More than twenty angry Dickens Estate residents stormed out of a community meeting with Tideway this week, over an ongoing dispute about noise and vibration at the super sewer works.
In a heated exchange an hour into the meeting between Southwark Council, residents and Tideway officials, people accused the representatives of not allowing enough time to talk about how the works were affecting their lives and wellbeing.
The event boiled over as efforts made to stick to the agenda were criticised for not “giving people the time to talk about what matters to them”.
Malissa Tran, a resident, said: “I accept that there’s going to be noise but what I don’t expect is the amount of noise. It impacts my everyday life. It affects my family life. It shakes my whole house.
“The whole of the bathroom was vibrating. People are scared and can’t sleep. My child can’t sleep because she’s expecting it. I would expect the noise but not at this level.
“There are cracks in my house and this is nothing compared to what’s to come. We are paying to suffer. The house process are going to go up and then we will have to pay more.
“This is not a one or two week thing, it’s going to go on for seven years. I can’t accept that. It’s OK for them [Tideway] but they don’t have to live here.”
The controversial works began earlier this year, with the Chambers Wharf site being one of 24 others making up the Thames Tideway Tunnel – a £4.2 billion project aiming to help tackle untreated sewage flowing into the Thames from London’s Victorian era sewers.
Hibah Abdi, another resident and also carer for her mother and brother, said: “My mother has had two heart attacks this year and an operation. Her and my brother can’t be comfortable because of the noise. It’s really affecting them.
“It’s just getting worse and worse. They keep saying they will come down and double glaze the windows but they haven’t.
“The vibrations would still be happening so I don’t know if it will help. It even affects me as I try to work from home sometimes but all the noise is very distracting. They really need to do something about it as soon as possible. I just feel powerless.”
Work at the site runs from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, with workers doing a half-day shift on a Saturday.
A Tideway spokesperson said: “We continue to work closely with residents affected by our work to help mitigate against the disruption of construction for the Thames Tideway Tunnel.
“The regular community meetings are a good opportunity for local residents to discuss the concerns they have with the Tideway team, and to get updates on what’s happening on site.”
Contractors Tideway have a weekly information centre every Wednesday from 2pm to 8pm to provide residents with information and answer any questions they have.
The scheme has already faced opposition from residents at other sites, who also fear constant noise and vibration when tunnelling work starts in 2018.