Uber Boat gets permission to build new pier at Putney Bridge despite claims it could “interfere” with the University Boat Race

By Charlotte Lillywhite, Local Democracy Reporter

Uber Boat is set to expand its services in west London despite Olympic rowers fearing it will interfere with the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race course.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers applied to build a new stop at Putney Bridge Pier, next to Putney Pier, to make its service more accessible.

The existing pier is often too steep for wheelchair users and the new structure would support the “expansion” of the company, a planning statement said.

The application received 74 objections and five letters of support, with rowing leaders raising concerns the new pier will interfere with the Tideway course – home to the Boat Race.

Olympic rower Guy Pooley, head of rowing at Eton College, wrote: “Many nationally significant events such as the Boat Race and the many Head of the River races use this area as the finish of the race and crews pass through Putney Bridge and return to Putney embankment.

“The position of the proposed pier will interfere enormously with this.”

Alastair Marks, chief executive of British Rowing, called the plans the “latest in a seemingly endless series of applications which threatens the most important and longest-established rowing course in the country”.

Paralympic rower and two-time World Champion Erin Kennedy said: “It would seriously impact all social rowing on the Tideway, including the boat races and all domestic regattas.”

Wandsworth council officers said the new pier would provide an extra obstacle for rowers to navigate, but their boats could pass underneath.

The report said the applicant had shown “sufficient consideration” of the needs of other river users.

It concluded the “special recreational and sporting character of the area would be protected and able to continue to be operational”, subject to conditions and any further mitigations that might be needed.

Wandsworth council’s planning committee discussed the proposal.

Speaking at the meeting on Tuesday, Conservative councillor Guy Humphries said: “There does seem to be a disparity of views between the rowing community saying it isn’t going to be navigable and the various experts on the other side that say that it is, and that’s somewhat alarming.”

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers previously said a risk assessment had been carried out and the new pier poses no greater risk.

The spokeswoman said: “A new pier would allow us to future-proof the Putney river bus route and to explore a more frequent off-peak and weekend service in Putney.

“This will help more Londoners enjoy fast, convenient commutes and day trip journeys by river.”

The committee voted to approve the application subject to conditions and a licence from the PLA being granted.

Pictured top: A CGI of the Putney Bridge Pier scheme at high tide Picture: Anthony Carlile Architects/Uber Boat By Thames Clipper, provided In Wandsworth Council planning documents

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.