Party pier application grounded by politicians


A proposed pier for a huge party boat which made waves has been grounded by politicians.

Dutch party boat company Ocean Diva wants to bring high end parties to the River Thames.

It applied to build a new pier and landing platform at Swan Lane just near London Bridge for its 282ft  party boat for up to 1,500 revellers and also freight.

It aims to use a new carbon neutral boat on the river.

The old pier fell into disuse in 2012. Centuries before, Sir Thomas More disembarked at old Swan Lane in 1535 for his final journey to the Tower of London where he was executed on the orders of King Henry VIII.

The new planning application was for a pier for the Ocean Diva which could also support freight, river taxis and emergency services boats.

It had 836 objections  and a further 2,500 signed petitions against the scheme. They said they feared noise from the large boat.

The Mayor of London knocked back an application two years ago.

The plan for twice-weekly sailings for up to 1,500 revellers aboard the 282ft boat made waves.

The current scheme was  opposed by Living Bankside, representing 25,000 people between the Oxo Tower and City Hall.

Living Bankside’s chair, Amir Eden, said he feared the scheme would be “a reinvention of an entire city foreshore to serve a mega party boat”.

He said other objectors include the Tower of London and Shakespeare’s Globe.

And he was concerned about the impact on the environment and the ability of the emergency services to cope with any incidents.

“Party-goers are not commuters. They bring loud voices, litter, urination, vomiting and safety risks even to themselves. Light and noise pollution would become the problem of hundreds of riverside users.”

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The applicant had submitted a management plan to control partygoers and also stressed the plan was not explicitly for one boat.

The City of London’s planning committee were told strict rules limiting the number of passengers and frequency of sailing and use of music when mooring could limit the noise.

However the City said the plan was not suitable for freight.

Heather Sibley from financial firm Man Group, which is based in Swan Lane said: “This scheme is a lost opportunity for a sustainable mixed-use pier.”

Southwark councillor Adele Morris reminded councillors that a party boat got wedged at Westminster Bridge last year.

“An incident on a vessel this big would put unprecedented pressure onto the  emergency services.”

She added: “London doesn’t need another luxury paywall pier. What London needs is a pier giving more public access to the river.”

Barnaby Collins  from agent DP9 for the applicants said the plan was for freight as well as charter boats and the emission-free party boat would be “the first of its kind”.

He said by providing a pier for freight the scheme “Expected to remove 2.500 to 5,000 vans a year from roads”.

He explained that revolutionary new freight bikes would deliver goods for loading and unloading. And he said there was a plan to control events management to keep noise down.

Councillor Marianne Fredericks said she was concerned about the noise from party-goers.

“Once somebody leaves the boat it’s very difficult to manage the passengers once the boat has left the pier.”

She said they will ”make noise” as they look for transport to get home after the party.

Resident Christopher Hayward said: “This is the wrong proposals in the wrong place. What I am against something that will end up as a noose around our neck in a residential area… this is the wrong location for it.”

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