Ocean Diva: Mayor knocks back pier plans amid giant ‘booze boat’ fears

Josh Salisbury (17 July, 2019)

Bankside residents have fears over the Ocean Diva - a 282ft luxury boat which could cater to up to 1,500 corporate guests for parties

30931The plans submitted for Swan Lane pier near London Bridge have raised fears of a gigantic 'booze boat' on the Thames (City of London planning documents)

Sadiq Khan has said that a controversial proposal to extend a pier in the City of London, which residents feared could lead to a giant ‘party boat’ on the Thames, does not comply with the London plan.

However, the bid to reinstate the currently disused Swan Lane Pier close to London Bridge could be remedied to comply with it, he added.

City of London Corporation officials have not yet set a committee date to consider the proposals, the News understands.

Residents have raised fears over the prospect of a giant ‘party boat’ used for corporate events coming to the river Thames because of the plan.

The ‘Ocean Diva’ ship would be 282ft, larger than a football pitch, and it can hold up to 1,500 guests for ‘special occasions’, its website says.

Among those raising concerns were Living Bankside, a group representing the 13,000 residents living along the river from the OXO Tower to City Hall.

“Whilst the application is purportedly to build a pier that could improve accessibility to the River Thames, we note that the pier will be built only if the Ocean Diva party boat can use it, because the Ocean Diva is a financial partner in the scheme,” said its chair Amir Eden in an extensive letter sent to planning authorities in April.

Among the concerns he said, were a lack of transparency in the application, and noise and pollution concerns.

The plans have been opposed by Southwark Cathedral with its Dean, Andrew Nunn, among those writing a letter of objection. The pier is located directly opposite the Cathedral.

“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,” he said in a letter to planning authorities.

“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.”

However, planning consultants DP9, speaking on behalf of Ocean Diva, had denied that the planning application for the pier was designed to sneak in the ‘huge’ boat.

“The planning application seeks the recommissioning of Swan Lane Pier, to bring it back into use,” said a spokeswoman.

Vessels of all shapes and sizes would be allowed to use the facilities, including the Ocean Diva, but none would be allowed to permanently moor there, she added.

“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,” Greg Lawson, CEO of the operating company, added last month.

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