Southwark residents have spoken out against plans to moor an enormous party boat off the south bank of the Thames, writes Kit Heren…
The Ocean Diva, an 86-metre long boat that would host up to 1,500 revellers, could soon be installed off the Swan Lane pier near London Bridge, which is currently unused.
But community group Living Bankside, which claims to represent 25,000 local residents, has expressed concerns over possible air and noise pollution created by the boat, as well littering.
The City of London Corporation is set to review the plans soon – although no date has been set – and Living Bankside has demanded they throw them out.
The group has created a ten-point template letter for people to send to planning authorities to voice concerns about the Ocean Diva plans.
As well as environmental anxieties, the letter raises the issue of the possible impact on the local area when people leave the boat.
“The applicants offer dream-scenarios instead of planning for how to deal with the way real partygoers behave en masse after drinking for many hours aboard. The applicants prefer not to mention the shouting, singing, vomiting, urinating and sometimes violence, which are known partyboat problems,” the letter says.
Living Bankside continues: “The applicants’ Acoustic Report claims that noise from the boat and the colonised shore will be attenuated over the river. This contradicts the science, which is that cold water amplifies noise, and would transmit it efficiently into offices and homes both sides of the Thames…
“The police, the NHS, City cleansing services, Environmental Health Officers and the LPHA would be burdened with dealing with the behaviour of the customers that the Ocean Diva would have profitably filled with drink.
“This would be a private pier, generating private profit, yet the true cost would be paid in damage to business and residential neighbours’ amenity and incursions into the public purse.”
The boat would be moored opposite Southwark Cathedral, and staff have also previously voiced their opposition to the plans.
Southwark Cathedral Dean Andrew Nunn said in a letter to planning authorities: “We are informed that the pier will be used for vessels such as Ocean Diva which has a huge capacity as a party and event boat.”
“The size of this barge and the potential disturbance to the area in the evening would be very disruptive and detrimental to the quality of life in the area.”
D9, planning consultants acting on behalf of Ocean Diva, told the News in 2019 that bringing Swan Lane pier back into use would also enable other boats to use the new facilities.
A spokeswoman said: “The planning application seeks the recommissioning of Swan Lane Pier, to bring it back into use.”
She added that all kinds of ships would be allowed to use the pier, including the Ocean Diva, but none would be allowed to permanently moor there.
Greg Law, CEO of the operating company that manages Ocean Diva, said last year: “We are excited to bring a stylish new event space to London, one that raises the bar for boats on the Thames in terms of its environmental credentials.”
The deadline for objecting to the new scheme is July 13.