Worple Road Closure

UPDATE 24-9-19


Thames Water have emailed me to confirm they anticipate Worple Road repairs will be completed by 30th September. 

They have also stated that there may be no personnel on site while the concrete sets. 

I hope this deadline is met. Residents have suffered long enough. 


It is unacceptable that Worple Road could be closed until 30th September. Merton Council have finally agreed to issue fines if the works are not completed in this time.  

This has been going on for too long. It was able to open for Ride London, yet will remain closed for a significant period disrupting the lives of Wimbledon residents. 

I have complained to Thames Water and Merton Council about this. I also asked if public transport can be put in place to help the residents who have been cut off, and if any compensation would be available.

Please see the responses I have received below.

Finally, If you have any questions in relation to the actual works, diversions or related issues, Thames Water have provided a reference number and phone number to answer any queries.

Thames Water
Reference: 0022 52GSGH
Contact Number: 0800 316 9800


Stephen Hammond MP

From Thames Water


From Thames Water 22/8

Firstly, I would like to apologise for the delay in providing you with a relevant update on both the status of our work and on the planned timescales for getting Worple Road reopened to traffic. I recognise how inconvenient and frustrating this situation has been for the local residents and road users affected by the diversion. Unfortunately, our work is essential and unavoidable to ensure we continue to provide a waste water service in the area. I would like to assure you our contractors are fully aware of the impact this is having on the local area and the need to complete it as quickly as possible.

It may be helpful to explain, we began working in Worple Road on 15 July to fix a water leak. Unfortunately, whilst completing this repair we discovered that the water leak had created a large void beneath the road. This resulted in the road surface breaking up and caused a section of our sewer network below the road to collapse, which we identified on 18 July. Due to the void in the carriageway, we were concerned the road was unsafe for vehicles to drive over. Therefore, we closed the affected area to all traffic as a safety precaution. We then began our investigation as quickly as possible, to understand the extent of the issue.

Initially we had some difficulty in locating the pipework, however, after using specialist equipment we found the defect and replaced the leaking pipe. During our discussions with Merton Council, we were asked to ensure Worple Road was reopened in time for the Ride London charity event on 4 August. Taking this into consideration, we carried out a temporary repair and reinstatement, so the road was open for the charity event. Following this, we reclosed the road on 6 August, so we could carry out a repair and reinstatement of both our sewers and the void.

Regrettably, it has become apparent that the repair will not be completed as quickly as we had originally hoped. While carrying out the original repair, we discovered leaks on several sections of our water mains, probably resulting from the instability in the ground from the initial leak. Several of these have been successfully repaired, however, the depth of our sewer has required additional health and safety measures due to the proximity of the void. To help facilitate the repair, we are excavating a further area to a depth of 5.5 metres which will allow this work to be completed safely. Following this, we will need to install a new 10 metre section of pipework on our surface water sewer, which is approximately 3.5 metres deep. Once these sewers are reconnected and operational, we will be able to backfill and stabilise the area affected by the void and permanently reinstate the road surface.

Due to the complexity of the repairs required, our work will not be completed before the end of the school holiday. We have prepared a communication for local residents, which I’ve attached for your reference, and I will also ensure you are kept abreast of the future developments moving forward.  Additionally, we are making arrangements for our Customer Representatives team to be onsite a few days a week to answer any questions people may have.

Lastly, I appreciate due to the disruption of the bus route up Worple Road, some of the less mobile residents have been unable to make their way to Wimbledon. This has particularly affected the local residential care homes in close proximity to our work. We are currently in discussions with Transport for London with regard to an alternative provision which could service their needs. I will keep you updated as these plans develop.


From TFL - 14/8

Thank you for your email regarding the emergency roadworks on Worple Road. I’d like to reassure you that we’re liaising closely with LB Merton to ensure that bus services are restored to the area at the earliest possible opportunity.

rry for any inconvenience caused to passengers while bus are diverted as a result of the closure of Worple Road. As you know, this decision was taken by London Borough of Merton on safety grounds.

While we do work with local authorities, utility companies and contractors to plan and provide the best possible service during works, such planning is unfortunately not possible with emergency closures such as this.

As referenced by Mr Nagle below, it is not feasible to arrange a shuttle bus for a closure of this nature and duration for a number of reasons including sourcing the vehicles, an operator and staffing roster (which can take longer than 4 weeks) and agreement on how to fund such a service (e.g. LB Merton, Thames Water, TfL, etc).

If any of Stephen’s constituents affected by the closure are over 85 or have mobility issues, they may wish to consider finding out if the Dial-a-Ride service may be helpful, details of which can be found here, or the Taxicard scheme run by London Councils, details of which can be found here.


From Merton Council - 13/8

I can confirm that the diversion route is checked every day by the traffic management company working on behalf of Thames Water to ensure all signage is still in place. The area Street Works inspector has also checked the route however we will be speaking to Thames Water to see if extra signage can be placed on site to ensure vehicle movements are clear.

In relation to the actual works I spoke to the Thames Water’s contractor Cappagh who are currently occupying the site who have had no less than three further leaks and have found a leaking gas main at the location. We believe the gas main was previously abandoned however this still needs to be confirmed. The damaged sewer which is the main cause for the works is now being prepared for a 10 metre section replacement. Unfortunately works of this nature are not the easiest to plan as the ground and asset conditions are unknown and has been already proven, the damages from the original burst water main are still being established.  

Unfortunately there is very little Thames Water can do to provide access for residents for 72/74 Worple Road as the foul sewer goes directly underneath the footway. Parking permits have been issued for some residents who use this entrance on alternative side roads close to the location.

I have contacted TfL Buses regarding the potential of providing an alternative bus route or shuttle service however this needs to be agreed between Thames Water and TfL Buses. Representatives from TfL Buses did state that it usually takes between 4 and 6 weeks to provide this type of service which is normally used for planned works. I am currently trying to organise a meeting with Thames to discuss this issue and to ascertain what they can do with the situation in mind that the schools go back at the beginning of September. I will endeavour to keep you informed of any progress when more is known.