What planning considerations apply to safeguarded or protected wharves?

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Published on LexisPSL on 19/03/2018

The following Planning Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What planning considerations apply to safeguarded or protected wharves?
  • Background
  • How are wharves protected and what are the implications of safeguarding?
  • How can the protected status of a wharf be reviewed?


Safeguarded wharves are wharves located in the London boroughs that are protected through formal safeguarding directions and planning policy from redevelopment for nonport uses.

Safeguarding policy is the responsibility of the Mayor of London (MoL), in consultation with the Port of London Authority and the riparian local planning authorities (LPAs). The MoL has undertaken to review safeguarding directions approximately every five years, although the power to cancel existing and issue new safeguarding directions rests with the Secretary of State.

In 1997, 28 wharves along the River Thames were first safeguarded.

In January 2005, the MoL published the London Plan Implementation Report—Safeguarded Wharves on the River Thames (SWIR). This reported on the outcome of a review of the suitability of maintaining the safeguarding of the original 28 wharves and the potential for safeguarding additional sites. This review found that:

  1. of the existing 28 safeguarded wharves, three were no longer viable for cargo-handling, resulting in their de-designation as safeguarded wharves

  2. out of a total of 45 proposed new wharves, only 25 should be safeguarded

As a result of this review, 50 wharves along the River Thames were safeguarded by the Secretary of State. The safeguarding directions relating to these wharves can be viewed here.

Since then, the MoL

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