Southwark Council. Apparently there is no obligation on the Port of London to grant access to the river foreshore. These specific steps are not legally a public right of way and the council do seem to have checked this out pretty carefully. “The use of the land as a right of way was to allow watermen to access a pier. The pier is no longer in place but became redundant as a result of the erection of various bridges and crossings along the river prior to the introduction of the Highways legislation to which rights of ways relate.”

However, all parties do seem to understand that access to the river for the community is important and the passage and steps should not simply be blocked off, regardless of whether they are private land. They can be pretty dangerous at high tide or in bad weather, but residents and visitors can hopefully appreciate that and be careful!

The plan agreed is to develop a Memorandum of Understanding between Anchor Brewhouse and the council to allow access during the day (at people's own risk). That seems sensible as the steps are more dangerous in the dark and there are quite a lot of bars around so people may have had a few drinks at the end of the day. They will also put up some signage to let people know about the hours and the need to be careful at high tide. And if any local resident or visitor is particularly keen to visit after dark, they will be able to do so by prior arrangement.

The wording of all this is currently being finalised and local councillors will continue to make sure that the voice of local residents is heard loud and clear. Hopefully this agreement will be a helpful way forward which means the community can enjoy the river properly.

Happy to chat to anyone with any specific concerns - about this, or any other local issues.

Best wishes,
Anood

Councillor Anood Al-Samerai
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Riverside Ward
Leader, Southwark Liberal Democrat Council Group
Tuesday 9 February 2016 9.16am
Excellent news. Thanks Anood!
Tuesday 9 February 2016 12.24pm
Have to say I'm very impressed with Anood & her team & they work they are doing.
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