Where maritime and aerial navigation compete


A pair of giant Chinook military helicopters follow the Thames as they traverse the capital – like a waltzing couple they cavort over the twists and turns of the tideway as they head east. A holding pattern is imposed upon them as climbing jets out of City Airport have precedence – a complicated procedure of circling around Greenwich is carried out till they receive clearance from air traffic traffic control – they fly lower enough to enable one to see troopers pressed to the windows to view the splendid symmetry of Greenwich Park, the college and its Cutty Sark waterfront. Once cleared for passage they head for the O2 before they swing round the barrier to god knows where!!


click on image to enlarge

All very alarming for the spider men erecting a lofty crane being erected on the tip of the peninsular – the site is being prepared for a mighty skyscraper hotel to serve the O2 – according to the Wharf Newspaper, Balfour Beatty are building a 19 storey structure and offer 452 rooms – which will provide extraordinary views over Canary Wharf, Greenwich and downstream to beyond the Barrier.

The two year construction plan begins with the piling of 1,800 piles which should punctuate through the former industrial land where once ship and barges were built. Do you remember the Greenwich Pavilion which stood alongside the Millennium Dome just on the prime meridian line as it crosses the Thames close to Reuters and the Radisson Edwardian Hotel?

Wood wharf

click on image to enlarge

Canary Wharf’s eastern extension known as Wood Wharf is planned to extend the high rise development eastwards which will again affect my down river view towards Blackwall – I feel I must record this  as another dramatic change to my outlook as it materialises – by night I can tell you that the essential bright red lights on hazardous structures have increased in number but also in brightness – that terrible helicopter downing at Vauxhall last year reminds us of the dangers facing pilots overflying the ever changing capital.

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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