Gap opens up along the tow path at Strand on the Green

A gap has opened up along the tow path at Strand on the Green between the path and the retaining wall which stands on the shore, in the stretch where it narrows between the Bull’s Head and the City Barge.

I noticed it on Thursday 15 July and given the devastation wrought by the flash floods three days earlier, I thought I’d better report it. The gap is quite big – I’d say two inches across – and goes on for about twelve yards.

Not being an engineer I didn’t know if the wall was in danger of collapse or would stay like that for another hundred years, but I’m pleased to say when I reported it, Hounslow engineers acted on it straight away and are now monitoring it.

My first call was to the Port of London Authority – “not us”, they said. The local authority bears responsibility for the wall along this part of the towpath, and Hounslow Highways looks after the upkeep of the path itself.

Images above: Gap between tow path and wall at Strand on the Green; photograph Bridget Osborne

I rang my local councillor, Sam Hearn, one of the three councillors for Riverside ward, who suggested I report it and he would also follow it up. I reported it direct to Hounslow Highways online. I’d always wondered how those ‘Fix My Street’ notifications popped up. That’s the answer- you go on to the Hounslow Highways website and report the problem.

I also rang Cllr Guy Lambert for good measure, as he is the Cabinet Member for Hounslow with responsibity for highways and it was he who explained who bears responsibility for what.

On Monday I had an email from Satbir Gill, Newtork Manager at Hounslow Highways, who said they’d done an inspection and would continue to monitor it while they considered their options. When I rang him he said it didn’t look as if it was in imminent danger of collapse and they are looking at the best long term solution. He explained one option would be to anchor the wall, to stop it moving, but there were other techniques to be considered.

By the end of the week he said he would be able to give a timeframe for carrying out work to repair it. They will present what they consider to be the best option to the Council and they will then have to liase with the Port of London authority for a licence before starting work.

The private finance initiative (pfi) which covers the agreement between LB Hounslow and Hounslow Highways doesn’t cover problems which arise such as this, but Cllr Lambert was quite clear it was the Council’s responsibility and is something which “clearly should be addressed before it develops into something much worse.”

Image above: Gap between tow path and wall at Strand on the Green; photograph Bridget Osborne (feet for scale!)

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