Plans to open up a disused wharf on the south side of the Thames could provide space for a passenger ferry until the Hammersmith bridge is repaired.

The wharf sits in front of the former Harrod’s buildings in Barnes, and is bought by Jamie Waller last year for an estimated £275,000. He has now submitted a planning application to refurbish the wharf for the temporary bridge replacement ferry service. If it opens, then the ferry would shuttle between the old Harrods Furniture Depository wharf on the south side and possibly to the existing landing wharf on the north side in Fulham Reach.

The proposals are being put forward by the wharf owner, and are separate — at the moment — from TfL’s plans to offer a contract to a ferry operator. TfL says that the ferry service will need to carry around 800 people an hour, although it has been suggested one of the three bidders could increase that to 1,200 passengers per hour.

The owner is offering the use of the wharf to the eventual ferry company for free for 12-18 months as part of the package. He then plans to repurpose the wharf into a permanent building, such as a cafe or studio.

Almost 2,700 local residents have already signed a petition to support the Harrods Wharf proposal, and the owner says it would offer a better option than some of the other locations being suggested as it would reuse existing infrastructure next to the river.

It would need an additional floating pontoon in the river though as the existing wharf is too high otherwise for low-tide use.

The design for the Harrods Wharf has been drafted by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (LDS), who are also the creators of the Golden Jubilee Bridges and the Illuminated River light art project.


Article last updated on March 19th, 2021 at 09:38 am

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12 comments
  1. JP says:

    Presumably breaking into the goods tunnel under the old depository building which purportedly leads to the Knightsbridge corner shop itself would be too costly: to clear and to make accessible.
    But the bridge is to continue to be just a pretty sculpture for, what, another 4 years or so so wouldn’t it be worth a sniff?

    • MP says:

      The tunnel was from the store to the other Harrods Depository, about 200m from the store on Trevor Square, the other side of Brompton Road. There were 3 depositories – Trevor Square, between Sloane and Draycott Avenues, and Barnes.

  2. JP says:

    Thought it was a bit of a way, but you don’t know till you know. Getting confused with one underneath this building that was being worked on by a mate during conversion.
    Thanks!

  3. r.offer says:

    Various questions I’m afraid!

    1. Where precisely is the jetty for the opposite side of the river?

    2. Is it pedestrian only or for cyclists as well?

    3. What will be the access approaches on each side?

    4. Have likely objections been considered and assessed?

    • ianvisits says:

      1) TBA

      2) Ask the ferry company / TfL

      3) TBA

      4) Is there any reason why you think they’ve ignored them?

    • Toby says:

      Article names the other jetty, which shows up on Google Maps. Street view shows you the access to it.

      The council planning permission for this side will cover the access and received objections. I expect they’ll mention cycles allowed.

  4. Andrew Gwilt says:

    A replacement ferry at Hammersmith, West London. Just like at Woolwich, Southeast London.

  5. Andrew says:

    I very much enjoy walking the section of the Thames Path between Putney and Hammersmith, and I feel there’s not been enough emphasis on how much the character will be altered by this proposal. So apologies in advance, as this post will doubtless smack of curmudgeonliness due to relentless focus on this (in my view) neglected angle. Here goes:

    I don’t know what “in keeping” would necessarily be but I know this is not it. At present it feels almost like walking down a country lane, whereas the artist’s rendition reminded me so much of a naff pier intended to attract gawkers and hawk tat that I half wondered whether they’d included plans for an amusement arcade in their proposal.

    Harrodswharf.com states they want it to be not “just a pontoon on the side of a dirt track”. Such reverence for the existing character of this stretch of the Thames Path and the history of the existing structure which will be fully encased by the new.

    In addition, they say that a benefit will be “allowing the public access to the site for the first time in history to view and enjoy the Thames”. Much simpler way to achieve this: just remove the gates and railings separating it from the Path while retaining the ones around the outer edge of the long, thin platform.

    Since without planning permission being granted it will remain “just a pontoon on the side of a dirt track”, the Council could always fork out whatever small amount is necessary (if the current owners disparage it, presumably not much) and incorporate it into the Path themselves.

    Were that avenue to be pursued, hey, presto! Public access to the site with views of the river, plus a much welcomed widening of the footpath at what is presently a narrow throat, with retention of the history and character of the locale and what’s already there as a bonus.

  6. hamish parker says:

    Money for the owner of the land, money for the architect and money for who knows what other ‘interested’ parties . While what is needed, on such a tidal river, is for the bridge to be repaired.
    This is a very expensive hammer to crack a not so impenetrable nut .A temporary foot bridge alongside the existing bridge would surely cost less and be of far greater use. I suspect the Royal Engineers could put up something workable over a long weekend.

    • ianvisits says:

      If you think it could be done quicker and cheaper, why do you think such a seemingly quick and cheap idea hasn’t been carried out?

      Or maybe the engineers doing the work on the bridge know more than you?

  7. SD says:

    Sounds like a horrible idea that completely disrupts the tow path. The north side of the river is entirely built over in that area and the South side retains the banks and tow path with houses and flats set back from the river. This seems like a much more destructive option than a ferry based nearer the bridge itself

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