IslingtonTribune

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Let’s look at how work at Regent’s Wharf could be managed

13 March, 2020

Regent’s Wharf 

• I NOTE Ian Shacklock’s letter concerning developers’ proposals for Regent’s Wharf, and have been reviewing the significant impact of the work, and apparent paucity of detail on this and how it is to be managed, (Use barges not HGVs, February 28).

The construction and site waste management plans report – required by the Health and Safety at Work Act – has the staggering claim that the “Canal is no longer in commercial use”, and also sets out that all HGV traffic will enter and leave All Saints Street via its junction with Caledonian Road, a hazard-rich location with poor sight lines to the north, and actually within the zig-zag zone for a zebra crossing to the south.

Getting out from here with a slow-moving, loaded tipper truck will be challenging. And turning into the road which closes down to around six metres wide, especially with an articulated vehicle, and worse with a left turn, will require driving in to oncoming traffic and cutting across the nearside lane, the classic scenario in the majority of cyclist deaths on London streets. And All Saints Street has a restriction on access for HGVs over 7.5 tons.

Health and safety should be closely managed, and this is extended to routes used on public roads; and where relevant providing places to hold trucks to avoid blocking the streets outside.

This is especially relevant for this site, to police the stated ban on access via the other streets, also around six metres wide.

To get round the corners at junctions, without smashing up kerbs and footways, a truck driver will need to use the full width of the road, approaching and leaving on a full lock turn with no parked cars blocking this.

A six-metre carriageway is also barely wide enough to creep two HGVs past each other. And getting an articulated tractor and trailer in and out may be “challenging”, and may limit the range of semi-trailers that can be used.

A supplementary report reviewing the option of using the canal (but only for waste removal) notes 1,260 four-axle rigid tipper trucks (according to Department for Transport studies, causing the most damage to roads) against 359 60T barge trips (if the depth of the canal was mapped with a greater certainty loads of up to 80T could be possible).

Not included are an estimated 270 concrete mixer loads – if the largest ones can get into the site – with the tempting short-cut of using Copenhagen Street (HGV ban) to get from one of the three local batching plants to the site. And all the steelwork and building materials coming in to the site.

A great deal could come in, as well as go out, via the canal with barges also providing storage space, on a site where space will be at a premium.

The big issue here is that with the facilities to load and unload barges not aligned with the established systems, there is a direct pressure for financial, and convenience reasons, to default to the use of trucks, with the “cost” of all the harm these do to the roads and local amenity, plus the risks they pose to people, property, and environment.

A hoarding to close off the frontage of the building abutting the narrow footway on All Saints Street is specified. This will need to be self-supporting, and clear of the building being demolished and rebuilt.

There is no space to have wide scaffolding buttresses extending into the street, and so a compact structure would seem to be the option, and will also have to accommodate or deal with the mature trees. This would effectively block the footway on the north side of All Saints Street.

Arrangements to protect the work area, and safely manage pedestrian traffic (and road traffic servicing the site and other premises) need to be clearly defined.

Setting out this detail prior to any work starting, robust management of the movement of materials to and from the site, is needed to focus minds on the insidious concealed costs – damaged roads, pollution, including noise and vibration, and raised levels of road danger.

DAVE HOLLADAY
Sustainable transport specialist, Glasgow

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