Thousands of comments have been made on Richmond's website about the planning application for a ferry terminal at Harrods Wharf.
At the time of writing, there have been over 2000 comments posted in support of the application, with over 375 opposing it.
The planning application doesn't go into detail about how a ferry would operate; it's just about the use of the wharf as a terminal. Interestingly, it doesn't explain where a ferry would land on the north (Hammersmith) side of the river. This is generally assumed to be the existing pontoon which is used by Fulham Reach Boat Club.
As previously noted on this website, that pontoon isn't really suitable for use by a ferry landing hundreds (or thousands) of people a day. And the rowing club itself has objected to the proposal, saying (a) that the operation of a ferry on this route would be dangerous for the many people who row on this stretch of the river, and (b) that their pontoon is not going to be made available to the operator of a ferry service.
The nearby Vesta Rowing Club has also objected to the proposal:
Much as I'd like to see a ferry service, I have to agree with both of these statements. Anyone familiar with that stretch of the river will know how busy it is with rowing boats, and it's hard to see how a ferry constantly crossing the river wouldn't come into conflict with them.
And there is no realistic plan for the ferry stop on the north side. Fulham Reach's pontoon is clearly not suitable, and anyway it's high and dry at low tide. And, of course, they have clearly said that they're not going to make it available for use as a ferry terminal.
As I've said before, I think there's only one realistic plan that has been presented for a possible ferry service - and I can see why it wouldn't please everyone, since it would block much of the width of the river. But it is the only plan that addresses the problems of the tidal range, the shallow depth and the speed of the current - in fact, it makes use of the current to operate.
But since the Taskforce has already said that it might be possible to stabilise the bridge for use by pedestrians and cyclists within a few months, one has to wonder if it's worth trying to set up a ferry service at all.
Posted on 13th February 2021